Skeletons in the Cemetery

One of the things I like about cemeteries is the art that can be found and the symbols which are used.  The stone of Ruth Carter is one of my favorites.

Grave marker of Ruth Carter, The Old Granary Burying Ground, Boston

HE  26  1697/8

I like this stone for a few reasons.  First is just the age of the stone.  This is one of the oldest (but by no means the oldest) at the Old Granary Burying Ground in Boston, MA.  There is a wonderful carving of flowers and an urn across the top of the stone.  But the thing that really strikes me is the skeletons on the sides of the stone.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Skeletons were used on gravestones to symbolize life’s brevity.  Here we see two different skeletons on the stone.  The one on the left looks like he is smiling, while the one on the right appears sad.

Also notice the year of Ruth’s death.  It is carved as 1697/8.  This is not a mistake. The old Julian calendar was replaced by the more accurate Gregorian calendar in 1582. However, the British Empire did not recognize the change until 1752.  When they did begin using the new Gregorian calendar, the first day of the year changed from March 1 to January 1.  Therefore, any dates between January 1 and March 1 of any year between 1582 and 1752 would be represented by showing a “double year”, one for the old calendar and one for the new calendar.  So Ruth died on January 26 1697 by the old Julian calendar, but January 26 1698 according to the new Gregorian calendar.


Posted by on April 14, 2011 in Boston, Old Granary Buring Ground, Symbols


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One Lovely Blog Award

Deborah at The Sum Of All My Research gave me the “One Lovely Blog” award.  To say I was surprised is an understatement.  Thanks, Deborah, I really appreciate it.

There are rules which need to be followed, now that I have accepted the award.  They are:

  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
  2. Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you’ve newly discovered.
  3. Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

I am going to post this acceptance without the blogs right now, as this has been sitting in my drafts for a couple of days now and I need to get it out.  I will follow-up with a special post on some of my favorite blogs.

Thank you again, Deborah! (and check out her blog – you’ll like it!)

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Posted by on April 13, 2011 in Awards


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New Stone, Old Stone

Whenever we are searching for a specific grave marker, we become excited when we finally find it.  Here is a photo of the marker for James Suddarth.

New Gravestone for James Suddarth

From this marker, I learn that James was born in 1795 and died 1865.  He was also a Corporal in Captain Coffee’s Company of the Kentucky Volunteer Militia during the War of 1812.  This is all great information to have if I am researching this line in my genealogy.  However, if I had just stopped there, I would have missed some important information.

To the left and a little further back in the cemetery is another grave marker for James Suddarth.  This is the original grave marker.

Grave Stone of James and Malinda Suddarth

Although worn, it is possible to read (my apologies for the bad photo – it is easier to read in person).


JAMES                   MALINDA
BORN                       BORN
MAR 22, 1795           SEP 13, 1797
DIED                        DIED
OCT 21, 1865              NOV 2, 1865

Here, we see that there is more information on the old stone than what was put onto the new stone.  The biggest item is the fact that the old stone was not just for James, but also for Malinda Suddarth, his wife.  In addition, instead of just the year of birth and death, the old stone has the actual month and day for each.

There is also an inscription below the birth and death information.  This inscription is extremely hard to read (and cannot be read in the photo).  It tells us that James was a volunteer in Jesse Coffee’s company during the War of 1812, information which has been put on the new marker.


Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Military, Suddarth


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Wednesday’s Child – Malinda A. Suddarth

One of my favorite blogs is Pugbug’s Gravestoned ( One of the features on the Gravestoned blog is Wednesday’s Child. Pugbug encourages other bloggers to do posts for Wednesday’s Child, so with that encouragement, here goes. Check out Pugbug’s Gravestoned blog. You will not be disappointed.

This is the gravestone of Malinda A. Suddarth, the daughter of J. and M.J. Suddarth.  Malinda died at the age of 14, most likely in Crawford County, Indiana. She is buried at Marengo Cemetery, Marengo, Indiana.  The stone is worn, but still readable.

Malinda Suddarth's gravestone in Marengo Cemetery

Apr. 1, 1855
Aug. 14, 1869

Her happy soul has winged
its way to one pure bright
eternal day

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Posted by on April 6, 2011 in Wednesday's Child


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Death and Father Time

Symbolism is prevalent on gravestones. This image is one of my favorites (so much so that I used it as the banner for this blog) because of the symbols and the wonderful carving.

Death against Father Time with the candle of life

In this image, we see Death, represented by a skeleton, trying to extinguish the candle of life.  On the opposite side of the candle is Father Time, hourglass in hand, attempting to prevent Death from putting out the candle.

This wonderful carving is on the gravestone of Rebecca Gerrish, located at King’s Chapel Burying Ground in Boston.


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The Copp Boys

While out in Boston a couple of weeks ago, I of course took the time to roam through the cemeteries.  Since I was without a car, I went through the cemeteries which are close to the downtown area and those on the Freedom Trail, a 3 mile walking tour through Boston which goes by the historic sites, such as Paul Revere’s house and the Old North Church.  One of the cemeteries on the Freedom Trail is Copp’s Hill Cemetery, where I found this stone.

David and Thomas Copp Grave Marker

David Copp, son of David and Obedience, died at the age of 2 Weeks, on December 22, 1661.  Thomas Copp died at the age of 2 years and 3 quarters, on July 25, 1678.  Notice that some of the letters in the carving are raised above the other letters.  This was not an uncommon practice.  If the person carving the stone ran out of room, he would often carve the remaining letters above the others, rather than discarding the whole stone and starting over.

Also of interest on this marker is the use of the term “3 quarters” when referring to the age of Thomas.  I think that this is the first time I have seen this wording on a grave marker.


Posted by on April 2, 2011 in Boston, Copp's Hill


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