This week Bill Lee appeared before the Board of Selectmen to seek permission to repair Samuel Smedley’s gravestone:
Lee said he was inspired by a photo in Kuhl’s book to restore Smedley’s grave site. The original grave marker in the historic Beach Road cemetery was broken in half, and cannot be repaired. Lee has already set up a trust for donations to replace the marker.
To do so, Lee first needs permission from the Board of Selectmen and the Representative Town Meeting to make changes to the town-owned cemetery. The selectmen approved his request Wednesday, and the RTM will vote on the petition later this month. If they sign off on the plan, Lee will go to a public hearing in probate court for permission to redo the grave site.
The Daily Fairfield article contains two big mistakes. First, the gravestone will be reused, not replaced. The statement that the original “cannot be repaired” is false; the gravestone is going to be refurbished and reinscribed.
Secondly, we will not be appearing before the RTM because none of the money to repair the gravestone will come from the town. The majority of funds will source from private donations. Any public money for the project — probably minimal — will come from the state and/or federal government due to Smedley’s status as a war veteran.
The next step is the public hearing at 3pm on
Wednesday, January 11 Thursday, January 12 at the Judge of Probate’s office in Sullivan Hall, where we will formally request the judge to allow the stone to be removed to the refinisher’s workshop. Bill and I will both be there so stop by if you have any questions.