The Newton Family: A Celebration of Life

  • June 21, 2024 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
  • Evergreen Cemetery

    769 Ella T Grasso Boulevard
    New Haven, Connecticut 06519
Ticket Price Free This event is now over

On June 21st, 2024 @ 11am, we will be holding a Celebration of Life Service at the gravesite of Thaddeus & Mary Newton.  Their headstone fell over and cracked some 50 years ago.  It has since sunken into the earth.  At the conclusion of this event, we will unveil their newly repaired stone, along with a newly installed military stone for their son, Stephen, who died during the Civil War.


Thaddeus Newton was a North Carolina enslaved man. His wife Mary was free. In 1859, she fled to New York, where she worked with well known abolitionists (such as Henry Ward Beecher and Henry Highland Garnet) to raise money to free her husband Thaddeus.  On securing her husband's freedom, Thaddeus and Mary would move with their family to New Haven, CT in 1860.  While living in New Haven, 2 of their sons would enlist in the Civil War with the 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment.  Their son Alexander served as Commissary Sergeant and their 15-year-old son William served as a servant to Captain Griswold.  The Newton's had a third son, Stephen, who also fought in the Civil War.  Stephen died while fighting with the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment, which is the regiment featured in the 1989 Denzel Washington movie, “Glory".  Stephen died at the assault on Fort Wagner in Morris Island, South Carolina; his body was never recovered. 


During their lives, Thaddeus & Mary Newton were consummate examples of integrity and honor.  On arriving in New Haven in 1860,  Thaddeus was ill and unable to perform in his trade as a shoe maker.  To help support his family, Thaddeus became a peddler, selling fruits from a cart... his wife Mary and sons William and Stephen would help.  Mary also pushed a wash cart, used for washing clothes for soldiers at Grape Vine Point (now Criscuolo Park).  The family would eventually save up $100, which they used as down payment on a $300 mortgage on a home at 18 Winter Street. Although Thaddeus would die in 1868, Mary and her family would live in this home for over 40 years.


During his time in New Haven prior to his death in 1868, Thaddeus became a Trustee in the First AME Bethel Church of New Haven, working to secure the property for their building on Sperry Street in New Haven... a building that still stands today.  Thaddeus imparted the importance of religion on his children, his son Alexander becoming an Official with the AME Church after his time in the 29th Connecticut Colored Regiment.  Alexander published a memoir in 1910 entitled, "Out of the Briars: An Autobiography and Sketch of the Twenty-Ninth Regiment, Connecticut Volunteers."


The story of Thaddeus & Mary Newton is a love story… one that began with their marriage on Valentine’s day in 1837.  Their love was so strong that Mary found a way to free her husband through the Underground Railroad.  Theirs was a love story of family and country, having sons who fought for freedom, one dying for it. 


In honor of the Newton family, please consider joining us as we celebrate this incredible American family.

Date & Time

Fri, Jun 21, 2024 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Venue Details

Evergreen Cemetery

769 Ella T Grasso Boulevard
New Haven, Connecticut 06519 Evergreen Cemetery
Alex Breanne Corporation

We are a Connecticut-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization focused on promoting social clarity and informed context regarding the African-American experience through research, interrogation and equity advocacy.  Our mission is to use research and broader context to identify and address the many reverberating effects of chattel slavery.