Center Cemetery, located on Main Street in East Hartford, Connecticut, is one of the oldest in the state. It was founded in 1709 for the convenience of the families living on the east side of the Connecticut River.
The cemetery was originally the site of one of the fortifications of the Podunk tribe, one of a group of the so-called small River-tribes, squeezed between the larger Mohegan, Mohawk, Pequot, and Narragansett tribes, all whom were vying for land and control in the area, along with colonial settlers. Little is known today of the Podunk culture, as they were small in numbers and quickly decimated by disease and warfare. Items belonging to this group were excavated in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, but were lost and never documented, aside from brief, vague mentions in histories of these periods.
The cemetery houses the remains of many members of the Pitkin family, including William Pitkin III, the last colonial governor of Connecticut. The Pitkins were a prominent family heavily involved in the affairs not only of East Hartford, but of Connecticut in general from the colonial era well into the twentieth century.
There are also two notable headstones of slaves and former slaves in the cemetery. Further information about them can be found on the Friends of Center Cemetery's website.