On April 17, 1852, the trustees of the Methodist Episcopal Church had paid $50 to Justus Hoyt, the blind miller for 1 1/2 acres of land on the east side of Five Mile River, diagonally across the stream from the Hoyt grist mill. This had been laid out by Justus Fitch Hoyt, the miller’s son and a member of the Church, into 8 x 16 foot plots, priced at $5 and $10 depending on location. Six deeds, each dating August 4, 1853, filed with the Town Clerk, are proof that the Methodist soon sold some of their plots. Probably more were sold than the few that were recorded over 15 years, but so many informal agreements went unpaid that the Church had had to restrict burials to those lots that had actually been bought.
Soon after they established their cemetery, the Methodists built their second church (dedicated 1854), the building now owned by the Masonic Order at the corner of Main and Church street. Then on October 12, 1865, the trustees committed the Church to pay $300 for a 6-acre addition to the cemetery. This was done at a time when the Methodists were faced with considerable expense. The steeple on the new church had been toppled during an 1862 storm but had not been rebuilt, because the Church was attempting to raise an additional $500 for a steeple bell before making repairs. (Both were done in 1869.)
Less than a month after its organization, the New Canaan Cemetery Association was assured that the Methodist Church was willing to sell its cemetery for $450 – $150 for the original 1 1/2 acres and $300 (cost) for the undeveloped 6-acre tract. This was on April 11, 1867, but the deed of the sale was not signed until November 3, 1868. Town action was needed to correct an apparent flaw in the title to the land.
On the petition of residents living in southern New Canaan, a special town meeting on May 11, 1867, had voted to reopen Marvin’s Ridge Road from the Norwalk border to present Old Norwalk Road. Laid out before 1720, before the colonial legislature established Canaan Parish, New Canaan’s forerunner, Marvin’s Ridge Road had been so long unused that not a trace of it appears on the 1867 map. But Marvin’s Ridge Road once had run from Norwalk Harbor to the saw and grist mills on the Mill Pond, and if New Canaan were to reopen the entire length of the old road, the Cemetery would be cut in two by a public highway. At the same time, if it was to have access to its grounds, the Cemetery Association must build a 16-foot-wide bridge over Five Mile River and extend Lakeview Avenue (then called Cemetery Street) beyond the bridge, grading it to a 20-foot width. These improvements would cost $600 over and above the purchase price of $450 to the Methodist Church. Some understanding with New Canaan’s selectmen was called for, so that the Cemetery Association did not bear all the cost of these public improvements.