Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sobering epitaph

few weeks back we were heading home from a beautiful ride along the shore, around gloucester and rockport, an hour away from boston. we happened to drive by a cemetery and stopped to have a look. as you can see, the cemetery faces the ocean. it was just a small cemetery on a piece of grass, in between houses, and most of the stones were very old (i think the cemetery dates from 1630!), named the "old first parish burial ground". the late afternoon sun was still warm and i really liked to walk around this cemetery. most stones had interesting, down to earth inscriptions. some were hard to read, but it was really worth it to take a moment and decipher them. others, like the one above, were, given their age,very well readable. taking a readable picture ofcourse was yet another problem.... :)
the above stone belongs to the grave of ebenezer, died in 1793, aged only 1 year and 3 months. son of john v, and hannah cleaveland (i found it funny that when cleaveland didnt fit on the stone, they just put the remaining letters above; i saw this on several stones on this cemetery). and then the epitaph; "come mortal man, cast an eye, read your doom, prepare to die".
i have collected a few now, and i guess every now and then i will show you one. (unfortunately, i couldnt find anything else about ebenezer or his parents...)
a collection of taphophiles can be found here.

10 comments:

Francisca said...

What makes this sad headstone being legible all the more amazing is the 200+ years of exposure to the rough shoreline elements. You'd think salt in the wind would slowly eat away at the stone. Looks like a lovely spot to spend eternity!

Kate said...

This is a wonderful find! Poor Ebenezer didn't live too long. The tombstone has survived him to whet our curiosity.

biebkriebels said...

The name Ebenezer sounds really old, it is remarkable indeed you can still read the text after all that ages.

Tim said...

there are many more like this. its cool, rummaging thru cemeteries..

Cheri said...

I loved the last two sentences!

Julie said...

It certainly is a sobering message from the parents of poor little Ebenezer. I wonder if they chose it or, more likely, the stone mason chose it.

I have seen some here where the mason misjudged the length of the letters he was carving and had to 'make do'. I have also seen one (in Rookwood) on the headstone for a convict where two lots of carvings were superimposed, one upon the other. And its age means it was done by hand. I will try to find it again and do a post on it.

This seems like a lovely little graveyard, and I am so glad that it has not been resumed for a blocks of flats or something similar.

Nicola Carpenter said...

What an amazing little cemtery. There does seem to be a lot of squeezing names and things in during the 1700's. 1 year and 3 months is hardly any age at all.

I find that rubbing chalk dust into the stone ot pouring water on it makes them easier to read and photograph.

Herding Cats

Kay said...

It's surprising to see a stone so old that's readable. Around here ones even 50-60 years can be too mossy to make out. Is it possible that people over the years have cleaned them up??

Wouldn't you think that if you're working in stone that you'd want to mark out the letters to make sure words fit?

hamilton said...

You'd think the stone carver would have had a better eye for how much room was left for all the letters in the name!
this shows that it is best to keep your face away from the wind!

NixBlog said...

I expected to see "Scrooge" further down on the marker... :-)