October 8, 2018 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
Today’s Grave-tober entry is a demonstration of the range of biographical information one might encounter in an epitaph.
Most markers identify the deceased. Many of those provide the date of their death, their age, date of birth, or some combination of the three. Often. Especially, for children, their parents are named as well. Sometimes the cause of death is listed. In some cases, especially for higher status individuals, the profession of the deceased mentioned. Rebecca White’s stone notes something else entirely…
Here lies the Body of
Widow of Mr
ISAAC WHITE late of Boʃton
When the British troops took possession
of the Town of Boʃton She went
to her son JOHN WHITE Eʃqr.
of Charlestown and continued in his
Family till she died at Billerica
Sept. 13, 1782 Aged 94 Years.
The stone itself, probably from the shop of Joseph Lamson, is a standard winged skull. Oddly the Farber archive only includes a photo of the top of Mrs. White’s stone, rather than the full inscription! (I checked my reading of it against the listing in The Vital Records of Billerica to the Year 1850, published in 1908. Yes, in my Graveyards of Lovecraft Country I’ve had to figure out when Arkham might have published the same sort of book…) If you want to see it in person, get yourself to Billerica’s Old South Burying Ground. If my memory serves, there are a few fine examples of angels blowing trumpet stones there.