WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) -- A man that died more than 200 years ago was honored at the State Capitol Thursday. He came to this country in chains in the 18th century.
This is the first time the remains of a slave have been honored in the rotunda of the state capitol.
"Glory, glory hallelujah, his truth is marching on."
The famous song that is associated with the war that ended slavery was used at a service Thursday for an African slave who died more than 60 years before that war began.
A slave that lived with his owner in Waterbury.
Known as 'Fortune' he had died in 1798 and his body stripped of its flesh so that his bones could be used for medical study.
In the 1930's his bones were donated to the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury by the family that had owned him and placed on display.
- Read more about Fortune's story here.
Forty years ago they were placed in storage.
Research has concluded that his death came because of a broken neck.
Clergy from the Episcopal Church are performing his last rights.
Research confirms he was baptized at Saint John's Episcopal Church in Waterbury.
Alderson's Funeral Homes are providing the casket and the plot and vault at Riverside Cemetery where many white Waterbury slave owners are buried.
For those that have spent years trying to make this happen, Thursday was a day of great victory.
"This committee has been involved with the skeleton since 1966. Our goal was to find out exactly what happened to the skeleton," said Maxine Watts, African American Historical Project.
"I'm just so thankful that this is finally coming to some type of closure, but really not a closure to perhaps finding who his ancestors are," said Marine Baskerville, of Waterbury.
"We pray that this will continue on and we will uncover other interesting things about what has gone on in Waterbury, Connecticut," said Ledonia Gray, of Southington.
There was a full funeral mass at the church in Waterbury late Thursday afternoon. Records from the family that owned Fortune indicate he had a wife and four children, so it is very likely there are many descendants.
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