Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gravestone of the Day: Whitman Fisher

Whitman Fisher, 1814, Wrentham, MA
In memory of
Mr. Timothy & Mrs. Sally
Fisher; who was killed at
the Battle of Chippewa
in upper Canada, July 5th.
1814. In the 15th. year
of his Age.
Tho' the brave youth,
With love of virtue fir'd;
Who bravely in his Country's

The final lines of this epitaph were destroyed when the stone was set into a concrete base that keeps it in a straight line with the other stones in its row. It appears to be a quotation from Act 4 of Joseph Addison's play, Cato: A Tragedy (1712):
There the brave youth, with love of virtue fired,
Who greatly in his country's cause expired,
Shall know he conquered.  The firm patriot there
(Who made the welfare of mankind his care)
Though still, by faction, vice, and fortune, crost,
Shall find the generous labour was not lost.
I know nothing about the Battle of Chippewa. I was somewhat surprised by Whitman Fisher's youth — his gravestone indicates that he was 15, but the only records I have been able to find list his birth date as August 15, 1800, making him 14 at his death on July 5, 1814.


Robert J. said...

1814 is pretty early for a rectanangular stone. Certainly not impossible, but I bet it's one of the first ones in that area.

muffinbutt said...

If a person dies "in the 15th year of their age" that makes them 14. Because age 0 to 1 is the first year, and so on.

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I suppose that's true! Now I'm trying to think about whether I've ever seen a stone that says, "In the 1st year of his age" or if they always express ages less than one in months.