October 12, 2018 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
Today’s entry for Grave-tober is an unusual looking stone I encountered in the little Massachusetts hill town of Ashburnham in northern Worcester county. The cemetery there (the Meeting House Hill Cemetery) is north of what is now the center of town, a nice example of how it is easier to move a community than it is to move a burying ground. While many gravestone bear some more macabre symbol of mortality (though I realize I should feature a “soul-effigy” or two to balance things out), the Park family of carvers instead offered small busts of the deceased. While most of these are very standard looking head and shoulder figures, I spotted this rather cartoonish figure and was always struck by it.
IN Memory of
Son of Mr
& Mrs. Dorothy Davis his
wife who Died
Aged 4 years, 9
I probably gave this stone a second look because it had the name ‘Zadock’ on it – a real-life example of a rarely-used Biblical name popping up in Lovecraft – but the little figure of young Zadock (if you own a Wii you might agree with my comparison to a Mii) was charming in a way. Often we forget the humanity of the deceased when we look at stone after stone of grinning skulls and dates. This carved figure of a smiling little boy reminds you of what his family lost.
Looking at The Vital Records of Ashburnham we see that Deliverance and Dorothy Davis had a total of 8 children while living in that little town, including a brother also named Zadock (born in 1780); he is joined at Meeting House Hill Cemetery, by his parents (Deliverance 1736-1789 and Dorothy 1742-1790 – their stone is a good example of a Park shop portrait stone) and a sister Lydia (1765-1787). The History of Ashburnham holds a bit more information about Deliverance and his family:
I would do a post about the Park family of carvers, but unfortunately the best article about them is in a published book rather than an article in Markers. C’est la vie.