Sunday, September 21, 2008

101 Ways, Part 36: Lost at Sea

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

In coastal towns like Newburyport, MA, many gravestones bear the epitaph, "lost at Sea." As you can see from the Brown family stone, the sea could claim many members of the same family.
In many maritime communities, so many men died at sea (or spent months away from home) that women ended up taking very active roles as heads of households. I recommend Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's discussion of "deputy husbands" in colonial Salem in Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England 1650-1750.

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

I wonder how long people had to be missing before a cenotaph of this kind would be erected. There must have been cases to people turning up years later to find they already had a gravestone in the town burying ground.