Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Family portrait

perhaps not what you would think when reading "family portrait". but to me, this was sort of a family portrait. tim and me spent some time reading these stones, figuring out "the family". it would have been nice to see an actual family portrait, but unfortunately, typing their names into google hardly gave me anything. this is in newton, at the east parish burying ground, the oldest cemetery in newton, which dates back from the 1660s. currently, there are about 400 graves, and since it was the towns only burying place for 120 years, most families living in newton before the revolution have been buried here. i guess you can consider this cemetery a bit "neglected", currently. the grass grows pretty high (although not around the plot above!), several stones were broken or toppled over, but i liked it that way. having to move the grass a little to be able to read some of the stones, i felt like a real explorer.. :)
we didnt figure out much. i photographed some of the individual stones (posted on flickr), but am now frustrated to see i did not photograph ALL the stones in this plot. the plot belongs to the reed family, with 8 or 9 stones (as you can see better here). the main characters seemed catherine and jonas reed, who had 2 daughters, 1 son and 1 adopted son. both their daughters, catherine & harriet, died at young age (28 & 20 years, in 1839 & 1841), and their son jonas at 32 in 1845. then, in 1854 catherine died, at the age of 63, followed by their adopted son george trott in 1855, at the age of 24. as you can see, it is clearly mentioned on the stone that george was adopted. i also like the inscription; "lord, he was thine and not my own. thou hast not done me wrong. i thank thee for the precious loan, afforded me so long." poor jonas survived them all but died 3 years later at 76. as you can see here, there was nobody left to write something nice on his stone.... i thought that was really sad, as all the other family members had something, anything (even though some were just "standard" lines, standard for that time, anyways). the other 2 stones belong to 2 family members, who died years later; gideon reed at 74 in 1892 and rebecca reed at 86 in 1906, but i havent been able to figure out how they were related to catherine and jonas. ofcourse, i also wonder howcome their children all died so young! perhaps it wasnt something genetic, as also their adopted son died young. i also wonder why they adopted him (and was he, really... ;) ?). but just a portrait of the family would be nice too...
well thats all i got, quite a lenghty contribution to taphophile tragics, but with more questions than answers... :)

12 comments:

biebkriebels said...

Wow, you did a lot of research about the whole family. It is always sad to see that so many people died young at that time. The poor man survived his whole family.

Nicola Carpenter said...

What an interesting post. I'm a afraid in Victorian times many many people died at a young age to to disease, poor living conditions and hard work.

Great picture


Herding Cats

Nellies said...

Great post CaT!
I always bugs me a little bit when I can't find anything on the internet, which leaves you only with questions and no answers... Ah well, I loved reading this!

CaT said...

@nicola; yes you are right! but its striking that the parents did get old, and so did the other 2 relatives.... of course, now i could make up entire stories as to why the children didnt....

Tim said...

apparently, tooth decay was a huge contributing factor to pre-antibiotic-age disease..

NixBlog said...

Interesting post with a lovely photo.

Gemma Wiseman said...

A beautiful view of this gathering of headstones! An intriguing family history!

Sylvia Neumann said...

this is so beautiful!

hamilton said...

with no children's aid societies around, children who were left orphaned would have been farmed out to whoever could take them. at least george found a loving family.

VioletSky said...

I love this shot! it looks as if the family stones are having a picnic in the shade of that nice big tree.

CaT said...

@violetsky; yes, thats actually really how i felt, these stones are situated in a corner of the cemetery, really grouped together, like lined up for a family portrait...

Julie said...

I like more questions than answers. I thrive on not knowing. It raises my imagination, and off I go to research.

I, too, like the gathering of tombstones you show here. I frequently have to move or cut off, grass that gets in the way of what I need to know. I figure it will regrow.

I like Tim's idea of tooth-decay perhaps being the culprit. Perhaps. But the children of the Reeds were really all young adults when they departed this life. Mostly I only find children aged in months.

Know that I know all this much about the Reed family, a family portrait would be really useful.

My apologies for being so late with my visit this week. Other (higher) duties called me away.