A number of people have contacted me regarding the restoration of Samuel Smedley’s crumbled gravestone, seen above. Here’s how events stand.
Historian and artist Bill Lee, who painted the images composing the cover of Samuel Smedley, Connecticut Privateer, is spearheading the effort to restore the stone. He has officially proposed restoration to the probate judge, whose office is responsible for the town cemeteries, and suggested an ad hoc committee of six (including the judge, Bill, and me) to oversee the process.
The next step is to have a professional examine the stone to see if it can be re-inscribed and reused. If not, then a new stone will be installed. Since Smedley was a veteran, public funds may be available to assist (particularly in the latter scenario — a new stone may cost as little as $25). Obviously financial estimates depend upon the assessment and the decision of how to proceed.
We’d like to unveil the restored or new stone on June 13, 2012 — the 200th anniversary of his death.
The original inscription never mentions Smedley’s service in the American Revolution. It reads:
SAMUEL SMEDLEY ESQ.
late Collector of Customes
for the District of Fairfield
died June 13, 1812.
So in either case, it has been suggested that a plaque be placed near the gravestone more fully detailing Smedley’s life and role in Independence. If it’s determined to move forward with that idea, then we’ll very likely pass around the collection plate. In the meantime, I will post periodic updates here.