Norwalk History Comes Alive At July 4 Celebration

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Madeleine Eckert led a tour of the Mill Hill Burying Ground at the Norwalk July 4 celebration. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind
Jessica Schweitzer, 8, from Norwalk, writes with a quill in the one-room school house that dates to 1826. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind
A crowd was on hand for festivities at the July 4 celebration at the Norwalk Historical Society. Photo Credit: Ken Liebeskind

NORWALK, Conn. — The history of Norwalk was brought vividly to life Wednesday in July 4th reenactments in a Revolutionary War era cemetery and a 19th century one-room school house.

Those two chapters of town history were re-created by local citizens in period dress at the Independence Day program at the Norwalk Historical Society.

A large crowd was led around the Mill Hill Burying Ground by Madeleine Eckert of the Historical Society. The graveyard is the final resting place of 234 people who died between 1751 to 1850. They include a 100-year-old woman, two 15-day-old babies, two blacks and 12 slave owners.

“My favorite thing is to rediscover people lost in history and bring them back to life,” said Eckert, whose presentation did that for the appreciative crowd. 

Eckert, a member of the Norwalk-Village Green chapter of the Connecticut Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution, says she's descended from 12 American patriots. As she gave her presentation, with help from her husband, Ed, Historical Society educational coordinator Samantha Kulish was inside the 1826 vintage one-room school house.

The school, which originally stood on East Avenue, had been used for downtown Norwalk students from 5 to 16 years of age. They sat on hard benches, wrote with quills and ink and learned to read on horn books, which had the alphabet on one side and a prayer on the other.

“The school house was restored so it looks like it did in 1826,” Kulish said. Members of the audience sat on the benches and scribbled their names with raspberry ink and the quill pens.

Later in the program, Andy Garfunkel, portraying Samuel Grumman, the Norwalk town clerk during the American Revolution, read the Declaration of Independence.

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