Plainfield Grave Guardians


Plainfield Grave Guardians

Cemetery Highlights

Our Accomplishments

In the past year, we’ve achieved significant milestones at Old Plainfield Cemetery. We collaborated with local schools, connected with living descendants of Gallup Cemetery’s owner, and hired a digital learning consultant to create an online portal. We also deepened our knowledge of grave marker symbolism and meticulously photographed and documented every gravestone in our cemetery. These accomplishments reflect our dedication to preserving our heritage.

Local Schools

Collaborated with local schools to bring students for site visits to Old Plainfield Cemetery

Living Descendants

Located living descendants of Gallup Cemetery’s owner whose name remains on the site

Online Portal

Retained a digital learning consultant to create an online learning portal for Old Plainfield Cemetery


Hired an expert to teach us about grave marker symbolism and the few artisans who once carved them

Photo Audit

Individually photographed and unearthed every gravestone currently in Old Plainfield Cemetery

Beyond The Tombstone:

Profiles Of Cemetery Leaders
Jason Bowns



A Connecticut native, Jason has lived in Boston and New York. History has always fueled his interest whenever traveling or exploring the landscape of placid New England towns. At New York University, he studied the ancient civilizations of Rome and Greece, ultimately getting certified to teach history which he did for several years. On 9/11, he was two weeks into his first classroom job. Seeking more tools to understand good governance and management, he earned his Master in Public Administration degree from the Inspector General program at John Jay of Criminal Justice. Yet circumstances led him back into the classroom yet again after moving back to northeastern Connecticut, assisting students as a tutor and interventionist.

His interest in Plainfield’s historic cemeteries sparked when he wandered into the town-owned Old Plainfield Cemetery during a summer exercise walk. Mesmerized by the poems, cherubic carvings, and detail on the grave markers and shocked by the widespread neglect he saw that day, Jason wanted to change what he witnessed that day. That concerning scene included trees growing out of gravesites and knocking stones over, stones chipped and scraped by lawnmowers, eighteenth century slate stones broken and flat on the ground, Revolutionary War and Civil War veterans stones dirty and falling down flat alongside American flags just as worn, and weeds overtaking so much terrain at this resting place of Plainfield’s founding families. Each broken stone is not only the last physical remnant of a person’s previous physical existence; it also means a total erasure of funerary art by some of colonial America’s most well-known grave marker carvers. Hearing a call to public service, Jason founded the Grave Guardians with the assistance of so many who have listened and assisted along the way.

John “Scott” Tracy



My name is Scott Tracy and I live in Abington CT. I am a realtor and property investor. I moved to the area about 10 years ago, and once here I discovered I had about eight generations of my ancestors buried in the area, including several in the Old Plainfield Cemetery.

All of my family stones in the Plainfield Cemetery were in rough shape, needing both cleaning and repairs. I stumbled upon the Grave Guardians while trying to find a contact for the cemetery, and soon afterwards attended the Grave Guardians fundraiser and met an amazing bunch of men and women that have since helped me repair and clean my family’s stones while also teaching me at the same time. I am now able to do most of the repairs needed in our old cemeteries, and I intend to continue to learn and to teach others because there is so much work to be done.

Jason recently asked if I’d serve as vice president of the Grave Guardians, and after much consideration I decided that I would be thrilled to be on the board. There is much work ahead of use, and I want to help rally the troops and get things done as part of the Grave Guardians team!

Bethany Bergeson



When Jason asked me to become part of the Plainfield Grave Guardians, I didn’t hesitate for one minute, because I felt that in some way it was fated; that the universe had sent this opportunity to me. You could say it all started with a couple of weird yet amazing kids back in the mid 90’s in what is known as the quiet corner of Connecticut; one of which was extremely introverted and valued quality over quantity, and the other that looked like a mid-20th century door to door insurance salesman.

Flash-forward a quarter of a century later and that bond from high school Latin class is stronger than ever. It became evident that Jason and I, by sharing the same core values such as hard work, loyalty, a sense of community and search for the truth, needed to come together and form this amazing organization, each member of our leadership team taking on the role that best fits each one of us. As a quiet observer that likes to document and hoard information, and then tie it all into a neat little package for presentation, I felt that was where I could really shine and make a contribution.

Stephanie Pye



A proud veteran who served in the Persian Gulf War and graduate of Plainfield High School, Stephanie brings a voice to the dozens of veterans laid to rest at Old Plainfield Cemetery and beyond. A busy mother of two daughters, she is also a STEM instructor, teaching hundreds of students each year in her hands-on classroom. She also chairs the Plainfield Grave Guardians Board of Directors. As the gravesite of a surgeon who served at the Battle of Bunker Hill, two members of the 29thConnecticut Volunteer Infantry consisting entirely of African-American soldiers during the Civil War, among many others, there are many lessons to learn from their stories and service. Stephanie is firmly committed to ensuring that the sacrifices and contributions of Plainfield’s military veterans are never forgotten.

William Nagel



A native son of Plainfield, William Nagel has a decades-long record of service to his community as a paraprofessional, teacher, and school principal. He also leads Plainfield High School’s alumni association. Each day, Bill stands on the front lines of that threshold, preparing young hearts and minds for the lives they will ultimately shape. As many new generations are stepping into the future, there are others which slowly fade away. Respecting the cemeteries is an opportunity to gain perspective, learn, and connect with who we are and where we’ve come from. Contributing to the Grave Guardians mission means ensuring that his community will protect and preserve its institutional memory for future generations.

Rockwell “Rocky” Wagner



Rocky Wagner brings a lifetime of experience in a variety of trades including concrete construction. Now the owner and operator of a successful locksmith business, he still finds time to dedicate his time to community service for Plainfield Business Association events. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Quinebaug Valley Community College Foundation which awards hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships to students each year after a flurry of fundraising activities throughout the year. With his innate passion for history, Rocky also volunteer for the National Washington-Rochambeau Revolutionary Route Association, Inc. (WR3) which celebrates the alliance of French and American troops as they came together and won the decisive Battle of Yorktown in Virginia during the American Revolution. The French marched from Newport, Rhode Island en route to meet George Washington’s Continental Army soldiers in White Plains, New York in New York. Marching through Plainfield, the French army encamped directly across from Old Plainfield Cemetery. Today, the entire route from Newport to Yorktown is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Rocky is also manager for artist David Wagner whose elaborate paintings and murals of pivotal American Revolution scenes appear in school textbooks and even the walls of Plainfield Town Hall. With his love for history and technical skills, Rocky is a valued asset of the Plainfield Grave Guardians leadership team.

“A cemetery is a history of people – a perpetual record of yesterday and a sanctuary of peace and quiet today.”

— Jenny Davis

While not administered by the Town of Plainfield, municipal leaders are key supporters in this mission to preserve and protect Old Plainfield Cemetery.