October 27, 2018 by Bret Kramer (aka WinstonP)
Mrs. Elizabeth wife
of Mr Thomas
Novr the 8th 1796: in
the 22nd year
of her age.
Behold! & fee as you pafs by
As you are now so once waf I;
As I am nos so you muft be
Prepare for death & follow me.
This stone for Elizabeth Goldthwait can be found at the Northbridge Center Cemetery aka Old Cemetery; it is one of those cemeteries that was left behind by the town that created it. It is no longer at the center of Northbridge, indeed it is a rather suburban spot in the shadow of a water tower.
I like this stone for a couple of reasons:
- It has an unusual shape. I’ve not seen a lot of gravestones with a tympanum like this one.
- The carver, James New, has an off-beat, slightly amateurish style. He favored faces with exaggeratedly large, tear-drop shapped eye. I wonder if he actually engaged in something close to portraiture – Charles Brigham, Peter Bancroft, Hannah Fish & Rev. Elisha Fish, Lt. Nathaniel Thayer, or Capt. Joseph Phillips – all have more personality than the average human figure on a colonial-era gravestone. Vincent Luti profiled James New in Marker XVI.The mementoe mori at the bottom is both dramatic (“Behold!”) and imperfectly done, a profoundly human artifact. New makes the same error in layout in EVERY ROW. There’s a lesson here.
- It may me silly, but my first thought when I saw the figure on this stone was “Huh. Looks like Velma”.