We're getting to the end of my poorly-lit trip to Newburyport, thank goodness.
SACRED to the Memory
Mr. Ralph Cross
Who served God & the Presbyterian
Church as a ruling Eder in this
town more than XI years
being a faithfull reprover of vice
both in public and private
Finish'd a Life of Examplary Piety
in a well Grounded hope
of eternal glory
Janr. the 4th 1788 in the 82nd
year of his Age.
The giant lowercase a in "age" is found on many stones from this period -- often from the Park workshop, but from other carvers as well, I believe. I don't know that there's a pattern or meaning to it, but it's orthographically curious nevertheless.
How funny that you should mention that. I actually wrote a paragraph drawing attention to that a, but cut it out because the blown-up, cropped picture was of such low quality.
Another strange thing I've been noticing on early 19th-c stones (including the George Prentiss stone in Arlington) is a weird, upside down capital "S" — the top curve is significantly wider than the bottom curve.
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