Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery
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Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery is an old cemetery in Burlington, Connecticut which dates back to the late 18th century. It was used as a burial ground for members of the Seventh Day Baptist Church. The cemetery has mistakenly been referred to as "Burlington Center Cemetery" but is perhaps best known as Green Lady Cemetery, due to a ghost that supposedly haunts the grounds.
The Seventh Day Baptists (or Sabbatarians) were a religious group that was originally from Rhode Island. Many of them were descendents of the Roger Williams colony. In the late 18th century, twenty or so families migrated from Rhode Island to West Britain, Connecticut (present-day Burlington) and established the Seventh Day Baptist Church on September 18, 1780. At the meeting of the Seventh Day Baptist Society on October 12, 1796, a deed was presented by Jared Covey (the benefactor of the church) to the other members detailing a "parcel of land laying at the south east corner of the ninth lot in the fourth division in Bristol containing about half an acre for the purpose of a public burying ground". The site had already been used as a burial ground, beginning in 1780 with the burial of John Davis, but it was in 1796 when it was officially declared as Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery.
During the years between 1810 and 1820, accidental deaths plagued the Seventh Day Baptists. One member fell off a ladder and died while repairing his house, while another died when a recently dug well collapsed on him. Another was hanged while repairing a lamp in her home and yet another was killed when a tree fell upon him in the woods. While these bizarre deaths may have been legitimate accidents, it is not difficult to make the leap in logic that the early Burlington residents may have had a secret agenda toward forcing the Sabbatarians from the area, eventually confiscating their lands and properties. By 1820, the last of the Seventh Day Baptists departed Burlington and migrated to Brookfield, New York in Madison County, never to return. The last person to be buried in the cemetery was Charlotte Spencer, on October 14, 1881.
The Green Lady
The cemetery is best known by the name of Green Lady Cemetery, due to stories and sightings of a green spectral figure known as the Green Lady. No one is exactly sure who the Green Lady was in life, but many believe she is the ghost of a Seventh Day Baptist named Elisabeth Palmiter.
Legend has it that in April 1800, Elisabeth's husband, Benjamin, went into town to get some supplies. Suddenly a bad snow storm broke out; Benjamin decided to stay in town and wait for the weather to die down. When he didn't return right away, Elisabeth went out to try to find him. After getting lost in the storm, she drowned in one of the nearby swamps.
In one version of the story, Benjamin returned home to find his wife missing. After an exhaustive search, he found her frozen body in a swamp; she was wearing a pretty green dress. In other versions of the story, Benjamin was either unwilling to save Elisabeth or murdered her and threw her body into the swamp as a cover-up. Since this is a local legend, no one is absolutely certain what really happened. Regardless of what really happened, many people walking near the cemetery at night have claimed to see a female apparition surrounded in a green mist. According to most accounts, she merely appears without provocation or pattern, smiles and then dissipates. Some people have also claimed to see mysterious lights, looking like a flashlight or lantern carried by an unseen person. Some think it could be the ghost of Benjamin Palmiter, perpetually searching for Elisabeth in the swamp.
Today, hardly any of the gravestones are left in the cemetery, due to extreme vandalism that had taken place in the 1970s. Since then, the only intact standing headstone has been that of Elisabeth Palmiter This was a roughly 200 pound grave marker that was re-dedicated to the site in the 1970s following the removal of all vandalized pieces of the original stones. But the cemetery was again vandalized during the overnight period of July 20 and July 21, 2010 and Connecticut state police are investigating the disappearance of the Elisabeth Palmiter headstone. The cemetery is now private property (owned by the New Britain Public Works) and the Burlington police and local residents usually patrol the area at night to guard against further vandalism. Visiting the site during the day for the purpose of historical research is permitted.
- Joseph A. Citro. Weird New England. Sterling Publishing Co., 2005
- Cheri Revai. Haunted Connecticut. Stackpole Books, 2006
- David E. Philips "The Green Lady of Burlington." Legendary Connecticut. Curbstone Press, 2001
- Joanna Mechlinski. "‘Green Lady’ lures a video producer." The Bristol Press. October 30, 2005
- Grim Hauntings Or Skeptics Truth. "Seventh Day Baptist Cemetery", Creepy Connecticut. February 7, 2005.