Tuesday, March 3, 2009

101 Ways, Part 73: Exchanged this for a Better Life

For a brief intro to the "101 Ways to Say 'Died'" series, click here.
Sarah Linkorn, Attleboro, MA, 177[9?]

Aha! The humanities aren't usually predictive but I totally called this one.

Underneath are the
Remains of Sarah
Linkorn, Born April
12, 1743. New Born,
March 18, 1764 [Ex]
changed this for a 
better Life March 5

That's a hair's breadth away from the three births I predicted back in #40.

The imageryon this stone is wonderful. The raised hands and swirling clouds imply that the deceased had a direct spiritual connection with God. The clothes appear to be a kaftan, a chunky necklace/choker, and (maybe) a headband. This is just a guess, but this attire may suggest a Holy Land/primitive Christian association.

Judging from the image (even without the epitaph), I would guess that Sara Linkorn belonged to a Methodist or charismatic Christian church. Since she converted in 1764, Sara may not have been a Methodist (Methodism reached New England a few years later). Does anyone know what other spiritual/charismatic/primitivist Christian sects were active on the MA/RI border in the 1760s?

Methodism had certainly reached Attleboro by the 1780s. Another gravestone in Attleboro (Marcy New, d. 1788) also features a face with raised hands, along with a Methodist hymn:
A guilty weak & helpless worm
on thy kind arms I fall:
Be thou my strength & righteousness
My Jesus & my all.
Also of note — I've been looking for a "Linkorn" family in Attleboro, but have had no luck yet. There is, however, a large family named "Lincoln" . . .

1 comment:

Robert J. said...

These are lovely examples. If you haven't picked a thesis project yet, this is just the sort of thing that might work. Benes' "Masks of Orthodoxy" tried to make a link between stonecarving and denominationalism, but I seem to recall thinking it was a bit of a stretch when I read it. But this case looks pretty clear cut.

I see that the carver's name was New -- perhaps he was the official Methodist carver for the region. And where did he pick up the design? Is it an import, or a local innovation?