Thursday, August 28, 2008

101 Ways, Part 11: Departed This Stage of Existence

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.

In 1811, Sarah A. Johnson of Lexington, MA "Departed this stage of Existence." That sounds sort of Transcendentalist-y to me. She was only 21 years old when she died and I wonder whether she ran with a proto-Trancendentalist or Swedenborgian crowd. If not, perhaps her stone was erected a few decades after her death, when Transcendentalism was gaining popularity in town. Or maybe I'm just reading too much into a turn of phrase.

5 comments:

RJO said...

> If not, perhaps her stone was erected a few decades after her death

I don't think that one's backdated. I recognize the lettering style and the fan corners as typical of a cluster of stones in our area that date from about 1805-1815. I'll hazard a guess that there is a row of starred lozenges just above this lettering. I don't know the carver, but wish I did.

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I think you're right about the backdating.

There is indeed a row of starred lozenges as well as a row of dentils. The epitaph is flanked by columns.

HeatherRose said...

I'm reading this series and found that #10 link takes me to your home, not the #10 ways to day Died.

I love your blog and have some questions and photos for you.

I've just started slate carving due to my love of early headstones. I have photos of early 1700's stones in a cemetery in Mattituck, Long Island. One says "cut by John Stevens Junior". I found your blog while searching for the same.

Thanks!

HeatherRose said...

Ooops... the cut by John Stevens Junior stone is from 1775.

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

Thanks for the tip - I'll change that link right away.

The Stevens family of Newport can get a little confusing because there were actually three men named John Stevens (grandfather, father, son), but John Stevens III generally calls himself "Jr." I suppose his grandfather was long dead.

There is a great book about the Newport carvers called Mallet and Chisel by Vincent Luti. It is out of print, but is sometimes available used.

You might also want to check out the modern John Stevens shop — they're still carving in their original workshop after 305 years.

Good luck with your carving and welcome to the blog!