The cemetery, which is three acres in size and is a garden design, dates to approximately 1760. Local historians believe that the property originally belonged to the town of Fairfield, which used it to bury its “undesirables” (including paupers, Native Americans, and slaves), the custom of the era being to bury such people ten miles from the town in which they resided.
Ownership passed to the town upon its incorporation in 1787. Prior to 1900 the cemetery is referred to as the “old burial ground.” After 1900 there is a reference to the Kettle Creek Cemetery, or Norfield Cemetery. In 1924 the reference became the Coley Cemetery that it is still called today. After much research of town records, no evidence was given that the ownership of the cemetery was by the Coley family.
The oldest known stone marks the grave of Tamme Duncan, who died in November of 1767. It is known that at least one Native American is buried in this cemetery somewhere along its stonewall, but there is no marker at the site. According to a study by Bruce and Mary Ann Root, who did extensive research as to the boundaries and title searches, there are three stones with markings not in English, but some kind of characters. It is possible that these are Native American graves sites.
Coley Cemetery is also the final resting place of many of Weston’s early important families as well as Revolutionary and Civil War veterans.
This cemetery is also known as Emmanuel Cemetery as it is situated directly behind the Emmanuel Church on Lyons Plain. Names include families of Bans, Davis, Crofut, Treadwell, Sturges, Merwin and Lockwood, people who were prominent in town and worked in the mills along the river. The most prominent person in this cemetery is Justice John Harlan from the U. S. Supreme Court who lived in Weston for many years, going back and forth to Washington.
Bob Harper, who worked for Bridgeport Hydraulic Company and lived in a house by the Valley Forge dam, spent many hours researching the area of “Devil’s Glen”. He tells of an Indian family who lived nearby and worked at Gould’s Mills. They were buried in the private cemetery on Kellogg Hill when they died. Their graves were marked by pieces of slate, but without names. However, in a survey done in 1934 by William Banks for the Connecticut State Library, he claims that the cemetery holds the remains of Peter Tharp, Lydia Tharp, daughter of Peter and Mrs. Peter Tharp, Captain Ephraim Lyon and John Fanton.
This cemetery is currently on Aquarian land just off of Rt. 53 and Valley Forge Road. Nestled in a flat piece of land in the wooded area lie the remains of 20 souls of which 13 bear the name of Godfrey. Most of these families lived in the Godfrey Road area and north of Valley Forge.
The Rollins Cemetery was moved to Redding when the Saugatuck Reservoir flooded the village of Valley Forge. There are 19 persons in this cemetery, including Ester and Moses Godfrey, Zalmon Banks, Sally and John and Elizabeth Fanton, Shaz Bradley, son of Captain Bradley and three members of the Hull family. (no photo available)
— These descriptions are based on the work of Charles R. Hale, who, in 1934, and under the auspices of the F.E.R.A. and the W.P.A., compiled a list of Weston’s cemeteries and noted the names, dates and inscriptions on the stones.