Horace Wells Monument

Charles T. Wells arranged to have a monument erected at Cedar Hill Cemetery in honor of his father, Horace Wells, in 1909. Horace, the discoverer of anesthesia, and his wife Elizabeth were originally buried in Hartford’s Old North Cemetery and were moved here in 1908.

Artist Louis Potter of New York and architect Montague Flagg of Hartford designed the monument. The bronze bas relief was the work of Potter who was educated at Trinity College. He also studied under portrait painter Charles N. Flagg (Montague’s father) who had founded the Connecticut League of Art Students. Potter later studied in Paris.

The main bronze depicts a recumbent figure symbolizing suffering with an angel bearing relief. The Hartford Courant noted “This bronze is sure to be reckoned among the finest productions of American art and will add to Mr. Potter’s growing reputation…It is one of those combinations of idealism and reality which constitute great art, and Hartford is to be congratulated that it has something which is a ‘possession forever.’”

Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation, Aetna Foundation, the Horace Wells Society, and the Hartford Medical and Dental Society raised funds to clean and restore the Wells monument, including replicating missing end pieces. Undertaken in 2003-04, this was Cedar Hill Cemetery Foundation’s first completed monument preservation project. The memorial is included in several of our walking tours including the Sunset Tour and Notable Physicians.

Detail, Horace Wells Monument