Steven Sappo was clearing his backyard on Johnson Road some 15 years ago with the help of his father, John, when the older Sappo called out to him to stop. He had found a stone with an inscription that triggered his curiosity.
He contacted his neighbor, Martha German, who brought in Eastside Cemetery Supt. Todd Sasso. It turned out that the stone, which was partially broken, was the gravestone for Revolutionary War patriot Amos Thomas. “The stone was broken, but the top was in good shape,” Sasso said.
Thomas was born in 1743 and died in Woodbridge on April 22, 1797, said Eastside Cemetery Board President Sheila McCreven. “He was married on February 1, 1770 in Woodbridge’s Congregational Church to Elizabeth Beecher who outlived her husband by 25 years and is buried by his side in the old section of the cemetery.”
Sappo agreed that they remove the stone in order to have it repaired. Woodbridge resident Larry Dickovick donated stone material for the repairs, and John Nolan from Nolan’s Hamden Monument Co. glued it all together.
On Sunday, November 10, a day before Veteran’s Day, Sasso, Steven Sappo, First Selectman Beth Heller and cemetery board President Sheila McCreven gathered for a brief ceremony to commemorate the installation of the newly restored marker.
It is unclear why or how the stone made its way to Johnson Road, Sasso said. He assumes that someone – a relative maybe or descendant – found the stone broken and took it home to repair. In the meantime, a newer stone had been placed at one point, marking the spot in the old part of the cemetery where Thomas is buried.
Sasso said he placed the repaired, older stone right next to the existing marker. It will be a testament to the continued care Woodbridge takes for its veterans.
Located on Pease Road near the intersection with Center Road, the Eastside Cemetery is open sunrise to sunset, weather permitting. For more information visit the website: eastsidecemetery.org.
From left, Todd Sasso, Eastside Cemetery superintendent and member of the Board of Directors; Sheila McCreven, Eastside Board president; First Selectman Beth Heller and Woodbridge resident Stephen Sappo
By Bettina Thiel – Woodbridge Town News Correspondent