Monthly Archives: August 2008

Snapshots: A First Wife’s Tale…

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Cambria, California is a popular stopping point for tourists visiting Hearst Castle with many art galleries, antique stores and restaurants nestled in a beautiful outdoor setting.  Yet along with this historic town center, there is a special attraction few people ever get to see – Cambria Cemetery. Wander around here long enough and some interesting sociological observations can be found.  

The first photo shows the grave of The Reverend Henry C. Thomson, D.D., born in 1844, dying in 1928, listed with his daughter Amy Hatch Thompson. Buried to the left of the Reverend (with her stone hiding behind some plant leaves) is his loving wife, Laura M. Thomson, born in 1854, dying in 1919. However, a closer inspection of the second photo reveals something of a “Hmm….” factor.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This isn’t just the site of The Reverend Thompson and his beloved wife Laura.  Instead, there are three graves involved. 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Anna Ladd was also married to Reverend Thompson and was 42 years old at the time of her death (April 17, 1895)*. Of course it was quite common in the 19th century for men to marry two or three times due to high childbirth mortality rates or fevers, but this is not what gives the site double-take status. Here is what does.

Anna is the first wife, dying in 1895 while Laura is the second, passing in 1919. The photo shows the two wives buried next to each other but after looking closely at the dates of death, Reverend Thompson died in 1928; almost 10 years after his second wife Laura. Interestingly enough, he’s buried alongside of Laura – not his first wife, Anna.

Thus, it would appear that Cambria Cemetery seemingly provides evidence that a “First Wives’ Club” existed even in the 19th century. 

 

Sources:

Cambria Cemetery

Cambria Cemetery Data

 

 

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More Funny Bones

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 Below are some more eccentric headstone inscriptions from New England cemeteries.

 

Sacred to the memory of

Inestimable worth of unrivalled

Excellence and virtue, N.R., whose ethereal

Parts became seraphic May 25th, 1767.

 

 

She lived with her husband fifty years

And died in the confident hope of a better life.

 

 

First a cough carried me off

Then a coffin

They carried me off in.

 

 

The town was settled in 1748

By Germans who emigrated to this place with the promise

And expectation of finding a prosperous city, instead of which

They found nothing but wilderness.

Rev. John Starman  d. 1854, aged 72

 

 

In memory of Mr. Peter Daniels

Born Aug. 7, 1688

Died May 26, 1746

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay,

Lies Uncle Peter Daniels,

Who too early in the month of May

Took off his winter flannels.

 

 

Captain Thomas Stetson

Who was killed by the fall of a tree, d. 1820 a. 68. 

Nearly 30 years he was master

Of a vessel and left that

Employment at the age of 48

For the less hazardous one of cultivating his farm.

Reader remember,

Man is never secure from the arrest of death.

 

 

Elijah Bardwell d. 1780

Having but a few days survived ye fatal night, when he was flung

From his horse; and drawn by

Ye stirrups 26 rods along ye path,

As appeared by the place where

His hat was found and here

He had spent ye whole of the

Following severe cold night

Treading down the snow in

A small circle.  The family he

Left was an aged father,

A wife and three small children.

 

 

This is what I expected

But not so soon.

William Reese, 1872 – aged 21

 

(c) 2008 by G.E. Anderson 

 

Sources:

Bevis Hillier. Dead Funny

Alfred Clemont Rush. Death and Burial in Early Christianity

The Peter Pauper Press. Comic Old Epitaphs From The Very Best Old Graveyards

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A Parting Shot…

This headstone is a fascinating story regarding embezzlement and injustice in Early American history.

The tombstone reads:

Caroline H.

Wife of Calvin Cutter, M.D.

Murdered by the Baptist ministry and Baptist Churches as follows:

September 28, 1838, age 33.

She was accused of lying in a 

Church meeting by the Rev. D.D. Pratt and Deacon Albert-Adams –

Was condemned by the church unheard.

She was reduced to poverty by Deacon William Wallace.

When an expert council was asked of the Milford Baptist Church, by

The advice of their committee, George Raymond, Calvin Averill and Andrew Hutchinson,

They voted not to receive any communication upon the subject:

The Rev. Mark Carpenter said he thought as the good old Deacon Pearson said,

“We have got Cutter down and it is best to keep him down.”

The intentional and malicious destruction of her character and happiness,

As above described, destroyed her life.  Her last words upon the subject

were, “Tell the truth and the iniquity will come out.”

 

The background storyline is fleshed out further in David K. Lesser’s Antiquarian Book Catalogue:

“Dr. Cutter underwrote the building of a new Baptist church; the minister embezzled the funds and Cutter was left holding the bag. When he attempted to bring the matter before the church, he knocked heads with “the Baptist Inquisition.” The pastor and council refused him a public hearing, proclaimed Cutter and his wife liars, and threw them out of the congregation.

 “They have represented our characters as very bad,” Cutter writes. “They have made many slanderous nods, shakes of the head, winks, and bold ascertains.” Weakened by the attacks, Mrs. Cutter’s health failed and she died. In the added slip, Cutter presents the resolution passed at a “large meeting of the citizens of Nashua and Nashville” which unanimously declared that the Baptist church and society had acted immorally. “The charges against the Baptist Church and Society are cheating, lying, keeping false church records, condemning persons unheard, destroying the character and life of Caroline H. Cutter.

Dr. Cutter [1807-1872] eventually gave up his local practice and began to travel as a medical lecturer; he later wrote a popular textbook, ‘Cutter’s Physiology‘.”

 

Other Sources:

The Peter Pauper Press. Comic Old Epitaphs From The Very Best Old Graveyards

 


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Funny Bones

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A highlight in researching graveyards is the headstone inscription. Below is a selection of some of the more eccentric ones collected from New England cemeteries.

 

In memory of Mr. Nathaniel Parks

Aged 19, who on 21, March 1794

Being out hunting and concealed in a ditch

Was casually shot by Mr. Luther Frink.

 

She was very Excellent for

Reading and Soberness.

(Mary Brooks, d. 1736, aged 11)

 

Solomon Touslee, Jr. who

Was Killed in Pownal, Vermont July 15, 1846,

While repairing to grind a scythe on a stone

Attached to the gearing in the woolen factory.

He was entangled.   

His death was sudden and awful.

 

To the four husbands of

Miss Ivy Saunders

1790, 1794, 1808, 18??

Here lie my husbands, One, Two, Three

Dumb as men could ever be          

As for my fourth, well, praise be God,     

He bides for a little while

Above the sod.         

Alex, Ben, Sandy were the first three names,

And to make things tidy

I’ll add his – James.

 

Asa Whitcom,

A Pillow of the settlement.

(note: more likely, a Pillar of the settlement!)

 

Capt. Samuel

Jones’ leg which was

Amputated July 17, 1804.

 

 

Beneath this stone and not above it,

Lies the remains of Anna Lovett.

Be pleased, dear reader not to show it     

For twixt you and I, no one does covet   

To see again this Anna Lovett.

Left us May 17, 1769.

(c) 2008 by G.E. Anderson

 

Sources:

Bevis Hillier. Dead Funny

Alfred Clemont Rush. Death and Burial in Early Christianity

The Peter Pauper Press. Comic Old Epitaphs From The Very Best Old Graveyards

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