West Thompson Cemetery (Nichols)

West Thompson Cemetery (also known as Nichols Cemetery)

Riverside Drive and Thompson Road, Thompson    13.25 acres
GPS Latitude 41.94873 Longitude -71.88584

This is where the earliest residents of Thompson are buried.

Although the West Thompson Cemetery is one entity, it is described in the Thompson town records as two separate lots with both under the auspices of the West Thompson Cemetery Association which was formed June 27, 1934; one came under their jurisdiction in 1935 and the other in 2000. There are major entrances to the cemetery from both Riverside Drive (Route 12) and Thompson Road (Route 193).


Thompson Road/Route 193 Entrance

The first piece of land recorded for this cemetery is in the North Society of Killingly church records which state that in 1735, Daniel Shapley gave a “piece of land near the French River a mile or more southwest of the meeting house, for a burying place for said society.” The first deeded land transaction for this cemetery occurred in 1848 when George Nichols sold to Hezekiah Ramsdell “one undivided and equal half of said premise for a cemetery or burying ground reserving the other half to myself and my heirs”. Other property has been obtained over the years.

The older Shapley section, closer to Route 193, has a significant number of engraved stones from the early 1700s as described by James A. Slater in his book The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut; he identified 169 carved stones in this cemetery and 17 different carvers.

One of these is for the Reverend Marston Cabot, the first pastor of the Congregational Church; this carving was done by Seth Luther of Providence, Rhode Island.  Another is that of Deacon Jonathan Clough and his family celebrated in a very detailed Elijah Sikes tombstone.

According to the Hale Collection, the death of four-year-old John Allton who died Jan. 8, 1711, and Thomas Allton in 1714 are the earliest burials; however these are in error; Marey Dwight’s death April 23, 1726 is the earliest identified burial.

A notable monument is that placed by the Elizabeth Porter Putnam Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) in 1918 with the inscription “In Memoriam Soldiers of The Revolutionary War Who Rest in this Yard”; the bronze marker lists the majority of Revolutionary soldiers buried in this cemetery, but not all of them.

Veterans of the many conflicts since that war are also buried in this cemetery; there are no complete listings of these other veterans. This is an active cemetery.

The West Thompson Cemetery in the document section below may help in locating a tombstone; this is the original Hale’s List of Cemetery Inscriptions which records the gravestone locations as the person who collected the information walked through the cemetery.

Ida Ransom and Mary Ellen Tomeo, July 2024

Documents:

Alice Ramsdell locomotive on gravestone

Cemetery Gates, West Thompson in memory of George Nichols

Dr. Lowell Holbrook (Civil War) and his father, Dr Horatio Holbrook

Dr. Robert C. Paine, country doctor

Early gravestone 3 children of Bryant & Hepzibah Brown

Elizabeth (Ballord) Ellis

Ellen Larned, Windham County Historian

Frank Ramsdell & his locomotive

Mary Ballard Carroll, a divorce in 1807

Rev. Josiah Dwight (1671-1748) First minister in Woodstock

Rosanna & Rhoda Ellis winged-skull gravestones

Sgt Thomas J. Aldrich, Civil War casualty

Shaw family of Jewelers Edward Shaw and wife

Soldiers of the Revolutionary War Plaque by the Daughters of the American Revolution

Thomas Bates & his father, Issachar Bates, early gravestones

Young Cranska Family Tragic story