Elihu Burritt was an American author, philanthropist and social activist. He was born in New Britain, CT on Dec. 8, 1810, the youngest son of ten children. As a child he was an excellent student but due to his father’s death, he was forced to leave school at age 15 and apprentice himself to a local blacksmith. However, he continued to educate himself while working at the blacksmith’s craft. In 1837, following the failure of his family's grocery business, Burritt left New Britain for Boston, where he continued to work as a blacksmith. While there, he learned about the American Antiquarian Society's library in Worcester, and spent several years there studying the Society’s famous collection in his spare time. It was there that he became interested in humanitarian causes that were later to make him famous, such as the abolition of slavery, the dignity of the American working man and the cause of world peace. In 1842, this led him to establish the 'Christian Citizen' at Worcester, which was a weekly journal devoted to the causes of slavery abolition, peace, temperance and self-improvement.
Burritt had an amazing aptitude for languages and was able to master them quickly, a feat which earned him the title “Learned Blacksmith”. By the time he was 30 he could read and understand more than 50 languages. This led to his being offered a chance to study at Harvard, but he declined, saying his place was with the common people.
Burritt was an advocate of pacifism, and put out a number of publications on behalf of world peace. While visiting England in 1847, he organized the League of Universal Brotherhood, which was a forerunner of the League of Nations and the UN. In 1847, he was instrumental in organizing the first Peace Congress in Brussels, and took part in two following Congresses in 1849 and 1850. Burritt also campaigned for a standard international postage rate, believing that it would increase correspondence between nations and thus promote peace. He was opposed to slavery in the United States and worked towards its abolition. During this time, he was a sought-after lecturer, where he spoke to large audiences in England on behalf of the League of Universal Brotherhood, which resulted in thousands of people supporting its cause. Although he had no formal education to speak of, Burritt was the author of over 37 books and articles, and many pamphlets and publications devoted to the subject of world peace.
President Abraham Lincoln appointed him as a US Consul to Birmingham, England, in 1865. In 1870, Burritt returned home to New Britain. In 1871 he designed the official city seal of New Britain, which is still in use today. He continued to farm, teach, lecture, and write until his death on March 6, 1879 at the age of 68. He is buried in Fairview Cemetery in New Britain. Burritt Street, which is located on Burritt Hill where his farm once stood, is named after him, as well as the Elihu Burritt Library on the campus of Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, which was dedicated in 1959.
This is the seal of the City of New Britain, designed by Elihu Burritt.
2010 marked the 200th anniversary of Elihu Burritt's birth, and a number of events celebrating this anniversary were planned by the Elihu Burritt Library at CCSU, culminating on Dec. 8, his birthday.
The Latin motto reads: 'Industry fills the hive and enjoys the honey.'
This wreath was laid at Elihu Burritt's gravesite on Dec. 8, 2010, to mark the 200th anniversary of Burritt's birth. It was placed by Rod Skinner and his brother David Skinner, Jr., both great-great-great grandnephews of Elihu Burritt.
There are two entrances to Fairview Cemetery, both located on Smalley St. in New Britain. NOTE: The cemetery is open only between 8 AM and dusk daily, so plan your hunt accordingly. Please do not attempt to do this cache at night. The cache is hidden within a few feet of Burritt's impressive grave marker on a hill in the cemetery near a huge oak tree (it is NOT located on the grave itself.) You may need a twig or similar TOTT to remove the container. It's a very small, two-piece plastic cylinder with only enough room for a log sheet, so please BYOP. You do not have to move or disturb anything on or near the grave in order to reach the cache! Stealth may be required when visitors or cemetery workers are in the area. Please close the container securely, replace it carefully and re-hide it as well or better than you found it.
NOTE: Although this cache is generally winter-friendly, it may be a bit difficult to find after more than a few inches of snow.
After you've logged this cache, we invite you to make it a "two-fer" and visit our other cache in Fairview Cemetery, "The Monu-Metal Tour #1" (GC28QHW)
There are many interesting grave markers and monuments in Fairview Cemetery, including the grave of Teddy Wilson in Section 8A at approximately N41° 40.453 and W72° 46.053, just past the main entrance to the cemetery on Smalley St. Wilson, a pianist known as the "Mozart of Jazz", was an original member of the legendary Benny Goodman Quartet. As part of that group, he became one of the first African-American musicians to break the color barrier of the Big Band Era of the 1930's.
At N41° 40.614 and W72° 46.015 is the grave of Joseph White, the youngest person to serve in the Civil War. He joined the Union army at the age of 9 and served as a drummer boy. His grave is in an area reserved for Civil War veterans. Here also stands a stately oak tree which is the 'grandson' of the famous Charter Oak.
The cemetery office is open until 5PM on weekdays and is located a short distance from the Burritt grave. There you can get a free map of the cemetery which includes a historical description and points out the locations of the grave sites of many notable and prominent people.
FTF: Firefighter Skippy and Mr. Echo -- July 17, 2009
(Thanks for your help with the coords!)
Hope you enjoyed your visit-- Happy Caching!