History, grad school, and gravestones!
Why the "1689-1690" date? It's as though they weren't quite sure of the year of death. But that doesn't seem plausible. Well executed skull and wings. The flowering plants on the sides are finely done, and like the skull, they give a sense of the artistic talent of the carver. The hour glass is a nice touch. Yes, time did run out for poor Josiah, long, long ago.
The hybrid date is due to the many calendars used in Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.England used the old Julian calendar until 1752 — they were reluctant to adopt the more modern Gregorian calendar because it was sponsored by the Pope. In addition, England's civil year began on March 25th, rather than January first. When England finally made the switch from Julian to Gregorian in 1752, they also moved the official start of the year to January 1st.Before 1752, dates between January 1 and March 24 were often given hybrid years such as 1689/90. Here are some more examples from gravestones.There are a few vestiges of the old calendar in New England life. For example, many towns that still have annual town meetings hold them during the first week of March. This made a lot of sense in 1700, when you would appoint your town officials for the upcoming year a couple of weeks before the year started. Now, it seems that they are very late!
I figured the calender change was the cause, but my limited Google search didn't reveal it. I should have remembered it, and I once knew it, but I forgot, which is what happens to your memory when you age. Thanks.
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