Saturday, October 30, 2010
Friday, October 29, 2010
|Hubert Russel, 1726, Cambridge, MA|
Here Lyes Buried
the Body of Mr.
Who Decd. June
the 4th 1726
Aged 39 Years
Also Here Lyes one of his Children
It is commonplace to find gravestones dedicated to a mother and one or more of her children. Similar stones for fathers are rarer. I find them most frequently in maritime communities like Plymouth, where a child's gravestone also serves as a cenotaph for a father lost at sea. A few other gravestones celebrate the achievements of successful patriarchs.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
|Oratio Gaits Lawrence, 1778, Groton, MA|
the Body of
Lawrence (Son of
Capt. Asa Lawrence
& Mrs. Abigail his
wife) who died
Octr. 27th 1778 Aged 4
months & 16 days.
Fresh in ye morn ye sumer rose
hangs Wither'd ere its noon
We scarce injoy ye Balmy gift
But mourn ye Pleasure gone
Why should we look at original gravestones rather than relying exclusively on transcriptions? In most cases, there is an easy answer to that question — the transcription does not preserve the iconography present on the original. Other important aspects of the stone are also lost in transcription — type and quality of stone, size, position, proximity to other stones, etc. A photograph fills in some — but not all — of those holes.
But even with this stone, which has very little embellishment, a transcription would miss some intriguing details. For example, the original omission of the year implies that this stone may have been carved in late 1778 or early 1779, when the carver (or epitaph writer) when the year in question was so obvious that it slipped the writer's mind. That may be overthinking things — perhaps it was just a matter of an eye skipping a line — but it seems much easier to forget to specify the year for a recent event than a distant one.
Young Oratio's name also makes me wonder about the production of this stone. He was obviously named for General Horatio Gates, whose victory at the Battle of Saratoga in October of 1777 made him an American hero. Yet, the carver misspelled both names. Why? If he was working from a written order, the mistake may have originated with the family member or friend who composed the epitaph. If he was working from an oral order, he may have done his best to spell it phonetically. In either case, two things seem to be true: 1) the first try, beginning with "Or-" was not satisfactory and had to be gouged out, resulting in a second spelling that was still wrong, and 2) whoever came up with this spelling knew about Horatio Gates through oral sources, but may never have seen his name spelled correctly. Taken together, these clues indicate that people in Groton were talking about Horatio Gates, but they weren't all reading about him. Perhaps they heard his name when a newspaper was read aloud or when a minister prayed for military success.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
|Josiah Sartell, 1766, Groton, MA|
the Body of
Josiah Sartell son
of Mr: Ephraim Sartell
Junr: and Mrs: Abigial
his wife, who died
October 26th: AD
1766. Aged 4 Years,
8 months & 26 Days.
Monday, October 25, 2010
|Martha Warner, 1787, Hadley, MA|
In Memory of
MRS, MARTHA Wife of
MR, NOADIAH WARNER
Who was born July
& died Octbr, 25, 1787.
Life is Uncertain
Death is sure,
Sin is the wound
& Christ the cure.
Noadiah is another name in the Zebina category — the Biblical Noadiah was an Israelite who returned from Babylon and is mentioned in Ezra 8:33.
Sunday, October 24, 2010
|William Holroyd, c. 1828, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI|
Is erected to the Memory of
MR. WILLIAM HOLROYD.
He was born on the 28th of March,
A.D. 1746. —
In all the relations of life, he maintained
A fair and unblemished character.
He was an affectionate husband and parent,
A sincere friend, active merchant, useful citizen,
And an honest man.
For more than half a century, he was an efficient,
Benevolent, exemplary, and pious member of the
FIRST BAPTIST CHURCH in thsi Town.
His religion was not merely in name,
But being of the heart, it enabled him to endure
Frequent and severe trials with holy fortitude;
And in his last long course of debility
And pain, having CHRIST and His
Righteousness as his only hope,
With unshaken confidence and resignation,
and came to his grave full of years
I assume that the epitaph continues in similar fashion at some length below the ground line. I have not yet found a transcription, which is a shame, as I imagine the the author probably came up with a delightfully prolix synonym for "died."
I think this was probably the same William Holroyd who served as a trustee of Brown University from 1789 to 1826 and died in 1828.
Saturday, October 23, 2010
|Timothy & Salla Stearns, 1793, South Burying Ground, Billerica, MA|
IN memory of 2 Children of
Lieut Timothy Stearns & Mrs: Sarah his wife
born Septr: 8th 1788
& died NOVr: 22
1791, In the 4th
year of his Age.
born Septr: 21st 1790
& died Febry: 23
1793, In the 3d
[year of] her
Two lovely babes here sleeping lie,
Which God did lend us for a while;
Then took them back our faith to try,
And we resign'd them to his will.
Friday, October 22, 2010
Thursday, October 21, 2010
|Edward Thurber, 1768, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI|
IN MEMORY OF
Edward Thurber Late
Deacon of the Baptiss Church
in prouidence Who Departed
This Life June 10th 1768 in
the 67th Year of his Age.
Young and old Booth Grate & Small,
A Word of Caution unto you all
In time of Helth prepair For Death.
Before it be too late
This verse appears to be original — I can't find any other example of it online (including spelling variations).
The carver is Seth Luther. He also carved the Samuel Winsor stone, spelling Baptist as "Baptis."
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Tuesday, October 19, 2010
|Warham Smith, 1802, Hadley, MA|
In Memory of
Mr. WARHAM SMITH
who died October
30 1802, In the
68 year of his
Life's narrow circle soon is run,
The voige is quickly o'er,
Death points to is the race is done,
Eternity the shore.
Monday, October 18, 2010
|Ruth Parker, 1822, Pepperell, MA|
Died Mar. 20, 1822;
Nathaniel Parker, her
husband was kill'd at
the Battle of Bunker's
Hill June 17, 1775;
Weep not for me, but for your selves.
Sunday, October 17, 2010
Saturday, October 16, 2010
|Allin Brown, 1778, North Burying Ground, Providence, RI|
To the Memory of
Capt. ALLIN BROWN,
who was captured by a
British Ship and carried in
to the Harbor of Newport,
where he was infected
with the Small Pocks of
which he died May 4th,
1778: in the 57th Year of
his Age; and his Remains
were interred on the Neck.
This monument is erected
--- affection ---
Allen Brown was born on August 25, 1721 and grew up to be sheriff of Providence County and a pilot in Providence harbor. I haven't found too many details about his capture, but it looks like he was put in charge of a captured British ship during the war. The vessel was recaptured and Brown was imprisoned as mentioned on the gravestone. A report printed in the records of the Rhode Island Historical Society blames his death from smallpox on "the inhuman practice of confining the sick and well prisoners indiscriminately."
Friday, October 15, 2010
Thursday, October 14, 2010
|Joseph Barrett, 1763, South Burying Ground, Concord, MA|
Here lies buried the Body
of CAPT: JOSEPH BARRETT
Son of Deacon Humphry and
Mrs: Mary Barrett, who died
the 4th Day of April, Anno
Dom: one Thousand Seven
Hundred and Sixty three,
in the Eighty fifith Year of
Did the Park workshop charge by the letter as the Stevens workshop did? If so, spelling out the year seems like an extravagant waste of space and money.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
|Knight Dexter Haskell, 1790, Sheldonville, MA|
In memory of
Knight Dexter, Son
of Mr. Comfort
Haskell & Mrs.
Lepha his Wife;
died Octbr. 12th
I think "Comfort" is the most common name on this stone.
Monday, October 11, 2010
Sunday, October 10, 2010
|Nehemiah Hobart, 1789, Pepperell, MA|
IN memory of, Mr.
Nehh. HOBART, who died
Jan. 5, 1789, in the 72 yr
of his age;
whose death was caused by
falling backwards, on a
stick, as he was loading wood
Nobody present, but his
grandson, who lived with
A kind husband, a tender
parent, a trusty friend, respect-
able in his day, his death
Saturday, October 9, 2010
|Thomas Livermore, 1761, Grove Hill Cemetery, Waltham, MA|
Here lie the Remains of THOMAS
LIVERMORE. Justly esteemed for his
Uprightness & Piety, a kind Husband,
tender Parent, an obliging Neighbour
& endearing Friend: Who Sustained the
Office of a Deacon in ye Church more than
forty Years to universal acceptance a
lover of Gods House, constantly attending
his publick Worship he lived under the
Influences of the Christian Hope & died
in Expectation of a blessed I~mortality on
may 8th 1761. AEts. 86 years.
I don't know whether I've ever seen that abbreviation for a double m on a Massachusetts gravestone before. It doesn't seem like it would save time for the carver and he didn't use it on any other consonants.
Friday, October 8, 2010
Thursday, October 7, 2010
|Asenath Foster, 1795, Wrentham, MA|
In memory of Mrs.
Asenath, wife of Mr.
who died Decr, ye
in ye 26th, year
of her Age.
In bloom of life was I cut down
like as the grass & flowers mown
Let this a warning be to all
to be prepar,d when Death shall call.
In the Bible, Asenath is Joseph's Egyptian wife.
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
Tuesday, October 5, 2010
Amalia Pasqualina Hopkins
Friday, 1 October 2010
at 11:52 a.m.
She weighed 9 lbs., 14 oz.
and was 22 inches long.
Posting/commenting may be sparse for a while, though I have "gravestones of the day" scheduled to autopost for the rest of the month.
|Rebecca Barrett, 1738, South Burying Ground, Concord, MA|
Here lyes Interred ye Remains
of Mrs REBECCA BARRETT late
Consort of Capt. JOSEPH BARRETT
Who Departed this life June 23d: 1738 AE 54
A person of true piety & excellent vertue
Exemplary in her religious Conversation &
Conduct being a diligent instructer & faithfull
guide to her Children kind & Charitable
to her neighbours truly virtuous & desirable
in her life & much lamented at her Death.
The Memory of the Just is Blessed.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Sunday, October 3, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
|Charles Whitney, 1831, Castine, ME|
In memory of
Henry & Lucy Whitney,
who perished by the
upsetting of a Boat
Oct. 1, 1831,
Aged 14 years.
Is this a new way to say died? Is it substantially different from "perished in a storm" or "drowned"?
Friday, October 1, 2010
|Hannah Harskell, 1788, Sheldonville, MA|
In memory of
Mrs. Hannah, wi-
fe of Mr. Cum-
fort Harskell, who
died Octb. 1st
This stone — carved by the Sheldonville Geometric Carver — features the rare hyphenation of a single-syllable word. Anyone who is looking for Hannah in a genealogy should probably try searching for "Haskell," rather than "Harskell."