Mrs. Mary Winchcomb was buried in the old burying place, in the 67th year of her age, as her Relations tell me; though the Stone bear 69.: died suddenly.
- Diary of Samuel Sewall, August 22, 1717
I have not been able to find out exactly when Mary Winchcomb (Winchcombe? Whitcomb? Wincom? Winchon?) died, but if she was buried in August, I do not imagine that much time elapsed between burial and death. There seems to have been a carved gravestone present at her funeral. I only have a transcription of Sewall's diary, so I cannot tell if the part about the stone was added in later, but it seems to be integrated into the rest of the entry, so I would venture a guess that it really was written on August 22, 1717.
Dunkle & Lainhart's Inscriptions and Records of the Old Cemeteries of Boston puts her in King's Chapel under this stone:
"Here Lyes Ye Body Of / Mary Wife To John / Winchomb Decesd / August Ye 20th / 1717 In Ye / 69th Year Of / Her Age."
Is it possible to have a stone carved and erected two days after death? Perhaps, if it is a pre-carved stone that just needs to be lettered with simple information. Sewall went to so many funerals and noted so many deaths that I do not doubt that he made that entry on August 22 (or during that week), so this may be the best evidence so far for extremely rapid gravestone placement, at least among the respectable of Boston.
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