Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Gravestone of the Day: Orinda Carpenter Hyde

Orinda Carpenter, 1812, East Bridgewater, MA

In Memory of 
Daught. of
Mr. Ephraim &
Mrs. Mary Hyde,
died Dec. 14, 1812;
Aged 7 Years
& 5 Months.

Orinda Carpenter Hyde was named for her maternal grandmother, Orinda (Carpenter) Dresser (b. 1738). Though little Orinda's mother bore the prosaic name of Mary, Orinda the elder had an ecclectic naming style – English, German, biblical, classical/literary, and puritan virtues. Her children were:
  • Elfreda (b. 1759)
  • Huldah (b. 1761)
  • Serena (b. 1764)
  • Esther (b. 1766)
  • Thomas (b. 1767)
  • Nathan (b. 1769)
  • Mary (b. 1772)
  • Abel (b. 1775)
  • Comfort Carpenter (b. 1777) named for Orinda's father, Capt. Comfort Carpenter
  • Sally (b. 1779)
  • Jonathan (1782)

Orinda was the pseudonym of the 17th-century English poet Katharine Phillips. I do not know why an 18th-century New England family decided to name their daughter after a high-society, Anglican, pastoral poet whose work is best known for its celebration of passionate female friendships. Classical names were all the rage in 1800, but not so common in the 1730s.

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