Saturday, June 14, 2008

"His Amiable Partner in Life"

I have written previously on the topic of gravestones that identify a particular man as the husband of a particular woman. During the 17th and 18th centuries, women were routinely identified as the "wife of," "consort of," or "relict of" their husbands, but it is rare to find men defined similarly.

So far, I've only found three "husband of" stones, one in Windham, CT and the others in Lebanon.

When I was in Ipswich, I came across the gravestone of Joseph and Elizabeth Manning. While their is no "husband of" language, the epitaph does pay homage to an equitable and loving relationship. The language of "Partner in Life" may sound surprisingly modern, but it was not unknown in late-18th-century New England. Think John and Abigail Adams.

Anyway, I thought it was a touching epitaph.


ERECTED to the Memory of
Doctr. JOSEPH MANNING
& ELIZABETH his amiable Partner
in Life upwards of 46 years, who
died Jan. 30th 1779 in 71st year
of her age. He mourned her lose [sic]
until ye 8th of May 1784 and then
died in ye 80th year of his Age.
The toile of life and pangs of death are o’er
And care & pain & sickness are no more.
They both were plain and unaffected
in their Manners steady and Resalute [sic]
in their Conduct Humane, temperate,
Just & Bountiful.
Death can’t disjoin whom Christ hath join’d in love,
Life leads to death, and death to life above.
In Heaven’s a happier place frail things despise,
Live well to gain in futer [sic] life the prize.

1 comment:

Joan Perry; Sidewalk Curator said...

Interesting. I googled Amiable Partner to find your entry. The tomb I found in South Carolina that used that term also has the husband listed as a Doctor.

http://joanperry.smugmug.com/Photography/Joans-Charleston-2012/i-RJsC2x9/0/XL/Charleston-19%20-%20Copy-XL.jpg