Saturday, May 8, 2010

Gravestone of the Day: Timothy Carpantar & Daberah Iovning

Timothy Carpantar & Daberah Iovning, 1749, Providence, RI
In Mamory of mr
Timothy Carpantar
Decd August ye 2th 1749
Aged 57 Year
Daberah Waif of Mr
Timothy Iovning

This is a strange one. Assuming that "Waif" is supposed to be "Wife" and "Iovning" is a last name, this gravestone commemorates two adults whose relationship is not immediately apparent.

I've seen some double stones dedicated to unrelated adults, but there is usually a story there. Teenagers Paul Harrington and John Ball drowned together in 1771. Richard Fisher, John Jacobs, and William Wright died together in a similar accident in 1826.

I'm not quite sure what relationship might exist between Timothy and Daberah/Deborah. My initial thought was that they might be siblings. Timothy was born in 1680 in Pawtucket to Timothy Carpenter and Hannah Burton, but there doesn't seem to be a Deborah among his siblings.

My other thought was that "Iovning" might not be a last name. This carver wasn't the most experienced gravestone cutter around — note how he scratches "mr" into an empty space and messes up the date (2th) — so it is possible that this could be the misplaced word "loving," as in "Deborah, his loving wife." I haven't been able to find anyone in Rhode Island with a name that looks like Iovning/Jovning/Iouning/Jouning — perhaps "Young"? or "Jovin"? I don't know, and it's really tough when there's no death date.

All theories welcome.


Roy said...

Given the illiterate quality of the rest of the inscription, I'd go with the theory that it's a misspelled and misplaced "loving". It makes sense in the face of the mess the carver made of this in general.

Robert J. said...

I think the v is a y, and it's "Joyning" -- as in, this is the grave of Mr. Timothy, and then later his waif joyning him in it.


Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I just received an email from Charlie Bahne, who is having some trouble commenting. Here is his comment:

The gist of my comment is that you found a Timothy Carpenter born in Pawtucket in 1680. That gentleman would have been about 69 years old in 1749, not the 57 years of age that the gravestone cites.

I do enjoy your blog and I don't mean that as a criticism, just that you may have found a different Timothy than the gravestone refers to -- or else the gravestone carver was as bad with his math as he was with his spelling!"

Robert J. said...

Clearly a puzzling one in many ways.

Here's an entry that may be for him in a Carpenter genealogy. There may be two Timothy's involved, as Charles suggests; on the one hand the coincidence of the same exact date of death makes this seem unlikely, but the merger of the two individuals may go back a long way and be hard to disentangle. Other primary sources would have to be checked.

The genealogy above gives Timothy's wife's name as Mehitabel. If that Timothy is this Timothy and my reading of "joyning" is correct, then I'd conjecture that Daberah was an unrecorded first wife who lived only a short while after their marriage. One question would be: is Mehitable (Fraser) Carpenter buried nearby, and if so, what does her stone say?

A good research puzzle to explore, to be sure.


Lori Stokes said...

Are we sure it wasn't his waif? A child he was guardian of?