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Markers 




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THE JOURNAL OF 
THE ASSOCIATION FOR 
GRAVESTONE STUDIES 



y^^/^6X-i' /v...i<iHS- (_/L^ ^^ 



Markers VIII 



Journal of 
the Association for 
Gravestone Studies 



The Papers of 

Dr. Ernest Caulfield 

on Connecticut Carvers 

and their Work 



Edited by 
James A. Slater 

Theodore Chase 
Editor of Markers 



Association for Gravestone Studies 
Worcester, Massachusetts 



Copyright (5) 1991 by 

Association for Gravestone Studies 

30 Elm Street 
Worcester, Massachusetts 01601 



All rights reserved 
Printed in the United States of America 



IBSN: 1-87381-01-6 
ISSN: 0277-8726 
LCN: 81-642903 



The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of American National 

Standard for Information Sciences ~ Permanence of Paper for 

Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984. 



Cover photo: Old Plainfield Burying Ground, Connecticut (photo by James Stater) 



TABLE OF CONTENTS 

Page 

Preface v 

Ernest J. Caulfield - Biographical Sketch 1 
Connecticut Gravestone Articles: 

I. George Griswold (1633 - 1704) 9 

II. The Stanclift Family (1643 - 1785) 17 
m. Ebenezer Drake (1739 - 1803) 39 

IV. "The Glastonbury Lady" 51 

V. The Thomas Johnsons 59 

VI. Joseph Johnson (1698 - 1783?) 91 

VII. "The Bat" 101 

VIII. The Mannings 109 

IX. The Collins Family 129 

X. Charles Dolph (1776 - 1815) 141 

XI. The Lambs (1724 - 1788) 153 

XII. John Hartshorn ( 1650 - c. 1738) vs. 165 
Joshua Hempstead (1678 - 1758) 

Xin. TheKimballs 189 

XIV. TheBucklands 205 

XV. Three Manning Imitators 227 

XVI. The Loomis Carvers 243 

XVII. The Colonial Gravestone Carvings of Obadiah Wheeler 271 
XVin. Wanted: The Hook-and-Eye Man 311 
Index 338 



ASSOCIATION FOR GRAVESTONE STUDIES 

EDITORIAL BOARD 

Theodore Chase, Editor 
David Walters, Associate Editor 
John L. Brooke James A. Slater 

Jessie Lie Farber Richard F. Welch 

This entire issue of Markers is devoted to the work of the late Dr. Ernest 
Caulfield on the gravestones and carvers of Connecticut. It has been edited 
by Dr. James A. Slater, Professor Emeritus of Biology at the University of 
Cormecticut, who is himself an authority on the subject, author of The 
Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut and the Men Who Made 
Them, published for the Connecticut Academy of Arts and Sciences 
(Hamden, Conn., 1987), and a friend of Dr. Caulfield. 

Dr. Caulfield was the pioneer student of Connecticut gravestones. He 
ranks with Harriette Merrifield Forbes as one of the two people upon whose 
work most of the recent burgeoning interest in eighteenth-century gravestone 
studies is based. 

From 1951 through 1967 Dr. Caulfield published twelve articles in the j5m/- 
letin of the Cormecticut Historical Society, treating a variety of early Connec- 
ticut carvers. This series was subsequently extended and expanded posthu- 
mously by three further articles edited by Peter Benes and one published 
jointly with James Slater. Together these articles form the essential 
framework upon which most subsequent work has been and will be based. 
An additional paper, by Dr. Caulfield and James Slater, was published by the 
American Antiquarian Society, and a posthumous paper, written by Caulfield 
himself, graced the first pages of the first volume of Markers. This article, 
about Gershom Bartlett, "The Hook-and-Eye Man," is published chronologi- 
cally and thus appears last, but it should perhaps be read first, for it provides 
much insight into Caulfield's character and research method. We are 
pleased, through the courtesy of the Connecticut Historical Society and the 
American Antiquarian Society and the work of Dr. Slater, to be able to bring 
all of Dr. Caulfield's gravestone publications together in one place. 

Dr. Slater has edited the series using annotations from Dr. Caulfield's own 
printed copies as well as material from his manuscript files, all of which Caul- 



field left to the Connecticut Historical Society. Dr. Slater has also annotated, 
amended and footnoted the series where it seemed necessary to bring Dr. 
Caulfield's information up to date in the light of subsequent studies and to 
bring the text into the condition that Dr. Caulfield wished it finally to have. 
Unless otherwise indicated, the endnotes are those of Dr. Slater. The editor 
of Markers has changed or inserted some of the punctuation, and made some 
other minor changes not affecting the text, to make the style of the book 
uniform throughout and consistent with the accepted style oi Markers. 

The majority of photographic negatives of stones mentioned in the Caul- 
field text have survived. These have been used extensively, but not entirely, 
in this reprinting. Readers should note that these represent the condition of 
the stones in the 1950s. Names in the captions are spelled as on the stones, 
with omitted letters in brackets, although Caulfield's spelling in the text has 
been retained. The Caulfield pictures have been supplemented in a number 
of places, where none of his are now available or proved unsuitable for publi- 
cation, by those of Daniel and Jessie Lie Farber (referred to in the captions 
as Farbers), of Peter Benes and occasionally of James Slater. A number of 
the Farber pictures are photographs of rubbings by Susan Kelly and Arme 
Williams. Where the photographic source is not indicated, it is from an 
original Caulfield negative. Towns referred to in the text and the captions 
are in Connecticut unless otherwise indicated. 

In Markers I James Slater provided a short biographical sketch of Dr. Caul- 
field which he has expanded in the following biographical article. It is our 
hope that this edition of Caulfield's work will stimulate further interest in 
the fascinating gravestones of Connecticut. 

We are grateful to the Harold J. Schaller Scholarship Award of the 
American Institute of Commemorative Art for a grant in aid of this publica- 
tion and to several anonymous donors. 

Information about the submission of manuscripts for Markers may be ob- 
tained from the editor, Theodore Chase, 74 Farm Street, Dover, Mas- 
sachusetts 02030. For information about other Association for Gravestone 
Studies publications, membership and activities, write to the executive direc- 
tor, 30 Elm Street, Worcester, Massachusetts 01609. 

Articles appearing in this journal are annotated and indexed in Historical 
Abstracts and America: History and Life. 



SOURCE OF THE ARTICLES 

I. George Griswold, The Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, 16 (No. 
1, Jan. 1951). 

II. The StancHft Family, Bulletin, 16 (No. 4, Oct. 1951) and 17 (No. 1, 
Jan. 1952). 

m. Ebenezer Drake, Bulletin, 18 (No. 4, Oct. 1953). 

IV. The Glastonbury Lady, Bulletin, 19 (No. 4, Oct. 1954). 

V. The Thomas Johnsons, Bulletin, 21 (No. 1, Jan. 1956). 

VI. Joseph Johnson, Bulletin, 23 (No. 2, April 1958). 

VII. The Bat, Bulletin, 25 (No. 1, Jan. 1960). 

VIII. The Mannings, Bulletin, 27 (No. 3, July 1962). 

IX. The Collins Family, Bulletin, 28 (No. 1, Jan. 1963). 

X. Charles Dolph, Bulletin, 30 (No. 1, Jan. 1965). 

XI. The Lambs, Bulletin, 31 (No. 1, Jan. 1966). 

XII. John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead, Bulletin, 32 (No. 3, July 1967). 

XIII. The Kimballs, Bulletin, 40 (No. 2, April 1975), ed. Peter Benes. 

XIV. The Bucklands, Bulletin, 41 (No. 2, April 1976), ed. Peter Benes. 

XV. Three Manning Imitators, Bulletin, 43 (No. 1, Jan. 1978), ed. Peter 
Benes. 

XVI. The Loomis Carvers, James A. Slater and Ernest Caulfield, Bulletin, 
48 (No. 4, Oct. 1983). 

XVII. Obadiah Wheeler, James A. Slater and Ernest Caulfield, American 
Antiquarian Society, Proceedings, 84 (Part 1, 1974). 

XVIII. The Hook-and-Eye Man, Ernest Caulfield (posthumously). Markers I 
(1979/80). 




Dr. Ernest J. Caulfield 



Ernest Joseph Caulfield 



ERNEST JOSEPH CAULFIELD 
(1893-1972) 



Dr. Ernest Caulfield, the foremost student of colonial Connecticut grave- 
stones, was born in Hartford, Connecticut, September 8, 1893, the eighth 
child of Edward Vincent Caulfield and Mary Catherine Boyle. His father 
was born in England, and on Dr. Caulfield's birth certificate it is stated that 
at the time of his birth his father was forty years old and gave his occupation 
as "organist." He is said to have been a music dealer and organist at St. 
Peters Church. His mother was thirty-six years old at the time of his birth 
and was born in Richmond, Virginia. 

Dr. Caulfield spent most of his early and professional life in Hartford, 
receiving his early education there. He spent his first year of college at 
Fordham and entered Trinity College in Hartford as a sophomore, graduat- 
ing in 1916. He also received a master's degree from Trinity in 1922. 

He attended Johns Hopkins Medical School, where he obtained his M.D. 
in 1920, and spent an internship in Baltimore followed by a year teaching 
physiology as an assistant in Johns Hopkins's famous School of Public 
Health. Subsequently he accepted an internship in pediatrics at the Yale 
Medical School,^ where he became an assistant clinical professor. Dr. Caul- 
field opened his office in Hartford and went into private practice in the 
spring of 1924, where he was an active pediatrician until he retired in 1952. 
During his active medical years in Hartford Dr. Caulfield was connected with 
the Hartford Dispensary, St. Francis Hospital, St. Agnes Home for Infants 
and the Hartford Hospital, where he was the Chairman of the Department of 
Pediatrics from 1945 to 1948. 

Caulfield married Margaret France of Baltimore on August 23, 1922, in 
New Haven. The Caulfields had two children, Robert Lee and Margaret 
Frances. Mrs. Caulfield died in 1969. In 1959 the Caulfields moved to Old 
Lyme, where he lived until near the time of his death in West Haven, Connec- 
ticut, on May 16, 1972. 

It is evident that Caulfield was a studious man almost from the start. As an 
undergraduate he won the chemistry prize, graduated with honors in biology 



2 Connecticut Gravestones 

and chemistry and was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. He had an early interest 
in medical literature, and an article that appeared in 1938 in the Semi- 
centennial Volume of the American Pediatric Society noted that he was assis- 
tant librarian of the Walter R. Steiner Library of the Hartford Medical 
Society (he subsequently became librarian, succeeding Dr. Walter Steiner, 
who had held the position for nearly forty years) and that he was "deeply in- 
terested in the history of pediatrics, collected many rare books and wrote a 
number of historical articles." This article also notes Dr. Caulfield's 
biographical sketches of "the Countess of Lincoln, Blair, Walton, Armstrong 
and Cadogan." It notes his description of bile peritonitis in infants and his in- 
terest in the history of pyloric stenosis. Interestingly, the above article 
describes him as being a "diligent, studious man, inclined to be rather intro- 
spective and temperamental." He was called "Shorty" in reports on his ac- 
tivities in one of the Trinity alumni notes. 

No matter how much we recognize Dr. Caulfield's contributions to grave- 
stone scholarship, we must also recognize that he came to this interst late in 
his career. He published his first gravestone article when he was fifty-eight 
years old. By this time he was a well respected medical historian and had pub- 
lished two important books: one devoted to The Infant Welfare Movement in 
the Eighteenth Century and a classic study in 1939 entitled A True History of 
the Terrible Epidemic Vulgarly Called the Throat Distemper.. 1735 -1740 (New 
Haven, Conn., 1939). This is the book of which Carl Bridenbaugh said, "it is 
undeniably the ablest study of colonial medical history that I have ever come 
across." Serious students of gravestones could do worse than peruse this 
book to see how a real professional proceeds, as Dr. Caulfield untangles 
from the terrible epidemic of the 1730s (one that killed 5,000 of New 
England's 200,000 people - most of them children, an incidence much 
greater than the colonial wars with the French and Indians) the confusion of 
a diptheria epidemic in northern Massachusetts and southern New 
Hampshire from a concurrent scarlet fever epidemic in the Boston area. In- 
cidentally, in this book Caulfield suggests a causal connection between the 
epidemic and the great religious revival called "The Great Awakening," 
which in turn Peter Benes believes had such a profound influence upon 
gravestone carving style in northern Massachusetts. During the course of his 



Ernest Joseph Caulfleld 3 

Study of the epidemic Dr. Caulfield began to visit cemeteries in an attempt to 
document the death of children, as is evidenced by the photographs of 
children's gravestones in the book. Thus we can feel with some confidence 
that Caulfield's interest in gravestones arose from his work on the throat dis- 
temper epidemic. He also wrote scholarly papers on early measles epidemics 
and even on the pediatric aspects of the Salem witchcraft episode.^ 

Prior to his retirement Dr. Caulfield carried on an active research 
program on Connecticut gravestone carvers, amassing a tremendous file on 
the genealogy of the carving families as well as data and photographs of the 
stones themselves. 

When Caulfield moved to Old Lyme, he began a rejuvenation of the local 
historical society, amassing a wealth of early documentary evidence concern- 
ing the early history of Old Lyme and the surrounding area. In 1968 he was 
elected "Citizen of the Year" by the residents of Old Lyme (no mean feat!), 
chiefly for his research into America's first authenticated "riot." This was a 
comic clash between residents of Old Lyme and those of New London in the 
1660s in a hayfield where both parties claimed ownership of the field and ar- 
rived at the same time to cut hay for their respective ministers. 

That Dr. Caulfield had a temper as well as a sense of humor soon became 
evident in Old Lyme. He served for three years on the Board of Education 
but resigned when he became a controversial figure because of his vehement 
opposition to what he believed to be the extensive athletic programs at the 
expense of academics. "There was a fight every night," he is quoted as saying. 

Unfortunately, his eyesight began to deteriorate after his retirement, and 
apparently his health to some extent determined his retirement, for he wrote 
in a letter to the American Antiquarian Society in late 1952 that he was "just 
getting back on my feet after two months in bed and I have given up my prac- 
tice. Nothing more serious than a touch of generalized disintegration." 

My own personal acquaintance with Dr. Caulfield was a short but produc- 
tive one. I hope that a short account of it will give a hint of the flavor of the 
man. I had been engaged in a study of a carver identified by Allan Ludwig in 
his seminal book Graven Images (Middletown, Conn., 1966) as the "Collins 
Master," a carver of whom Ludwig was somewhat unsure as to whether he 
was Benjamin Collins or another. Tucked away in Dr. Caulfield's article on 



4 Connecticut Gravestones 

the Collins family I had noticed a short comment discussing some stones with 
straight aristocratic noses that he thought were carved by a man named 
Obadiah Wheeler. 

It is hard today with our AGS society and network of people in com- 
munication with one another to realize the isolation that gravestone students 
were working in only a relatively few years ago. Who was this Dr. Caulfield? 
Could he possibly still be alive? Eventually through the Connecticut State 
Historian I discovered that he was indeed alive and living in Old Lyme. I 
wrote him, what today I am sure must have amused him as a very naive let- 
ter, but it hit him in the right spot, and he invited me to visit him. He was 
living in a charming house in Old Lyme, but was obviously nearly blind. It 
was a frustrating afternoon for him as I had difficulty telling him names of 
carvers, and although he tried very hard with a large lens to see my 
photographs he could only occasionally do so. However, his memory for 
given stones in given graveyards was remarkable. It was obvious that some of 
them were very old friends of his indeed. We ended the day with him taking 
me to a room in his house where a closet was filled with manila folders con- 
taining data on carver after carver that I had never heard of. He gave me a 
fat package marked "Peter Nity." This was the Obadiah Wheeler folder. I 
absorbed this material like a sponge and went back with an outline of what I 
had in mind. It is one of my most treasured memories that he said, "If we can 
do that, it will be the best paper ever done on Connecticut gravestones." In 
any event, a few trips later we had agreed to collaborate on a Wheeler paper 
and had started with it. I would write it and he would tell me where I was 
wrong, stupid, naive etc. (literally). Unfortunately, I delayed final work on 
this because of a collecting trip to Australia. When I returned. Dr. Caulfield 
had died. But the short time we had together gave me a great respect for his 
scholarship, a respect that has continued to grow with the passing years, and 
a keen interest in him as a man. Even in his last years, he had a crisp, some- 
times biting sense of humor, and he was intolerant of hurried, inaccurate 
work. I have often thought how unfortunate it is that AGS was not founded 
twenty years earlier so that his scholarly approach to work could have been 
passed on directly to the next generation of scholars. His articles are ex- 
tremely "trimmed down" and only in part reflect the hours of laborious effort 



Ernest Joseph Caulfield 5 

upon which they are based. 

One can visuahze this short, intense man peering at a small child's stone 
and trying to understand what was meant by the "bloody flux" or the "numb 
palsy," his keen eye noting the death of a whole series of children at- 
tributable, as he appreciated, to some genetic defect, or families wiped out in 
smallpox epidemics ~ the old "king of terrors." It must be admitted that, 
while to us as gravestone students it is his work on gravestone attribution that 
seems to be his major contribution, his biographers pass this work over with 
scant mention and concentrate chiefly on his historical unraveling of the 
causes, spread and contemporary misconceptions concerning the early 
epidemics of New England. 

One can see in his published work and even more in hastily scribbled 
notes in his manuscripts (all too few, alas) the salty nature of his humor and 
the medical perspective showing through. For example, when a young baby 
survived its mother in Hampton, he penciled, "Baby died 11 weeks, mother 
died 2 weeks. Infant survived the mother. Possibly artificially fed and had its 
electrolytes all shot to pieces," and on a couple whose gravestone indicated 
that they had been industrious and hard-working all their lives and had had 
fourteen children, "they were in the monkey business." But he was a compas- 
sionate man and occasionally one catches a glimmer of sadness over the 
death of so many young children during colonial days, deaths that he must 
have realized, from his vantage point in the twentieth century, were unneces- 
sary. 

Fortunately, not all of his "flavor" was lost with him, for in his article on 
Gershom Bartlett, republished here, we are allowed to see him at work: driv- 
ing through rural Stafford and being asked by a "native" whom he had told of 
his interest in old gravestones, "and what good does that do you?"; his keen 
research eye scanning hundreds of probates in search of just who his enig- 
matic "hook-and-eye man" really was, and his joy at finding Gershom 
Bartlett's grave in Vermont during the course of a field trip. This paper 
catches the enthusiasm of gravestone field work on crisp New England 
autumn days. 

It is perhaps fitting to end this short sketch by letting Dr. Caulfield speak 
for himself with quotes gleaned from his publications or found scribbled on 



Connecticut Gravestones 



the edges of some of his manuscripts. 



Of Joseph Johnson — Being in the gravestone business, he seemed to have an 
unusually good nose for epidemics. 

Of Ebenezer Drake — Today we would much prefer Drake's simple primitives, 
but in his time his fantastic nightmares were the rage. It all goes to prove that 
fashions in hats, automobiles or tombstones are beyond the ken of mortal man. 

Of William Stanclift ~ One can be positively certain that Elizabeth Francis 
[Newington 1728] was not an inebriate who died from pneumonia after washing her 
hair on a Saturday night, although the picture on her gravestone makes it seem so. 

Of William Stanclift's stone for John Gill (in Portland, Connecticut, 1713) — 
Skulls were originally intended to remind passersby of death and so to frighten 
them, but if any were frightened by this skull it must have been from seeing hair 
growing from a scalped calvarium. 

Of "The Bat" — The less the Gay stone is described the better, for its weirdness 
almost defies descripton. It is difficult to say whether The Bat was elated or 
depressed when he created this design. 

Of "The Bat" - Figs in the early days were symbols of Paradise, or Land of 
Plenty; but unaware of their significance The Bat substituted his plain round masses, 
signifying nothing. 

To a meeting of the New York Pediatrics Society 1953 — I think every doctor 
and particularly every pediatrician should cultivate some sort of a hobby. It need not 
be pediatric history of course. It could be music, etching, painting, photography or 
even the gentle art of shooting crap. It doesn't make much difference so long as you 
start in when you are young and become proficient at it. Because there comes a 
time (INEVITABLY) when you begin to detect some cobwebs growing gently over 
the surface of your brain; when you begin to confuse your histoplasmosis with your 
toxoplasmosis, and your Rh's with your Ph's and all the other little h's; and when 
that time comes it is very comforting to have this gentle little hobby on which you 
can go galloping off in all directions at once at the same time keeping out of the 
other fellow's way. 

This hobby gives you a chance to get away from people, especially live ones, 
and more especially those you do not like. 

Of seven James Stanclifts [in the area] one died in infancy, two more, to the 
amateur genealogist's delight considerately moved to other towns. 

James had decided to work for William, that is until an influential and subtle 
force by the name of Abigail Brown made him change his mind. A few weeks after 
he married her, twenty-two-year-old James Stanclift decided to go in business for 
himself. 

Giles & Joel Loomis in South Windsor ~ "a froglet stone." 



Ernest Joseph CaulField 

John Lay (1723) -- "The sweet, coy skull." 

Frequently he left the lettering to an apprentice or a son with the customary 
new and strange ideas of a younger generation 

If you have never been in an old New England graveyard, you should not go in 
one, unless you are physically able to run out. 

A speech in the 1950s -- Naturally I am very happy to have this opportunity to 
talk to the Connecticut State Nurses Association. Outside of a graveyard I haven't 
seen so many interesting people together in a long long time . . . many of my most 
precious stones are within a fifteen-mile radius of Storrs. Another reason is that the 
Halloween season seems to be an appropriate time to talk on such a lugubrious sub- 
ject and particularly appropriate tonight because the way things are going tomorrow 
may be the last Halloween. 

AH this medical history business is like modern long-haired poetry, you either 
like it or you don't. 

Of Zerubbabel Collins - A Connecticut Yankee who sold beautiful poetry at 
cut rates. 

Of an angel stone in Hadley, Massachusetts - Even heavenly angels could not 
appear in public without their Uttle skirts. 

These are not the dancing, musical Rockettes of Broadway; they are the Angel- 
lettes of the Connecticut River Valley, n.b. Angels have belly-buttons. 

Of a Salem, Massachusetts, skeleton stone - The meaning is clear, the 
anatomy is not. 

Of William Buckland - Like many colonial stonecutters he was more skillful 
with his hands than with his head. 

Of Ebenezer Drake - By this time his imagination was on the loose and he 
didn't know where to stop. 

Don't believe manufactured history. 

Those charming little towns - Canterbury and Windham and Lebanon, etc. 
and (what I consider one of the garden spots of the earth in autumn when the leaves 
are changing)-the old graveyard on the crest of the hill in Bolton. In passing I 
might say th&t just in case anyone is seriously contemplating, or making plans for the 
future, I can heartily recommend that old graveyard way up there on the hill as an 
ideal spot, where you can have a bird's eye view of the resurrection. 

One very pleasant way to recapture some of the original charm of an old New 
England town is to pay a leisurely visit to its graveyard, usually situated on a hill over- 
looking a river, lake or beautiful valley. This peaceful plot of ground dedicated to 
the memory of the past is frequently very much the same as it was two or three 
hundred years ago; and the stones which it contains are among the very few material 
things which were made by the early colonists for the benefit of future generations. 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Their houses, furniture, books, newspapers and even their metal coins were made 
expressly for their own use and pleasure, but the stone monuments which they 
placed over the graves of their dead were made to last, at least they hoped, forever. 
In other words those stones were placed there for us to read. 



James A. Slater 



NOTES 



1. The various obituaries and college alumni reports are sometimes contradictory as to ex- 
actly where Dr. Caulfield was during his internship years. This apparently stems from a 
quick biographical sketch that he dashed off for Trinity at some unspecified date. In this 
he says that he was married in 1923. On the typed copy before me has been written, "My 
hunch is that Ernie dashed this off himself, probably at someone else's mgent request, pos- 
sibly confusing him about his date of marriage and Bob's legitimacy." 

2. For detailed information on Caulfield's work see L.F. Stevenson, "The Historical Writings 
of Ernest Caulfield," Journal of the History of Medicine, 20(l%5):38-42. 





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Fig. 1 Ephraim Huit Tomb 1644, Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 
Carved by George Griswold. Photograph by Farbers. 



Connecticut Gravestones 



CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES I 
George Griswold (1633 - 1704) 



In the Center Church graveyard in Hartford there are about thirty 
seventeenth-century gravestones which were obviously cut by the same artist 
since they so closely resemble one another. The Windsor graveyard has 
twenty similar stones; and the old graveyards of Suffield, Westfield, and Nor- 
thampton each contain three or four. There is, however, none in Middletown 
or, except possibly the recut 1648 tablestone, in Wethersfield. This 
geographical distribution strongly suggests that the man who made these 
stones lived in Hartford or Windsor. He did most of his work between 1657 
and 1700, although a few stones dated before this period, such as those for 
the Reverend Ephraim Huit (Windsor, 1644) (Fig. 1)^ and Timothy Stanley 
(Hartford, 1648), may have been cut by him. 

The smooth even texture of these thick reddish-brown stones indicates 
that they were quarried in Windsor. They can be easily distinguished from 
the coarse granular sandstones that came from Middletown not only by their 
texture and color but also by their edges, most of the Middletown stones 
having chamfered edges. For the most part, these Windsor stones have right- 
angled shoulders, rounded tops, and carefully cut yet simple undecorated bor- 
ders which closely follow the outlines of the stones. Exercising every colonial 
stonecutter's privilege, this one occasionally departed experimentally from 
his favorite design to make a stone that was more nearly square, and there is 
one in Windsor shaped like the top half of an octagon. On two out of every 
three stones the inscribed surface is flush with the border and separated from 
it by a deep continuous line which usually ends considerably above the level 
of the ground (Fig. 2). A few stones, such as those for Stephen Hosmer 
(Hartford, 1678) and B. W. (Windsor, 1680) have no borders. On the 
remainder the inscribed surfaces have been carefully rubbed and planed leav- 
ing the one- or two-inch borders in bold relief (Fig. 3). These overhanging 
borders, incidentally, may have been so cut to protect the inscriptions from 
weathering. 

On the whole, the lettering is deep and still easily legible, but even when 



10 George Griswold 

shallow, it is still deep enough to be legible on close inspection, which is 
more than can be said of many gravestones that have been exposed to far 
fewer than 250 Connecticut winters. Although one may find a few forgivable 
misspelled words, such as "neer" for "near" and "yeres" for "years," this artist 
made no gross blunders. He was, however, frequently cramped for space and 
was obliged to carve the final letter of a word or a hyphen in the border of 
the stone. His unusual division of words was in keeping with the colonial cus- 
tom of utilizing every inch of space. This same habit manifests itself in old 
manuscripts containing words which are divided in ways that would now be 
considered incorrect. 

The one characteristic which distinguishes the work of this craftsman from 
his contemporaries is his indiscriminate use of small and capital letters, as 
well as other minor peculiarities in lettering, such as dotting his capital Fs 
even at the beginning of words like lOHN or IN. He usually made tall L's, 
extending their vertical bars far above the line, while his P's were cut to ex- 
tend far below the line. His capital Y's resemble modern small y's in that the 
descender extends below the line. Only occasionally did he use the thorn. 
These peculiarities should not be interpreted as signs of illiteracy, because, as 
mentioned before, there are very few mistakes in spelling and, what is more, 
no illiterate yokel would have been so fond of poetry. His verses, unlike 
those so frequently found on eighteenth-century gravestones, were not meant 
to scare the wits out of the passers-by; they were sympathetically carved as 
comforting words for friends of the deceased, such as the verse on the stone 
for Joseph Drake, who died in Windsor in 1657: 

My body sleeps 
My soul is blest 
In armes of Christ 
Where I do rest. 

On the stone for B. W. (Windsor, 1680) a bit of the artist's philosophy is 
revealed: 



What once was writ by one upon this stone 
He hears is now washt out and lost and gone 
Twas writ hoping in time he might it find 
Not on this stone but on the reders minde. 



Connecticut Gravestones 



11 




Fig. 2 Peter Brown 1692. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 




Fig. 3 Mary Farn[s] worth 1678. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 



12 George Griswold 

These gravestones are all very simple in composition. Never did the artist 
use those cynically smiling skulls with gnashing teeth that so frequently adorn 
contemporaneous Massachusetts stones. Massachusetts and Connecticut 
gravestones before 1720 are not in the same class and can hardly be com- 
pared, for the Massachusetts artists were exceedingly skillful with their 
chisels and they carved on slate which was a far better medium for minute 
detail. But it should be remembered that Massachusetts gravestones reached 
the peak of perfection in the seventeenth century, indicating that the artists 
were very likely under foreign influence, whereas Connecticut gravestones 
evolved from very plain designs and are more representative of native 
American art. Connecticut stone craftsmen, off in isolated wildernesses, ap- 
pear to have been self-trained men apparently unaware that Boston was the 
hub of the gravestone universe. 

Who was this pioneer craftsman who won the respect of so many of his 
contemporaries, whose reputation had spread at least as far as Northampton, 
and who was, perhaps, the most original of the earliest American sculptors? 
There is no direct evidence of his identity. Not one of his stones is signed by 
as much as one initial; and probate records of those whose graves were 
marked have been vainly searched for his name. There is, however, convinc- 
ing circumstantial evidence that he was the George Griswold who was born 
in Kenilworth, England, in 1633, who married Mary Holcomb (1632-1708), 
and who died in Windsor on September 3, 1704.^ 

Among the Winthrop papers in the Massachusetts Historical Society are 
sue letters written by Captain John Allyn of Hartford "To the Honourable 
Major John Winthrop at his house in New Lx)ndon."^ The first letter, dated 
March 17, 1682 (1683?), impHes that Allyn, having been commissioned to 
procure a gravestone for Elizabeth Winthrop, who had died in 1673, was wait- 
ing patiently for the Major to supply the inscription. The second letter is 
much the same: 



Hartford May 21, 1681/2 
Hon Sir I heartily salute you, in reference to your commands about 
the Tombe stone &c I have carefully attended it, and had I known 
your pleasure what to write upon it, it would have been fmished by this 
time, & therefore pray by the next let me know your pleasure. I 
agreed with George Griswold to doe it not for any sum but he 
promised to use a good conscience in it & so I doubt not but he will, 



Connecticut Gravestones 13 

her name & age & time of her death will be necessary as also whose 
consort she was, . . . 

Honored sir your friend and servant, 
John Allyn 

On November 14, 1682, Winthrop's inscription not having arrived, Allyn 
submitted his own in which he tried his hand at poetry: 

Here lyes the body of Mrs Eliz: Winthrop wife to the [late - scratched 
out] Honourable John Winthrop Esquire Governor for many years of 
this jurisdiction who deceased the first day of december: 1673: [etatis 
- scratched out] in the fifty six year of her age. 

Honour & virtue grace & courtesy 

And many great endowments here doe lye 

which scarcely in a matron [may be - scratched out] have 
been seen 

in our New England [since bohemias queen - scratched out] 
had she never been. 

Winthrop obviously did not appreciate Allyn's pitiful poetry because the 
proposed inscription was not returned. Letters of April 23, 1683, and 
January 7, 1684, reveal Allyn still waiting for instructions: 

Sir, your mother's Tombe stone is not set up yet, for want of your ap- 
probation of what shall be writ upon it, the man is very earnest to doe 
it pleas therefore to send it by this bearer together with her age and 
day of death. Griswold will doe it now by reason of our great losses 
heare it is a time when worke is better to be atained than at other 
times & he would gladly pay some of his country rate that way. . . 

By July 6, 1684, more than two years after the first request, the inscription 
had not arrived. 

The George Griswold mentioned in these letters was unquestionably the 
one who died in Windsor in 1704, because the inventory of his estate shows 
that he owned augers, gouges, narrow axes, wedges, "Tools for ingraveing," as 
well as an interest in "the quariefield." He also owned shoemaker's tools, and 
a fifth interest in the grist mill. It is said that his relations with the Indians 
were exceptionally friendly; nevertheless the inventory also shows that he 
kept a cutlass and belt, an old sword, "A Gunn & pistall and Amunition" just 
in case. 

Since this George Griswold is known from the Winthrop letters to have 
been cutting gravestones in 1682, it is reasonable to conclude that he cut the 



14 



George Griswold 



Stones for his own two children, Abigail and Samuel (Palisados Burying 
Ground, Windsor), who died in May and June of that same year, very prob- 
ably from an epidemic disease. In October, 1682, there was a Day of 
Thanksgiving in Connecticut for the abatement of "the late, sore-sickness and 
deaths that have been in sundry of our plantations," but the nature of the dis- 
ease that carried off the Griswold children still remains unknown. Their 
gravestones, however, can still be seen in Windsor, and from them as well as 
from the stone in Westfield for his son Edward Griswold, 1661-1688, can be 
learned most of the characteristics of George Griswold's art. 




Fig. 4 Mercy Buel 1688. Simsbury. 



Connecticut Gravestones 15 

There were other gravestone sculptors working in the Connecticut River 
valley during Griswold's time. The first James Stanclift of Middletown was 
independently developing his own style on stones which he obtained from his 
quarry "on the Est syde of the Great River." In her delightful, instructive, 
and scholarly book on early New England gravestones, Mrs. Harriette M. 
Forbes discloses that Matthew Griswold, Jr., of Lyme was paid (1679) for the 
stone that still marks Lady Fenwick's grave; Mrs. Forbes also mentions that, 
according to tradition, the first Matthew Griswold may have cut a similar 
stone for Henry Wolcott in Windsor (1655).'' Her illustration of the stone for 
John Howell (Southampton, L.I., 1696) shows a Connecticut sandstone bear- 
ing a coat-of-arms, which is interesting in view of the fact that Geoge Gris- 
wold also carved a coat-of-arms on the stone for nine-day-old Mary 
Farnsworth (Windsor, 1678) (Fig. 3). The lettering of these two stones, 
however, shows that they were cut by different hands. In Northampton and 
in Simsbury there are a few stones, such as that for Mercy Buel (Simsbury, 
1688) (Fig. 4), which superficially resemble George Griswold's stones, but 
they do not have that finished touch which he had acquired by 1688. 

After Griswold's death, and particularly between 1720 and 1740, another 
stonecutter, apparently in Bolton, was attempting to imitate George 
Griswold's style, but this is another chapter in the history of Connecticut 
gravestones. In his recently published list of Connecticut stonecutters, Ken- 
dall P. Hayward mentions two Griswolds who cut stones early in the 
nineteenth century,^ so it appears that the stonecutting art was in the Gris- 
wold blood. But for originality none surpassed the first George Griswold, a 
man of "good conscience," and, as of now, the earliest stone sculptor in the 
American colonies to be definitely identified. 



NOTES 



Notes 2, 3, 5 and the first part of 4 appear as "Acknowledgements" in the original article. 

1. In Connecticut Gravestones II Dr. Caulfield notes payment to a man named Gibbs. He 
states that the Ephriam Huit tomb has lettering similar to that of George Griswold but dif- 
fers "in some particulars, notably the capital H's and Y's." He concludes that the Huit 
stone was tentatively and perhaps mistakenly attributed to Griswold. 



16 



George Griswold 



2. Glenn E. Griswold, The Griswold Family, (Middleboro, Me., 1935-1938), 18. 

3. Winthrop Manuscripts, Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections, 10:38-41. Eva L. 
Butler, "Abstracts of Winthrop Manuscripts," Mss., Cotm. State Library. 

4. Harriette Merrfield Forbes, Gravestones of Early New England And the Men who made 
them 1653-1800 (Boston, 1927), 100. Kevin Sweeney, in a letter to J. A. Slater dated Nov. 
12, 1985, definitely attributes the Wolcott tomb to Matthew Griswold. However, as of that 
date, he states that he was not able to attribute any headstones to Matthew Griswold. 

5. Kendall P. Hayward, Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin. XV, 1. 




2 1 P P OPv '^ 







Fig. 1 Zipporah Harris 1689. Riverside Burying Ground, Middletown. 
Carved by James Stanclift 



The Stanclift Family 17 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES II 
The Stanclift Family (1643 - 1785) 



Connecticut had many gravestone cutters in the seventeenth and early 
eighteenth century, but only a few of them should ever be taken seriously. 
Even were it possible it would serve no useful purpose to catalogue the 
numerous local yokels throughout the colony who with more bravm than skill 
crudely cut a few initials and numerals on boulders which served as grave- 
stones, particularly when better stones were too costly or otherwise unavail- 
able. A few men, however, devoted considerable thought, time, and labor to 
their work, and the most successful of these deserve to be classified as 
colonial artists. George Griswold (1633-1704), the earliest stonecutter so far 
identified, was the subject of a previous communication; and could he be 
identified another artist in Simsbury deserves some recognition, for his well- 
executed but unaffected style also appeals to the average eye (see Connec- 
ticut Gravestones /, Fig. 4). This paper concerns a third artist, perhaps the 
best known and most popular of all, if one can judge from the geographical 
distribution of his extant stones. His services were in demand mostly in Mid- 
dletown and Hartford, but he also carved stones for prominent families in 
Suffield, Windsor, Wethersfield, Glastonbury, Lyme, Preston, and Long Is- 
land. Indeed, both he and Griswold were recognized as far away as Boston, 
and in the old Granary, Copp's Hill, and King's Chapel graveyards can be 
seen many large table-stones from Connecticut sandstone quarries, despite 
the fact that greater Boston gravestone artists were as skillful as those to be 
found anywhere in the British colonies. For some reason, possibly because 
slate stones of the required size could not be easily quarried, a Connecticut 
tablestone soon became the mark of affluence and distinction in the largest 
and most important city of the colonies. 

James Stanclift (1634? - 1712) 
Just as Eva L. Butler's abstracts of the Winthrop manuscripts furnished 
the clue that eventually led to the discovery of George Griswold and his style, 
so the same abstracts sent me scurrying to Boston in search of this other ar- 



18 Connecticut Gravestones 

tist. The Massachusetts Historical Society possesses four or five letters from 
Capt. John Hamlin of Middletown to John Winthrop of New London which 
reveal that the stonecutter's name was Stanclift. It appears that he had made 
a contract with Wait Winthrop of Boston for a tombstone to cost about £4-8- 
0, and this money, according to directions, was to be paid to Nathaniel 
Loring, who in turn was to send to Stanclift forty gallons of molasses. Read- 
ing between the lines it appears that the molasses was delivered but not the 
tombstone, for the "ould man" died not only before the stone was even 
quarried but also without his leaving any record of the transactions. Ap- 
parently hearing of Stanclift's death (a very severe influenza epidemic swept 
through Connecticut at that time) Winthrop dispatched a letter on October 7, 
1712, to his friend Hamlin in Middletown. About seven months later Hamlin 
answered: 



Middletown May the 2^^: 1713. 



M*^ John Winthrop. 



S^ yours of the: 7 of October: Last Came to my hand & I observed 
the Contents am sory I have ben so unfortunate in your small Affaire 
there was no such stones gott before the ould man dyed tho they ware 
payd for and since Little hath ben don of that natuer by reason the 
ould quary was spent and no new one Could be opened til the frost 
was out of the ground: and they had much Stone Ingaged and payd 
for before yours ware spoke for but I hope they will com in time: I 
have spoke with them about the 4 10^: you say your father payd 
them for A tomb ston: but the young men say they know nothing of 
itt: and therefore desier you would inform them when itt was and who 
it was payd so that they may make Enquiry about it for there sattisfac- 
tion this with mine & my wifes harty service to your selfe & Lady is all 
the nedefull at Present 

From your humble servantt 
John Hamlin 

[Superscribed] Capt Hamlin May 2 1713. 

To Mr John Winthrop in New London 
per Capt Georg PhiHps. 

A good two years later, the administrator of Stanclift's estate was still not 
satisfied that the money had ever been paid to Loring, whereupon the justly 
irritated John Winthrop forwarded all the pertinent papers, including 



The Stanclift Family 



19 



Loring's receipt, to Middletown with a stern demand for justice. Hamlin 
then wrote another letter: 



Midletown Novemb'' y^ 2*^ 1715 



Mr John Winthrop 



S*^ inclosed is the papers you gave me about ould m*^ StancUfts Engage- 
ment to your Hon Father About A tomb I have shoed them to his 
Eldest son that Is Administrator on his fathers Estate and he tels me 
If they ware now to be bargained for they woold not be don for halfe 
as much more but I tould him he must perform his fathers Ingagement 
seing he had recevd good part of the mony Long since so then he sayd 
he would do it and now he tels me it is Almost don fitt to set up but he 
thinks it will be best not to set it up till the Spring that the work may 
have the Sumer to settle it before any frost coms to heave it. which 
might rong it If it ware set up before the winter sets in and I advised 
him so to do thinking it might be best this with my harty service to 
your selfe and good Lady Is all the nedefull at present from S^ 

Your humble servantt 
John Hamlin 

[Superscribed] To M*^ John Winthrop Living In New London per Iz- 
rahiah Wetmore papers & Rec ^ for the Tomb at Boston dated 1710. 




"\\ 



r\ 



SVMMER^aCtED 



im, 




Fig. 2 Han [n] ah Sumner 1689. Riverside Burying Ground, Middletown. 



20 Connecticut Gravestones 

These letters leave little doubt but that the "ould man" Stanclift who made 
the original bargain was James, first settler in East Middletown, who died 
October 3, 1712, according to his gravestone, aged "about 78 years." Possibly 
he did some brass and smith work on the side, but a partial list from his es- 
tate, which amounted in all to £191-3-10, shows that he was primarily inter- 
ested in cutting stone: 



quary tools 










05 


14 


08 


Iron and steel and smith tools 










02 


14 


02 


stone cut out of the quary 










07 


04 


04 


brass 










03 


01 


00 


several books 










00 


12 


00 


dwelling hous and shop 










30 


00 


00 


half an acre of land abuting on 


the 


quary 


and the 


quary 


12 


00 


00 


six acres of land at home 










15 


00 


00 



Absolute proof that Stanclift carved any early stones in Middletown has 
not yet been obtained. He was paid £2-8-0 from the estate of Obadiah Allen, 
Jr. (Middletown, 1702), presumably for a gravestone, but unfortunately 
Allen's stone cannot now be found. There are, however, some twelve or fif- 
teen stones in the Riverside Cemetery in Middletown which have many 
characteristics in common, and since none is dated after 1712 (the latest still 
standing is dated 1705) they may safely be credited to the "ould man." For 
the most part these stones have simple, rounded tops, though there are a few 
with square or with rounded, ornamented shoulders. Just as nowadays some 
persons may frequently be identified by their handwriting, so colonial 
stonecutters may frequently be identified by their distinctive peculiarities in 
lettering. Stanclift's peculiarities consisted of his invariable use of capital let- 
ters which were unusually large in proportion to the size of the stone, care- 
fully cut letters with serifs, frequent use of dots or periods between words, 
and, most important of all, a distinctive capital A, sometimes crossed, some- 
times not, but invariably cut with a long horizontal bar like a canopy across 
the top (Figs. 1 and 2). Occasionally he used Roman numerals; and some- 
times when making a double L as in HALL or SHALL he placed the second 
L within the angle of the first. He apparently abhorred a vacant space, for 
his inscriptions usually occupied the whole front surface of the stone and left 
no room for a border. Once in a while he managed to include a fairly long 



The Stanclift Family 



21 



verse, which, incidentally, has a faint resemblance to modem poetry: 



HERE - LYES - OVR - DEACON 
HALL - WHO - STVDYED 
PEACE - WITHALL - WAS 
VPRIGHT - IN - HIS - LIFE! - VOYD 
OF MALIGNANT - STRIFE 
GON - TO - HIS - REST - LEFT VS 
IN - SORROW - DOVBTLES 
HIS - GOOD - WORKS - WILL 
HIM - FOLLOW 




Fig. 3 Richard Smith [Jr.] 1703. Green Burying Ground, Glastonbury. 



22 Connecticut Gravestones 

If all Connecticut gravestones with such canopied capital A's can be at- 
tributed to the first James Stanclift (and there are very few about which I 
have any doubt) then he was the first Connecticut artist to depict a skull. He 
probably had never seen the exquisitely carved winged skulls on Boston 
gravestones else he would never have attempted to imitate them, but it is 
likely that he did hear about them from some Middletown sea captain who 
had sailed down the river and away to Boston to swap cheese for sealing wax 
or tombstones for molasses. At any rate, the little stone for Hannah Sumner 
(Middletown, 1689) (Fig. 2) as well as the stone for Richard Smith, Jr. 
(Glastonbury, 1703) (Fig. 3) are among the very few remaining examples of 
James Stanclift's primitive designs. 

Very likely it was this first James Stanclift who quarried the original cover- 
ing stone on the tomb for Henry, Jr. and Captain Samuel Wolcott (Windsor, 
1709). Unfortunately the present stone appears to be a reproduction. 
Nevertheless the details concerning the construction of this tomb show that it 
was a major undertaking: 

To Stantlif for the covering Stoone 4. .10. .0 
To half the charge of thre men two day to fech two stoones 

from middletown boat victuals and drinke 0. .12. .6 
To carting ye stone up petty charges 2s picking Stoone and 

ccirting to ye burying yard and a Stone bought of Gibs 

to ingrave all 0. .07. .8 

To a barill of lime at hertford fraight and Caryage 0. .07. .0 

To two men to tend masun a day horse to draw small stons & sand 0. .05. .0 

To 2 large Stoones to build on and Carting of them 0. .05. .0 

To carting the top stone to ye burying yard & treating the hands 0. .01. .6 
To cart more Stons a hand to tend masun a day, drink for 

12 hand to lay on ye stone 0. .05. .0 

To ye masun for his work 30s my trobell in this a faire 5s 1. .15. .0 

Stanclift left a widow, Mary, who died in December, 1712; a daughter, 
Martha, who married Thomas Bevin; and two sons, William and James, both 
of whom cut gravestones. The stonecutting art was dominant in the Stanclift 
blood, for the trade was handed down from one generation to the next 
throughout the eighteenth century. 



The Stanclifl Family 



23 




Fig. 4 Phebe Marvil 1707. Duck River Burying Ground, Old Lyme. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



24 



Connecticut Gravestones 



William Stanclift (1687 or 1688 - 1761) 

William Stanclift, elder of the two sons, administered his father's estate, 
probably carved the gravestones for his parents, and because of similarity in 
styles, he seems to have been very closely associated with his father in the 
gravestone business. In fact, there is one stone in Old Lyme (Phebe Marvil, 
1707) (Fig. 4) which has canopied capital A's like those cut by James the first, 
but which should probably be attributed to William's training days because it 
has so many blunders on it, such as backward capital G's and N's, as well as 
some spelling which the father would have been ashamed of: 



HVR - BODY - ONLY 
RESTING - HERE 
HVR - SOVL - IS 
FLED - TWO - A - HIER 
SPEAR 








*^kri I7i< ITS 7^7 





0^ 



f " 



. '^"'^<V 




Fig. 5 Thomas Barber 1713. Simsbury. 



The Stanclift Family 25 







Fig. 6 Olive Stanclift 1719. Portland. 

So far, two stones can positively be attributed to William -- that for 
Nathaniel Hooker (Hartford, 1711), the surface of which has been nearly 
destroyed from shaling, and that for Thomas Barber (Simsbury, 1713), whose 
estate paid "to Will"^ Stancleft for Tombs. 16"." (Fig. 5). It is a safe conclu- 
sion that he also cut the gravestones for his wife, Olive (Wright), who died in 
East Middletown (once Chatham, now Portland) in 1719 (Fig. 6), because 
the headstones are so very much alike. 

From these examples of his work it is possible to determine some of 
William's stone-cutting characteristics. Since the father was near the top in 
his profession, it would have been natural for the son to follow the "ould 
man" in most essentials. Thus we find William generally using capital letters, 
contracted double L's, and sometimes, especially on his early stones, using 
dots or periods between words. But as time went on, William acquired other 
characteristics, most important of which was the four- to eight-petalled 
rosette in the finial (Fig. 6). On the Barber stone this is incomplete and 
hardly noticeable. He was more inclined than the "ould man" to use com- 
bined letters, occasionally combining even three letters into one. To fill in 
vacant spaces William used short wavy lines, and so ingrained became this 
habit that the gravestone hunter should be wary in attributing a stone to Wil- 
liam without at least a few of these meaningless adornments. At different 
stages in his career he acquired other minor peculiarities, such as extending 
the apices of his capital A's a little above the line, carving his capital R's with 
attractive little bustles, and using a script th in the instead of the customary 



26 



Connecticut Gravestones 



thorn. 

By far the most interesting aspect of William's work is the evolution of his 
skull designs. The skull on his father's tablestone is similar to that on the 
stone for John Gill (Portland, 1713) (Fig. 7) and shows the simple triangular 
nose and piercing bullet-hole eyes. Skulls were originally intended to remind 
passers-by of death and so to frighten them, but if any were frightened by this 
skull it must have been from seeing hair growing from a scalped calvarium. 
The sweet, coy skull on the stone for John Lay the third (Old Lyme, 1723) is 
rarely found, for it was only a step in the evolution toward William's common 
full-face skulls, some sad, some ludicrous, but all resembling the pumpkins 
children use on Halloween. One can be positively certain that Elizabeth 
Francis (Newington, 1728) (Fig. 8) was not an inebriate who died from 
pneumonia after washing her hair on a Saturday night, although the picture 
on her gravestone makes it seem so. 











??^'i^ ".?4' ^v%^.^ ^l:y^^#<^^fek^C'^ 



Fig. 7 John Gill 1713. Portland. 



The Stanclift Family 



27 




tE, LIES Ife 

%uzmm 

'TAMES m 
mo DTED Aft 

-■OF'HEF^ W^M 



P' .f^'^,> 



Fig. 8 Elizabeth Francis 1728. Newington. 

On rare occasions William carved a border around his inscription, and he 
also used symbols, such as the pick and shovel alongside the hourglass on the 
stone for Marcy Hale [sic Halle] who was "struck dead by a clap of thunder" 
in Glastonbury, 1719. But except for his skulls, William's stones are, on the 
whole, very plain and very much alike. He was an extraordinarily popular 
stonecutter, nevertheless. In 1724 he swapped Joshua Hempstead a pair of 
gravestones for "8 lb of wooU," and in 1742 he was still shipping uncut stones 
to New London for Hempstead to inscribe. In fact, from about 1710 to about 
1745 he carved innumerable stones which may still be seen in almost every 
old town in the Connecticut River valley south of Enfield. 



James Stanclift (1692 - 1772) 
Of the James Stanclifts who lived on the "Est syd the grate River" in Mid- 
dletown at one time or another during the eighteenth century, one died in in- 
fancy, two more, to the amateur genealogist's delight, considerately moved to 
other towns, and the remainder were direct in line from James the first. 
James the second, as he was sometimes called, on April 4, 1713, agreed to 



28 Connecticut Gravestones 

sell his share of his father's estate to his brother, William, for £31, yet the 
Winthrop-Hamlin correspondence of May 2, 1713, suggests that the two 
brothers were associated in making gravestones. It appears likely, therefore, 
that James had decided to work for William, that is until an influential and 
subtle force by the name of Abigail Bevin made him change his mind. A few 
weeks after he married her, twenty-two-year-old James Stanclift decided to 
go in business for himself, because he then (June 18, 1714) obtained from 
William a small part of the original Stanclift quarry with its "wood timber 
stones mines and minerals," as well as a homelot abutting easterly on some 
common land, which, incidentally, later became the Chatham burial ground. 
A letter written on April 16, 1715, shows that James was on his own when he 
made some step-stones for John Winthrop of New London - and thereby 
hangs a footnote. For these stones Hamlin advanced the money, which 
Winthrop failed to repay, at least until he had received a caustic dunning let- 
ter. "I could not have thought," Hamlin wrote, "A Gentleman of your honor 
and Ability woold have served me such a little trick as to keep back my Just 
due that I payd down for you A year and halfe Ago & Desired no Recom- 
pence of you for my grate trouble I had In the procuring and sending [the 
stones] to you. . . S^ I expect the 7 " by the first operertunity you have becaus 
I nede my money." Winthrop took his time, but finally paid for the stones the 
following August. 

The estate of John Tobee (Middletown, 1728) paid "To James Stantliff for 
Grave Stones . . . £2-4-0," but as these stones cannot now be found it is impos- 
sible to describe his early style. He received £7-5-0 from the estate of Peter 
Pearson (Lyme, 1750), part of which was very probably for a gravestone, be- 
cause the Pearson stone (Fig. 9), except for wording, happens to be a dupli- 
cate of the stone for James's daughter, Sarah Stanclift (Fig. 10), who died in 
East Middletown in 1748. These two stones resemble William's stones in 
general design, but the inscriptions show James using capital letters only at 
the beginning of words, and even then haphazardly. Moreover, the multi- 
foliate rose which had been used long before as the symbol of paradise, and 
which William usually took such pains to carve, became in James's hands 
something more nearly resembling an uninspiring cartwheel. But it would be 
hazardous to lay down any final rules for differentiating the styles of the two 



The Stanclift Family 



29 



I > 



y 



.'"■ lie? the , 
och' of M^^ 



fe' ;''T*\ 



■n 



^ \r pear ion Vv=n0, 

■arted this life 

^ obcrA' 1 i"CD in 

^rhe 04 \ 'car of his Atie I 



y«'ii.?! 



Fig. 9 Peter Pearson 1750. Peck Burying Ground, Lyme. 





Lie fTi' f 
/BoclvoFiSar 
p>' Daughter dF ^'-^ 
IcTme^ancr Abigail S^ai^ 
hift i\^ho Departed this 
i life luiK- the 12 T~-.ii^ 
, r\,e;ed 2,-^ \ ears 

i'^^ou are but cKiR: 



Fig. 10 Sarah Stanclift 1748. Portland. 



30 



Connecticut Gravestones 




vv ilip bot-f 



r 
.♦>■ 



lepi.embei* > 



"> r/^vt 



Wit" 



^v 



^ A^e-ir- oi «h» 



Fig. 11 Thomas Giddings 1749. Joshuatown Burying Ground, Lyme. 



brothers, especially since an occasional stone was carved with William's capi- 
tal letters and James's flat rosettes (one in Newington), suggesting that either 
the two men greatly influenced one another, or were more closely associated 
than the records indicate.^ 

Three signed receipts for money paid for gravestones in the Thomas and 
Sarah Giddings estates-' (Lyme, 1749 and 1755) reveal that James was 
making gravestones well beyond middle age. However, the lettering on the 
stone for Thomas Giddings (1754) (Fig. 11) is indistinguishable from that 
used by Thomas Johnson, one of the best Connecticut stone engravers of 
colonial times. Sometime before 1761, James Stanclift and Gideon Hale had 
joined with various members of the Johnson family to form a "quarry 
company," which eventually sold out to Nathaniel Shaler and Joel Hall about 
1788. Inasmuch as James Stanclift was paid for the Giddings stone, a stone 
which shows many of Thomas Johnson's characteristics, it appears that 
Stanclift's individuality as a stonecutter was lost after he joined the company, 
perhaps sometime in the 1750s. After his death at the age of eighty, his inven- 
tory listed "Part of an old Gold Neck Lace . . . Quarry Stones. . [and] . . one 



The Stanclift Family 31 

Slate Stone," showing that despite many occupational hazards he was actively 
engaged until the end. He was survived by his wife, many daughters, and two 
sons, Comfort and James. This James, sometimes called "James ye 3rd," was 
still better known as "James of Chatham." He is also said to have made 
gravestones, and although his name appears fairly frequently in Middletown 
estates, so far no stones have been found which can definitely be attributed 
to him. 

James Stanclift (1712 - 1785) 

As mentioned before, there were many James Stanclifts living in the 
eighteenth century, and just to make it hard, the one most commonly known 
as "James Stanclift, Junior" was actually the son of William. Though little 
was said about this James, he has been the easiest to trace because his 
whereabouts from time to time may be easily determined merely by noting 
locations and dates of his distinctive style of gravestone. He had more 
originality and imagination than his uncle, James the second. 

Anyone with more than a cursory interest in colonial gravestones of 
Hartford County must have had his curiosity aroused by an unusual type of 
stone in the old Wintonbury (Bloomfield) and Simsbury graveyards [also one 
in Granby, two or three in Farmington, four or five in North Canton (or West 
Simsbury), and at least one in North Hartford]. Except in size and wording, 
most of these stones are duplicates of one another, yet they must have caught 
the public fancy at one time because they are fairly common. The most strik- 
ing feature of these stones is the bizarre border design, so bizarre as to sug- 
gest a series of kidneys joined together with a rope, but which unquestionably 
was intended to represent fruit or flowers growing on a vine (Figs. 12 and 
13). Early New England stonecutters, particularly in Massachusetts, usually 
filled their borders with various figures, such as pomegranates, figs, ears of 
corn, hearts, or birds, all symbolic of the soul or of the promised land, so the 
vines on these particular stones were probably meant as symbols of the soul 
reaching upward toward eternal light. Besides the unusual borders, the skulls 
are distinctive, too, with their deep, straight, wide and toothless mouths, trun- 
cated noses, broad foreheads, and their corrugated crowns balanced 
precariously on their tops. The stiff, angular appendages, looped back like 



32 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 12 Pelatiah Mills Esq. 1762. Bloomfield. 



window drapes, are supposed to represent wings of graceful angels. In con- 
trast to the borders, which appear to have been cut from a stencil because 
they are almost symmetrically perfect, the lettering is uneven, and there is 
hardly a stone that does not have an error, frequently in the inscription, more 
often in the verses of which this artist was so fond. Even on his few master- 
pieces, with their three- or four-stanza poems, errors in lettering stand out 
conspicuously (Fig. 13). 

All of these stones as well as their corresponding probate papers were 
searched for the name of this unusual stonecutter, but only the estate of 
Pelatiah Mills, Esquire (Fig. 12), yielded the desired information. One of the 
administrators of this estate "paid to James Sancliff for tomb-Stones for 
father and grandfather. . . £5-10-0." This was somewhat of a surprise inas- 
much as neither this type of border nor anything like it is to be found in the 
Middletown area where the Stanclifts lived. There is, however, one stone for 
"Elizabeth Wedo of Mr David Latimor" (East Middletown, 1754) (Fig. 14), 
now broken and shaled, which shows the same odd skull and wings, and, 
therefore, may safely be attributed to James Stanclift "Junior," particularly 



The Stanclift Family 



33 



since it also shows his characteristic blunders in lettering. He did not 
develop his distinctive border until after he had arrived in Simsbury, because 
one of his earliest stones there (Joseph Tuller, 1756) (Fig. 15) shows his final 
design gradually evolving in the finial. A similar stone is in West Simsbury 
(Canton) and six or seven in Canton, one with crossbones. 






1 * 








o' Vs,_^^Ke 1wn.. '_;%m "^Hi^" "^^fpK '. - 
'? holloa N'-1t^;r-=S%tl5epAr^fKtiraC2, 

^hT\n htn C^mtsto C^W him henc 

nrt"- ^ 

fc^ .|The \\'ido morns -lhe ChiklrtnU'^ 

' " "' u^ ^\\ Txi^vUi Fern. ■• 

w 




Fig. 13 Sargt. John Hubbert 1760. Bloomfield. 



34 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Bates's Simsbury records show that this James Stanclift had left East Mid- 
dletown sometime between 1756 and 1759; but he did not remain in 
Simsbury very long for neither his name nor style of gravestone can be found 
there after 1764. 

It was still another surprise, on a subsequent gravestone hunt, to find this 
type of stone in the Woodbury-New Milford region, where it is also very com- 
mon. There is one such stone in Stratford; and despite stiff competition from 
such excellent stonecutters as Thomas Gold and Nathaniel(?) Lamson, 
Stanclift appears to have been the most popular stonecutter of Newtown. 
His own gravestone (Fig. 16) is in South Britain, and the records of that town 
reveal that he had arrived there sometime before September, 1764. 






mi 






fee a/7 Y^^aroFj 

Fig. 14 Eliz[a]beth Latimore 1754. Portland. 



The Stanclift Family 



35 



The one disconcerting fact that had to be explained was that James 
StancHft's gravestone was cut in the style which he himself had created and 
made so popular. Could he, like Josiah Manning of Windham, have cut his 
own gravestone before he died? This idea had to be given up, because 
throughout the Southbury-Newtown area this style of gravestone continues 
well into the 1790s, and he could hardly have left so many uninscribed stones 
in his estate. There is considerable suggestive evidence that stones of this 
style bearing dates after 1785 were made by his son, still another James 
Stanclift, who was born in East Middletown in 1756. Even though they 
closely follow the style of the Simsbury stones, these late stones appear on 
close examination to have been cut by a less certain hand. The borders are 
not quite so regular, the lettering is frequently more shallow, the noses are a 
little broader, and the wings are not so angular. There are unusual Stanclift 
stones in Bloomfield for Solomon Burr (1773) and John Burr (1769) but noth- 
ing in probate concerning them. 



^^s^pn fon fdWfYf 






->x. 



^' 



Fig. 15 Joseph TuIIer 1756. Simsbury. 




36 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 16 James Stanclift [Jr.] 1785. South Britain. 



Hard luck seemed to pursue James Stanclift "Junior" throughout life. Al- 
though he belonged to a well-established family of stonecutters, he was prob- 
ably obliged to leave his native town because of some tough competition 
from the Johnsons and other stone engravers whose names are as yet un- 
known. Stanclift was not much of a speller, yet he worked very hard in 
Simsbury, and the very intensity of his drive compelled him to make errors in 
simple words which he certainly knew how to spell. He must have spent days 
and days working on some stones and almost always with the same result - 
an exasperating error which he later tried to correct as best he could. Al- 
though he made gravestones for most of the important families in Simsbury, 
he apparently was not financially successful, for he owned no land, and his 
only business transactions that have so far come to light (aside from that in 
the Mills estate) are records of his debts, one to Isaac Barber for £4-16-2, 
dated 1762. Probably having heard the rumor that the inhabitants of South- 
bury were "very numerus and welthy," he went there with his thirteen 
children, only to encounter a series of real tragedies. His eldest son, George, 
who also made gravestones, enlisted in the army on August 15, and died in 



The Stanclift Family 37 

New York on September 1, 1776. A second son, Thomas, enlisted the same 
day, and died on September 18, according to his now broken and disintegrat- 
ing gravestone, "in the service of his country." Another son, WiUiam just 
turned sixteen, enlisted in May, 1777, was captured within a month, and was 
dead before 1779. James himself died December 27, 1785, in his seventy- 
fourth year. He was survived by his second wife, Mary (Lewis), most of his 
daughters, and a son, James, who also marched off to war with his older 
brothers, but who returned to South Britain to carry on the family tradition at 
least until the turn of the nineteenth century. 



NOTES 



1. This Gibbs has not as yet been definitely identified. He may have engraved the stones on 
the sides of this tomb. This lettering is somewhat similar to the lettering on the grave- 
stones for William Allen (1701), Mary Allen (1703), Kathern Gibbs (1660), and the 
Reverend Ephraim Huit (1644). There is a similar stone in Springfield dated 1664. This 
lettering resembles George Griswold's lettering in many ways, yet differs from it in some 
particulars, notably the capital H's and Y's. The stone for Kathern Gibbs has capital A's 
with canopies somewhat similar to those cut by James StancHft, but the texture of this stone 
shows that it did not originate in the Stanclift quarries. In a previous article the Huit stone 
was tentatively and perhaps mistakenly attributed to Griswold. (Caulfield note) 

2. Dr. Caulfield apparently intended to rewrite this paragraph. His annotations are confusing 
but include the following. "James Stanclift & Quarry company - mentioned in Thomas 
Johnson will dated Dec. 1774. James the second died 1772. James of Chatham." In dis- 
cussing the lettering on the stones he corrects "Thomas Johnson" to "the Thomas Johnsons" 
and repeats that James of Chatham is the James Stanclift who owned the quarry and 
worked with the Johnsons rather than James II as indicated in the original paragraph. 
James of Chatham is James Stanclift III, the son of James II. 

John Gill was the brother of Ebenezer Gill who was paid for the gravestones for Jonathan 
Smith (Wethersfield, 1728), and Ebenezer's name also appears among the creditors of the 
estate of Joseph Cole (Rocky Hill, 1733). These gravestones, however, so closely resemble 
William Stanclift's stones that one is obliged to conclude either that both men made stones 
which are now indistinguishable or that Gill was acting merely as William's agent. There is 
nothing in the probate papers to indicate that the Gills carved gravestones. (Caulfield 
note) 

3. Mrs. Sherry Stancliff of Cincinnati, Ohio, has worked intensively on the genealogy and 
gravestones of the Stanclift family in recent years. A short synopsis of her work on James 
Stanclift I appeared in Markers IV, pp. 154-157. This article notes that Mrs. Stancliff has 
found "about 60 stones cut by James StancHft." Her article includes a map of the locations 
where his stones are found, a discussion of his style, genealogical information and a diary 



38 



Connecticut Gravestones 



entry verifying James Stanclift I as the carver of the Rebecca Minor 1702 stone in the We- 
quetequock burying ground in Stonington. 

However, most of Mrs. StanclifPs work is as yet unpublished. In letters to J. A. Slater 
she has estabUshed James Stcuiclift III (son of James II) definitely as a carver and at- 
tributed the Thomas and Saiah Giddings stones, mentioned by Dr. Caulfield, to him. She 
indicates that Dr. Caulfield seemed to have trouble identifying the work of Thomas 
Johnson 11 (Deacon Thomas--see Connecticut Gravestones V). She notes that this Thomas 
Johnson purchased Comfort St£inclift's portion of the Stanclift quarry in 1768 and was a 
business pcU"tner and neighbor of James Stanclift III. She further notes Dr. Caulfield's 
statement that Stanclift was paid in 1755 for stones bearing Johnson lettering. This 
reference is probably to the Giddings stones. Mrs. Stancliff states that the man who let- 
tered the Giddings stones was still making gravestones nine years after Thomas Johnson 
IPs death and six years before the death of James Stanclift III. 

Scholars interested in the Stanclifts should realize that Comfort Stanclift was also a 
carver cuid that Mrs. Stancliff has computer listings of the location, date and attributions of 
the great majority of the extant Stanclift stones. 





.:^ 



Fig. 1 Abiel Grant 1762. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 
Carved by Ebenezer Drake. Photograph by Farbers. 



Ebenezer Drake 39 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES III 
Ebenezer Drake (1739 - 1803) 



In one respect Ebenezer Drake was the most interesting of all Connecticut 
stone engravers. Whenever one of these colonial craftsmen made a design 
that pleased his fancy he usually continued to use that design, frequently with 
minor variations, for long periods if not throughout the remainder of his ac- 
tive life. But not Ebenezer Drake. Constantly critical of his own handiwork, 
he so frequently and drastically altered his style that, without convincing col- 
lateral evidence, it would be difficult to believe that so many different types 
of gravestones were made by the same man. Behind this self-criticism was a 
volatile artistic temperament, and though gravestones even in his time were 
not usually considered as the proper medium for bold experiments, Drake 
enjoyed the satisfaction of having his adventurous and imaginative creations 
generally accepted. For descriptive purposes his stones may be roughly 
separated into groups, although the gradual evolution of certain characteris- 
tics may be easily traced from stone to stone. 

The earliest stone that can be definitely attributed to Drake is the one in 
South Windsor for Abiel Grant, cabinet-maker, who died in 1762 (Fig. 1). 
The adminstrators of this estate entered in their accounts: "To Cash p" 
Eben'^ Drake for Tomb Stones. . . £2-10-0." The feature of this stone that 
first attracts the eye is the moon-like face which is remarkably expressive for 
having been made with so few lines, all of them drawn with a compass. Many 
stonecutters used the compass in designing gravestones, but few with more 
apparent satisfaction than Ebenezer Drake in his early days. Although the 
face (or skull) on Grant's stone is not a perfect circle, it is very close to one, 
and the eyes and brows are certainly arcs of a circle. Moreover, the compass 
had to be moved only a very small distance to make another arc for the 
turned-up mouth. 

There are many "compass" stones similar to Grant's in Windsor and South 
Windsor, a few of them bearing dates in the 1750s. Despite the dates, all of 
these stones were probably carved in the 1760s because, from the standpoint 
of both design and lettering, the earliest stone made by Drake was, I believe, 



40 



Connecticut Gravestones 



that for Sarah Stedman, dated 1762 (Fig. 2).^ More than any other of his 
stones, this bears the earmarks of an inexperienced novice. Drake was about 
twenty-three years old when it was made. The mouths and noses on many of 
these early stones appear as straight lines instead of arcs, and the borders 
vary considerably, yet "compass" eyes and brows are obvious on all (Fig. 3). 
As time went on, Drake's faces became more shapely, although he continued 
to make good use of his compass until about 1775. When he made any finial 
design at all on his early stones he used a four-leaved clover, probably be- 
cause that was easier to make with a compass than a multifoliate rose. Also, 
on his early stones he usually imitated another stonecutter who was popular 
in East Windsor in the 1760s by cutting five misplaced teeth below each 
chin.^ 




4-.. 



Fig. 2 Sarah Stedman 1762. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



Ebenezer Drake 



41 




Fig. 3 Tryphena Grant 1764. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 



If Sarah Stedman's gravestone was the first to be made by Drake, it is in- 
teresting to note the evolution in his lettering from this crude beginning. On 
this early stone the a's in "Sarah" are backward but elsewhere-' they are nor- 
mal; and there are also noticeable deviations in the letters f, g, o, and y. 
Within a very short time, however, there was a striking improvement in his 
lettering so that by 1770 it was very good, although the hypercritical may still 
find an occasional error in spelling or in spacing as late as the 1790s. After 
1770, for some peculiar reason, Drake always carved the word who in italics. 

The drape-like wings on Abiel Grant's stone reveal another feature that is 
helpful in distinguishing Ebenezer's stones. From these simple drapes he 
went on to wavy lines and intricate ornamentation as he became more and 
more skillful with his chisel. Indeed, he loved to display this extraordinary 
skill so much that it is difficult to find one of his stones without numerous 
wavy lines or elaborate decorations (Fig. 4). From the borders alone, there- 
fore, it is safe to attribute to Drake the double "froglet" stone for the Loomis 
boys, Giles and Joel (Fig. 5), who "did" in South Windsor, one in 1751 and 
the other in 1765. 



42 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 4 Ame Bissell 1766. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 




/ 



>i 



EJ^^IV: J•J^K;;^r;-'"y|" 



J^ i^ 



'S^] 
C '/ 

rf^ (<(/ 






Fig. 5 Giles and Joel Lomis 1751, 1765. 
Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor 



Ebenezer Drake 43 

It apparently took Drake a few years before he created a border to his 
hking. Some of his early stones have no borders or some sort of vine growing 
upside down. Then, after experimenting with various designs, he developed a 
border with a distinct geometric appearance which he obviously admired 
greatly for he used it on so many of his stones. These might be called his 
"geometric border" stones. The simplest form of this design, seen on the 
Abiel Grant stone (Fig. 1), consists essentially of a cHmbing vine with a stalk, 
which in view of Drake's love of curves, is strangely unreal and angular. 
Each large space was filled with a broad double leaf of a formal, unnatural 
appearance. By varying the number of double leaves, decorating each with a 
short curved line, and by avoiding empty spaces Drake was able to vary the 
complexity of these borders, yet they all have the appearance of geometric 
fretwork rather than that of graceful growing vines. The simplified form ap- 
pears on most of the stones made in the 1760s, and reaches its most complex 
appearance in the 1770s (Fig. 6). During the 1780s Drake temporarily 
neglected this motif but returned to it in the 1790s. On all of these 
"geometric border" stones he carved a pinwheel in the finial. Occasionally he 
made a double border and a double pinwheel. 

Many of Drake's faces are also notable for the pains he took in making 
life-like eyes. Since heads on gravestones were originally intended as skulls, 
this attempt to make fetching eyes was carrying things a little far. Neverthe- 
less, Drake seemed to take great pride in his ability to make such eyes. One 
of the earliest and best examples is the face on the stone for Kezia Elsworth 
(Windsor, 1762), a stone which is otherwise true to type for that period, in- 
cluding the winsome double chin. Thereafter, even on very small stones with 
little crude faces, Drake seldom failed to cut at least a few marks to repre- 
sent both inner and outer canthi at the juncture of the lids. 

It was essentially this uninhibited desire to carve expressive eyes and ex- 
travagant ornamentation that led Drake to design some of the most ludicrous 
gravestones in all New England. After chipping away stone from above and 
below the eyes, he was left with large hideous noses and pouting mouths. 
Sometimes, as on the stone for Ruth Mather (Windsor, 1791) (Fig. 7), he 
spent many days making the extraordinarily elaborate wings and crown; but 
at other times, as on the stone for John Allyn (Windsor, 1796) (Fig. 8), he 



44 



Connecticut Gravestones 



made the same scare-crow face but with simple, undecorated wings. On a 
great many other stones, such as that for John Bhss (South Windsor, 1780) 
(Fig. 9), Drake carved a thick rope-like border to frame the face, which only 
made it still more hideous. By this time his imagination was on the loose and 
he didn't know where to stop. But on all of these "monkey" stones he carved 
an incongruous dimple in the chin, which was apparently his trade-mark, for 
no other stonecutter added this extra-gentle touch. 





'j'^:^/]^ John \ /yi 
flion /vho /^X, 



'slJ r 



n 



/ 



n 






i . / 



(J 






Fig. 6 Deacon John Willson 1774. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 



Cbenezer Drake 



45 




,-^ 



PM/lh,D;iu;^p! 
4 ihcr.DiVi.D'j 



Fig. 7 Ruth Mather 1791. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 




n!-' /'.111,. \u-,\] ^m 




Fig. 8 Ens". John Allyn 1796. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 



46 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Inasmuch as Drake changed his style so frequently, it is probably safe to 
attribute to him the "mustache" stones which are commonly found in the 
same graveyards where his other stones prevail. If he did not make these 
stones, at least they show his influence to a marked degree.'' An unusual ex- 
ample of this type is the stone for Deacon Matthew Rockwell (South 
Windsor, 1782) with a communion service prominently displayed. There is a 
similar stone in Tolland. Drake continued to assert his artistic independence 
until about 1800 when, his age having crept up on him, he finally succumbed 
to the more conservative gravestone fashion of the day with its common 
willow-and-urn design. 




1^5 rl '^r.T/f.-^L- ij::r/fi 

Fig. 9 John Bliss 1780. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 



Ebenezer Drake 47 

John Keith's manuscript account book in the Connecticut Historical 
Society's collection mentions an Ebenezer Drake living "w^ Erastus Woolcott 
att [East] Windsor" in June, 1754, an Ebenezer Drake "of Wintonbury" in 
1757, and an Ebenezer Drake "of Torrington" in 1759. The first of these was 
unquestionably the stonecutter, because Windsor estates frequently disclose 
that the gravestones were quarried east of the river. Thus, the estate of 
Amos Filley (Windsor, 1785) paid Ebenezer Drake not only for the grave- 
stones but also "for ferryages when sd Stones were brought over." According 
to Gay's history of the Drake family, this Ebenezer was born June 12, 1739, 
the son of Deacon Nathaniel and Elizabeth (Warner) Drake of East Windsor 
(Wapping). He married Martha Stedman in February, 1762. He is thought 
to have died in Paris, New York, soon after he moved there about 1803. So 
far, other sources have yielded little additional information. 

Except that Ebenezer Drake sold a small part of Stony Hill to Frederick 
Mills in 1786, no records of his owning any quarry have been found. Two of 
his brothers, however, appear to have been stonecutters. On August 1, 1766, 
Ebenezer Grant of East Windsor paid Silas Drake: 

By Hewing 83 feet Stone @ 1/ 4/3/0 
By 4 Days work laying d° @ 4/ 0/16/0 

And Nathaniel Drake, Jr., who is known to have owned a quarry, was paid: 

Jan 28 1768 by 83 foot Stone at y^ Hill May 1766 @ 6^ 2/1/6 

May 19 1769 by 2 load Ruff Stone at y^ Hill 1/0/0 

Ebenezer's gravestones came from at least three quarries. Most of them 
were made from a coarse brick-red sandstone which was quarried in Wap- 
ping, some originated in the Windsor quarries, and many others of a darker, 
smooth, fine-grained stone appeared to have come from the East Long- 
meadow quarries. 

A few disturbing facts about the Drake gravestones remain to be ex- 
plained. The estate of Ebenezer Bliss (East Windsor, 1776) disbursed: 



To Cash pd Silas Drake for Tomb Stones 2/8/0 

For fetching home sd Stones &c 0/6/0 



48 Connecticut Gravestones 

Also, the estate of Joshua Pitkin (East Hartford, 1775) "Paid to Elisha Stanly 
for Grave Stones. . . 1/13/0." The Bliss and Pitkin gravestones are indistin- 
guishable from others made by Ebenezer Drake. It seems likely, therefore, 
that Silas either acted as Ebenezer's agent or assisted him in making grave- 
stones. Silas's name is also mentioned in the John Bliss estate (East 
Windsor, 1780), but there is no other evidence that he was in the gravestone 
business by himself.^ Elisha Stanley lived in East Hartford, where he owned 
a shop and a sawmill. It is difficult to believe that he made the Pitkin graves- 
tone, for not only was the amount of money insufficient but also his probate 
papers fail to show any evidence that he was in the gravestone business.^ 

Ebenezer Drake was an astonishingly successful stone engraver. Begin- 
ning with a few stones crudely lettered and designed he became within ten or 
fifteen years the most popular stonecutter in Hartford County. At least one- 
half of all gravestones before 1800 in the South Windsor, Windsor, Bloom- 
field, and Wapping graveyards were made by him; they are common in towns 
nearby; and an occasional stone is to be seen in more distant towns such as 
Norfolk, Middletown, Colchester, and Old Lyme. In Essex there are many of 
his stones for various members of the Hayden family. It is difficult to under- 
stand such popularity. Today we should much prefer Drake's simple primi- 
tives but in his time fantastic nightmares were the rage. It all goes to prove 
that fashions in hats, automobiles or tombstones are beyond the ken of mor- 
tal man. 



NOTES 



1. However, there is a triple stone in the Palisados Burying Ground (Windsor) for Elijah Hol- 
comb, and two other (unnamed) infants, dated 1761. This stone is similar to, and even 
more simple than, the Sarah Stedman stone and has at least equal claim to being Drcike's 
earliest stone. 

2. Gershom Bartlett 

3. On the same stone. 

4. Caulfield's own copy has written in the words "Lathrop?" and "substitute." Stones such as 
that in Figure 8 (Connecticut Gravestones XV) are now attributed to Thatcher Lathrop and 
similar ones also to his son Luther Lathrop. 



Ebenezer Drake 49 



5. It can be seen that Dr. Caulfield certainly felt that Ebenezer Drake was the carver of all of 
the "Drake type" stones. In addition to his note that Silas Drake was paid for gravestones 
in one probate record and that his name appeared in another estate for ein amount consis- 
tent with payment for gravestones, Kevin Sweeney (letter to J. Slater) states that he has 
seen a third payment to Silas Drake. Dr. Caulfield also notes that Nathaniel Drake, Jr., 
owned a quarry, and Sweeney (letter above) states that Nathaniel called himself a "stone 
engraver." 

The great variety of stones involved leaves the question of whether or not Ebenezer 
Drake carved all of the stone types attributed to him - an open one. What is needed is a 
careful quantitative study to evaluate this. Dr. Caulfield's evidence that Ebenezer at least 
carved all the major types attributed to him is stronger than his article indicates, for his 
manuscript notes contain probate evidence of payment to Ebenezer Drake for a number of 
additional stones plus several additional probate payments consistent with gravestone costs. 

Although Dr. Caulfield's text lists only probate records for the Abiel Grant (1762) 
(Fig. 1) and Amos Filley (1785) stones, his manuscript notes contain probate evidence from 
several additional estates as follows: 

1. Matthew Allyn 1769 Windsor 

"To Ebenezer Drake for Grave Stones 1-15-0" 

2. Nathaniel Hubbard 1773 Windsor (stone in Bloomfield) 

"To Eben"^ Drakes bill for Tomb Stones 5-10-0" 

3. Elijah Drake 1783 Bloomfield 

"to Eben Drake for a pr of Grave Stones 1-10-90" 

4. Jerijah Barber 1792 Windsor 

"May 15 1793 paid Ebenezer Drake for pr grave stones 4-2-6" 

"May 11, 1793 Paid Ebenezer Drake for fetching grave Stones 0-3-0" 

5. Naomi Filley 1795 Windsor 

"December paid Ebenezer Drake for the Grave stones 2-10-0" 

6. John Allyn 17% Windsor (Fig. 8) 

"Due from the estate to Eben Drake for Tomb Stones 3-04-0" 

7. Orson Moore 1800 Windsor 

"Paid to Ebenezer Drake for Grave Stones $15.00" 

In addition, the Caulfield manuscript lists Ebenezer Drake as being paid in the follow- 
ing estates, although gravestones are not specifically mentioned. 

1. Joshua Loomis 1765 S. Windsor 

2. Roger Wolcott 1767 Windsor 

"Thomas Johnson for table stone"; "grave stone of Ebenezer Drake 4" 

3. Joseph Wood 1771 Windsor 

Ebenezer Drake adminstrator 

4. Joseph Egleston 1774 S.Windsor 0-13-0 

5. John WUson 1774 Windsor Paid 1-15-0 (Fig. 6) 

6. Elizabeth Cadwell 1776 Farmington 3-5-0 

7. Jerusha Whiting 1776 Hartford 1-16-0 

8. William Thrall 1783 Windsor 4-10-0 

(double stone ~ Eunice) 

9. Mary Roberts 1791 Windsor 

To a Journey after the tombstones 0-8-0 
To Ebenezer Drake 3-10-0 

6. Elisha Stanley's own gravestone in East Hartford is a typical Drcike stone. 



50 



Connecticut Gravestones 



^\o 



Y 



lhcU()cly(){' iMaiy 



.A 



V- 



. \i\ 



Fig. 1 Mary Chapman 1729. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 
Photograph by James Slater. 




ny 6 year of | 









Fig. 2 John Alger [Jr.] 1735. Duck River Burying Ground, Old Lyme. 



The Glastonbury Lady 51 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES IV 
"The Glastonbury Lady" 



One of the pleasures of gravestone hunting in Connecticut is that source 
material is seemingly inexhaustible and therefore the hunter's interest sel- 
dom wanes. Regardless of the number of stones he may learn to identify 
there will still remain many more that defy detection and only stimulate his 
curiosity. Some of these unidentified stones may be separated into special 
groups, and although the stones of any one group may be superficially dis- 
similar they sometimes have enough of the same characteristics in shape, 
design or lettering to make it certain that they were made by the same man. 
One such group of stones is the subject of this paper. Despite the fact that 
the artist still remains aggravatingly elusive, we have long regarded him as a 
very dear friend whom we have affectionately, though perhaps incongruously, 
nicknamed "The Glastonbury Lady." He acquired this name because he was 
the most popular stonecutter in Glastonbury in the 1730s, many of his best 
stones were made for women, and the hair arrangement on his faces, even on 
stones for men, usually has a distinctly feminine appearance. 

This man made three different types of gravestones, all of them having a 
skillfully-cut, curving upper edge. Occasionally one finds artistic scrolls, and 
small rounded protuberances which must have been difficult to complete, in- 
asmuch as an accidental blow with a heavy hammer would have been enough 
to break them off. This delicately carved edge is very well shown on the un- 
adorned stones, those without faces or skulls, such as the stone for Mary 
Chapman, who died in Windsor in 1729 (Fig. 1). Stones of this type seldom 
have a border. 

A second type of gravestone, much more rare than the previous type, 
shows very crude skull designs similar to those seen on early William 
Stanclift stones. These skulls are usually simple circles with triangular noses 
and eyes, prominent teeth, and a few straggling hairs for wings (Fig. 2). The 
upper edges, though gracefully curved, generally lack both the scrolls and 
rounded protuberances. Since the artist was certainly capable of much better 
work, one might suppose that this was his cheapest type of gravestone, good 



52 



Connecticut Gravestones 



enough only for children, except that a stone of this type marks the grave of 
Captain Samuel Sedgwick (Fig. 3), who died in West Hartford in 1735. 

The third and most interesting type shows that at his best this stonecutter 
was indeed a skillful artist. At the time of his greatest popularity (ca. 1720- 
1740) there were very few men in Connecticut who could compare with him 
in both imagination and craftsmanship. In contrast to stones of the second 
type, the stones for Robert MacCleave in Portland (Fig. 4), Martha Smith in 
Wethersfield (Fig. 5) and Feles Pelet in Glastonbury (Fig. 6), all good ex- 
amples of his work, must have taken considerable time and care to cut. This 
third type shows three-dimensional sculpturing, which was something new in 
central Connecticut that early in the eighteenth century. The resulting faces 
with their long straight noses, bulging cheeks, and pouting mouths, frequently 
expressing various emotions, are characteristic, as are the ornate neck-pieces 
and geometric borders. The borders were made simply by cutting a series of 
alternating triangles and carving a long serpentine line in the remaining 
elevated stone (Fig. 5). 




Fig. 3 Captain Samuell Sedgwick 1735. West Hartford. 



The Glastonbury Lady 



53 



Because of such marked variation one may rightfully ask for the evidence 
that these three different types of gravestones were made by the same man. 
Besides the previously mentioned curving upper edge the answer is in the let- 
tering. It is true that a few other stonecutters had somewhat similar 
peculiarities, such as a mixture of small and capital letters (as in DYed, hiS 
and ThomaS), occasional misspelled words (as FeleS for Phyllis or Capten 
for Captain) and hooked numeral I's at the beginning of a date. On a good 
many stones guide lines are still visible, and for some peculiar reason the 
words "Who" and "Age" almost always begin with capitals. In addition to 
these peculiarities, "The Glastonbury Lady" had two which were very much 
his own " an ampersand (&) with its tail protruding upward an unusual dis- 
tance, and a small "a" with a prominent bulge in front. This pot-bellied "a" 
occurs on practically every one of his stones, and is his most important iden- 
tifying characteristic, for it was used apparently by no one else. Additional 
evidence that one man made at least two of the three types here described 
may be seen in Wethersfield, where the grave of Abigail Kilborn is marked 
by a headstone of type III and a footstone of type II (Fig. 7).^ 




no llkrr- y J j^E^nl 



rh^ -^^^f-'-v/ccir .^ 



■'y. 



Fig. 4 Robert MacCleave 1730. Portland. 



54 



Connecticut Gravestones 



These stones are most commonly found east of the river, particularly in 
Glastonbury and in Old Lyme, although there are a few in many of the river 
towns below West Springfield and in most of the shore towns between New 
London and New Haven. From this geographic distribution as well as from 
the texture of the stones it may safely be assumed that this artist lived near 
the East Middletown (Portland) quarries. In the absence of any definite 
records, however, one can only speculate on his identity, although a number 
of possibilities readily come to mind. The stones for John and Love Mack 
(1734 and 1735), in an old neglected graveyard on Blood Street in Lyme, 
were definitely made by this elusive person, and John's estate paid "John Mer- 
vin for Grave Stons. . . 01-19-06." Very likely this refers to the John Marvin 
who died in Lyme about 1741, although his probate papers fail to reveal any- 
thing connected with stonecutting. So far as is known, he never lived near 
Middletown, nor is it known that he was paid for any other stone. He, there- 
fore, was probably acting merely as an agent. 



11 







The Sf' vearof'^yvi-t' 




Fig. 5 Martha Smith 1731. Wethersfield. 



The Glastonbury Lady 



55 




0r^M-TKomaS Pelf ^- 1 

Fig. 6 Feles Pelet 1730/31. Green Burying Ground, Glastonbury. 




Fig. 7 Abigail Kilborn 1739. Footstone. Wethersfield. 



56 Connecticut Gravestones 

Another possibility is the second James Standift (1692-1772). He is 
known to have made gravestones in the 1720s, and the similarity of type II 
stones to those made by William Stanclift could thus be easily explained. 
The flat rosettes in the finials on Love Mack's stone in Lyme, and on the 
stone for Captain John Holmes (1734) in East Haddam, are similar to those 
made by this James Stanclift. In addition, the faces on some of the later 
stones made by James Stanclift "Junior" (William's son) appear to have been 
copied from "Glastonbury Lady" stones. But there is one serious objection to 
any of the Stanclifts as possibilities. The only stones which may be credited 
to them have very little else in common with the stones under consideration. 

Also to be considered is Daniel Brewer, who was born in Glastonbury in 
1699, and who later moved to East Middletown, where he bought and sold 
lots of land and worked in the quarry business with the Stanclifts. Brewer 
sold gravestones to Joshua Hempstead in 1736, and it so happens that there 
is a typical "Glastonbury Lady" stone in New London, made about 1736 
(dated 1735). Also, Richard Goodale, Brewer's father-in-law, has a typical 
stone; and the little gravestone for David, son of Daniel and Elener Brewer, 
while it does not have the classical fat "a," does have the unusual ampersand 
and "Age" beginning with a capital. There the circumstantial evidence ends. 
But "Glastonbury Lady" stones are seldom found dated later than 1741, 
whereas Brewer was still in business at least until 1751 and 1752 when he 
shipped ten pairs of gravestones to New London. His name occurs, usually in 
connection with trivial matters, in various account books and in a few estates, 
but there is nothing definite as yet to help identify his style. Until more posi- 
tive information comes to light. Brewer remains only a possibility. 

Since stonecutting was the most lucrative business in East Middletown at 
that time, any one of a number of men could also have made these stones. 
John Miller, for example, would fit the bill because the Millers made grave- 
stones. He died in 1745, owning "a Ston orger. . . Iron weges to coot Ston" 
and a few other tools commonly used in the business. And then there was 
John Edwards, about whom little is known except that he lived in East Mid- 
dletown and sold gravestones to Joshua Hempstead. There are other pos- 
sibilities but we leave, with regret, to someone else all the fun of definitely 
identifying "The Glastonbury Lady."^ 



The Glastonbury Lady 57 

NOTES 



1. On rare occasions one may find stones such as those for Joseph and Mary Maken (1725) 
and Thankful Porter (1741) in East Hartford with designs by Johnson and lettering by "The 
Glastonbury Lady," as though he had occasionally bought uninscribed stones from his fel- 
low stonecutter, just as Joshua Hempstead is known from his diary to have done. These 
stones, however, are shaped more like ordinary gravestones of the period, and lack the 
graceful scrolls. On the other hand, there are two stones in Wethersfield shaped like 
"Glastonbury Lady" stones, but with lettering by Johnson. Here, then, is a little more 
evidence that the old stonecutters occasionally traded with each other. (Caulfield note) 

2. The identity of "The Glastonbury Lady" remains as elusive as it was when Dr. Caulfield dis- 
cussed his work. However, due to the intensive work of Sherry Stancliff upon the Stanclift 
carving family we now can feel confident that the Glastonbury Lady was closely associated 
with the Stanclifts, if indeed he was not one of them. Mrs. Stancliff (letter to J. Slater) 
notes that "The Glastonbury Lady" stones are almost always found where a number of 
Stanclift stones are present and seldom anywhere else. Her work on the Stanclifts has in- 
cluded study of the Glastonbury Lady stones as well. Dr. Caulfield mentioned the pos- 
sibility of "The Glastonbury Lady" being James Stanclift IL The rosettes on some of "The 
Glastonbury Lady" stones are almost identical with those used by James IL Furthermore, 
James II stones, as they now can be attributed, suggest a surprisingly late starting date. On 
the other hand, the lettering on documented James Stanclift II stones differs from that on 
"The Glastonbury Lady" stones. The lettering of the latter appears to be definitive since, as 
Dr. Caulfield points out, stones with designs by a Thomas Johnson show lettering by "The 
Glastonbury Lady" and vice versa. (Dr. Caulfield did not indicate in his paper what two 
Wethersfield stones were "shaped G.L. stones but with lettering by Johnson"; one of these 
is the Richard Robbins 1738 stone.) It should also be recognized when considering the pos- 
sible Stanclift relationship that the faces on Type II "The Glastonbury Lady" stones are very 
reminiscent of some of the work of William Stanclift. Clearly the identity of "The Glaston- 
bury Lady" lies in the tangled web of the Stanclifts and the Johnsons, a major challenge to 
Connecticut gravestone scholarship. 




58 



Connecticut Gravestones 




V- 




0^ '' 




HrjY: lycfli llir: bDrly 
in fhr; ' 3P/'^yrv1^ . 






jp^ 



. ..il 



Fig. 1 Jacob White Jr. 1734. Cromwell. 



The Thomas Johnsons 59 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES V 
The Thomas Johnsons 



It was inevitable that the excellent craftsmanship of early Massachusetts 
stonecutters would sooner or later influence someone in Connecticut, al- 
though it was not until the 1720s that this influence was discernible to any 
great degree. Previous to 1720, and with few exceptions, Connecticut grave- 
stones usually bore simple inscriptions and had little resemblance to the 
beautifully carved skulls with wings on early Boston slates. This combination 
of a skull with wings was, according to Mrs. Harriette M. Forbes, a very old 
symbol of immortality; it was the equivalent of "Remember Death" or 
"Memento Mori." It has sometimes been called "The Angel of Death" or, 
more simply, the death's-head design. Its first common appearance in Con- 
necticut was on a distinct group of especially well-made stones, and although 
some of them are dated as early as 1687, they were all made, as will be ex- 
plained later, between 1723 and 1736. These stones are frequently found in 
nearly all river and shore towns, particularly in Middletown and Cromwell, 
and they are fairly common in Windsor, too, which makes it likely that at one 
time they were much more common in Hartford than they are at present. 

The outstanding feature of these stones, particularly when compared with 
other Connecticut gravestones of the period, is that they show the hand of a 
master craftsman. From the stern cynical skulls with their gnashing teeth as 
well as from the feathered wings, fig borders and careful lettering, one may 
conclude that this artist was exceedingly proud of his work and wished each 
stone to be considered as a finished product. The edges of his stones were 
carefully chamfered, and even the backs were often made unusually smooth 
and occasionally decorated with a border (unique among stonecutters). 

There is now ample proof that these stones were made by Thomas 
Johnson. In "a Compt of the Depts of the Estate of David Ensign late of 
West Hartford deceased 1728" occurs "by Grave Stons to Tho Johnson . . . 
£1-10-0"; and the estate of Jacob White, Jr., of Cromwell (1734) paid "To 
Tho Johnson for Grave Stones . . . £1-8-0" (Fig. 1). Though gravestones were 
not specifically mentioned, similar amounts were paid to Thomas Johnson 



60 Connecticut Gravestones 

from the estates of Robert Warner (Middletown, 1732) and Benoni Sage 
(Berlin, 1734), both of whose graves are marked by death's-head stones. It is 
known that Johnson made gravestones for Jehiel Hawley (Middletown, 1728) 
and Samuel Stow (Middletown, 1735), but their stones cannot now be found. 
There is, moreover, some circumstantial evidence that Johnson made these 
death's-head designs. The gravestones in Middletown for Nathaniel (1711) 
and Elizabeth (1690) White, who were his in-laws, and particularly the grave- 
stone in Cromwell for Ann Ranney (1731), who was his sister, were carved 
according to this style. 

There were numerous Thomas Johnsons in Connecticut during the 
eighteenth century, and this is an attempt to trace three generations of them 
~ father, son and grandson. It is also an attempt to trace the evolution of 
their gravestone designs, inasmuch as they set the standards for stone art 
throughout most of Connecticut, not only while they lived but also for many 
years thereafter. 

Wise genealogists have usually steered clear of eighteenth-century 
Johnsons in Middletown, for in proportion to population the name seems to 
have been more common at that time than it is at present. Most of them 
were descended from Isaac, who came from Roxbury about 1670 and whose 
descendants settled in the southern part of the town (Farm Hill), later spread- 
ing over into Haddam. It was not much fun to become hopelessly bogged 
down in this genealogic quagmire only to learn that the Thomas Johnson who 
made the death's-head stones did not belong to this branch of the family. 
From data in the land, vital and probate records, and on his gravestone, it 
can be established that he was born January 12, 1690, son of John and 
Mehitable of New Haven. Thomas first appeared in Middletown records on 
April 20, 1715, when Samuel Wilkocks sold "to Thomas Johnson of the 
[town] & County of New Haven . . . mason . . . one half acre ... at a place 
called the uper Housen." On January 2, 1718, he had nothing else to do but 
marry Susannah White, with the intention of further confusing the Johnson 
genealogy by starting another family in Middletown, although he was con- 
siderate enough to settle in the northern end of the town in "The Upper 
Houses" (Cromwell). From time to time he acquired considerable land 
"north of Ferry River," but apparently he was not a speculator because most 



The Thomas Johnsons 61 

of this land was later sold to his sons at cost. John Warner, weaver and grave 
digger of Cromwell, noted in his account book in 1730 that Thomas Johnson 
was indebted to him "for carting 4 pair of Grave Stons . . . £00-03-00." 

As soon as the inhabitants of Middletown fully realized that "The Rocks," 
and especially those on the east side of the river, were very valuable assets to 
the town, a tax was levied on all stone shipped to other places, but despite 
this tax, the stone trade continued to increase. Possibly the first large con- 
tract to supply stone for the brownstone buildings which were to become so 
popular in the nineteenth century was made in 1737 when Thomas Johnson 
agreed to supply stone for the Thomas Hancock house in Boston [Mrs. J. S. 
Bayne. History of Portland in History of Middlesex County, (New York, 1884, 
516 et seq.)]. In this contract he was described as "Thomas Johnson . . . Stone 
Cutter." But he was not just an ordinary stonecutter. He represented Mid- 
dletown in the General Assembly during 1738, 1739, and again during 1744. 
In 1738 he was chosen "Captain of the north company or train band in the 
town of Middletown"; and he was Justice of the Peace from 1744 until he 
died. His standing in the community was reflected in his titles. Usually he 
was called "Captain Johnson," or after 1750, "Thomas Johnson, Esquire." 

It is difficult to say when he first made gravestones. Some of his simplest 
designs, those that were made without faces or skulls, but merely with 
pinwheels in the finials, are found most frequently in the New Haven area; 
and he was described in some New Haven records of 1713 as a mason when 
he was only twenty-three years old. Both his father and his uncle, William, 
who was also a mason, signed some documents with their marks, possibly in- 
dicating that they could not write and, if so, they could hardly have taught 
Thomas the gravestone trade, because the first requisite of a gravestone cut- 
ter was the ability to make letters. Perhaps he was inspired by the beautiful 
Boston slate stones^ which were being imported with increasing frequency 
into New Haven at that time. On the other hand, there is some evidence that 
his first stones were made after he went to Middletown. The death's-head 
stone for Hannah Fiske in Haddam, dated 1723, appears to have been made 
by him, yet it has backward capital N's and other characteristics of a novice. 

Dates on gravestones are not the best criteria to use in tracing the develop- 
ment of a stonecutter's style, because many stones were made long after their 



62 



Connecticut Gravestones 



inscribed dates. After his name became famous, Johnson received orders to 
make stones for many persons who had died in the seventeenth century, so 
some of his stones must have been made from twenty to thirty years after 
their inscribed dates. It is, therefore, better to describe his stones according 
to their complexity. As has been said, the simplest stones were those without 
designs, other than simple pinwheels in the finials. Then came the more orna- 
mented stones with skulls and wings, as on the stone for Caleb Brainod, who 
died in Middletown (Farm Hill Burying Ground) in 1726 (Fig. 2). Some- 
times there was a chain-like design just above the inscription. From this 
design apparently evolved the finished product with its decorated borders 
and ornate crowns. It does not necessarily follow that the style evolved 
strictly chronologically, for the design could easily have depended on the im- 
portance of the deceased, cost of the stone, or even on Johnson's artistic 
mood at the time the stone was made. 







Fig. 2 Caleb Brainod 1726. Farm Hill Burying Ground, Middletown. 



The Thomas Johnsons 



63 






S5t- HERS ^UETH CHr,,^, 
■OF->-:" COtttPGE 



CONECTICir 










Fig. 3 Rev** Abrah [am] Pierson 1706/7. Clinton. 



Even in their completed form, death's-head stones may still be separated 
into groups. One group has coil borders, such as those on the stone for 
Abraham Pierson, founder of Yale College, who died in 1707 (Fig. 3). This 
stone is in Clinton, and nearby are four or five similar stones, one of them, 
that of Gershom Palmer (1727) (Fig. 4), showing the transition to the second 
group, those with fig borders. The earliest fig border stones were inscribed 
with capital letters and these, in turn, were followed by the best stones, which 
have small letters and are usually dated between 1730 and 1736. That most 
of these designs were made by one man is pretty well proved by the many 
graves that were marked by headstones with fig borders and footstones with 
scroll borders, as on the graves of James Lord (Saybrook, 1730), Joseph 
Tallcott (Wethersfield, 1732) (Fig. 5), Samuel Treat (Wethersfield, 1732), 
and many others. The small, scroll border footstones were sometimes used 
as headstones on children's graves. 

Two stones in Cromwell that certainly belong in the death's-head category 
need to be considered separately for they appear much too crude to have 
been made by Johnson. First, the wall-eyed skull on Joseph White's^ stone 



64 



Connecticut Gravestones 



(1725) (Fig. 6) is a reminder of William Stanclift's style, but the lettering 
seems to exclude him as the designer. Johnson was somewhat influenced by 
William Stanclift, one of the most popular stonecutters in the early 
eighteenth century, for one can detect numerous Stanclift characteristics on 
many of Johnson's early stones. It is possible that they worked together for a 
while, but no written suggestions of any such partnership have been found. 
The gross errors on the second stone for John Savage (1726) are not at all in 
keeping with the careful work that Johnson usually displayed. He may, of 
course, have had some off-days when he was not feeling very well or when his 
chisel was a litde slippery, but it seems safer to attribute these two stones to 
apprentices. These stones are to be contrasted with the stone for Galup 
Tood (Fig. 7), with its vase and flowers (North Haven, 1731). It does not 
detract from this stone to point out that it was an obvious imitation of some 
seventeenth-century Boston artist, because it is, nevertheless, one of the pret- 
tiest extant examples of early Connecticut stone art. 








Fig. 4 Capt. Gershom Palmer 1727. Clinton. 



The Thomas Johnsons 



65 










it' ^ ' . •I'd 



Fig. 5 Deacon Joseph Tallcott 1732. Footstone. Wethersfield. 



It may never be known why Johnson suddenly stopped making death's- 
head stones in 1736. His work had been accepted by many of the best 
families in the valley, at least as far up as Northampton; and on one occasion 
he went to Springfield to make his popular stones from a nearby quarry for 
his many customers there. And then, too, he should have been flattered by 
so many imitators. One rather crude fellow in Simsbury continued to be 
popular until the 1750s, merely on his version of Johnson's design; and 
another stonecutter who seems to have lived in Durham also became popular 
with his imitations. There is a stone in Hadley, Massachusetts, dated 1742, 
that is such an excellent imitation that it could easily pass for an original.^ It 
is possible that Johnson may have been seriously injured, enough to have 
prevented his working in the quarry, for stonecutting was such a hazardous 
occupation that it now seems surprising that most of the old stonecutters 
lived so long, but at worst this could have been only a temporary injury, for 
he is known to have made innumerable gravestones of a different style from 
1743 until he died. 



66 



Connecticut Gravestones 




wife: " vvi^>i\/i.Mrti^^»; 

Fig. 6 Joseph White 1725. Cromwell. 



" ''* Sm 







u 



mli^^^i 



Fig. 7 Galup Tood 1731. North Haven. 



The Thomas Johnsons 67 

Probably the best explanation of his failure to make death's-head stones 
after 1736 is that he had temporarily abandoned gravestone cutting in favor 
of cutting stones for houses. Inasmuch as the Hancock contract was signed in 
1737, he probably had many less important deals before and after that; and 
besides, the Hancock contract must have taken considerable time to fulfill. 
Also important is the fact that by 1736 his son Thomas, who was later to be- 
come a very popular and accomplished stonecutter, was eighteen years of 
age, old enough to have taken over the gravestone part of the business while 
the father was engaged in cutting building stones, which may have been more 
lucrative. At all events, no records have been found that positively connect 
the elder Thomas with gravestones between January, 1737, when he signed a 
receipt for Elisabeth Levingston of New London, and 1743. 

Transition Stones 

There is now to be considered a group of stones, all dated in the 1730s, 
that were made by one of the Johnsons, either Captain Thomas or his son. 
Although very few of them can be identified by probate records, one stone of 
this type (in the much-neglected Second Burial Ground, which is hidden in 
some woods far from the Norwich Road in East Haddam) marks the grave of 
Lydia Chapman (1738), whose estate paid "Mr. Johnson for Grave Stones £l- 
18-0" in 1738. At one time, before we had any idea concerning the designer, 
we classified these stones as "kidneys and flowers" ("hearts and flowers" 
would have been more euphemistic but less accurate) because of their distinc- 
tive border design. In their pristine state most of these borders were prob- 
ably very pretty with their lacy, delicate flowers, but now time has marred 
their beauty, and the eye is generally attracted to the peculiar kidney-shaped 
objects which were apparently meant for leaves (Fig. 8). 

These stones are a curious mixture of attractive and unattractive art. Most 
of them show a pugnacious skull with a misplaced set of teeth, not at all in 
keeping with their artistic crowns and graceful curving wings. When studied 
at close range these stones have enough features in common with earlier 
death's-head stones to indicate that if they were not made by Thomas, 
Senior, at least they were made by someone very closely associated with him. 
First, the stones have the same geographic distribution as death's-head 



68 



Connecticut Gravestones 




l^viV 



Fig. 8 Alice Collins 1735. Enfield. 



The Thomas Johnsons 69 

Stones; and the frightening hollowed-out eyes and triangular noses were ob- 
viously copied from the original death's-head stones. Also, as on the 
originals, the spacing and lettering are fairly good; and the uncrossed W's 
and slightly elevated g's are similar. By far the best evidence of a close 
relationship to death's-head stones is the transition stone in Wethersfield for 
Mary Meeks (Mix) (1734) with its "kidney-flower" border, but with a death's- 
head crown that could have been made only by a Johnson. And yet there are 
enough differences to indicate that these stones were probably not the work 
of Thomas Johnson, Senior. Neither the delicate thorn with its e directly 
over a very graceful y, nor the flourishing ampersand (&) can be found on 
any death's-head stones. The sixes, nines, and the footstones are also 
decidedly different. One also finds, occasionally, such innovations as a com- 
bined ct or St, or a fancy curving cross-bar on a capital A. Apparently the 
Johnson influence was still at play, but with new ideas and new hands in con- 
trol. 

Three other stones in Wethersfield show that the "kidney-flower" man 
(probably Thomas, Junior) sometimes made some radical experiments. The 
profile design on the stone of Isaac Riley (1757/8) (Fig. 9), which later in the 
eighteenth century was to become fairly common in Connecticut was, in 
1738, as unusual as the name of the man for whom it was designed. The 
stones for Jonathan Belding (Fig. 10) and Susanna Dickinson, both dated 
1736 and very much alike, with their unusual shapes and exceptionally pretty 
fig borders, would be most attractive except for their pugnacious skulls. 
Nevertheless, the handiwork is excellent and if the younger Thomas Johnson 
made them, he was a skillful artisan before he was twenty years of age. 

It is not wise to try to separate gravestones made during the 1740s and 
1750s by the father, Captain Thomas, from those made by his son, because 
there is considerable evidence that they worked together. Sometimes one 
was paid for the stones and sometimes the other. As instances, on November 
4, 1747, Joshua Hempstead "went to Capt. Johnsons att ye upperhouses & 
bot 3 pr of Gr stones for £3"; and the estate of James Easton (East Hartford, 
1756) (Fig. 11) paid "Thomas Johnson Esquire for Grave Stones ... 2 pair . . . 
£3-0-0." On the other hand, the Connecticut State Library has a signed 
receipt for gravestones in the Old Cove Burying Ground in East Haddam: 



70 Connecticut Gravestones 

December the 8th 1755 
Received of Mr Joshua Brednerd Executor on the Estate of Capt 
Joshua Brainerd Deceased - the Sum of Forty-pounds Money of the 
old Tenor in Full for a pr of Grave Stones for the Deceased 

pr me 
Thos Johnson Junior 

Many records state merely that "Thomas Johnson" or "Mr Johnson" was 
paid for gravestones, and it is now impossible to be certain whether this 
meant father or son. The records are still more confusing because Captain 
Thomas had another son, Stephen, who was also a stonecutter eventually as- 
sociated in the business. In 1743 he bought a dwelling house, barn, and five 
acres of land on the east side of the river which his father had previously 
bought from Thomas Bliss in 1740. The price of this property (£275) seems 
pretty high unless it included a quarry. Stephen's name, however, has not as 
yet been definitely connected with any particular gravestone, so his style can- 
not be determined. Most likely he never worked independently. 




Fig. 9 Lt. Isaac Riley 1737/38. Wethersfield. 



The Thomas Johnsons 



71 








hail 
jrtte Bel din 

J T rs 6 





Fig. 10 Jonathan Belding 1736. Wethersfield. 




Fig. 11 James Easton 1756. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 



72 Connecticut Gravestones 

The transition from the "kidney-flower" design to the later Johnson style 
may be easily seen when the stones are studied in detail. The triangular nose 
was gradually changed to a trifurcated nose, as if an attempt were being 
made to illustrate nostrils; and the cadaverous eyes gradually ceased to be 
hollowed out. Obviously the Johnsons had decided to carve beautiful angels 
instead of frightening skulls, and when they found that an extra set of teeth 
did not look well on an angel, this incongruous feature was also eliminated. 
When the stone for Judith Wolcott (Fig. 12), dated 1740 (which is not a 
proven Johnson stone but is identical with the Mix stone which is shaled), is 
compared with that for Daniel Smith (1751) (Fig. 13), it will be seen that 
there had been considerable experimenting with borders while the new, yet 
uninteresting, facial design had remained fairly constant. These dead-pan 
cherubs remained in vogue until the middle 1750s, when they were replaced 
by more appealing fat-cheeked cherubs. By that time the Johnsons were ex- 
ceedingly popular and were able to offer their customers a number of dif- 
ferent styles to suit the purse. One could have the relatively simple design 
such as that on the stone for Jane Easton in East Hartford for £1-10-0, or 
something more decorative such as that on the stone for Samuel Treat (1756) 
in Wethersfield for £3-17-0 (Fig. 14), or even the still more ornate type such 
as that on the stone for Joshua Brainerd in East Haddam for £40. This last 
stone, at present covered with lichen, is not photogenic, but it is very similar 
to the stone for Daniel Ranney (1758) in Cromwell with its tassels, rosettes 
and complex nondescript borders. The most expensive stones made by the 
Johnsons were the huge table-top tombs with fluted columns. They special- 
ized in tablestones and charged as much as £125 when an ordinary pair of 
gravestones was selling for £3 or less. 

One noticeable feature of all Johnson stones after 1750 is the very careful 
lettering. They were among the first in Connecticut to letter their stones ac- 
cording to plan, so the spacing is usually very good and there are not many 
errors to be found. By modern standards the dots on the i's are a little high 
and the small t's rather short, but each single letter took lots of time and 
care. Because of their distinctive lettering, which one comes to recognize at 
a glance after viewing all sorts of gravestones, it is safe to attribute to the 
Johnsons such a wide variety of stones as the tablestone for Deacon John 



The Thomas Johnsons 



73 



Lathrop in Tolland (1752), the cigar-store-Indian stone for the Starr triplets 
in Middletown (1755), and the stone with curly-headed cherubs for the Stock- 
ing twins in Cromwell (1756). 







;■* ^ :->x^- ^•' -^ 



Fig. 12 Judith Wolcott 1740/1. Wethersfield. 



74 



Connecticut Gravestones 



There are no written records to indicate where the Johnsons obtained 
their stones in the early days. Their Cromwell land records do not mention 
any quarry, although they probably worked in Cromwell at a quarry which 
was described in a 1787 newspaper as "an excellent Quarry of Stone, much 
used and approved," The largest quarries in that region were across the 
river, notably those owned by the Stanclifts, and there was another large 
quarry there which Giles Hall bought in 1729 from the estate of William 
Webster, housewright of Boston, for £150. He bought it from WiUiam 
Stanclift. When Hall died in 1750, his quarry, which was then valued at 
£1600, was left to his four heirs, but there is no evidence that Webster, Hall 
or any of his sons made gravestones. At any rate in November, 1759, the 
Thomas Johnsons, father and son, purchased from the four Hall sons a part, 
and in July, 1760, the remainder of the "land & Quarries lying on the East 
side of Connecticut-River in Middletown, at a place commonly known by the 
name of Halls quaries . . . Buted South partly on James Stanclifts land or 
quaries . . . and West partly on the River, and partly on James Stanclifts 
quaries, and partly on John Gills land." 




Itle S}pt ?' the c> ^'^- \ 
xy^j In the r^qr 



^L^^ 






Fig. 13 Daniel Smith 1751. Berlin. 



The Thomas Johnsons 



75 





. oa\':ti ,-r it ri 



Fig. 14 Samuel Treat 1756. WethersHeld. 

Obviously business was so good that the Johnsons intended to expand, but 
before many months the elder Thomas died, according to his tombstone on 
April 24, 1761. He appears to have worked right up to the end, for his will 
was signed in Wallingford four days before he died, although he lived in 
Cromwell. His total estate, appraised for about £550, included numerous 
small lots, most of them in Cromwell, and altogether over 100 acres. He also 
owned a Negro man, actually a couple with three boys, more than 100 pounds 
of hides, a wig, and "311 lb of Crobars and Sledges picks and Wedges." But 
despite his fame and great success as a stonecutter, he still owed money on 
the Hall quarries, and he was, as he had been for many years, indebted to his 
son. In addition to his wife, Susannah (1694-1786), Captain Thomas was sur- 
vived by two sons, Thomas and Stephen, who continued in the business. 
Daniel, a hatter (1729-1756), had died at Lake George, and Amos, a cooper 
(1731-1758), had died at Schenectady, both while serving in the Army. He 
also left a daughter, Ruth, who had married the John Gill mentioned above 
and whose home was next to the quarries. Another minor but interesting 
sidelight is that the multiple birth factor was present in this family. Desire 



76 Connecticut Gravestones 

and Thankful, twins, had married and were still living when their father died. 
Hepzibah married Dr. Aaron Roberts and gave birth to twins. Susannah 
married Moses Bush, the shipbuilder, and gave birth to triplets. George 
Bush, one of the triplets, became the father of twins. 

Thomas Johnson (1718-1774) 
The second Thomas Johnson, son of Captain Thomas, was born on Oc- 
tober 18, 1718, and married Mary Atwater of Wallingford on August 7, 1745. 
He bought a small part of his father's homelot in 1744 and various other lots 
in Cromwell between 1743 and 1750. He was generally known as "Ensign 
Thomas" or as "Deacon Thomas." Apparently he became a stonecutter soon 
after he was strong enough to wield a heavy hammer and, like his father, he 
soon became a master craftsman. In 1768 he bought Comfort Stanclift's 
share of the Stanclift quarries in Chatham, which were adjacent to the Hall 
quarries that he and his father had purchased in 1759-60. 




Fig. 15 Mary Hooker 1765. Center Burying Ground, Hartford. 



The Thomas Johnsons 77 

In December, 1774, he said that he had "Carried on the Business at the 
Quary in Company with Gideon Hale Stephen Johnson James Stanclift and 
my son Thomas.'"* 

No records have been found to indicate whether or not this was a com- 
pany in the modern sense, whether or not it made gravestones, or how long it 
was in business. Some stones dated 1755 for which the second James 
Stanclift was paid show the Johnson lettering, suggesting that the company 
was then in existence, yet nothing was said about it in the probate papers of 
the elder Thomas Johnson, who died in 1761. Perhaps its sole purpose was 
to quarry stones for houses. Even if the company did make gravestones, the 
Johnsons were in command because they usually managed to collect the cash. 

The only stones that can, with certainty, be attributed to Deacon Thomas 
(or his company) are those for which a Thomas Johnson was paid after 1761, 
when the first Thomas died, and before 1770, when a third Thomas had be- 
come old enough to make gravestones. In 1763 the estate of John Gould of 
Cromwell paid £2-3-4 to [Deacon Thomas] Johnson for "Grave Stones & for 
Molasis." He also signed a receipt in 1762 indicating that he had been paid 
for gravestones for Ebenezer Geer of Groton. He was paid for Mary 
Hooker's gravestone (Fig. 15) in Hartford (1765), Roger Wolcott's tablestone 
in Windsor (1767), Joseph Gleason in Middletown (1767), and the Harvey 
family gravestones in Lyme (1769).^ 

It is probably fair to assume that he also made the stones for his son, 
Lemuel (1745-1761) (Fig. 16), and for his sisters, Ruth Gill (1762) and Susan- 
nah Bush (1766). 

(On the reverse of a nicely written receipt for gravestones for some mem- 
bers of the Harvey family of Joshuatown (Lyme) is the disclosure that John 
Gill was paid ten shillings for transportation. He was the son of Ebenezer 
Gill, who at one time was official inspector of all quarries in Middletown, 
both east and west of the river, and who was paid for gravestones in 1728, but 
he, too, may have been acting merely as an agent since those stones cannot 
be distinguished from William Stanclift's stones. At any rate, John Gill 
owned land very near the Johnson quarries and, having married Ruth 
Johnson, was brother-in-law to the Deacon and no doubt very closely as- 
sociated with him in business.) 



78 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 16 Lemuel Johnson 1761. Cromwell. 



Except for minor changes in the crowns and borders, there was very Httle 
difference between the stones made before and after the elder Thomas died. 
Even the lettering is very much the same. There were some with the same 
flat oval faces and trifurcated noses, and others with more attractive three- 
dimensional faces, especially with rounded cheeks. Either the Deacon had 
been the predominant influence in the later stages of the father-and-son 
relationship, or else he had learned that his father's design was popular 
enough to warrant continuation. 

Deacon Thomas died December 26, 1774. His estate, valued at ap- 
proximately £1300, included two Negro slaves, three or four houses, some 
blue breeches, a beaver hat, one bob-tailed cow, part of a fish boat, some 
smith tools, "Pecks and Sledges," twenty old chisels, more than 140 pounds of 
wedges, some mason's tools and the quarry. Inasmuch as he owned a book 
on heraldry, he probably cut the coat-of-arms on the tablestone for Edward 
Bulkley, who died in Rocky Hill in 1748. The southern part of the quarry was 
left to a son, Thomas, while the remainder was left to six other sons with in- 
structions that "Thomas shall have the Sole use and Improvement of the 



The Thomas Johnsons 79 

whole of my Quarry Lot with all the Tools & Utensils used in working the 
Quarry during his natural Life." Concerning the quarry company, Thomas 
was directed to "Settle and Adjust the Amounts with said Company and 
Receive and Collect in the Debts Due for Stone and work we have done 
whether already Delivered or not out of which my will is that my son Thomas 
pay the Debts Due to the workmen . . .," all of which probably means that the 
quarry company was then dissolved. 

Thomas Johnson (1750-1789) 

When Deacon Thomas died near the end of December, 1774, it was ap- 
parent that the third Thomas was the favorite and most gifted son since he 
had been selected to carry on the family trade. He was usually known as 
"Thomas Johnson of Chatham," and he was living there in 1775 when, as ex- 
ecutor of his father's estate, he advertised the sale of a part of the old family 
homestead in Cromwell. Very likely he was making gravestones before 1770, 
but because his first name was the same as his father's, the earliest stone that 
can now be definitely attributed to him is that for Burrage Merriam (Fig. 17) 
in Rocky Hill, dated 1776. An adminstrator of the estate of Timothy Bigelow 
of Middletown (1776) (Fig. 18), either trying to save some money or perhaps 
thinking that young Thomas was not sufficiently skillful for the task, ordered 
a pair of gravestones from David Miller for £1-16-0, which he "afterwards 
thought improper to put up," so he finally came around to the popular view 
and bought "1 pr ditto of Thomas Johnson for £4-10-0." The £14 which 
Thomas received from the Samuel Starr estate (Middletown, 1782) was (part 
payment?) for a tablestone; so the £100 he received from the Elisha Wright 
estate (Wethersfield, 1778) probably included stones for buildings. This was 
a very large amount, considering that in 1784 Ebenezer White of Chatham 
gave Johnson only 15/6 and "2 Bushels of Corn to pay for Ant Sibbils Grave 
Stones" (diary in Connecticut Historical Society). 

As a stonecutter, Thomas Johnson of Chatham did not make any innova- 
tions. Perhaps he thought that there was no need to change inasmuch as his 
gravestones would sell as fast as he could make them. They show the same 
general design, wings, borders and lettering as the stones made by his father, 
although the angels have more pointed chins and more drowsy eyes. The 



80 



Connecticut Gravestones 



chief difference lies in the degree and style of intricate carvings at the top of 
each stone. The third Thomas might be dismissed as just another stonecutter 
except that he was a master at a time when brownstone markers were at the 
height of their popularity. Through him the Johnson tradition influenced 
numerous young stonecutters who were learning their trade at the Portland 
quarries near the end of the eighteenth century. 




Fig. 17 Rev^ Burrage Merriam 1776. Rocky Hill. 



The Thomas Johnsons 



81 




-^ 






-1^ 



Fig. 18 Timothy Bigelow 1776. Riverside Burying Ground, Middletown. 



About 1778, with the demand for his gravestones as great as ever, Johnson 
began to add to his real estate in Chatham. He bought two dwelhng houses 
near Bush's shipyard, although he already owned a dwelling house on the 
quarry lot; and in 1782 he bought from the third "James Stanclift of 
Chatham" the remainder of the Stanclift quarry, which was adjacent to his 
own. No doubt he was very close to the Stanclifts, for after the second James 
died in 1772 Johnson was empowered to sell part of the estate, and the 
Stanclift name appears fairly frequently in all Thomas Johnson records. He 
also bought the rights to the northern half of his father's estate from his 
brothers, who had moved to other towns -- William to Stockbridge, Mas- 
sachusetts, Amos and Lemuel to Hillsdale, New York, and Samuel to Lan- 
caster, New Hampshire. In 1780 Thomas advertised that he needed a jour- 
neyman stonecutter, and from about 1783 to 1785 he was in partnership with 
Joseph Gleason (fl. 1783-1808).^ They mentioned in the Connecticut Gazette 
(New London, May 4 and July 18, 1785) that they carried on the "Stone Cut- 
ting Business in the famous and noted Quarry called Connecticut Quarry, in 
Chatham; where is the best work in stone of any in America, such as house- 



82 Connecticut Gravestones 

work of any order, carving, engraving . . . ." The Richard Robbins estate 
(Wethersfield 1783) paid "Johnson and Gleason for 2 pair of grave stones 
5-10-0"; and the Daniel Griswold estate (Wethersfield, 1786) "paid Johnson 
[and] Gleason for gravestones 5-10-0." Joseph Gleason witnessed a Johnson 
real estate transaction in 1788. 

By late 1785 Thomas seems to have been working by himself again be- 
cause he alone was paid £6-15-3 for the Samuel Willis gravestones (Fig. 19). 
From the large number of his stones in various towns throughout the Connec- 
ticut Valley it appears that his business was thriving, but there is some 
evidence of his slowing down in 1787, for he then began to relinquish some of 
his holdings. To Noah Smith, who had married his Aunt Desire, he leased a 
"piece of Quarry formerly called Stanclift's Quarry ... for Twenty five 
Spanish Milled Dollers . . . and the priviledge of my black smith shop and Bel- 
lows for Sharping Tools used in said Quarry he finding his own Coles." 
Johnson remained in business until 1788, when it was obvious that he wished 
to retire because of some chronic illness. That March he leased his "Stone 
quarry lying in Chatham on the Banks of Connecticut River near the Burying 
Ground . . . with all the appurtenances & priviledge there to Belonging with 
Quarry Tools & Utentials" to Peter Buckland of East Hartford and William 
Crosby of Chatham for £30 annually, one-third in silver and gold, one-third 
in provisions, and the rest in "India & Dry Goods." In this lease Buckland 
and Crosby were described as "Stone-Cutters" whereas Johnson was "Thomas 
Johnson of Chatham, Gentleman." The following August he sold the quarry 
and buildings outright to Buckland and Crosby; and to his brothers Lemuel 
and Amos he sold back their rights to their father's estate just to the north of 
the quarry. It was apparent that he was going out of business, but then oc- 
curred a strange transaction. On September 13, 1788, he repurchased from 
Buckland and Crosby for £354, the same amount that they had paid to him, 
everything he had previously sold, and on the same day he resold the 
property to Joel Hall (no relation to Giles Hall) for £950.' The sale to Hall 
possibly included other land, but not enough to account for this great dif- 
ference. Why, then, did Buckland and Crosby resell to Johnson when they 
had bought the quarries just one month previously? And why did Joel Hall 
pay Johnson £950 when the property could have been purchased from Buck- 



The Thomas Johnsons 



83 



land and Crosby for £354? The only obvious conclusion to be drawn from 
this complicated deal is that Johnson had given up hope of carrying on his 
trade. On October 3, 1788, he advertised that, being in "a low and declining 
state of health and his affairs much embarrased," he desired his creditors to 
meet at his dwelling house in Chatham where he would settle his accounts "in 
the best manner I am able." On October 13, 1788 the Middlesex Gazette 
carried another notice: 



The Free Stone Quarry, at Chatham, (known by the Name of 
Johnson's Quarry), is now worked under the Direction of Shaler and 
Hall, who will supply the Stone at the shortest Notice, and at the 
lowest Prices, either in the Ruff or finished, and in such Dimensions as 
may be required. They will contract to furnish any Quantity, for 
public or private Buildings, Flags, Grave-Stones or Monuments, and 
deliver them to any Port in North-America. Orders directed (post 
paid) to Shaler & Hall, at the Quarry, Chatham, will have due Atten- 
tion. October 13, 1788. 




Fig. 19 Samuel Willis 1785. Riverside Burying Ground, Middletown. 



84 Connecticut Gravestones 

Johnson made gravestones as late as November 6, 1788, when he signed 
the receipt for "2 setts of gravestones 5-10-0" for the estate of John Allen 
Christopher of New London, and possibly he made a few more after that, for 
when he died on April 21, 1789, at the age of thiry-eight, his inventory in- 
cluded four "Cut Grave Stones , , . and 2 hewed Stones," each 7 1/2 feet long. 
He also left one large hearthstone, five stone pillars, one stone window-cap 
as well as nineteen feet of unfinished stone. The tools and old iron in his 
shop, his case of empty gin bottles and his blacksmith's vise were valued at 
small sums. Possibly these were the same smith tools that the first James 
Stanclift had used when he was working the same quarry one hundred years 
before. Blacksmithing came in handy to stonecutters because their tools 
were constantly being broken or getting dull, and besides, it was a trade that 
could keep them busy in the winters when the quarries were covered with 
snow. 

With the sale of the quarries to persons outside the family, and with the 
death of Thomas of Chatham, who left no children,^ we close the account of 
three generations of stonecutting Thomas Johnsons. For good or bad, they 
had greatly influenced gravestone making in Connecticut for three-quarters 
of a century, and the innumerable stones still standing, as well as the large 
number of imitators who continued to make stones of the same general style 
after 1789, are the best proofs of their popularity. Johnson stones may not be 
too attractive by modern standards, but there can be no doubt that they ap- 
pealed to eighteenth-century sense of beauty. They also appealed very much 
to the Johnsons, for they greatly admired each other's work and each was 
very faithful to the family trade. It is fitting, therefore, that they should now 
lie side by side in the old burying ground in Cromwell. 



List of references to Thomas Johnson in the Probate Papers at the Connecticut State 
Library. 

Possibly some of these notes refer to Thomas Johnson other than the famous stonecutters. 
So far as is known the few Thomas Johnsons who descended from Isaac and who lived in 
southern Middletown, Haddam and Durham did not make gravestones. Also the moneys men- 
tioned here were not necessarily paid for gravestones. The dates refer to probate papers, not 
dates of death: 



The Thomas Johnsons 85 



1723 Matthew Cadwell, Hartford, "pd Mr Johnson of middletown 1-4-6." 
1725 Samuel Wilcox, Middletown. "Thos Jonson 03-00-00." 

Stone in Cromwell. 
1728 Jehiel Hawley, Middletown. "pade to thomas Johnson for grave Stons 1-1-0." 
1728 David Ensign, Hartford, "by Grave Stons to Tho Johnson 1-10-0." 

Stone in West Hartford. 
1732 Robert Warner, Middletown. "To Thos Johnson 1-10-0." 

Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 
1734 Benoni Sage, Middletown. "To Thos Johnson 1-12-0." 

Stone in Christian Lane Cemetery, Berlin. 
1734 Jacob White, Jr., Middletown. "To Tho Johnson for Grave Stones 1-8-0." 

Stone in Cromwell (Fig. 1). 

1734 Nathan Smith, Wethersfield. "Due by Book to thomas Jonson 2-08-0." 

1735 Samuel Stow, Middletown. "To Mr Thos Johnson 1-12-11." 

1735 Nathaniel Roberts, Middletown. Mentions "Thomas Johnson town Collector 0-4-3." 

1737 Eliz. Livingston, New London 1736. In a nice flourishing hand""New London 
January the 7th 1736/7. Then Recieved of Sarah Christophers as administratix of the 
estate of Mrs Elizabeth Levingston Deceqaad for a set of Tomb Stones the sum of fif- 
teen punds money I say Reciev By Me Thos Johnson." 

1738 Lydia Chapman, East Haddam. "To Mr Johnson for Grave Stones 1-18-0." 
Stone in Second Burial Ground, off Norwich Road. 

1739 Elisha Micks (Mix), Wethersfield. "to Cap Johnson 34-0-0." 
Stone in Wethersfield. 

1739 Ruth Wilcox, Middletown. "paid to Capt Johnson 05-13-09." 

1739 Joseph Whitmore, Middletown. "Thos Johnson 03-13-0." 
Stone in Cromwell. 

1740 Samuel Hall, Middletown. Thomas Johnson witnessed will. 
Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 

1740 Isaac Hall, Middletown. "Captain Johnson 00-18-00." 

1741 Joseph Butler, Middletown. Capt. Johnson mentioned twice. 

1743 Ebenezer Whetmore, Middletown. "to pd Capt Johnson for Grave Stones 4-5-0." 
Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 

1743 William Wilcocks, Middletown. "Thos Johnson 9-18-4." 

1744 Roger Beffin, Stratford. "To cash to Thomas Johnson Ston-Cutter for Grave Stones 
5-0-0." 

Stone in Stratford. 
1746 Jeremiah Bacon, Middletown. "Paid to Capt: Thomas Johnson 8-14-9." 

Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 
1748 George Phillips, Middletown. "to paid Mr Thos Johnson for a Large Toom Stone 140- 

00-00." 

Stone not found; probably in some other city. 
1748 Ebenezer Sage, Middletown. "To Thom Johnson 3-0-0." 
1748 Jonathan Skinner, Hartford. "Thos Johnson 7-10-0." 
1748 Joseph Skinner, Hartford. "Thos Johnson 11/5/0." 

Stone in Hartford. 

1748 John Williams, Wethersfield. "Thomas Johnson 10-10-0." 
Stone in Rocky Hill. 

1749 Samuel Freeman, Middletown. "Thos Johnson 8-10-0." 
Stone in East Hampton (Hog Hill). 

1751 John Sage, Middletown. "Pd Cpt Jonson for a toomb 112-0-0." 

Tablestone in Cromwell. 
1751 Edward Shepard, Middletown. "pd to Thos Johnson Jr 9-2-10." 



g5 Connecticut Gravestones 



1751 Daniel Smith, Middletown. "grave stones allowed to Thomas Johnson 11-15-0." 

Stone in Berlin (Fig. 13). 
1753 Daniel Clark, Middletown. "Thomas Johnson Junr 13-0-0." 

Tablestone in Middletown (West Side). 

1753 Martha Robbins, Wethersfield. "To Capt Johnson for Gravestones 10-10-00." 
Stone in Wethersfield, incription shaled. 

1754 Nathaniel Goodwin, Middletown. "To Thomas Johnson pr Rect 17-0-0." 
Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 

1755 Joshua Brainerd, East Haddam. Receipt signed by Thomas Johnson, Jr. Stone in 
East Haddam (Old Cove). 

1755 Abraham Blatchly, Durham. "To Thos Johnson Junr 40-0-0." 

1756 James Easton, Hartford. "Thomas Johnson Esq for Grave Stones 2 pair 3-0-0. 
Stephen Harris for bringing the Grave Stones to Hartford 0-10-0." 

Stones in East Hartford (Fig. 11. 
1756 Joseph Savage, Middletown. "To Capt Johnson 1-0-0." 

Stone in Cromwell. 
1756 Samuel Treat, Wethersfield. "To Mr Johnson Middletown 3-17-0." 

Stone in Wethersfield (Fig. 14). 

1756 Isaac Waterman, Middletown. "to 20/ paid to Sart [Sargeant] Johnson for Grave 
Stones 1-00-0. balance of the acompt of James Stanclift the 3rd 18-10-0." 

1757 John Gypson (Gibson?), Middletown. "Thomas Johnson 2-3-0." 
Stone in Cromwell, broken. 

1757 Thomas Langrell, Hartford. "To Tho Johnson 6-1-0." 

Stone in Hartford. 
1757 James Ward, Middletown. "To paid to Capt Johnson for toomb 13-17-0 To James 

Stanclef 1-1-8." 

Stone in Middletovwi (Riverside). 
1757 Janna Wilcox Jr., Middletown. "To Cash pd Thos Johnson 1-4-0." 
1757 Josiah Willard, Wethersfield. "Thos Johnson 2-4-0." 

Stone in Newington. 
1759 Daniel Ranney, Middletown. "To paid Mr Johnson 02-00-00." 

Stone in Cromwell. 
1759 Ashbel Woodbridge, Glastonbury. "To Thomas Johnson Junr 4-4-8. 

To Thos Johnson 3-10-4." 

Stones in Glastonbury. 
1759 Joseph White, Middletown. "Thomas Johnson 1-1-5." 

Stone in Cromwell. 
1759 Mary Willard, Wethersfield. "Paid to Thos Johnson as pr Rect 2-2-0." 

Stone in Newington. 
1761 Thomas Johnson's probate papers. 

Tablestone in Cromwell. 
1763 John Gould, Middletown. "To pd Johnson for Grave Stones & for Molasis 2-3-4." 

Stone in Cromwell. 
1763 Ebenezer Gill, Groton. Signed receipt for gravestones. 

1763 Timothy Wright, Wethersfield. "To cash Paid Thos Johnson 3-5-3 
To Rideing to Middletown for Tomb Stones 6/ ." 

Stone in Wethersfield. 

1764 Sarah Wright, Wethersfield. "Thos Johnson 2-4-0." 
Stone in Wethersfield. 

1765 Mary Hooker, Hartford, "to pd Tho Johnson for Grave Stones 5-8-0." 
Stone in Hartford (Fig. 15). 

1765 Thomas Pierpont (or Pierpoint), Middletown. "To Thomas Johnson 4-18-8." 



The Thomas Johnsons 87 



1767 Joseph Gleason, Middletown. "Mr Thomas Johnson Bill for Tombstones 14-10-0." 

1767 Roger Wolcott, Windsor. 

"To Grave Stone of Ebenezer Drake 04-00-00 

To Carrying the stones over the River 00-08-00 

To Cash to Thomas Johnson for a Table Stone 06-15-00 

To boating the stone from Middletown 00-10-00 

To carting the Stone from the River 00-03-00 

To cash to Matthew Grant for setting up the Stone 00-03-05." 

Tablestone in Windsor. Top by Johnson; legs by Drake. 

1769 John Harvey, Lyme. Signed receipt for gravestones for John, Elizabeth and Joshua 
Harvey. 

Stones in Lyme, (Joshuatown). 

1770 Nathaniel Savage, Chatham. "Thos Johnson 1-16-00." 
Stone in Portland (Center). 

1772 Samuel Galpin, Middletown. "To pd Thos Johnson for Grave Stones 2-2-0." 
Stone in BerUn. 

1772 James Lockwood, Wethersfield. "Novr 30 1775. To Cash pd Mr Johnson in full for 
making a Tomb Stone 16-7-10 3/4." 

Tablestone in Wethersfield. 

1773 John Morton, Wethersfield. "to Mr. Johnson for gravestones 2-4-0." 
Stone in Rocky Hill. 

1773 Josiah Wolcott, Wethersfield. "Capt Jonson toomb Stones 2-5-0." 
Stone in Rocky Hill. 

1774 Deacon Thomas Johnson's probate papers. 
Tablestone in Cromwell. 

1776 Burrage Merriam, Wethersfield. "To Mr Johnson for Grave Stons for Burrage 2-6-0 ." 
Stone in Rocky Hill (Fig. 17). 

1776 James Wells, Wethersfield. "Thomas Johnson 23-1-3." 
Stone in Wethersfield. 

1777 Timothy Bigelow, Middletown. "1 pr Grave Stones bou't of David Miller which I after- 
wards tho't improper to put up 1-16-0 1 pr ditto bou't of Thomas Johnson 4-10-0." 
Stone in Middletown (Riverside). 

1778 Samuel Starr, Middletown. "1782, May 2. To 2 days after a Tombstone & Expence 
0-13-1. Sept 16, 1782 To pd Thomas Johnson for tomb Stone 14-0-0. 1787 Feb. 8 To 
pd for Getting over tomb Stone 0-5-10." 

Tablestone in Middletown (Riverside). 
1778 Elisha Wright, Wethersfield. "To pd Thos Johnson 100-0-0 To Cash pd bringing 
Grave Stones Setting up &c 0-16-16." 
Stone in Wethersfield. 

1780 Nathaniel Sage, Middletown. "To Cash pd Thos Johnson for Grave Stones 2-2-6." 
Stone in Cromwell, defaced. 

1781 Jonathan Wood, Chatham. "James Stanclift 9-18-0; Thomas Johnson 4-5-4" (paid in 
1788). 

1782 Elisabeth Jones (or Johnes), Lyme. Signed receipt for "three pound eighteen shillings 
in hard cash in full for a pr of grave stones wrote on . . ." 

1782 Sarah Stevenson, Chatham. "To Thos Jonson for Grave Stones 3-0-0." 
Stone in Portland (Center). 

1783 John Allen Christopher, New London. Thomas Johnson was paid 5-10-0 for 2 sets of 
gravestones. 

1784 Joseph Kirby, Middletown. "To paid Thos Johnson pr Rect 5-10-0." 
Stone in Cromwell. 

1785 Samuel Willis, Middletown. "To Thos Johnson bill for grave stones 6-15-3." 



88 



Connecticut Gravestones 



1787 



1789 



Stone in Middletown (Riverside) (Fig. 19). 
Esther Harris, Chatham. "Thomas Jonson 2-15-0.' 
Stone in East Hampton (Hog Hill). 
Thomas Johnson of Chatham. Probate papers. 
Stone in Cromwell. 



NOTES 



1. In the basement of the Central Church in New Haven are many eighteenth-century grave- 
stones. Among them is a remarkable sandstone for Sarah Woodward (1720) (Fig. 20), the 
wife of the Rev. John Woodward. Mrs. Laurel Gabel, who brought this stone to our atten- 
tion, suggests relationship to the death's-head stones of Thomas Johnson. The Woodward 
stone appears to have been carved by a Newport carver, possibly associated with the 
Stevens shop. Stones that are very similar but carved on a handsome dark slate are found 
in a number of Stonington burying grounds, especially the small Denison graveyard in Mys- 
tic. Vincent Luti, our foremost authority on the Rhode Island carvers, calls him the "G. 
Man carver." It seems probable that the Woodward stone, or similar ones, served as the 
inspiration for Thomas Johnson's skull stones. Note, for example, the similar "Here Lyeth" 
wording on the Woodward and Johnson stones in addition to the design similarities. 




;y^Hc*rf lyeth y hody 

C- ^' ■' \X/f j fifl \var( 1 wl If) r^^'- ^ 




Fig. 20 Sarah Woodward 1720. Central Church Crypt, New Haven. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



The Thomas Johnsons 89 



2. Joseph White was Mrs. Thomas Johnson's uncle (fide Caulfield). 

3. It is the Nathaniel Alexander 1742 stone and probably made by Gideon Hale. The latter 
worked both independently and with Thomas Johnson and is now known to have made a 
number of Johnson-like skull stones. The separation of the work of Hale from that of 
Johnson is a much needed study. 

4. My note concerning the quarry company in an article on the Stanclifts (Connecticut Histori- 
cal Society Bulletin, January, 1952) should be corrected to correspond with this new 
material on the Johnsons. Since the second James Stanclift died in 1772, this James 
Stanclift probably refers to a third one of that name, usually called "James Stanclift of 
Chatham." (Caulfield note) 

5. On the left margin of the Caulfield copy of page 12 is written "Although Thomas junior was 
paid Edw. Shepard 1751, Daniel Clark 1753, Joshua Brainerd 1755 (stones specified), Abs. 
Blatchley 1755, Isaac Waterman 1756." There is no indication where Dr. Caulfield planned 
to place this in the revised text. He also has placed a slash through paragraph 3 with the 
words below this "with Gills." 

6. Folio? The notation appears without explanation in Caulfield's copy of the published ar- 
ticle. 

7. Possibly the "repurchase" from Buckland and Crosby was tantamount to foreclosure of a 
mortgage. 

8. Caulfield's copy has notation "should be rechecked none mentioned in will." He has writ- 
ten in pencil two children named Johnson that died in 1776 and 1781 but is not sure if they 
are the children of this Thomas Johnson. 

9. What follows in the text is Dr. Caulfield's list as it appeared in "Connecticut Gravestones V, " 
which was published in the Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, 21, No. 1 (January, 
1956), with some additions from his notes. Some of the stones may, of course, no longer be 
found. 




90 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Fig. 1 Capt. Joseph Loomis 1748. 
Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 








, 'C\Lx^ 









.C 



i ^ ^5 VC A lie *. U vb O t ^ ^ U I 7 

'xnoOUCi uic . x'\ - 



\: 



Fig. 2 Will[ia]ni Woodbridge 1750. Green Burying Ground, Glastonbury. 



Joseph Johnson 91 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES VI 
Joseph Johnson (1698 - 1783?) 



Of all the gravestones that could be used to illustrate Connecticut stone 
art in the mid-eighteenth century the most interesting ones are found within 
a few miles of each other in Hartford County. They were made from a 
smooth, dark-red sandstone, similar to that used by George Griswold over 
fifty years before, a relatively soft stone that readily responded to a master 
craftsman's chisel. Though an occasional stone of this variety may be found 
anywhere between North Guilford and West Springfield, they are far more 
numerous in Glastonbury, East Hartford, Windsor and particularly in the old 
Edwards graveyard in East [now South] Windsor. Most of them are dated 
between 1740 and 1754. 

The man who made these stones was exceedingly versatile, altering his 
style and size of stone to suit the community standing of his patrons. With a 
skill unsurpassed by any of his contemporaries outside of Boston, he could 
make a small plain stone for a child with no design on it except some 
pinwheels in the finials, or he could make a more elaborate stone for an 
adult, decorated with a skull, crown, rosettes and flowers, all on a stippled 
background. He used two different facial designs ~ one a frightening skull 
with hoUowed-out eyes and a long row of prominent teeth (too many and too 
perfect teeth for an adult skull, perhaps), the other an angel's face with 
cleverly spaced pupils in the eyes that gave it a sad and doleful look despite 
its turned-up mouth (Figs. 1 and 2). On no other Connecticut gravestones of 
that period does one find such ornamented borders. They are usually varia- 
tions of a growing vine, sometimes with grapes or pineapples, more often 
with flowers and large flowing leaves, all carved with utmost care. No other 
Connecticut artist stippled the background of so many of his stones. The let- 
tering is excellent, especially in comparison with contemporaneous stones. 
One of the best stones of the group is that for William Wolcott (1749) (Fig. 
3) of South Windsor which shows a framed inscription. 

Many frustrating hours were spent in search for the name of the man who 
made these stones, and even now his identity depends somewhat on cir- 



92 Connecticut Gravestones 

cumstantial evidence. Though there were many names on the stones for 
clues, the search of their corresponding probate papers (usually a rewarding 
task) yielded not one item of definite information. Other miscellaneous 
sources, however, provided clues which, when taken together, allowed some 
interesting speculations. 

The first clue was a neatly carved letter H at the bottom of the gravestone 
for Eunice Loveland of Glastonbury, in a place where engravers usually 
carved their initials or their names. This H made us think of Isaac Hayden of 
Windsor (d. 1777), because he owned at least part of the quarry whence 
these stones originated, and many of the Hayden family gravestones were 
made in the style we are attempting to describe. Isaac also had a son, Ezra, 
who was paid for gravestones in 1798, so that, all in all, there was a good deal 
of circumstantial evidence in favor of a Hayden as the engraver of these 
stones. 



" s» - 

-•Si' 



-^ immmm um^^.j«. iiii »miw i i ii i iii i^j i i" ' ^ ' ' .,;>;;_ ;} 



S \r 



?y 'Died J?'i>^y26V-..-D i ^ ■; 






7^9 ill tm 7' 



/ 






Fig. 3 William Wolcott 1749. Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. 



Joseph Johnson 93 

There were, however, more important and contradictory facts which had 
to be considered, particularly some entries in the account book of Ebenezer 
Grant of East Windsor, which is in the Connecticut State Library. In August, 
1748, he paid £lO to "Johnson [for] making Grave Stones for my Children." 
On September 25, 1754, as an expense to be charged against the estate of his 
mother, Grace, who died April 16, 1753, Grant paid Johnson another £11-10- 
00 for gravestones; and Johnson also collected, through Grant, another £14- 
17-00 from "Capt. Lomis" in 1749 (though in this last entry gravestones were 
not specifically mentioned.) The account book also shows that while he was 
engraving the stones Johnson boarded at Grant's home. 

It was a pleasant surprise, on a revisit to the Edwards graveyard in East 
Windsor, to find that the gravestones for Ebenezer Grant's mother and 
children (Fig. 4) were still standing, and also numerous gravestones for 
various members of the Loomis family. Not only do these gravestones 
belong to the group under consideration, but the double stone for Ann and 
Eunice Grant, with its lovely grapevine border, is one of the best examples of 
this engraver's art. His name, therefore, was Johnson, not Hayden. But 
which member of the numerous Johnson family did Grant have in mind when 
he made his entries? In one entry he appears to have written "J Johnson," 
but the J is in different ink and looks as though it may have been an error. It 
was known that Thomas Johnson (1690-1761) was one of the best of the early 
Connecticut stone engravers, but the stones he made, except in a few details, 
are very different from the stones which were made for Ebenezer Grant. 

The problem, then, consisted of finding a man named Johnson who lived 
near Hartford in the 1740s and who worked on stone from the Windsor 
quarries. In this connection Allan MacLean's account book in the Connec- 
ticut Historical Society Library proved to be of considerable value. MacLean 
kept a store in Hartford and for about three years (1742-1745) he had an ac- 
count with a Joseph Johnson of Middletown, selling him such household 
necessities as nails, cloth, salt, molasses, sermon books and rum. On Septem- 
ber 21, 1745, MacLean credited Joseph Johnson (who by that time was no 
longer identified as "Of Midleton") for "Sundry work done by him and his 
man Hale plaistering & Calking underpining [and for] making Stap Stones 
£20-2-11 ... by Discount with his Brother Thomas Johnson of Middletown 



Connecticut Gravestones 



£5-0-0 . . . [and for a] Note of hand in full £6-19-2." 



X. 



lr<: ' 



Cllf 




4i 




3 



f 



Mm 



. ncl EiiNi. 
A ] = n d i e d O e i^ %f^ j 747 

Tf -"^ 1^ 0} "Yc B.'p. - 

■Ett N re R /^':,^ d Ild4£-A8| 



Fig. 4 Ann and Eunice Grant 1747. Edwards Burying Ground, 
South Windsor. Photograph by Farbers. 



Joseph Johnson 



95 




Fig. 5 Joseph Johnson 1739. Farm Hill Burying Ground, Middletown. 



Inasmuch as gravestone cutters also frequently made step stones (or steps 
for doorways) and quite often were masons, too, Joseph Johnson appeared to 
have been our man. But which Joseph Johnson of Middletown traded at 
MacLean's store? The name Joseph was fairly common in the complicated 
Johnson genealogy. While hunting in the old Farm Hill graveyard where 
many of the early Johnsons were buried, we came across a stone for a Joseph 
Johnson who died in 1739 (Fig. 5). Among the many stones in that Mid- 
dletown graveyard was this unusual stone from the Windsor quarries cut in 
the style so commonly found in the Windsor graveyards. Anyone who carried 
a stone from Windsor to Middletown, which even at that time was well 
known for its gravestone quarries, must have had an unusually good reason 
for doing so. When it was later discovered that this Joseph Johnson was a 
mason, the son of Isaac of Roxbury, Massachusetts, who was also a mason, 
and that there was a Joseph Johnson, Jr., (1702-1768) the problem appeared 
to be completely solved. There was more circumstantial evidence on some 
other Johnson stones, some in the Farm Hill graveyard and some in Durham, 
all from the Windsor quarries and all carved by the same man who made 



96 Connecticut Gravestones 

gravestones for Ebenezer Grant. The evidence seemed perfect -- until, alas, 
it was found that Joseph Johnson, Jr., (1702-1768) was neither a mason nor a 
stonecutter, nor did he have a brother named Thomas. He, therefore, was 
not the man who made step stones for MacLean. 

The only Joseph Johnson who answers the description given by MacLean 
was born in 1698, son of John and Mehitable of New Haven. The fact that 
his brother, Thomas,^ had become a mason and moved to Middletown, where 
he was very successful as a gravestone cutter, no doubt influenced Joseph to 
do likewise. After the latter became a mason, he also moved to Middletown, 
where he bought some land on Mill Hill in 1725. A few months later he 
married Hannah Andrus. In 1732 he sold his land on Mill Hill, but he ap- 
parently remained in Middletown for awhile because the births of his 
children were recorded in the Middletown vital records, although the land 
records fail to disclose just where he lived. Further search revealed another 
important bit of evidence. In December, 1742, the same "Joseph Johnson of 
Midletown . . . [bought] three quarters of an Acre . . . with a Mansion House" 
in East Hartford, where he lived until 1750. This accounts for MacLean's 
failure to describe him as "of Midletown" after the first few entries. We were 
certain, then, that this Joseph was a mason and a stonecutter (at least he 
made step stones) and that he had a brother, Thomas, who was well known in 
the gravestone business. 

There still remains, however, one gap in the evidence, for it can only be 
assumed that Joseph was the same person who made gravestones for 
Ebenezer Grant. This is not too difficut an assumption inasmuch as 
Johnson's change of residence could easily account for the popularity of the 
new style of gravestone in Hartford County after 1742. That he would board 
with Grant in East Windsor, not many miles from East Hartford, could also 
be adequately explained on the ground that he had many new patrons in the 
Windsors and that he found it more convenient to live with Grant for short 
periods than to return home every night, especially during the winters. Grant 
charged him about thirty shillings per week and fifteen shillings for his horse 
during his stays in the winter of 1746-1747 and during most of July, August 
and December, 1748. On at least one occasion he had to pay Grant for 
"Carting a Load of Stone from the ferry" ~ fairly good proof that his grave- 



Joseph Johnson 97 

Stones originated in the Windsor quarries across the river. There were also 
some charges for Johnson's assistant, Holland, and the two of them con- 
sumed prodigious amounts of rum, a favorite drink for hard working artisans 
and particularly the brawny ones who worked with gravestones. That 
Johnson was assisted sometimes by Hale and sometimes by Holland ade- 
quately explains the letter H on the Eunice Loveland gravestone. 

While he lived in East Hartford, Johnson unquestionably knew the Buck- 
lands, Thomas Ritter, Daniel Chandler and Gershom Bartlett, all well-known 
gravestone cutters in that neighborhood. Indeed, it is interesting to trace the 
Johnson influence on the works of most of these men. Some copied his letter- 
ing, others his stippling and nearly all of them imitated his hook-and-eye 
design, especially Gershom Bartlett, who later made it famous in Connec- 
ticut. (It was called "hook-and-eye" because the central features of the face 
resembled the eye of an old-fashioned hook-and-eye). 

Johnson was an itinerant stonecutter during the time he lived in East 
Hartford, for in Westfield, Massachusetts, there is a single stone for three of 
Dr. Israel Ashley's children who died, probably from diphtheria, in 1743. 
This stone is a good example of Johnson's relatively simple stones for 
children, stones without skulls or angels but nevertheless very carefully made 
and rather pleasing to the eye. 

Reviewing our notes from probate records, we found Joseph Johnson's 
name in various Hartford estates, although not once definitely connected 
with gravestones.^ His reputation having been established, his services con- 
tinued in demand not only in Connecticut but also in Massachusetts, even 
after 1750 when he moved back to a new "Dwelling house near West River" 
in Middletown; and he still continued to use stone from the Windsor quarries 
on occasion. One of these may be seen in Granville, Massachusetts, dated 
1751; and the stone for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Copley, who died in Suffield 
during a dysentery epidemic in 1751, was also made in the Joseph Johnson 
style. By accident or design, he was in West Springfield shortly after five 
adult members of the Ely family (Fig. 6) died from influenza during May, 
1754. Being in the gravestone business, he seemed to have an unusually good 
nose for epidemics. He had altered the shape of his most expensive stones by 
that time, and they can be better illustrated than described. The most impor- 



98 



Connecticut Gravestones 



tant probate record that has so far come to light discloses that the estate of 
Joseph King of Suffield (1756) paid "Joseph Johnson . . . £1-16-0," 
presumably as last payment for a gravestone of this later style (Fig. 7). 

In the Middletown area one finds sandstones cut in the same Joseph 
Johnson style as are seen in Hartford County. They have the same shaped 
faces with turned-up mouths and some have pupils in the eyes. There are 
also a few skulls with teeth. Some have flowered borders and there are even 
some with stippled backgrounds. As a rule, however, they are not nearly as 
attractive as the Windsor stones, partly because the Middletown stones have 
not retained their original sharpness and partly because Johnson seems to 
have been less inclined to experiment and less concerned with minute details 
as he grew older. 




Fig. 6 Ens" John Ely 1754. West Springfield, Mass. 



Joseph Johnson 



99 



The last years of Johnson's life remain obscure. After he returned to Mid- 
dletown he bought some pasture land in the "Boggy Meadow" in 1755. In 
1770 he sold some of his homelot and pasture lands, for he was then about 
seventy-two years old and had probably retired from his very strenuous oc- 
cupation. His only son, Elisha, had a home near his father for awhile, but 
about 1763 he moved to Canaan and later to Harwinton. It is not known at 
present whether or not he cut gravestones. A Joseph Johnson died in Mid- 
dletown in 1783, but, unfortunately, his probate papers cannot now be found. 




' iiniioF Ills 7^,'tf'' / . -f ^ 'M: 

l^m J i '— — -2 ^i 1 't^ I ; 

'f ^ ' ' II / f' ■ m mm i,. ; »i w" -iKiiiitiniMr'im J\^ j 



^^^m^'^'^ 



Fig. 7 Cap' Joseph King 1756. Suffield. 



100 



Connecticut Gravestones 



NOTES 



1. Although Dr. Caulfield does say it here, nevertheless in his article it is easy to overlook the 
fact that Joseph Johnson was the younger brother of the famous carver Thomas Johnson I 
(see Connecticut Gravestones V). 

2. In addition to the scanty probate, and better account book, evidence Dr. Caulfield in his 
manuscript mentions additional probate references to Joseph Johnson in various Hartford 
county estates, but in which gravestones are not specifically mentioned. The only one that 
has a Joseph Johnson type of stone is that of Thomas Kilbourn (1748) (Fig. 8) in East 
Hartford. Johnson was paid £00-06-03, which Dr. Caulfield felt was hardly enough for a 
gravestone of this quality. 




Fig. 8 Thomas Kilbourn 1748. Footstone. 
Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 



"The Bat" 101 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES VII 
"The Bat" 



Within the area bounded by a line from Simsbury to Hartford, to Suffield, 
to Westfield, Massachusetts, thence back to Simsbury, there are about one 
hundred comparatively small gravestones that may be classified together as 
the work of one man because they have many distinctive characteristics in 
common. Over thirty of them are in Simsbury, which makes it likely that the 
engraver was an inhabitant of that town, and especially since the one remain- 
ing tablestone he made is there. About twenty may be seen in Suffield, 
eighteen in East Granby, ten in Westfield and eight more in Poquonock. The 
remainder are scattered in Hartford, Bloomfield, Windsor, Granby and West 
Suffield. Made of soft fragile sandstone, some of the stones are now badly 
disintegrated, so originally there must have been many more than can be 
found today. Most of them are dated between 1733 and 1757, although there 
is an occasional stone with a much earlier date, such as the one for Captain 
John Higly of Simsbury, dated 1714, but the designs on these early-dated 
stones suggest that they were made in the 1730s. 

An exhaustive search of corresponding probate papers both in Hartford 
and Northampton yielded only tantalizing clues, so for want of a better name 
and because of the distinctive scalloped borders on his wing designs, we have 
come to know this stonecutter as "The Bat." Indeed, the design may have 
been deliberately cut to resemble a bat because at one time that poor, friend- 
less creature was the symbol of death.^ 

"The Bat" was anything but a finished craftsman, for on most of his stones 
the lettering is amateurish, shallow and usually very difficult to read. He 
used capital letters indiscriminately, especially a capital L in the middle of a 
word. The verse on the stone for Captain Joseph Winchel of Suffield (Fig, 
1), dated 1743, illustrates some of these pecuharities: 



youLL Say hes dead 
aLas he cannot dy 
hes onLy chang'd 
to imortaLity 
Weep not for him 



102 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Who has no cause of tears 

hush then your sighs 

& CaLm your needless fears 

Sometimes only the first name of the deceased person appears in capital 
letters; and quite often one finds disproportionately tall a's, or a misplaced 
long s at the end of a word. Another noticeable characteristic of "Bat" stones 
is the misspelling of common words, especially months of the year, such as 
jeanuary or jenary, February, Mach, aprel or apriel, and octobar. His capital 
M, with its overhanging serifs, and especially his uneven spidery pinwheels, 
are unusual enough to be distinctly his. 

One of his simplest designs is on the stone for Daniel Case, who died in 
Simsbury in 1733. In addition to the smooth, bat-like wings, this stone has 
features common to many others in this group, such as hollowed-out eyes, tri- 
angular nose, and a very long chin with prominent teeth. Unquestionably 
"The Bat" was attempting to imitate the first Thomas Johnson, designer of 
Connecticut's death's-head stones and deservedly a very popular stonecutter 
in Connecticut in the early 1730s. 




Fig. 1 Cap^ Joseph Winchel 1743. Suffield. 



"The Bat" 



103 



"The Bat" designed various kinds of borders. One of his most attractive, 
yet meaningless, borders is on the stone for Cattron Vets (Catherine Viets) 
who died in Simsbury in 1734 (Fig. 2). Occasionally one finds a modified 
diamond border, or a border too complex to describe, but the design which 
apparently pleased him most was one consisting of a coarse, undulating stalk 
with alternating round bulbous masses, faint - indeed very faint -- reminders 
of the figs so often skillfully carved by the master stonecutters of early Bos- 
ton. Figs in the early days were symbols of Paradise, or Land of Plenty; but 
unaware of their significance, "The Bat" substituted his plain round masses, 
signifying nothing. On the stone for Joseph Addams of Simsbury, dated 1741 
(Fig. 3), the round bulbs or figs were, by a few simple alterations, converted 
into a series of graceful swans. A similar border appears on the stone for 
Elijah Owen, who died in East Granby in 1741, and also the stone for Anna 
Lx)omis (1744) in Bloomfield (Fig. 4). 




Fig. 2 Cattron Vets 1734. Simsbury. 



104 



Connecticut Gravestones 



About 1745, in keeping with the general trend away from gruesomeness to 
more pleasing moods, "The Bat" began to use a different design on most of 
his stones. Just as Thomas Johnson abandoned his skulls in favor of heavenly 
angels, so "The Bat" attempted to get away from his characteristic reminder 
of death. The scalloped lower borders on the bat wings tend to disappear, 
and the wings themselves, instead of remaining smooth, were carved with 
heavy strands of wavy lines. Again "The Bat" failed to come up to the stan- 
dards of an accomplished craftsman. These strands, supposed to represent 
angel's wings, were sometimes carved to surround the whole skull, but some- 
times, as on the stone for Abraham Sidewelt of Simsbury, dated 1745, they 
were confined to the lower face so that they look more like images of Santa 
Claus. It is on this style of gravestone, and especially after 1749, that one 
finds many backward a's. For example, on the stone for Mrs. Ahinoam Alder- 
man of East Granby, who died in 1750, all nine a's are backward. 





PSEPH 













Fig. 3 Joseph Addams 1741. Simsbury. 



"The Bat" 



105 








Kv 



7 A 










Fig. 4 Anna Loomis 1744. Bloomneld. 



At one time it was thought that these later stones, because of such varia- 
tions, were designed by a different stonecutter. The original bat design is sel- 
dom found after 1745, but the chief reason for attributing "whisker" or 
"bearded" stones to "The Bat" is that nearly all of them continue to show his 
characteristic borders, shallow uneven lettering, triangular noses, long chins 
and especially his uneven spidery pinwheels. There are two stones in 
Simsbury, standing side by side that are almost duplicates except for the 
designs at the top - one shows a bat, the other a bewhiskered face. The 
simplest explanation is that "The Bat" continued to carve gravestones, but fre- 
quently he left the lettering to an apprentice or a son with the customary new 
and strange ideas of a younger generation. 

A few stones are unusual enough to warrant special consideration. There 
is one in Suffield for Robert Granger (Fig. 5), a child who died in 1756, that 
has a mixture of normal and backward a's. At the top of this stone, in almost 
indecipherable letters resembling hieroglyphics, appears the inscription, 
"Jerusha Phelps ye wife of Abel." She died in 1736 and her grave in Po- 
quonock is marked by a stone with a typical early bat design. It appears that 



106 



Connecticut Gravestones 



"The Bat," when carving a stone for Jerusha, botched the first few words, then 
carved a second stone, the one now in Poquonock. The first was probably 
cast aside in disgust on his pile of discarded stones. After twenty years it was 
reclaimed and recarved for the Granger child in Suffield, as though any left- 
over stone was good enough for him. No one even bothered to delete the 
Phelps inscription. This may be the only gravestone in the world with two 
unrelated names inscribed on the face of it.^ 

The most elaborate stone of all, that for Simon Chapman, Jr., (1737) (Fig. 
6), an attorney of Windsor, has a double border as well as a great deal of 
careful, detailed work, yet it still retains all the characteristics of the more 
crude and simple stones. Unlike most "Bat" stones, this one, his best, is still 
in very good condition. In contrast to this handsome piece of intricate handi- 
work, there is the fiendish skull design on the stone for Mrs. Lydia Gay 
(1757) of Suffield (Fig. 7). Except for the borders, spidery pinwheels, and 
particularly the shallow, uneven lettering, one would scarcely believe that the 
Gay stone was engraved by the same man who made the Chapman stone. 
But the less the Gay stone is described the better, for its weirdness almost 
defies description. It is difficult to say whether "The Bat" was elated or 
depressed when he created this design. 




Fig. 5 Robert Granger 1756. Suffield. 



"The Bat" 



107 




Fig. 6 Simon Chapman Jr. 1737. Palisados Burying Ground, Windsor. 




Fig. 7 Lydia Gay 1757. Suffield. 



108 



Connecticut Gravestones 



NOTES 



1. This is an entertaining idea, but probably is only a conceit of Dr. Caulfield's. It seems very 
unlikely that this carver would introduce such an innovation, but rather that his stones are 
only those of a rured folk craftsman producing simple winged skulls. Indeed on some of his 
more elaborate stones such as that for Simon Chapman, Jr., (Fig. 6) we see definite layers 
of feathers certainly not found on any mammal such as a bat. The only stone of which we 
are aware on which bat wings are used as a major feature of the lunette is one in Beccles 
(East Anglia) where the wings are present around a central hour glass. 

2. Caulfield's annotated copy has a notation in the right margin saying "one in Greece." 












Fig. 1 Hannah Enas 1760. Union. Carved by Josiah Manning. 



The Mannings 109 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES VIII 
The Mannings 



Josiah Manning (1725-1806) 

Josiah Manning, by far the most influential stonecutter in eastern Connec- 
ticut during the second half of the eighteenth century, was born in Hopkin- 
ton, Massachusetts, in 1725. About 1730 his father bought a farm near 
Merrick's Brook in the East Parish of Windham, now Scotland, where Josiah 
spent his boyhood. His handwriting, though somewhat crude, is easily 
legible, indicating that he received at least a primary education. After he 
married Mary Cook in 1746, he lived for awhile in Canterbury, where he 
made a little money on a few real estate transactions. In February, 1748, for 
example, he bought one acre of land in Scotland for £30 and sold it the same 
year for £60; and another plot for which he paid £100 was sold the next day 
for £150. Such opportunities could not have been too plentiful, else he 
would have stayed where he was; but instead, about August, 1748, he bought 
a house and settled down in the northwest corner of Norwich (now Franklin) 
on the road that leads to Windham. One of his earliest Norwich records dis- 
closes that in July, 1748, he was paid 8s for digging the grave of Samuel 
Edgerton. He appears in Joseph Badcock's account book, 1759, as borrowing 
money to pay his "scool rates" and other taxes, carting wood, and also doing 
stone work such as underpinning the mill and constructing a stone wall. But 
on the debit side of the ledger, he had to pay 12s when his hogs got loose and 
had a feast in Mr. Badcock's cornfield. On May 17, 1760, Manning was in 
Windham Court, being ordered to pay £1-12-8 and costs for defaulting on a 
note. Mrs. Manning was equally interesting, if not more so. She repeatedly 
read her Bible from cover to cover, and before she died she had read it 
seventy-two times. Meanwhile, in her leisure moments, she bore sixteen 
children, including three pairs of twins. 

It is not known when Josiah started cutting gravestones.^ Having been a 
gravedigger, his next step upward was the more lucrative trade of stone 
engraving. On the other hand, many of his early stones show a definite Ger- 
shom Bartlett influence. At all events, he probably was not in business 



110 Connecticut Gravestones 

before 1761, because his father's gravestone, which is dated 1760, was made 
by Bartlett. Josiah, however, signed his name to the gravestone for Hannah 
Scripture of West Wilhngton, and initialed I. M. the stone for Hannah Enas 
(Fig. 1) of Union, both dated 1760. Although the letters on these stones are 
not remarkable, they still are much better than one would expect of a novice, 
indicating that he had become a fairly good engraver early in the 1760s. 
Another stone that he is definitely known to have made, inasmuch as it is 
signed "J. Manning," is the one in Norwichtown for "Simeon Wartermans 
Wife & Child Who Died May 30th 1764 in ye 21d year of her age" (Fig. 2). 
Many quaintly spelled words, together with the imitation Bartlett borders, 
indicate that this is another of Josiah's early stones. Like the Enas stone, it 
shows his peculiar facial design that for some strange reason suddenly be- 
came popular in many Connecticut towns between the Woodstocks and Long 
Island Sound. This frightened, hooded angel, resembling a modern space 
cadet, borders on the ridiculous, yet it somehow caught the public fancy and 
remained popular for many years. 

Josiah signed at least ten gravestones in Connecticut, and since his signa- 
ture was obviously used as an advertisement, most of them are understand- 
ably in different towns. They are the stones for Jane Tyler (Fig. 3) in Brook- 
lyn (1741), Stephen Durkee in Hampton (1769), Tabitha Hall in Mansfield 
(1764), Ebenezer Backus (Fig. 4) (1768) and Simeon Waterman's wife and 
child in Norwichtown (Fig. 2) (1764), James Luce in Scotland (1765), 
Jonathan Knight (Fig. 5) in Hanover (Sprague) (1770), Hannah Enas (Fig. 1) 
in Union (1760), Hannah Scripture in West Willington (1760) and Ebenezer 
Smith in Woodstock (1767). Manning is known to have made gravestones 
also for John Fitch of Windham (1760), Elisha Hurlbutt of Norwich (ca. 
1772),^ Jonathan Huntington, Esquire, of Windham (1773), Ebenezer Eaton 
of Pomfret (1777), Dorothy Brewster of Norwich (1779) and Dr. John Barker 
of Franklin (1791). In addition, his name has been found as a creditor in the 
estates of Phineas Allen of Mansfield (1778), Benjamin Badcock of Norwich 
(1764), James Moulton, Jr., of Windham (1787), Mary Payn of Lebanon 
(1778), Jonathan Peck of Norwich (1779), Joshua Ripley of Windham (1789) 
and Jonathan Rudd of Norwich (1772), 



The Mannings 



111 










tirAz- 




Fig. 2 Simeon Waterman's wife and child 1762. 
Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 



112 



Connecticut Gravestones 



From the gravestones of many of these individuals, one may easily trace 
the development of Josiah's style from the rather simple Enas stone (Fig. 1) 
to the elaborate stone for Jonathan Knight (Fig. 5). He usually worked with 
gray schist, possibly obtained from Bolton or, more likely, from a quarry 
nearer home. By 1770 he had abandoned Bartlett borders in favor of his own 
or those of John Stevens's designs, mostly scrolls, and his early hooded angel 
was changed to another equally peculiar facial design. This later face has a 
turned-down, pouting mouth, circular staring eyes and an elaborate wig that 
looks like a fancy hairdo. On the Knight stone (Fig. 5) the angel is the 
predominant feature, the wings are cut in great detail, the bloated eyes are 
quite prominent and the borders are copied from Stevens.^ 






t-A 



:!>?■ 



'■^^ 



h: 



^ May ijr, i ^ : ,c^S: yj^.'i \ 




Fig. 3 Jane Tyler 1741. Brooklyn. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Mannings 



113 




Fig. 4 Eben^ Backus Esq.^ 1768. Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 



"t / 



/ \ 



/ 



'< v,-' 







-7 1-^— (, IM 






Fig. 5 Jonathan Knight 1770. Hanover Burying Ground, Sprague. 



114 



Connecticut Gravestones 



During the 1770s Manning worked on a soft, red sandstone, which allowed 
him to do his most artistic work. Though dated 1741, the signed stone for 
Jane Tyler (Fig. 3) in Brooklyn was probably made about 1770 and is an ex- 
cellent example of this pleasing style. Each single letter, with its carefully 
engraved serifs, is in itself a work of art, and on such stones one also finds the 
best examples of Manning's graceful script. The formal pompadour and side 
curls, definite Manning characteristics, are found on nearly all of these red 
stones, as are the minister's bands. 

Josiah was an ardent patriot. Ellen Douglas Lamed, in her History of 
Windham County (Worcester, Mass., 1874-1880), relates that he inscribed 
"Liberty and Equality. Down with the Stamp Act" on a stone tablet which he 
placed over his door to stimulate the zeal of the passers-by. About the time 
of the Revolution, he became acquainted with Vermont marble, and the 
easily recognized Manning design is found on many stones in Bennington, 
Vermont, and surrounding towns. Indeed, Mrs. Harriette M. Forbes found a 




L ^i A N'-? ' I i' ^ 



■WA 






i/nu-'A ■ 



Fig. 6 Mary Manning 1796. Windham. Photograph by James Slater. 



The Mannings 



115 




ffi ^ ffi<«^wnii>l|iHtfi^ . 



J^T^a!^ Hem anif :• Cxf -: 
^■fvipnrfs tliat weep 



Fig. 7 Josiah Manning 1806. Windham. 
Photograph by Farbers of rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 




Fig. 8 Josiah Manning 1806. Back of headstone. Windham. 
Photograph by James Slater. 



116 Connecticut Gravestones 

marble stone in Bennington for Jedidiah Dewey, dated 1776, which was 
signed "Josiah Manning." Some of these Vermont stones, however, may pos- 
sibly have been made by Josiah's sons, who served in the Revolutionary War 
and who later used marble for many of their Connecticut stones. 

Sometimes it seems that Josiah Manning cut his designs in wholesale lots 
and left the inscriptions to be cut by other men. His facial design became so 
closely associated with gravestones in eastern Connecticut that many other 
stonecutters slavishly copied it, particularly Lebbeus Kimball, Amasa 
Loomis, Thatcher Lathrop, Joseph Tucker'', the John Waldens and, naturally, 
the Manning boys. To see Josiah's work one should visit Windham. There 
lie most of his children, including the three pairs of twins, their graves 
marked by a single slab; and there, also, is the stone for his wife, who died in 
1796 (Fig. 6). Of all Connecticut stonecutters, Josiah Manning and David 
Miller are only two who are known to have made their own gravestones. 
Manning's is in Windham and inscribed: "This monument I made in the year 
1800; in my 76th year (Figs. 7 and 8)." He died in 1806. 

Frederick Manning (1758-1810) 

One explanation for the existence of so many gravestones in the Josiah 
Manning style is that his only two sons who survived their childhood carried 
on the family trade. Frederick was born in Norwich (Franklin) in 1758, 
served in the Revolutionary War, and married Anne Young of Windham on 
July 19, 1781. In 1783 we find him buying "Flower, Rum, Sugar & Cloth" 
from a store in Norwich, paying for them partly in manual labor, especially by 
mowing hay. That same year he and his brother bought a little shop in Nor- 
wich; and the following year he bought part of his father's land in Franklin 
near "Manning's Bridg [across] Shawtucket River." No doubt Frederick was 
cutting gravestones when very young, but the earliest record so far discovered 
is dated Norwich, October 17, 1780, when he was twenty-two years old. His 
earliest stones are difficult to distinguish from those made by his father, espe- 
cially since they both worked on the same quality of schist. 

About 1786, having sold his half of the Norwich shop to his brother, he 
moved to Windham, where he went into business for himself. During 
February and March, 1792, he inserted this advertisement in The Phenix or 



The Mannings 

Windham Herald: 



117 



FREDERICK MANNING 
STONE-CUTTER 

Informs the public that he carries on the above business, at his shop in 
Windham, in all its branches - Makes Tomb-tables, either of marble or Bolton 
stone - Grave-stones, of do. - Side-boards of marble - Marble Vats, for 
painters - Chimney-pieces, &c. - all in the neatest manner - cheap for Cash, or 
country produce. 

February 16, 1792 



8«" 










i iii#fti ) ir i ||i||i i %i^^ 




Fig. 9 Timothy A. Cushman AB 1792. 

Nathan Hale Burying Ground, Coventry. 

Photograph by Farbers of rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



118 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Some of Frederick Manning's receipts show atrocious spelling, and on 
many of them he signed his name as "Fradrick Manning." So far as we know, 
he signed only one gravestone^, that for Timothy A. Cushman (Fig. 9), who 
died in Coventry in 1792. This attractive marble stone has on it a design very 
much like Josiah's, except that the eyes appear as mere slits between some 
puffy lids. An unusual gravestone found in Hampton for Chloe Griffin and 
her eleven-week-old son (Fig. 10) is probably a Frederick Manning stone. 

On November 3, 1800, Frederick signed a note in which he promised to 
pay "twenty five Dollars in my work at my trade in Stone Cutting at two dol- 
lars per day or otherwise agreed on & be bound my self & horse after 
reasonable notice." He died in Woodstock, October 21, 1810, aged fifty-two 
years, while temporarily away from home. The inventory of his estate is 
more interesting for the references to the furniture he owned than for any- 
thing pertaining to his trade. Some of this furniture was made by Amos Al- 
len. 




Fig. 10 Chloe Griffin and son 1784. 
Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 



The Mannings 119 

The following is a list of references to Frederick Manning found in the 
Probate Records of the Connecticut State Library. His name usually appears 
as being paid for gravestones: 



Simon Brewster of Norwich, 1780, £2-0-0 

Ezekiel Gary of Windham, 1782, £2-1-0 

Reverend Nathan Avery of Stonington, 1783, £5-0-0 

Jabez Huntington of Windham, 1783, £4-2-0 

Nathaniel Kingsbury of Norwich, 1785, two pairs, £5-0-0 

Joseph Hunt of Norwich, 1786, £2-0-0 

Sylvanus ChamberHn of Woodstock, 1788, £2-8-0 

James Flint of Windham, 1788, £3-9-0 

Jabez Fitch of Windham, 1789, £15-0-0 

James Stedman of Hampton, 1789, £18-0-8 

Jonathan Badcock of Windham, 1790, £2-5-0 

John Huntington of Windham, 1792, £2-10-0, paid in 1798 

Captain Stephen Lyon and wife of Woodstock, 1792, £5-5-0 

Abraham Dewey of Lebanon, 1792, £2-1-0 

[ ] Gary (father of John) of Windham, 1798, £2-1-0 

Nathaniel Marcy of Woodstock, 1799, $26.67 

Ehas Mason of Woodstock, 1802, $15.00 



Rockwell Manning (1760-1806) 

Rockwell Manning, who was born in Norwich about 1760, started cutting 
gravestones as soon as he was strong enough to swing a heavy hammer. Mr. 
Kendall P. Hayward called my attention to a stone in Scotland for Abigail 
Manning (Fig. 11), who died in 1770, and which was proudly inscribed "Made 
by Rockwell Manning Aged 13 Years." This stone for his grandmother shows 
that the boy had learned his lessons well, for it is a true copy of the pop-eyed 
angel stones that were so frequently made by his father about that time. Not 
far away is a small schist tablet, no doubt also carved when the boy was young 
and morbid; but this one was made to mark the grave of an infant, possibly a 
sibling (Fig. 12): 

quick from the womb 

unto the tomb 
my Body here is laid 

& happy he this 
world may see 

whose debt is 
soonest paid 

RM 



120 Connecticut Gravestones 

In 1783, when he was twenty-three years old, Rockwell married Sarah 
Ensworth (1761-1851) of Canterbury, and that same year he and his brother, 
Frederick, bought a shop "on the Highway from the Green to the Landing 
Place" in Norwich, but this partnership did not last long because soon there- 
after Rockwell owned the entire shop. In 1785 he bought another small lot 
situated, appropriately, "on the Highway that leads to the Burying Ground," 
and on this lot he built a house, barn and hog pen. He then placed the follow- 
ing advertisement in the Norwich Packet : 



ROCKWELL MANNING 
STONE-CUTTER AND ENGRAVER 

Respectfully informs the public, that he carries on the Stone-Cutting 
and Engraving business in all its various branches, at his house in the City of 
Norwich, and at the house of Mr. William Bingham's in Canterbury, all orders 
left with him or with Mr. Bingham will be punctually executed — Any that are 
desirous of having the American Marble, which makes elegant TABLES, may 
be furnished by said Manning. The smallest favours will be thankfully acknow- 
ledged. 
Norwich, June 16, 1785 

Like the other Mannings, Rockwell had a lucrative gravestone trade. 
Despite an occasional misspelled word, most of his numerous signed receipts 
for gravestones reveal a very neat handwriting, indicating a better-than- 
average education which no doubt contributed to his popularity. He 
engraved his name in flowing script on the gravestone for John Hurlbut (Fig. 
13) in East Hartford, dated 1778. Rockwell's early stones were made from 
schist and, though carefully cut, they are very difficult to distinguish from 
those made by his father, Josiah. But when he worked on marble, Rockwell 
broke out of the Manning rut and used a design distinctly his own. The Sarah 
Gardiner (1777) gravestone in Wickford, Rhode Island, which was inscribed 
"Made by R Manning in Norwich" is a duplicate of the Benjamin Butler stone 
(Fig. 14) in Norwichtown (1787); and this style is fairly common throughout 
eastern Connecticut. Rockwell was one of the very few stonecutters in New 
England who took the trouble to finish the edges of his stones, and for this 
reason it seems safe to attribute to him such unusual stones as the one in 
Hampton,^ with its delicate flowers carved along the edges, for Miss Lucy 
Howard (Fig. 15) "who died we trust a sincere Christion" in 1784. 



The Mannings 



121 








!Bv achels face aadl^ealxis 
^ |l^ Mar jf 5 Baatet part * 







i^% 



Fig. 11 Abigail Manning 1770. Scotland. 
Photograph by Farbers of rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



122 Connecticut Gravestones 



V 






1 "? 



.' V, ^ 



, J' 



i. 



\ 
h 



Fig. 12 "Womb to Tomb" stone. Scotland. 

The Mannings, and particularly Rockwell, were fond of carving birds on 
gravestones, inasmuch as most birds were symbols of the soul. The peacock 
was the symbol of immortality, the phoenix the symbol of the Resurrection, 
and the cock the symbol of eternal vigilance. Occasionally one finds these 
birds on a footstone (there is one in Ellington),^ as though they were used for 
trademarks. It is now impossible to know what the Mannings had in mind 
when they carved their birds, and especially since it is sometimes difficult to 
distinguish their peacocks from ordinary ducks.^ 

About 1788, flush with success, Rockwell Manning bought more land "on 
the little Plain In Chelsea Society in Norwich ... on the straight road so 
called leading from the Town Plot to the Landing." He also bought "a Man- 
tion House Barn and Corn House" with 300 acres of the Ensworth property 
on the west bank of the Quinebaug River in Canterbury for £400. 

But about 1793, when he was only thirty-three years old, Rockwell's finan- 
cial ship started veering towards the rocks. Sensing disaster, he transferred 
"for love and affection," plus £100, practically all of his property in Norwich 
and Canterbury to his minor children, Mansur, aged ten, and Sally, aged five. 



The Mannings 



123 



Sometime before 1796 he moved from Norwich to Canterbury. During 1796 
and 1797 he would not, or could not, pay numerous judgements, varying in 
amounts from $9.48 to $119.38. The sheriff, though legally empowered "to 
take the Body of said Manning & him commit unto the Keeper of the Goal," 
seized some of his property instead -- property which he had forgotten to 
transfer to the children, or which had not been transferred in time. 

Despite his numerous difficulties, Rockwell continued to make grave- 
stones. There is a marble stone in the Cleveland cemetery in Canterbury for 
John Johnson (1804) and inscribed "made by R. Manning." It is a willow and 
urn design, and Rockwell received $40 for it. It is one of the last of his 
known gravestones. 







<Ji 



Fig. 13 Lieu^ John Hurlbut 1778. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



124 



Connecticut Gravestones 




^ In ! ['-iiiory of Yi^"\ 
iBKIlI.iMINFUTLEB 

giniiiBfiiidrisJoDe i-f' M 




Fig. 14 Benjamin Butler 1787. Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 




Fig. 15 Lucy Howard 1784. South Burying Ground, Hampton. 



The Mannings 125 

Rockwell Manning died in Canterbury, February 3, 1806, like so many 
other stonecutters of his time, insolvent. The inventory of his estate listed 
two marble and some Bolton schist gravestones, all valued at $13.50. His 
tools, including stone chisels, stone hammers, compasses, a stone adz and a 
stone scraper, were appraised from five to twenty-five cents apiece. His total 
assets came to $208.43. Since he was only forty-five years old when he died, 
undoubtedly some chronic illness accounts for most of his misfortunes. 

The following is a list of Rockwell Manning items taken mostly from the 
Probate Records at the Connecticut State Library. Dates are from grave- 
stones or probate records. 



1770, Abigail Manning, Scotland. Signed stone (Fig. 11). 
1770, Sarah Gardiner, Wickford, Rhode Island. Signed stone. 
1778, John Hurlbut, East Hartford, Signed stone (Fig. 13). 

1784, Reverend Benjamin Lord, Norwich. Table stone. Paid £13. Gravestones not 
mentioned. 

1785, David Breed, Norwich, £5-10-0 for 2 pairs of gravestones. 
1785, Samuel Gager, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3. 
1785, John Hough, Norwich. Paid £4 "for two pare of Grave Stones." 
1785, Elisha Edgerton, Jr., Norwich. Paid £6-0-0 for gravestones. 

1785, James Huntington, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £4-7-0. 

1785, Asa Waterman, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £2-6-6. 

1786, Joseph Denison, 2nd, Stonington. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3-10-0. 

1787, Jeremiah Clement, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones. £3-5-0. 
1787, Solomon Malbone, Norwich. Paid £3-3-0 for gravestones. 

1787, Thomas Danforth, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3-2-0. 

1788, Daniel Calkins, Norwich. Paid £2-0-0 for gravestones. 

1788, Deacon Joseph Colt, Lyme. Signed receipt for gravestones, £2 or 8 silver dol- 
lars. 

1788, Thomas Fanning, Groton. Signed receipt for gravestones, £2-2-0. 
1788, William Loring, Norwich. Paid £5-10-0 for gravestones. 

1788, William Rockwell, Norwich. Paid £5-7-0. Gravestones not mentioned. 

1789, Captain Asa Avery, Groton. Signed receipt for £4-10-0. Gravestones not men- 
tioned. 

1790, Abel Brewster, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3-3-6. 

1791, Captain Jacob Hazen, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £4-12-0. 

1792, Lucy Waterman, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £2-1-6. 

1793, Nathan Chappel, Jr. and Mrs. Susannah Chappel, Norwich. Signed receipt for 2 
pairs of gravestones, £4-10-0. 

1794, Joseph Reynolds, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3-5-0. 

1794, Captain Ebenezer Baldwin, Bozrah. Signed receipt for gravestones, £4-2-0. 

1794, Charlotte and Bernice Whiting, Norwich. Signed receipt for gravestones, £5- 

12-0 (in Ebenezer Whiting estate). 

1794, Captain Thomas Robinson and four of his children, Stonington. Signed receipt 

for gravestones, "£10-4-0 or 34 Spanish milled Dollars." 

17%, Zebulon Edgerton, Franklin. Paid £0-1-4. Gravestones not mentioned. 



126 Connecticut Gravestones 



1798, Ebenezer Gallup, Plainfield. Signed receipt for gravestones, £3-10-0. 

1798, Nathaniel Kazar, Lisbon. Signed receipt for gravestones, $10.00. 

1799, Phinehas Leffingwell and wife, Norwich. Signed receipt for two pairs of grave- 
stones, $20.00. 

1801, William Bradford, 2nd, Montville. Signed receipt for gravestones, $15.00. 
1804, John Johnson, Canterbury. Signed stone. 



NOTES 



1. Josiah Manning may have started carving gravestones as early as 1749 or 1750. In the small 
Gager burying ground in North Franklin there is a small stone for Caleb Manning, Josiah's 
son. This stone may have been carved by John Huntington, but may possibly also be the 
very early work of Josiah, who would have seen the work of Huntington all around him. In 
the same graveyard is a stone for Josiah's two daughters, Leah and Rachel, dated 1756. 
However, the design work on this stone is very sophisticated and not of the type that Josiah 
used on his early stones for children, so that it is almost certainly backdated. Thus he may 
have carved a few simple stones prior to 1760, but Dr. Caulfield's suggested date is prob- 
ably correct for the start of his major work. 

2. This stone is not now present in Norwichtown. There is, however, a signed stone dated 
1763 in the Bungay burying ground in West Woodstock for Elisha Hurlbutt. 

3. The border panels of the Knight stone may indeed have been copied from a Stevens stone, 
but if so they are not the type of border panel design that the Mannings usually copied 
from Stevens. The design work found on the Jane Tyler stone (Fig. 3) is of the Stevens 
type usually adopted by the Manning carvers. 

4. But see discussion of Aaron Haskins in Connecticut Gravestones XV. 

5. Two additional stones signed "Fradrick Manning" are now known. One of these, that for 
Ephram Trowbridge 1773 (Abington burying ground, Fomfret), is on the same yellow 
sandstone as that for Jane Tyler in Brooklyn (signed by Josiah Manning). The design work 
and lettering are identical on the two stones! The third signed stone, for Daniel Talcott 
1807, is an unimpressive urn-willow schist in the West Willington burying ground. 

6. In the South burying ground at the junction of Routes 6 and 97. 

7. Footstone for Charles Elsworth (1776). 

8. This is Dr. Caulfield with tongue in cheek. The Manning birds might be taken for crowing 
cocks rather than peacocks, but one need not be an ornithologist to recognize that they 
look nothing like ducks. 

9. The following are additional documented stones that have been discovered since Dr. 
Caulfield's article. 

Signed stones by Josiah Manning: 

1. Ebenezer Smith 1767. Bungay burying ground. West Woodstock. 

2. Stephen Fuller 1767. Old Litchfield burying ground, Hampton. 
Probated stones by Rockwell Manning: 

1. Lieut. Ebenezer Avery 1781. Col. Ledyard burying ground, Groton. 



127 
The Mannings 

2. Ensign Daniel Avery 1781. Morgan-Avery burying ground, Groton. 

3. Capt. Simeon Allyn 1781. Allyn's Point burying ground, Ledyard. 

4. Abigail Denison 1784. Packard burying ground, Groton. 

5. Asia Perkins 1781. Starr burying ground, Groton. 

6. Luke Perkins 1781. Starr burying ground, Groton. 

Note that most of these probated stones are for soldiers killed at the Groton Heights 
massacre. 




128 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 1 William Belcher 1732. Pachaug Burying Ground, Griswold. 



^ 







Fig. 2 Samuel Post Jr. 1746. Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



The Collins Family 129 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES IX 
The Collins Family 



Benjamin Collins (1691-1759) 

In February, 1735, when Benjamin Collins bought some land on Chestnut 
Hill on the west side of the road leading from "Lebanon Old parrish meeting 
house ... to the Crank meeting house so called," he described himself as a 
"joyner . . . late of Taunton." He was to continue as a cabinetmaker the rest 
of his life, for every now and then he bought new files, gimlets and chest 
locks, and even when he was stricken with a fatal illness at the age of sixty- 
eight, he was in the process of making "one high Case of Drawers." Unques- 
tionably this previous manual training contributed to his skill as a stonecut- 
ter, because many of his gravestones tend to show artistic designs. Having 
been trained to work on wood, however, he developed a touch that was much 
too delicate for stone, with the result that his inscriptions are so shallow that 
many of them are difficult to read. For about twenty-five years he was a 
popular gravestone cutter throughout most of east-central Connecticut, more 
particularly in Hebron, Lebanon, Norwichtown, Pachaug and Windham. 

Having been a prominent tradesman in Lebanon, it was natural that he 
should have been well acquainted with Jonathan Trumbull. He worked for 
Trumbull at various times after 1735; and he frequently traded at Trumbull's 
store, where he discounted notes, sold hogs, and in return bought such 
household necessities as brooms, molasses, medicines and rum. Trumbull 
also bought a good deal of furniture from another cabinetmaker named Wil- 
liam Collins, who may have been Benjamin's brother. 

In September, 1746, Benjamin's house burned down with all his household 
goods, including a bundle of paper money which a son had hidden in a mat- 
tress. The Connecticut General Assembly granted some relief for this 
catastrophe. 

Very proud of his ability as a stone engraver, Collins signed his name to 
more than twenty stones. Frequently he included his address, as on a stone 
in Tolland which was "Made by Benjamin Collins of Lebanon Crank," but at 
other times he signed merely "B. Collins Sculp," as though he thought that 



130 Connecticut Gravestones 

everyone should have known where he lived. One serious-minded 
genealogist, finding "Benjamin Collins, Lebanon Crank" carved on the grave- 
stone of an ancestor, explained to his readers that "Lebanon Crank" referred 
to a town, and not to Benjamin Collins. 

Most of Benjamin's signed gravestones are dated between 1726 and 1755. 
He generally used large slabs of dark gray schist, cut in various shapes, al- 
though he favored stones with pointed tops. When he carved a facial design, 
it was always an angel rather than a skull. It was a homely angel with small, 
round, close-set eyes, a bulbous nose, and a turned-down mouth. On his ear- 
lier stones the face is nearly circular and surrounded by wings that look like 
feathers on an Indian chief; on his later stones the face is more oval and the 
wings are more conventional. In the Pachaug burying ground only two of 
twelve stones have segmented wings. 

In those towns where Collins's stones are found most frequently, one also 
finds a few stones with faces carved in relief. Most of these protruding faces, 
however, have long narrow noses, half-closed eyes and turned-up mouths. 
They appear, therefore, to have been cut by someone else, probably Obadiah 
Wheeler.^ I have found only one stone with a protruding face that I believe 
can be safely attributed to Collins. It is the stone for William Belcher (Fig. 
1) in Pachaug, dated 1732. 

Not only did Collins invariably cut borders, but his border designs vary con- 
siderably from stone to stone. A few of them appear to be mere exercises in 
plane geometry without any suggestion of symbolic significance. At times he 
seemed compelled to use his compass. The best geometric figures and 
geometric borders are on the unsigned Sarah Dean 1746 stone in the Plain- 
field burying ground. The signed stone for Simeon Mearitt (1739) in Colum- 
bia has a border made up entirely of twenty circles. Most of Collins's circles, 
enclosing a plain six-petaled flower, are arranged alternately on a curving 
stalk as though they were meant to represent flowers growing on a vine. 
Once in a while these circles were converted into rosettes, which were usually 
symbols of paradise. One often finds a series of small leaves alternating with 
bunches of grapes. More rarely one finds a column of four-leaved clovers, or 
even a column of tulips (Elisha Belcher, Pachaug 1729). The most artistic 
flowery border was cut on the stone for Benjamin Collins, Jr., who died in 



The Collins Family 131 

1749. The border on the stone for WiUiam Belcher (Fig. 1) in Pachaug was 
cut to represent bricks, as though the whole stone was meant to represent the 
face of a brick tomb. 

Benjamin Collins's inscriptions are fairly long and, as mentioned before, 
very shallow and difficult to read. The lettering is not unusual for the period 
except for an occasional elevated g. More often than not, the first few words, 
such as IN MEMORY OF, are capitalized. 

On about ten or twelve stones Collins carved no circles, faces or wings, but 
instead he carved an artistic floral design. One cannot distinguish any par- 
ticular symbols in these designs except the heart which he carved on nearly 
all of his stones. Perhaps he was not concerned with hidden symbolic mean- 
ings, but merely thought that flowers were appropriate for gravestones. Oc- 
casionally, however, one finds a crescent, a sphere, or an hour-glass. The 
signed stone for Ruth Thomas in Lebanon^ was designed one-third for the 
angel with wings, a middle third for the floral design, and the lowest third for 
the inscription. 

Although he died relatively poor, Collins appears to have been fairly well 
paid for his stones. The only significant probate record found so far discloses 
that the estate of Samuel Post, Jr. (Fig. 2) of Norwich paid "Sixteen pounds 
old Tenor in full for two pair of Tomb Stons for the said Deceased & his 
Daughter" in 1748. 

Benjamin Collins died April 29, 1759, and was buried in Lebanon Crank, 
now Columbia. His inventory included chisels, planes, saws, gouges, com- 
passes and gravestones. The illustrious Eleazer Wheelock witnessed the sig- 
nature on the will; and it was in Jonathan Trumbull's store that the widow, 
Elizabeth Collins, bought her mourning weeds. 



Gravestones signed by Benjamin Collins 
Hannah Tyler. Pachaug, 1726. 
Stephen Tucker. Pachaug, 1726. 
James Danielson. Danielson, 1729. 
Elizabeth Gager. Columbia, 1730. 
Simeon Mearitt. Columbia, 1739. 
Joseph Coit. Pachaug, 1741. 
Obadiah Hosford. Hebron, 1741. 
Jacob Baker. Tolland, 1742 (Fig. 3). 
Mary Tyler. Pachaug, 1742. 
Mary Bruster. Scotland, 1743. 



132 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Timothy Peirce. Plainfield, 1744. 

Joshua Huntington. Norwichtown, 1745. 

Hannah Belcher. Pachaug, 1745. 

Hannah Tucker. Pachaug, 1746. 

Samuel Post, Jr., Norwichtown, 1746 (Fig. 2). 

Humphrey Davenport. Coventry, 1751. 

Ruth Thomas. Lebanon, 1753. 

Jonathan Brewster. Scotland, 1753. 

Ebenezer Peck. Franklin, 1755. 

Abigail Griswold. Norwichtown, 1754. 

Marsh (?). Plainfield, date? 



''-iZLjl. 



''il, 



Fig. 3 Jacob Baker 1742. Tolland. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Collins Family 



133 



Julius Collins (1728-1758) 

In many eastern Connecticut towns, particularly in Hampton,^ there are a 
number of stones which resemble Benjamin Collins's stones in nearly every 
detail, except that they are much too crude to have been made by him. 
Perhaps they were made by one of his sons, for at least two of them are 
known to have taken up the gravestone trade. 

Julius Collins, one of the sons who followed in his father's footsteps, was 
born December 29, 1728. He was probably married about 1746, because he 
then bought cloth, thread and tape from Ichabod Robinson's store. He also 
bought cups, saucers and an almanac from Jonathan Trumbull's store. Julius 
owned a small farm in Lebanon Crank on the west side of the highway, near 
his father's home. 



r\ 




n 



Fig. 4 Richard Curtice 1739. Episcopal Burying Ground, Hebron. 




134 



Connecticut Gravestones 



So far as is now known, Julius signed only two gravestones - one for 
Richard Curtice (Fig. 4), who died in Hebron in 1739/ and the other for 
Robert White, Jr. (Fig. 5), who died in Stafford in 1746. The former stone is 
inscribed in capital letters, the latter in small letters. Both stones, although 
somewhat different in style, resemble stones made by Benjamin Collins. 
Were it not for the signatures, they could easily be mistaken for the father's 
work. 

Julius died in 1758 at Stillwater, New York, aged twenty-nine, while fight- 
ing with the Army. His probate papers include a pitiful document concerning 
some petty charges for food, drink and washing while he was dying. He left 
his wife, Priscilla, six small children and more debts than his estate was 
worth. His seven acres of land were parcelled out in square rods to his 
numerous creditors; and the several rooms in his little house were divided 
among six creditors, all six having free access to and from their rooms "at all 
times." Like his father, Julius was also a cabinetmaker. His inventory in- 
cluded a turning lathe, two fine hand-saws, breast bits, chisels and planes, as 
well as some table legs and fifty-two feet of whitewood boards. 




Fig. 5 Robert White Jun*" 1746. Old Stafford Burying Ground, Stafford. 
Photograph by Farbers of rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



The Collins Family 135 

Zerubbabel Collins (1733-1797) 

On October 4, 1733, Benjamin and Elizabeth Collins were blessed with a 
fifth son, and then afflicted him with the name Zerubbabel, after a minor 
"begat" in the First Book of Chronicles. But the boy quickly overcame this 
handicap and, being quick to learn and clever with his hands, he eventually 
became a much more skillful stonecutter than his father. Inasmuch as he was 
the favorite son, he was probably in partnership with his father, because in 
1756 he gave his note to Ichabod Robinson to pay some of his father's debts. 
When his father died in 1759, Zerubbabel inherited the family farm with in- 
structions to provide suitably for the comfort of his mother. This he no doubt 
continued to do, for when she purchased goods in Robinson's store, the bill 
was paid "by hir son Zerub." 

Very likely he was making gravestones at an early age, but since none of 
these stones has as yet been identified, it is not possible now to describe his 
early style. He probably made the gravestone for his father (Fig. 6), although 
the facial design on this stone somewhat resembles his father's work. After 
1759, however, when working independently, Zerubbabel developed a style 
very much his own. It is seen on the gravestone for his son who died in 1770, 
and though it is easy to find many variations of this design, it remained essen- 
tially the same as long as Zerubbabel cut gravestones. 

In 1763, having lost a lawsuit with Jonathan Trumbull, Zerubbabel paid "5 
piggs" on his account; and in 1775, he got some free publicity when the story 
of some cattle, having died from eating wild cherry leaves near his home, was 
published in the newspapers throughout the state. When he came to ap- 
preciate the value of marble as a medium for gravestones and wishing to be 
near the chief source of supply, Zerubbabel joined the migration of eastern 
Connecticut families to Vermont. In 1778 he sold "the Farm or Lot of Land I 
now live on" in Lebanon Crank and moved to Shaftsbury, Vermont, In the 
lovely, well-kept graveyards throughout southwestern Vermont may be seen 
many of his attractive stones. One sees them in profusion in Shaftsbury and 
in Old Bennington, and they occur at least as far north as Poultney. There 
can be little doubt about his style at this period of his life, for he proudly 
signed his name on the stone for Mehetable Hubbel (Bennington, 1770) (Fig. 
7) and also on the stone for Mary Cochran (Fig. 8), "who after performing 



136 



Connecticut Gravestones 



the Endearing Offices of the congugal Hfe" died in Bennington in 1777. 

But in the late 1700s Vermont was still sparsely settled, so Zerubbabel, 
excellent craftsman that he was, returned to Connecticut on many occasions 
to take orders for his work. In the Litchfield Monitor, February 29, 1792, 
there appeared the following notice: 



FOR SALE. A few sets of Marble Tomb Stones of a good quality ~ Also, Mul- 
lars [or pestles] and Marbles for Painters. 




"^ Jl hh:- MomimGnt, 

AJ S'/i(.rc:c] , to..t Jlc '^m, 

'/J men ioy y . oh mw 



Who (hcdMm'i 







Fig. 6 Benjamin Collins 1759. Columbia. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Collins Family 



137 







A,» 



i.X. 



h(!ub.i i 1':' 






*'^ " '-m'-lTin \'"\nhh^l' XA'^'io^" v^ 




Fig. 7 Mehetabel Hubbel 1770. Bennington, Vt. Photograph by Farbers. 



138 



Connecticut Gravestones 



This advertisement was probably inserted by Zerubbabel Collins inasmuch 
as Mr. Kendall P. Hayward found a marble stone in Salisbury for Jacob 
Galusha, signed "Z. Collins Sculpt. Shaftsbury, Vt." and dated 1792. The 
numerous gray schist stones with Zerubbabel's designs and dated after 1778 
were undoubtedly made when he was in Connecticut on one of his temporary 
visits.^ 







IN MENiC^RY 
pjNr M.\.RY COCHRAN, 'he ' X; 



l^.-'T- 



n^ri . 






Ot' I'-IC 



^- 






\A 



life; As the cn.'/y:r':j /:7S/7Cti'-i 

f LA the -cv/ .v:. - or:;7/o:L' ^S 




hikAi 



Fig. 8 Mary Cochran 1777. Bennington, Vt. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Collins Family 



139 



Zerubbabel Collins's marble gravestones are very pleasing to the eye. 
Like his father, he abhorred a vacant space on a stone, so one finds all sorts 
of objects -- rosettes, shells, feathers, baskets, tassels and many kinds of 
leaves, all beautifully arranged and skillfully carved. An excellent example of 
his work is seen on Lydia Bennitt's marble gravestone (Fig. 9), which was 
sent from Shaftsbury, Vermont, to Columbia, Connecticut, very carefully in- 
scribed with its price -- "7. Dollars," No one cut better letters. They are all of 
the proper depth and as perfect as if cut from metal type. When one con- 
siders that his designs and lettering were done with the simplest of simple 
tools, the conclusion is inevitable that Zerubbabel Collins was indeed a 
finished artist. He died in Shaftsbury in 1797, aged sixty-four. 

In many graveyards in southwestern Vermont one sees numerous stones 
that were rather crudely cut but still bearing an obvious resemblance to 
Zerubbabel's stones. The style of this imitator rapidly improved, so that by 
1800 it was very good. In East Poultney, Vermont, there is a stone for 
Mindwell Grant, dated 1800, and signed "E C," which makes one think that 
still another Collins, probably Edward, followed up the family trade.^ 




■-X- 



>Xiv 




" 'Z. "" j 




1 


: --=-^-^=- i 


\ \ 


i / ^V'i 1 



Fig. 9 Lydia Bennitt 1791. Columbia. 



140 Connecticut Gravestones 

NOTES 



1. It has now been definitely established that Obadiah Wheeler was the carver of these stones. 
See Connecticut Gravestones XVII. 

2. This stone is in the Goshen Hill burying ground and dated 1753. 

3. There are at least an equal number of these stones in the Nathan Hale (Coventry) burying 
ground. 

4. This stone is in the Episcopal burying ground. 

5. Kendall P. Hayward, Connecticut Historical Society Bulletin, January, 1950. Mrs. Forbes 
has brief accounts of Benjamin and Zerubbabel Collins in her Gravestones of Early New 
England, (Boston, 1927), 105, 111. The Caulfield copy has written below the word 
"undoubtedly" on the last line the following "? no proof found yet." This was a perceptive 
caution that should have been in the original article, for his statement that "The numerous 
gray schist stones with Zerubbabel's designs and dated after 1778 were undoubtedly made . 
... on one of his temporary visits" is incorrect. A number of such stones, obviously copied 
from those of Zerubbabel Collins, are scattered in eastern Connecticut burying grounds. 
We now have probate evidence that these were carved by Aaron Haskins of Bolton. The 
majority of Haskins stones are close copies of the work of the Mannings. His Collins-like 
stones appear to have been made when a particularly elaborate stone was wanted. The 
only evidence that we have that Zerubbabel may have returned to eastern Connecticut are 
his two stones in Columbia, both on Vermont marble. Thus it seems unlikely that Zerub- 
babel ever returned to Eastern Connecticut to carve on gray schists after he settled in Ver- 
mont. 

6. It has now been firmly established that "E C" was a carver by the name of Enos Clark. 




Charles Dolph 141 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES X 
Charles Dolph (1776-1815) 



The Connecticut Historical Society has recently acquired an unusual piece 
of engraved stone which was unquestionably intended as a lintel for a 
fireplace. Inasmuch as there are no fire burns or remnants of mortar on it, it 
was probably never used. 

Although stone or brick fireplaces go back to the seventeenth century, 
there exist very few written records to indicate that the stones were prepared 
by professional craftsmen. The earliest record known to me is dated 1666 
when the town of Windsor paid "James Enno for stones for ye town house 
hearth 00.03.00 [and] George Griswold for laying ye hearth 00.02.06." The 
latter was a professional stonecutter. 

In that section of Manchester which is known as Buckland there is an aban- 
doned quarry which was once used so commonly for fireplace stones that it 
acquired the name of "Jambstone Quarry" and the neighboring territory was 
known as "Jambstone Plain." Late in the eighteenth century, fireplace stones 
were frequently obtained from marble quarries near Watertown. 

The fireplace lintel under consideration, measuring 36 1/2 x 10 1/2 x 9 
1/2 inches, is of particular interest because of its unusual carvings. First, 
there is a woven cord supported by three pegs and with tassels at each end. 
The cord supports two crudely carved fat-legged birds. A Masonic emblem 
in the center divides the stonecutter's name - "Charles Dolph" ~ and the year 
"1800" appears below the emblem. The engravings have lost much of their 
original sharpness as though the stone had been exposed to the weather for a 
long time or had been damaged from rough handling when moved from 
place to place. 

The surname Dolph is an Americanized variation of De Wolf. The Con- 
necticut branch of that family settled in Lyme, and some of the descendants 
migrated inland to Killingworth, others to Middletown, East Hartford and 
Bolton. According to the De Wolf genealogy {Charles D'Wolf by Rev. 
Calbraith B. Perry, New York, 1902), "members of nearly all the families of 
the sons of Charles [De Wolf] of Middletown took the name Dolph with 



142 Connecticut Gravestones 

various spellings." Incidentally, in 1750 Joseph Johnson, one of the best of 
the early Connecticut stone engravers, sold his "mansion house" in East 
Hartford to a Stephen DeWolf who, very likely, was related to the man who 
carved the lintel. 

Charles Dolph was baptized in the Eastbury parish of Glastonbury (now 
Buckingham) on January 14, 1776, son of Benoni and Mary (Presson) Dolph. 
A document in the Connecticut State Library reveals that on March 24, 1792, 
Daniel Chandler of East Hartford was appointed "guardian to Charles Dolph 
a minor aged about 16 years, and son of Benjamin Dolph, late of Glaston- 
bury deceased." The "Benjamin" in this instance was probably a clerical error 
for "Benoni." It would have been unlikely that there would be two Charles 
Dolphs of the same age in the same area in 1792. The record is still more sig- 
nificant because this Daniel Chandler inherited his father's "Jambstone 
Quarry" and stonecutting business in 1790. This second Daniel Chandler, 
however, like so many stonecutters of that period, soon ran into financial dif- 
ficulties and moved to Lebanon, New Hampshire, about 1797. Even though 
the young Charles Dolph did not stay with Chandler for many years, he must 
have stayed long enough to become well acquainted with the business and 
with other stonecutters of that region. 

The next record of Charles Dolph is dated February 30 (!) 1797, when he 
allowed Peter Buckland the use of nine acres of land in Orford Parish 
(Manchester); he also allowed Buckland to cut firewood on another thirty- 
one-acre lot "for the remainder of his natural life." Inasmuch as Dolph was 
then only a few weeks over twenty-one years old, it would appear that these 
lots were inherited from his father and that this was his first opportunity to 
manage his own affairs. Peter Buckland (1738-1816) was an accomplished 
stonecutter who became very popular, particularly in Glastonbury. There he 
signed his name to three gravestones and there, too, most of the gray schist 
stones dated after 1775 were made by him. His earliest stones, however, ap- 
pear to have originated in the Jambstone Quarry. 

On January 10, 1798, when he was twenty-two years old, Dolph married 
Susannah Lukas; and about a year later Peter Buckland signed a deed which 
suggests that he had taken Dolph into partnership. This deed, dated 
February 30 (!) 1799, was for sale to Dolph of three pieces of land for £200. 



Charles Dolph 143 

The first piece included one-half of Buckland's home lot, one-half of his 
dwelling house, one-half of his barn, together with "one-half of all the 
Priviledges of said Farm." That Peter Buckland should share nearly every- 
thing he owned with twenty-three-year-old Dolph makes one believe that 
Susannah (Lukas) Dolph was related in some way to Buckland, perhaps 
through his first wife, whose surname is now unknown. The theory of partner- 
ship between Buckland and Dolph is confirmed by still another document, 
dated March 18, 1799, which discloses that they sold eight acres of "our home 
lot" to George Cheney for $80.00. 

A few months after this last document was signed, Dolph decided to go 
into business for himself. On February 24, 1801, Charles Dolph "of Kil- 
lingworth" sold his share of the dwelling house and barn in Orford back to 
Buckland. Dolph then advertised in the Middlesex Gazette of March 20, 
1801: 

CHARLES DOLPH 

RESPECTFULLY informs the public that he Carries on the STONE 
CUTTING-BUSINESS in Killingworth. He will supply any person with any 
kind of Stone work, Hearths, Jambs, Mantletrees, Stoves, Grave-Stones, &c. 
He expects to remove from this town by the first of May; any person that 
wishes to have of his work, by calling immediately, they may have their supply. 
He will take white or brown Tow Cloth in part pay. 
Killingworth, March 16, 1801. 

When Dolph stated that he expected to move from Killingworth on May 1, 
1801, he may have been only trying to stimulate business; yet he would hardly 
have said this on March 16, 1801, had he not been living in Killingworth at 
least a few months (in other words, before December 31, 1800). The lintel, 
therefore, appears to have been carved while he lived in Killingworth. The 
fact that he placed his name so prominently on it must mean that he intended 
to build a house of his own. He probably never thought of building a house 
so long as he was comfortably settled in Peter Buckland's home in Orford. 
Yet, on the other hand, the stone itself is a fine-grained sandstone and ap- 
pears to have originated in the Jambstone Quarry where Dolph worked 
before he was married in 1798. 

The designs on the lintel suggest that Dolph was a great imitator. 
Masonic emblems were often carved on New England gravestones during the 



144 Connecticut Gravestones 

last quarter of the eighteenth century. The tassels were copied from Peter 
Buckland, who used them frequently on gravestones. The lettering is not par- 
ticularly unusual except for the curved crossbars on the letters A and H, 
which also were the result of Dolph's training under Buckland. The birds 
could have been taken from a number of sources such as wallpaper or 
crewel-work of the period, but being primarily a stonecutter, Dolph probably 
copied them from gravestones made by the Mannings.^ He could have seen 
Manning birds in Bolton or Ellington. Peter Buckland never carved birds. 

Dolph did not move from Killingworth on May 1, 1801, as he threatened 
to do in the advertisement. Instead, on the following September 7, he bought 
about one-half an acre on the New Post Road or Stage Road; and later, one 
share or 1/100 part of "the new School house or academy so-called . . . near 
the meetinghouse." Very little else is known about him while he lived in Kil- 
lingworth, and soon he was on the move again. 

On June 8, 1802, Charles Dolph "late of Killingworth" paid $100 to Wil- 
loughby Lynde of Saybrook for a small lot, less than one-fourth of an acre, 
"on the road to Saybrook Point." Within a few months there was a "Dwelling 
House thereon," and the location was further described as "on the road to 
Hart's Wharf in that part of Saybrook First Society called "the town Plot." 

On April 6, 1803, Dolph advertised in the Connecticut Gazette of New 
London: 

CHARLES DOLPH 

RESPECTFULLY informs the public that he carries on the Stone Cut- 
ters business, at Saybrook point; where he will supply any person on reasonable 
terms, with Hearths, Jambs, Mantletrees, Steps, Under-pinning, Sinks, Stoves, 
Oven-Mouths, Tombstones, &c. of Middletown stone. They may be 
transported by water to all the neighboring towns, at very little expence. 

He has for sale, a good second hand Chaise, in Good repair. 

The Subscriber wants to take a smart active Boy, 15 or 16 years old. 

Saybrook, March 23 [1803] 

Dolph became very popular in the gravestone business after he moved to 
Saybrook. His stones are found fairly frequently in towns from Madison to 
Old Lyme, and inland as far as Essex and Killingworth. In Westbrook, in par- 
ticular, most of the brown stones dated between 1800 and 1814 were made by 
him. 



Charles Dolph 



145 



His stones are usually very simple. Occasionally one finds a plain rectan- 
gular slab, fully inscribed, but showing no design. More often there is an urn, 
as on the stone of Henry Chapman (Westbrook, 1809) (Fig. 1), either plain 
or with a few engraved decorations. Rarely, as on the stone for Daniel Hall 
of Old Lyme, dated 1813, one finds a tree with leaves represented by 
numerous miniature hearts (Fig. 2). Usually the inscription is separated from 
the edge of the stone by an undulating line. Dolph seldom, if ever, decorated 
his borders. 




Fig. 1 Henry Chapman 1809. Westbrook. 



146 Connecticut Gravestones 

Still another gravestone design, an angel with crown and wings, has been 
traced to Dolph. It is seen on the headstone for Reuben Bushnell, who died 
in Westbrook in 1802 and whose estate paid "to Mr. Dolph for Grave Stones . 
. . $17.00." This angel's face is circular, except for a pointed chin. The eyes 
and trifurcated nose were carved by a single line somewhat like the eye of a 
hook-and-eye. Most stones of this type in the Saybrook area are paired with 
footstones bearing Dolph's device. 

I suspect that, though these angel stones were sold by Dolph, they were 
not designed by him. They were probably bought, ready-made, from some 
Portland quarry ~ either those owned by Shaler and Hall, or perhaps those 
"Lower Quarries" owned by Orange Hurlbut. These angel stones are much 
more elaborate and more carefully executed than those with simple urns that 
were made by Dolph.'^ 

Since the mid-eighteenth century, the various owners of Portland quarries 
had sold stones, not only with designs, but even inscribed with names, dates, 
etc. For example, in 1750 Joshua Hempstead of New London purchased a 
stone from one of the Johnsons of Middletown for the grave of William Cash- 
kadden of Montville. The stone arrived in New London completely engraved 
but with the name misspelled. Today one may see the depression on the 
stone where Hempstead was obliged to recut the name. Though the Mid- 
dletown craftsmen were usually much more skillful than the numerous small- 
town stonecutters of Connecticut, the late ready-made stones are generally 
stereotyped with set patterns and consequently not nearly so interesting as 
the earlier stones which were made to order by local craftsmen. 

Another reason for suspecting that Dolph purchased these ready-made 
angel stones from Portland is that similar designs may be found in other 
towns near Portland. Had they been Dolph's creations, they would have 
been limited to towns near Saybrook. 

A footstone device is sometimes helpful in distinguishing the work of one 
stonecutter from that of another. Despite differences in his headstone 
designs, Dolph's footstones are very much alike. They are helpful, therefore, 
in those areas where his headstones are common. But here again, he did not 
express much originality because somewhat similar footstones may be found 
in other areas of Connecticut. 



Charles Dolph 



147 




Fig. 2 Cap* Daniel Hall 1813. Duck River Burying Ground, Old Lyme. 



Despite his popularity, Dolph seemed to be in constant need of money 
while he was in Saybrook. He sold his remaining property in Manchester to 
Peter Buckland in February, 1803, and that same year he sold his land in Kil- 
lingworth. He was obliged, nevertheless, to mortgage his home on three occa- 
sions before 1812. 

Dolph was among the last of the traditionalists. He continued to use 
brownstone angels long after his more modern-minded and aggressive con- 
temporaries had adopted willow-and-urn designs on marble stones. David 
Ritter of New Haven, Chester Kimball of New London, and the itinerant 
John B. Allen steadily encroached on Dolph's territory in the Saybrook-Old 
Lyme region. Ritter frequently received $25.00 to $50.00 for his marble 
stones when Dolph was receiving $10.00 to $15.00 for his sandstones. 
Moreover, by 1800, Thomas Brown, A. and J. Darley, and George Lindsay, 
all of New York, were shipping gravestones to Connecticut shore towns, 
which also made life harder for Dolph. 

The War of 1812 did not cause much hardship in Connecticut, even 



148 Connecticut Gravestones 

though the British could blockade Long Island Sound at will. They also con- 
tinued their policy of seizing American ships and impressing American sea- 
men. Probably in response to news that the enemy was more active than 
usual, Charles Dolph enlisted in the Connecticut Militia on December 13, 
1814. One month later a British privateer captured the sloop Betsy and the 
schooner Ann near Saybrook Point. That night sixteen volunteers from 
Saybrook manned two longboats and pursued the British half way across the 
Sound, where the American vessels were recaptured after a sharp engage- 
ment. A British lieutenant was killed and five British seamen taken prisoner. 
One American was killed - Charles Dolph, stonecutter, of Saybrook.^ The 
saddest part of this affair is that a Treaty of Peace had been signed on 
December 24, 1814, but no one in Saybrook had heard of it. 

Mrs. Mabel Cassine Holman, in her notes on Saybrook history, says that 
Dolph was buried in the old cemetery near Saybrook Point. There is, 
however, no mention of his gravestone in the State Gravestone Registry in 
Hartford. 

When the inventory of Dolph's estate was completed, it was said that he 
died insolvent. The adminstrators took their fees, amounting to about 20% 
of the total estate, and after the creditors were paid about thirty cents on the 
dollar, there was little, or nothing, left for Dolph's family. 

Charles Dolph's probate papers at the Connecticut State Library contain 
some interesting items: 



9 Acres of land in East Hartford 


$63.00 


1 House 


350.00 


1 Work Shop 


100.00 


1 High Chist with 2 Draws 


1.00 


1 Side Board 


1.50 


1 Trundle bed Sted 


2.00 


1 small Bed for children with 




bedstead & clothing stand 


4.50 


1 silver watch 


10.00 


1 dictionary 


.75 


1 pr Black smith Bellows 


11.00 


Anvils 


2.92 


2 stone axes & Pick 19 lbs 


19.00 


6 Sledges 28 1/2 lbs 


2.50 


Stone chisels 16 lbs 


2.00 


4 mallets 


.25 



Charles Dolph 149 



1 Stone Rubber 




.25 


1 Writing hammer 




.30 


237 Feet underpining 




29.33 


181 Feet flaging 




26.20 


25 Feet Ruf Stone Steps 




12.00 


5 Set oven mouths 




6.00 


IFire place 10 1/2 ft 




3.50 


Jams & mantletree stones 




4.50 


72 Feet workt grave stones 




36.00 


1 Set grave stones E. Ransom 


9.00 


1 " do MarySanford 


7.00 


1 St do E. Champion 


5.00 


Total Estate 


912.81 




Expenses of Widow 


102.31 




Represented insolvent 






Sale of goods 




485.77 


Cost of Administration 


189.40 


To be averaged 




%.37 


Money due 




Settled for 


Arunah Hurlbut note 


74.17 


22.89 


Shaler & Hall on book 


32.48 


10.02 


Orange Hurlbut on note 


54.29 


16.75 


Richard Dickinson 


16.32 


5.84 


Stephen D'wolf 


5.85 


1.00 


By stone & tools sold J. Mann 


56.00 




By stone sold at Guilford 


5.50 




Cash of B. Dowd for wages 


10.62 




By stone sold S. Carter 


100.00 





Dolph's widow (who appears in different documents as Susannah, 
Rosanna, or Roxanna) was pensioned by Congress in 1816. She died in 
December, 1833, aged fifty-two. 

The following Charles Dolph items are from Probate Records at the Con- 
necticut State Library: 



Reuben Bushnell, Westbrook, 1802. Angel design. 

"To Mr. Dolph for Grave Stones $17.00" 
Handley Bushnell, Saybrook, 1811. Urn design. Cypress Cemetery. 

"Sept 3 1811. To Cash payed for grave stones $15.00 

To going twice to Dolfs after said grave stones 0.50." 
E. Champion. Gravestones mentioned in Dolph's inventory, 1815. 

$5.00. Stones not found. 
David Dibbill, Clinton, 1811. Urn design. 

"July 14, 1812. To David Dibbill for going to Saybrook Point after Grave 

Stones $1.25 

To a pare of Grave Stones $10.00" 



150 Connecticut Gravestones 



Daniel Hall, Old Lyme, 1813. Tree design. Duck River Cemetery (Fig. 2). 

"Sept 27th 1813. Receivd of Richd McCurdy Adm. on the Estate of Danl 

Hall late of Lyme dec'd Eighteen Dollars in full for one pr Grave Stones. 

Charles Dolph." 
E. Rcmsom. Gravestones mentioned in Dolph's inventory, 1815. 

$9.00. Stones not found. 
Samuel Redfield, Clinton, 1812. Urn design. 

"To going to Saybrook point after grave stones $1.25 

To a pare of Grave Stones $10.00" 
Simeon Redfield, Clinton, 1811. Undecorated sandstone slab. 

"To Charles Doulf for Grave Stones $10.00" 
Ezra Robbins, Old Lyme, 1813. Urn design. Duck River Cemetery. 

"To Charles Dolf $12.00" 
Mary Sanford, Saybrook, 1814. Urn design. Upper Cemetery. 

Gravestones mentioned in Dolph's inventory, 1815. $7.00. 
Joseph Spencer, Westbrook, 1810. Urn design. 
Lydia Spencer, Westbrook, 1810. Urn design. 

"To one day going to Saybrook to purchas Grave Stones $1.00 

To two pair of Grave Stones $14.00 

To Carting and seting Grave Stones $1.25." 
Samuel Waterhouse, Saybrook, 1802. Stones not found.) 

"May 31st 1803. To Cash paid Dolph for Grave Stones 0.15.0 

June 27. To cash paid for colouring* said stones 0.3.0.' 

/ do not understand this last item. It is probably not an error inasmuch as the probate papers 
of Daniel Barker of Branford (died 1801) contain a similar item: "payed Jonathan palmer 
one shilen for Culering Daniel Barkers grave stones 0. 1.0. " (Caulfield note) 



NOTES 



1. The birds carved by Dolph are, however, quite unlike the "crowing cocks" carved by the 
Mannings. 

2. Dr. Caulfield is almost certainly correct in believing that these "flared ear" stones were not 
made by Dolph. They became almost the standard design for inexpensive stones near the 
end of the eighteenth century and the early years of the nineteenth. Literally hundreds of 
them can be seen from far up the Connecticut River Valley, all along coastal Connecticut, 
throughout southwestern Connecticut and into New York. While variations occur that indi- 
cate that several carvers produced them, it seems evident that the majority did, as Dr. Caul- 
field suggests, originate from the great carving school at Portland and were shipped far and 
wide. Stones of this type have been attributed to, among others, Isaac Sweetland and 
Chester Kimball based on both probate and signed stone evidence. Along right margin of 
Caulfield copy is written "Fox graveyard between Montville and Fitchville near Oakdale." 
He is referring to the angel stones discussed early on this page. At the bottom of the page 
is written "urns very similar to Dolph urns on a stone in Rocky Hill." 

3. Middlesex Gazette 1815 

Lyme, Jan. 16. 

Yesterday the British privateer schr. Rover, Capt. McLanagan from Nova Scotia came 



Charles Dolph 151 



off the mouth of Connecticut River, and sent a barge with a lieut. and 5 men after a num- 
ber of vessels bound eastwau-d. The barge captured the sloop Betsy Gibbs, of Wareham, 
and the schr. Ann Rider, of Chatham (M.) and was seen to take the vessels from Saybrook; 
16 men from that place volunteered their services, manned 2 long boats, pursued and recap- 
tured both vessels, and brought them to Saybrook. In capturing them, one man belonging 
to Saybrook, by the name of Charles Dolph, a stone-cutter, was killed, and a boy slightly 
wounded. On the part of the enemy, the lieut. who commanded the barge, by the name 
Syphorous Cowles, was killed. The prisoners were marched this day to N. London, and 
delivered to the proper authority. 
The privateer is now up Sound. 

Extract of letter from Capt. Carey dated Saybrook Jan. 16. 

Yesterday we discovered an enemy's Schr. in chase of a sloop which she took jmd 
stood off towards L. Island, soon after we discovered a barge in chase of a sloop and schr. 
(schooner). The wind being light they were soon captured. I proposed ... [to retake 
them] and mustered 2 boats crews and went in pursuit of them. They had by this time got 
half way over to L. Island. We however came up with them both and brot them in here 
about 2 o'clock this morning. We had 1 man killed in our boat and another wounded in the 
eye. We killed the 1st lieutenant of the privateer & took 5 prisoners, which we have sent to 
N. London. 

That at least some early gravestones were painted now seems well established. A two-page 
editorial addendum to the article by Eloise Sibley West on the John Dwight workshop 
{Markers VI, pp. 27-29, 1989) contains all of the known information. It should be noted 
that painting the lettering on modern gravestones is done in England, at least in the Nor- 
folk area of East Anglia. Below the footnote Dr. Caulfield has written on his own copy the 
following: "Oscar Ogg 'The 26 Letters' Crowell Co. N.Y. 1958. p. 109. After the outlines 
[of the letters] had been carved out carefully with the chisel, they were gone over and filled 
with paint to make them look like the original writing' [talking about early Romans]." 




152 



Connecticut Gravestones 




ste 



Lyes Buriecl 

fheBocfYoE >^ I 

'Hopfell ly ep yrsnd 

ife departed ttiE life 

poker >/ 7^ \J(^ 

in iKe' 7^tHyearof 

his yige 

Tna3e tY-DasnaLamD 




Fig. 1 Hop [e] still Tyler 2nd 1762. Preston City Burying Ground, Preston. 
Photograph by Farbers of rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



The Lambs 153 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XI 
The Lambs (1724 -1788) 



Throughout most of eastern Connecticut and especially throughout New 
Lx)ndon County there are about 150 gravestones that differ considerably from 
the gray schist stones that predominate in that region. These stones vary in 
color from gray to yellow to pink to red. It appears that they were all gray 
when first quarried and that the various colors are the result of exposure to 
the elements. There is a footstone in Westminster,^ for example, for Elithea 
Woodward which was erected in 1774. Recently this stone has been taken up 
and for some unknown reason placed on a stone wall nearby. The lower half 
of the stone, which has been buried for nearly 200 years, is still gray, whereas 
the upper half, having been exposed to the air for the same length of time, is 
mostly yellow mixed with small areas of pink. Also, the different colors may 
be seen on the stones that have shaled or have been broken. The newly ex- 
posed parts show the original cement-colored gray, while the long exposed, 
unbroken parts are colored by oxidation.^ 

These stones are relatively soft, a great advantage to the original engraver 
inasmuch as he could easily display his skillful touch without too much physi- 
cal effort. A disadvantage, naturally not realized when the stones were 
engraved, was that many of them could not withstand long exposure to Con- 
necticut climate. On some stones the inscriptions have been partly washed 
away by rain. On one out of every ten stones the date is missing, either be- 
cause the stone has been accidentally broken or the surface has disintegrated 
from shaling. A few stones have surfaces that are irregularly cracked like 
sun-baked mud. 

David Lamb (1724 - 1773) 
It was easy to find the name of the accomplished person who made this 
type of gravestone inasmuch as he carved very clearly on a stone in Preston: 
"Hop[e] still Tyler ye 2nd who departed this life October ye 7th 1762 . . , made 
by David Lamb" (Fig. 1). This stone, the only one known to have been signed 
by David Lamb, is now rapidly disintegrating.^ Lamb was also paid for grave- 



154 Connecticut Gravestones 

Stones from the estate of Obadiah Johnson, who died in Canterbury in 1765. 
Johnson's headstone is also disintegrating. 

There was some difficulty, however, in identifying this particular David 
Lamb because the name was fairly common in New London County during 
the eighteenth century. The problem was solved by some advertisements 
which appeared in the New London Gazette for July and August, 1768: 

The Schooner Rambler, 

OBADIAH AYER, Master, Will Sail in Ten Days for Nova-Scotia with 
Freight or Passengers. Apply to said master on board said Schooner at Nor- 
wich. 

N.B. DAVID LAMB, of said Norwich, has a large Quantity of Nova Scotia 
Grind-Stones to sell; who also cuts Grave-Stones in the neatest Manner, and will 
take in Pay Cash, or Country Produce. 

A similar notice concerning David Lamb and his Nova Scotia grindstones 
appeared in August, 1770, in connection with the sloop Dispatch. 

This David Lamb was the eldest son of David (1693-1760) and Esther 
(1700-1788) Lamb of Newent. Although about ten Lamb stones are dated 
prior to 1759, there is no evidence that the first David Lamb was either a 
stonecutter or a mason. In his estate he left some joiner's tools and some 
buildings on a farm "in Newent . . . Southeasterly from the Meeting House 
. . . near a Run of Water." 

David Lamb, the first stonecutter of that name, was baptized in 1724 and 
married Judith Longbottom on June 19, 1750.'' A few months later he pur- 
chased twelve square rods of land "near the Landing place in Norwich"; and 
in 1755 he bought about seventeen acres more "by Stoney Brook . . . between 
the little Plain & the old Ferry place." Nothing is known about his early train- 
ing, but possibly he worked occasionally with Josiah Manning. There is a 
most unusual stone in the Oak Street Cemetery in Norwich for Elizabeth 
Backus dated 1765 (Fig. 2) that appears from the borders and wings to have 
been made by David Lamb, yet it has a typical Manning facial design. It does 
not seem likely that Lamb and Manning would have worked on the same 
piece of stone unless they knew each other well. One probably purchased an 
unfinished gravestone from the other. 



The Lambs 



155 



M 




'M%h- of Mr: ElizaBeft 




'^mI ^^^^^^ ~ CoBfort of I^fr Mam^l'^^tl 
^ ■^♦^4. --.- 3jr :^ year of her ac^:,r^j 







\- '■»!» 















c*- 



-v. . '^ ■ 



Fig. 2 Elizabeth Backus 1765. Oak Street Burying Ground, Norwich. 



156 Connecticut Gravestones 

When all Lamb stones are examined closely, it will be seen that they can 
readily be separated into two groups. Stones of the first group are dated 
from 1729 to 1770, although they were all made probably between 1759 and 
1771. The small stone for Sarah Bishop of Newent dated 1759 (Fig. 3) and 
another similar stone for Rufus Mix (1755) in Norwichtown appear to be the 
earliest Lamb stones because the borders are elementary and rather crudely 
cut. 

Stones of this first group usually show close-set eyes, a frowning brow, nar- 
row nose and a turned-down mouth - sometimes on a heart-shaped face. 
Occasionally one finds a decidedly pointed chin. The head is covered by a 
band with rather delicate carvings that possibly was meant to represent a 
crown, wig, or curly hair. 

The border design shows a basic, undulating stem, a common motif on 
eighteenth-century New England gravestones, but the usual leaves and 
flowers are replaced by short stylized branches with curious objects, some at- 
tached, some unattached to the stem. At first it was thought that these 
figures were carved by Lamb merely to fill up space. 














v_ ' I 



Fig. 3 Sarah Bishop 1759. Ames Burying Ground, Lisbon. 



The Lambs 157 

David Lamb was not the best craftsman in Connecticut, either in manual 
dexterity or artistic imagination, and like most Connecticut stone engravers 
he copied the work of another man. We should not think less of him for that 
because copying was a common custom from early times. The first Connec- 
ticut stonecutter, George Griswold, had at least two followers who tried to 
reproduce his work. Joseph Johnson greatly influenced Gershom Bartlett, 
who, in turn, had a marked influence on the Bucklands. Josiah Manning's 
early border design was copied from Bartlett, but the facial design, which was 
original with Manning, can be found on the stones of at least five other men, 
some of them in distant towns. 

When Lamb began to do engraving, most of the stones in the Norwich- 
town graveyard showed numerous geometric figures, especially stars and 
circles, which did not appeal to him. Nor was he carried away by the work of 
his rival and contemporary, Josiah Manning. To his credit Lamb decided 
that, despite his limitations, he would attempt to copy the most artistic grave- 
stones that were available. 

Sometime in the late 1740s the second John Stevens of Newport, the most 
skillful of the Rhode Island craftsmen, began to ship gravestones into some 
eastern Connecticut towns. The double stone for Theophilus and Elizabeth 
Rogers, dated 1753 and an excellent example of his work, was sent to Nor- 
wichtown, and other stones soon followed. Stevens worked on a good quality 
of slate which still shows the details of his superior craftmanship. These 
stones unquestionably inspired David Lamb and go far to explain his work. 
For example, the head pieces on Lamb stones were not meant to be crowns 
or wigs but curly hair, because that is what is represented on the Rogers 
stone. Lamb's borders are similarly explained. The objects which at first 
sight seem to be there only to fill up spaces could represent almost anything 
the way David Lamb depicted them, but the original engravings on Stevens's 
stones are much smaller and more delicately carved. Mrs. Esther Fisher Ben- 
son, present owner of the John Stevens Shop in Newport, a concern which 
has been cutting gravestones since 1705, informs me that these small figures 
represent a true artist's delineation of a flower. She points out that "the trian- 
gular section of the Stevens ornament is separated from the curled leaf, the 
sepals hold the flower which spreads out from there, and the central portion 



158 Connecticut Gravestones 

of the flower is carefully delineated, showing the anatomy of the flower 
itself." There then appeared in Norwich a new border design, the inspiration 
of a talented engraver. No wonder David Lamb attempted to copy it. 

Between 1755 and 1771 Lamb traded with Isaiah Tiffany, a cabinetmaker 
and storekeeper, from whom he bought hammer handles, trowels, tobacco, 
chocolate, razors and, on June 21, 1759, a "Coffin for his child." In return. 
Lamb was credited with sugar, "oisters," turkeys and his services for white- 
washing, plastering and pointing. In 1770 Lamb's son mended Tiffany's oven. 

A notice in the Connecticut Gazette for December 31, 1773, mentions that 
the estate of one David Lamb of Norwich was being settled, and the creditors 
were asked to bring their claims to Jabez Perkins, while the debtors were 
threatened with lawsuits. This must have been the estate of David Lamb, the 
stonecutter, because his inventory listed, in addition to his dwelling house 
and shop, a quantity of flat stones, seven grindstones, four chisels, an iron 
crowbar, some wedges, three trowels, three compasses and four hammers, 
one of them a sledge. He also left one cow, a wig, a dictionary, seventeen 
pamphlets, three old silver spoons, and "sbc new Cherry Tree Chairs" which 
were valued at 7/6 apiece. The will was proved on July 21, 1773. 

David Lamb (1750-1788) 

Lamb stones of the second type are usually dated from 1760 to 1775, most 
of them after 1769. As mentioned in a previous article, dates on gravestones, 
however, are not reliable criteria for determining when a stone was actually 
cut. Three Lamb stones in Pomfret for Mary, Gershom (Fig. 4) and Ephraim 
Tucker are nearly identical in style and were probably made in 1774 or 1775, 
yet they are dated 1759, 1769 and 1774. 

These later style stones are also multi-colored, and they have the same 
geographic distribution. The curly hair is somewhat more noticeable, but the 
faces are decidedly different. They are more oval, show a broad forehead, 
widely separated eyes and turned-up mouth. The borders, though attractive, 
have more simple designs. 



The Lambs 



159 




C^r: 






jr-\ * ^-\. z™" 



^■' r- r~\ 



Fig. 4 Gershom Tucker 1769. Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. 
Photograph by Farbers. 

Lamb stones of this later type were made by another David Lamb (1750- 
1788), son of the first stonecutter of that name. In the Wilhams Cemetery in 
North Stonington there is a double stone, dated 1770, for William Williams, 
Jr., and his wife, Eunice. Another similar stone nearby was erected in 
memory of their daughter, who died in 1760. The probate papers for William 
Williams, Jr., contain this information: 

Stonington May 21 Day AD 1772 

Receiv'd of Adam Williams two pound Lawful money and two Shillings which 
is in full for two paire of Grave Stones which William Williams bought of me 
which is in full 

David Lamb Jr. 



The "junior" in this instance very likely refers to the David Lamb who died 
in 1788. The two headstones belong to the later type, that is to say, they have 
oval faces, broad foreheads, turned-up mouths and relatively simple borders. 

The estate of Jonathan Lester (Fig. 5), who died in Groton in 1774, paid 



160 Connecticut Gravestones 

£2 to this third David Lamb. Though gravestones were not specifically men- 
tioned, Lamb stones usually sold for £1-1-0 to £2-10-0. Lester's headstone 
shows a face with a broad forehead and most of the common characteristics 
of the later type of stones. It is supposed that these stones were made by 
David Lamb, the younger, rather than by a brother, because David was the 
eldest son and the one most likely to inherit the father's trade. Since he even- 
tually came into possession of his father's dwelling house and shop, it would 
appear that the two David Lambs were at one time associated in the grave- 
stone business. 

A few other Lamb stones have plain, unfeathered wings and plain head- 
pieces without curls, yet they still retain most of the characteristics of Lamb 
stones. Most of these unusual stones are dated between 1773 and 1775. Be- 
cause there are so few of them (about fifteen in all) it is assumed that the last 
David Lamb altered his style somewhat as time went on. 

There are no stones dated after 1775 that, as of now, can be attributed to 
David Lamb, the younger. Perhaps he went to war, or perhaps he started 
working for someone else. A note in the William Rockwell estate (Norwich, 
1788) suggests that he at one time worked for Rockwell Manning. Moreover, 
the graves of Abel (1787) and Rachel (1769) Brewster are marked by a single 
headstone which was made by Rockwell Manning, and by a single footstone 
which was made by David Lamb. Manning was paid £3-3-6 from Abel 
Brewster's estate. 

Sometime in his career the last David Lamb encountered numerous grave 
misfortunes. In November, 1788, the tax collector of Norwich, having 
"caused a drum to be beat at the Sign Post . . . sold at Public Auction ... for 
£lO . . . the Lots and Dwelling House in Chelsea [in Norwich which belonged 
to] David Lamb the younger late of said Norwich deceased . . . where David 
Lamb the elder late of said Norwich formerly dwelt." 

This was an undeserved fate for two very good stone engravers. They had 
carefully carved many attractive gravestones and had worked hard all their 
lives, yet in the end they had nothing to show for their pains. No headstones 
for any of the David Lambs have been found, but in the Oak Street 
Cemetery in Norwich there is a simple footstone marked "DL."^ 



The Lambs 



161 




, j-^ 



lt\ 



^^ 



1/ . - l"v'k-i!!^J»' 



A *!ffi»lJ 






Fig. 5 Jonathan Lester 1774. Groton. 



/^.,s: 



\s\' 




Fig. 6 William Prince 1773. Raymond Hill Burying Ground, Montville. 



162 Connecticut Gravestones 

The following references to the David Lambs of Norwich have been found 
among the Probate Records in the Connecticut State Library, Hartford: 



Joseph Jones, Norwich, 1751. 

"David Lamb £5-06-0." 
Samuel Lx)throp, Norwich, 1754. 

"David Lamb £25-15-0." 
Jeremiah Tracy, Jr., Norwich, 1757. 

"David Lamb £0-9-6." 
Obadiah Johnson, Canterbury, 1765. 

"then received of Obadiah Johnson Executor of the Last Will & testament of 

Obadiah Johnson Late of Canterbury Decest the sum of two Pound two shill- 
ings Lawful money for making a pair of Grave Stones for said Decest 

received in full by me David Lamb." 

Badly shaled stone in Canterbury. 
Jonathan Marsh, Norwich, 1766. 

"to a Debt paid David Lamb £3-2-6 

to paid David Lamb £0-12-0." 

No stone registered in Hartford. 
William Williams, Jr., Stonington, 1771. 

Mentioned in text. 
Andrew Brewster, Norwich, 1772. 

"David Lamb £1-10-0." 

Stone in Brewster Cemetery near State Hospital in Preston is nearly 

destroyed. 
William Prince, Montville, 1773 (Fig. 6). 

"Paid for grave stones £1-10-0." 

Stone in Montville of late Lamb style (Raymond Hill Burying Ground). 
Jonathan Lester, Grot on, 1774 (fig. 5). 

Signed receipt by David Lamb for two pounds. Gravestones not mentioned. 

Stone in Groton near Submarine Base. Late Lamb style. 
Col. John Whiting, Montville, 1775. 

"Grave stones £2-10-0." 

Late Lamb stone, badly shaled. 
Robert Avery, Lebanon, 1775. 

"Paid David Lamb for cut . . . " 

Manuscript torn. No stone registered in Hartford. 
William Rockwell, Norwich, 1788. 

"To paid Rockwell Manning £5-7-0. 

to paid David Lamb £0-16-0."^ 



NOTES 



1. This small burying ground is in the town of Canterbury on Route 14. See Slater, 77ie 
Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut (Hamden, Conn., 1987) for directions. 

2. Even more striking verification may be seen on a series of stones in Norwich. These stones 
were removed many years ago from a burying ground no longer in existence and placed in 



The Lambs 163 



a crawl space below the adjacent church. A number of typical Lamb stones are included 
and all are of a gray schist color. 

3. The Hopestill Tyler stone remains the only known signed Lamb stone. It is in the Preston 
City burying ground. For many years it has been enclosed in a glass or plexiglas case. This 
protection appears to have been very effective cis there has not been noticeable deteriora- 
tion at least in the past fifteen years. 

4. The Caulfield copy has written in the following, "Judith Longbottom Lamb relict of Mr. 
David Lamb d. March 24, 1799 aged 69 years (gray urn willow)." 

5. The Caulfield manuscript notes state that there is a David Lamb ca. 1771 buried in Preston 
but that he was not a relation. 

6. Caulfield's copy has three names added on this page as follows: 

Joseph Knight 1738. David Lamb 

John Longbottom 1753. To David Lamb 1-0-0 

Daniel Longbottom 1753. To David Lamb 1-0-0 
Caulfield also has a note written on his copy indicating his uncertainty as to whether the 
Andrew Brewster 1772 stone is in Brewster cemetery or in Oak Street cemetery. 




164 



Connecticut Gravestones 






Itl 






'- « 



xr"Lm''i'^^!-;V^\ ,. 



^G -- i''^ ■ ^^^ 




Fig. 1 Samuel Lad[d] 1736. Birchard Plains Burying Ground, Franklin. 




Fig. 2 Nathaniel Rudd 1727. Birchard Plains Burying Ground, Franklin. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 165 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XII 

John Hartshorn (1650-c. 1738)^ 

vs. 
Joshua Hempstead (1678-1758) 



Parti 

Joshua Hempstead of New London, the only New England stonecutter to 
keep a diary, never used abstruse sentences filled with polysyllabic words.^ 
On the contrary, except when dealing with legal matters, he wrote in a 
worldly, uncomplicated style that even the ordinary reader, over two cen- 
turies later, can easily understand. It is strangely ironic, therefore, that such 
simple words as "cut" and "mark" should cause so much confusion and espe- 
cially when Hempstead practically spelled out exactly what he meant. When 
he wrote that he "cut" gravestones, he did not mean that he engraved designs 
on them. He meant merely that he cut letters and dates on some stones that 
he bought with designs previously engraved on them by other men. It is easy 
to prove this point. Had Hempstead cut his own design we should now be 
able to find it on his "red" stones from Middletown as well as on his "black" 
stones from Norwich. Since no one has ever found the same, or even similar, 
designs on stones from both Middletown and Norwich quarries, the only ob- 
vious conclusion is that, though he cut many inscriptions, Hempstead never 
designed a single headstone. 

Rather than confound the confusion that now exists concerning so-called 
"Hempstead" stones, we start with a short quotation from the Diary:^ 



November 29 1725. I went to Norwich to buy Gravestones . . . Tues- 
day 30. I went up to Lads & agreed with Mr Hartshorn for 10 pr of gr stones 3 
pr Large of about 20 s price & ye other 10 s 12 s & 15 s & I am to pay him in 
Wooll to Lett him have 100 lb & to take itt out in Stones . . . March 21, 1726. 
aftern[oon] I went to Norwich ... 22 I went to Lads to See after gravestones 
. . . August 3, 1726. I went up to Samll Lads to breakfast. I Carryed 60 lb of 
Wooll for Mr Hartshorn & bot of him 9 pr Large grave Stones for £8 & yn to 
Windham . . . Nov 22, 1734. I went to Norwich & went to Ladds & bot 10 pr of 
gr. stone for £8 to be p[ai]d when I Sell them. I p[ai]d £3 7s od that was due 
before. 

It should be clear from these statements that Hempstead bought some 
stones from a Mr. Hartshorn who either hved or worked with Samuel Ladd. 



166 Connecticut Gravestones 

Norwich land records of 1729-1730 mention two Samuel Ladds, one "of 
Norwich," the other "of Haverhill." They owned property on Middle Hill in 
West Farms, now Franklin, on both sides of the road to Windham. Though 
one deed mentions a "Great Ledge of Rocks," it does not specifically mention 
any quarry. Samuel Ladd "of Norwich" always signed his name with his mark, 
indicating that he could not write, and since he could not make letters he 
could hardly have inscribed gravestones. His headstone (Fig. 1) in Franklin 
reads: 

MR SAMUEL LAD DIED 
MARCH 4 : 1736 & IN YE 
54 : YEAR : OF : HIS : AGE 

This Samuel Ladd was born in Haverhill, Massachusetts, in 1682, married 
sixteen-year-old Martha, daughter of Lieutenant John Hartshorn in 1705, and 
moved to Norwich West Farms about 1709. The inventory of his estate dis- 
closes that he was primarily a farmer. He owned no tools essential to quarry- 
ing or engraving stones, nor have any documents been found to show that he 
cut gravestones. Among his probate records, however, is a slip of paper read- 
ing: 

Norwich March ye 22 1736 
then received of the widdo Martha Ladd 25 shillings upon ye account of 
making graveStons for Samuel Ladd Dccesed 
I say received by me John Hartshorne 

Contrary to the negative information about Samuel Ladd as a stone 
engraver, there is positive material to show that John Hartshorn not only sold 
gravestones in wholesale lots but actually engraved a good many. Concern- 
ing him, Hempstead had a few more interesting things to say:'' 



21 October 1724. I was about home all day, & in Town [of New London]. I 
bot of Jno Hartshorn 10 pr. of Gravestones. 1 Small foot Stone is wanting. 
Price for [ ] Pounds & I am to pay uncle Hartshorn all the money as fast as I 
can make mony of them, to get him 1 bb blue fish if I can & Send to 
[Norjwich. If I can get 2 bbs he will Take them . . . August 16, 1726 . . . fetched 
9 pr Gravestones from Douglasses wharf brot from Norwich p[er] Wm Whitt- 
ney. I pd him 7s 6d & trusted him 2s 6d ... 18 August 1726 ... I sent 50 lb of 
wool by michel Rood to Mr Jno Hartshorn at Norwich. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 



167 



In addition to this evidence there exist in the Connecticut State Library at 
least two more of John Hartshorn's signed receipts for making gravestones. 
He made a pair, dated 1727 and costing 30s, for Nathaniel Rudd (Fig. 2) of 
West Farms. He made another pair for Captain Obadiah Smith (Fig. 3) of 
Norwichtown, also dated 1727, but costing 40s, the extra 10s probably for 
engraving the awful poetry on it:^ 

NOW BETWEEN 
THESE CARVED STONS 
RICH TRESUER LIES 
DEER SMITH HIS BONES 

On the Smith receipt Hartshorn described himself as a "stone cuter." 





fif'-i n/sv. / II"- 17;. 7 ^< 

■ --■■■ ■ . '■■•-■ ■■/!%■• , Jii.r ^ 

Fig. 3 Cap Obadiah Smith 1727. Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 




168 Connecticut Gravestones 

The three gravestones that are known to have been made by John 
Hartshorn are not only similar to each other but also similar to at least 
another 125 gravestones still to be found in eastern Connecticut between 
Hampton and Long Island Sound. Most of them are in Franklin, Lebanon, 
Mansfield Center, New London, Norwichtown and Windham. There are 
twice as many in Norwichtown as there are in New London, which is addi- 
tional proof that Hempstead did not make them. Usually they measure 
about twenty inches high and twenty-four inches wide. 

In describing these stones it is more necessary than usual to mention a few 
details, because Hartshorn is the key figure in the mystery that surrounds 
many other New England gravestones. 

The small, round or slightly oval faces are decidedly elementary and, with 
few exceptions, are very much alike. One exception is the face on the stone 
for Caleb Mumford (Fig. 4) in New London, dated 1725, which measures 
only about one inch in diameter and shows a small serpent on either side. 
Most of Harshorn's little, hoUowed-out eyes are composed of double circles 
which are cut in low relief. The narrow noses and tiny mouths are made with 
a few straight lines except for an occasional mouth which is oblong and 
slightly open. These faces are so different from the faces on other Connec- 
ticut stones that they are easy to remember after one has seen a few. 

The most striking characteristic of many of these stones is the double 
peaked headdress (see Obadiah Smith stone. Fig. 3), which faintly resembles 
the headdress or hennin worn by court ladies of the fifteenth century. This 
was one of Hartshorn's ways of representing wings. On other stones the face 
is nearly surrounded by a webbed ornament of one, two or three tiers, 
another of Hartshorn's ways of representing wings. On these stones the tiers 
are segmented, as were the wings that were carved by the master craftsmen 
in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. If any spaces remained after he carved his 
peculiar wings, Hartshorn filled them with small hearts or coils or both. 

Of five different designs that he used in his finials, the only one that needs 
to be mentioned here is usually composed of two or three concentric circles 
with the whole divided into segments by straight double lines resembling 
spokes. This attractive ornament, which we will return to later, is essentially 
geometric, so I prefer, for the purpose of identification in this article, to call 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 



169 



it a decorated "wheel." It could have been devised by any intelligent person 
with a compass, a ruler and a little imagination, but John Hartshorn was the 
only Connecticut stone engraver to make use of this device. (Smaller ver- 
sions of the same ornament appear on a few black slate stones in Stonington. 
These were engraved by the first John Stevens (1646-1736) of Newport, so 
they properly belong to Rhode Island rather than to Connecticut.) 

The most common of his many different border designs is the undulating 
stem that is so frequently found on early New England gravestones, except 
that small coils replace the usual flowers or leaves. Another common border 
is difficult to describe because it does not look like anything except, perhaps, 
a fishhook. This design is chiefly of interest because it was modified and 
used by other stonecutters for over twenty years after Hartshorn died. As on 
the Ladd stone, Hartshorn sometimes used combined letters, and he 
generally carved an unnecessary ampersand (&). His capital letters are 
slightly uneven despite visible guidelines on some stones. 




Fig. 4 Caleb Mumford 1725. Antient Burying Ground, New London. 
Photograph by James Slater. 



170 Connecticut Gravestones 

Unlike most gravestones of the period, many of Hartshorn's stones are not 
of uniform thickness, and sometimes, when the sun is nearly overhead, the 
inscribed surfaces are seen to be grossly uneven, as though they had not been 
sufficiently prepared. The edges, in particular, are frequently rough and un- 
finished, more so than any other style of gravestone. His footstones usually 
show two circles which are divided into quadrants by double lines. These 
crossed lines within circles are mere simplifications of the so-called "wheels" 
and have no symbolic significance whatsoever. 

Though an occasional stone is dated as early as 1676-1679, probably none 
was made much before 1723. It was just as easy for an early stone artist to 
make a stone for a grandfather whose grave had been unmarked for thirty 
years as it was to make one for a husband who had been dead only a few 
weeks. This explains early dates on some gravestones, and it is a mistake to 
take them as the dates when the stones were actually engraved. 

Nearly nine out of ten of these Hartshorn stones are dated between 1723 
and 1735, after which they gradually disappear. The stone for Priscilla Pal- 
mer of Franklin, dated 1736, and another nearby for John Elderkin, dated 
1737, are probably the last stones made in Connecticut bearing John 
Hartshorn's designs. 

Who was the John Hartshorn who lived with Samuel and Martha Ladd 
and who made gravestones in eastern Connecticut, particularly in Norwich, 
from about 1723 to 1737? According to a typescript (originally a manuscript) 
genealogy of the Hartshorn family by the late Celeste P. Hazen, there were 
only five John Hartshorns born in New England before 1714. Two sentences 
in Hempstead's Diary give the clue that identifies our particular John.^ On 
July 14, 1727, Hempstead wrote: "I d[elivere]d to old Mr Hartshorn 62 1/2 
[pounds] of wool. I am to send it up to Norwich to Whittneys." Though 
Hempstead does not specifically mention John Hartshorn or gravestones in 
this passage, it was his custom, nevertheless, to swap wool for gravestones 
especially when dealing with John Hartshorn of Norwich. The word "old" can 
apply only to the John Hartshorn, son of Thomas, who was born in Reading 
in 1650, because he was the only John Hartshorn living in 1727 who was 
older than Hempstead - twenty-eight years older, to be more exact. Mrs. 
Hazen said that this John at one time made his home in Norwich with his 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 171 

daughter, Martha Ladd. 

Hempstead's reference to "uncle Hartshorn" also means the first John be- 
cause he was uncle by marriage to Lucy Hartshorn, who was Hempstead's 
sister. A minor point is that Hempstead sometimes referred to John 
Hartshorn as "Mr Hartshorn," undoubtedly out of respect for his age. 

Thus we have explanations for the following observations: Hartshorn's 
stones dated 1723 or later are much more common than those with earlier 
dates, which would correspond with his arrival in Norwich within a few years 
of the death of his fourth wife, Mary, who died in 1719. The many different 
patterns which he used for gravestones indicate that he was an experienced 
stonecutter before he came to Norwich. A novice, particularly a young one, 
would very likely have been content with one or two designs. Many of 
Hartshorn's engravings show minor irregularities even when he cut straight 
lines. The receipt for gravestones that he gave to the widow, Martha Ladd, 
was written in an uncertain hand. The headstone for Samuel Ladd, his son- 
in-law and benefactor, is one of the poorest examples of his work. These 
facts are now easily understandable. When he made that headstone 
Hartshorn was nearly eighty-six years old! 

John Hartshorn's probate papers are not at present available. Despite 
scores of stones that he made to mark the graves of his contemporaries, no 
stone now exists to mark his own. He died very probably in 1738 because the 
gravestone for his brother, Doctor David Hartshorn, who died in West Farms 
in November, 1738, aged eighty-one, was made by another hand.^ 

Part II 

Having determined that those gravestones in eastern Connecticut, hitherto 
wrongly attributed to Joshua Hempstead, were actually engraved by John 
Hartshorn, we now turn our attention to northern Essex County, Mas- 
sachusetts, where he spent most of his adult life. 

When his father, Thomas, remarried in 1661, John, who was then nearly 
eleven years old, was probably put out as an apprentice in Reading, although 
details are lacking at the present time (Hazen). His marriage to Ruth Swan 
when he was twenty-two years old, and subsequently the births of their 
children, were recorded in Haverhill. His wife died of smallpox in Haverhill 



172 Connecticut Gravestones 

in 1690, and sometime before 1693 he married Abigail Brown. Because of 
his service in King Philip's War in 1676, and again as a soldier at Wells, 
Maine, in 1693, "John Hartshorn, dark, of Haverhill" was promoted to the 
rank of lieutenant. 

He appears to have lived in Salisbury for a short time about 1695, when he 
transferred some of his Haverhill property to his eldest son, then twenty-two 
years old. This son, John, Jr., married Hannah Frame of Salisbury in 1696. 
By the unwritten laws of colonial social life John, Jr., should have worked 
with his father prior to 1696, but no evidence confirming this has been found. 

A land record dated 1702 discloses that Hartshorn's third wife was named 
Joanna. In 1709 Lieutenant Hartshorn "of Haverhill" married again, this 
time, the widow, Mary Spofford of Rowley who was born Mary Leighton in 
1654. At least three land records, dated 1710 to 1713, prove that Lieutenant 
Hartshorn gave up his residence in Haverhill and moved to Rowley, where 
his new bride had assigned to him her home and all of her worldly goods. 

His fourth wife died in Rowley on September 16, 1719. In October, 1719, 
"John Hartshorn of Rowley, yeoman" was one of three men who leased some 
property in Ipswich which may have contained a quarry. Unfortunately no 
further information has been uncovered concerning this "Mine Rock So- 
Called." 

It has so far been established that John Hartshorn, before he went to Con- 
necticut, had lived or worked in some Essex County towns, more particularly 
Haverhill, Salisbury, Rowley and Ipswich. It is more than a coincidence that 
in these same towns there are gravestones with characteristics somewhat 
similar to those seen on his Connecticut stones. It came as a surprise, there- 
fore, to find his son, Jonathan, referring to him in 1710 as "my honored father 
John Hartshorne of Rowley, Weaver." Elsewhere he was listed as clerk, 
tailor, lieutenant or yeoman, but not as stonecutter. It would have been un- 
usual for a man to be both a weaver and a stonecutter, yet this was true of 
Hartshorn. Weavers were plentiful and competition must have been intense. 
Gravestone cutting was not ordinarily a lucrative occupation, and many stone 
engravers, finding themselves in financial difficulties while trying to raise 
large families, worked at other trades. It will be recalled that Hartshorn, 
when dealing with Joshua Hempstead, was frequently paid in fairly large 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 173 

quantities of wool, no doubt because he was still a weaver as well as a 
stonecutter while he lived in Connecticut. 

When considering early stone engravers of Essex County it is not neces- 
sary to compile a list of imaginary characters when it is so easy to find authen- 
tic records that leave little room for doubt. Robert Swan, Sr., Hartshorn's 
father-in-law, died in 1698, but his estate was not closed until 1725. His 
probate papers reveal this information: 

To John Hartshorn omitted by the Court 3-5-0 

To mr HartsHorne for grave stoons 3-17-0 

A separate receipt reads: 

Haverhill November 15 1709 

Received of my Brother [in-law] Robert Swan ye 
Discharge of my Rates: as he is Constable 
By Grave Stones made for his and my father and 
mother Swan in full I say Rec'd per me 

John Hartshorne 

The Robert Swan gravestone (Fig. 5), dated February 1697, undoubtedly 
represented a special effort on the part of Hartshorn to make a work of art 
for a very dear friend, but the curious, heavy ornamentation, including two 
coils, is not even symmetrical. The oval, elementary face with its sober ex- 
pression is typical of early Haverhill stones. 

The one remaining border is an obvious imitation of some borders that 
are fairly frequently found nearer Boston and that were possibly made by 
Joseph Lamson. Hartshorn undoubtedly saw such borders on the gravestone 
for his brother, who died in South Reading (Wakefield) in 1694. On the 
same stone he also saw two coils. The original border ornaments, which 
resemble leaves, were attractively engraved, whereas Hartshorn's imitations 
look more like metallic "bells." Because this "bell" border is nearly identical 
to those on many early stones in upper Essex County and particularly on one 
in Haverhill for Ann Wainwright (Fig. 6), dated 1697, I believe that all of 
them were made by Hartshorn. 

The letters on the Robert Swan stone are so shallow, chiefly because of 
weathering, that they are difficult to read. They are not quite uniform in size. 



174 



Connecticut Gravestones 



even though most of them are embelHshed with serifs. 

As on most early Haverhill stones there are periods or colons between 
some words. In the verse beginning "YONG - & - OLD DOTH - PAS - 
AWAY ..." Hartshorne carved DOTH where he should have carved OLD, 
then tried to correct his mistake but did not quite succeed. 

Elizabeth Swan's gravestone, dated 1689, is a good example of stones that 
were made many years after their inscribed dates - in this case there was an 
interval of twenty years. Most of this stone has been destroyed so that only 
the floral border is now of interest. It differs so much from the Robert Swan 
border (Fig. 5) that without documentary proof it would be difficult to 
believe that both stones were engraved by the same man at nearly the same 
time. Similar floral borders or slight modifications of them are to be found 
on about ten other stones in Essex County, nearly all dated between 1708 and 
1714. 




Fig. 5 Robert Swan 1697/8. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 



175 



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Fig. 6 Ann Wainwright 1697. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



A floral border identical to that on the Elizabeth Swan stone appears on 
the double stone for two infant sons of the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Rolfe, 
dated 1698 and 1699 (Fig. 7). The space between the two inscriptions on this 
Rolfe stone is occupied by an undulating stem with coils, nearly the same 
design that is seen so often on Hartshorn's Connecticut stones. Thus we see 
a floral and geometric design on the same headstone. 

Benjamin L. Mirick, in his History of Haverhill, (Haverhill, 1832, p. 132), 
said that during the 1708 massacre by the Indians, Thomas Hartshorn and 
two of his sons were shot and a third was tomahawked. Mrs. Hazen, on the 
basis of her genealogical research, decided that these facts were more ap- 
plicable to John Hartshorn, Jr., and his sons. Since John Hartshorn, Sr., is 
known to have made gravestones in Haverhill in 1709, without much doubt 
he made the double stone for his own son (Fig. 8). This stone has essentially 
the same oval and sober face that is seen on the Robert Swan stone, but the 
remaining border shows a variation of the "bell" design. Every second "bell" 
has been replaced by perpendicular lines that diverge as they descend. These 
"bell" borders and their modifications are a valuable means of identifying 



176 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Hartshorn's work. 

Also on the John Hartshorn, Jr., stone one sees the precursor of the 
webbed ornament that Hartshorn was to use off and on for the remainder of 
his Hfe. The lowest tier shows a serpentine line; the second tier is filled with 
ten double circles, nearly the same circles that Hartshorn used for eyes. 

On the stone in Haverhill for Samuel Ayer (Fig. 9), also dated 1708, two 
small conventional birds were carved. They were accompanied by two styl- 
ized birds, like those found on many Hartshorn stones both in Connecticut 
and Massachusetts. It is worth noting that the Samuel Ayer estate paid John 
Hartshorn £1-0-0 even though gravestones were not mentioned. 






■ ); f, Ar/^ z-,v^jV 7//., 








Fig. 7 John Rolfes 1698 and 1699. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 



177 



The triple stone in Haverhill for the Reverend Mr. Benjamin Rolfe, his 
wife and daughter, who were killed in the massacre of 1708, is also partly 
destroyed, but one may still see a webbed ornament, a border of modified 
"bells," lettering and geometric designs that are similar to those on the John 
Hartshorn, Jr., stone. On January 26, 1709/10, John Hartshorn, Sr., the 
stonecutter, signed a receipt for "one bushil and half of Indian corn" as part 
payment of a debt that was owed to him from the Benjamin Rolfe estate. 




Fig. 8 John Hartshorne Jr. 1708. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



178 



Connecticut Gravestones 



The funeral of Colonel Francis Wainwright of Ipswich in August, 1711, 
was one of those extravagant spectacles that the early New Englanders so 
dearly loved to watch. The thirty-six escutcheons, "great hatchment of armes" 
and other necessities cost over £415, or considerably more that the net worth 
of an ordinary Ipswich farmer. The estate of Colonel Wainwright could well 
afford to have the best stone craftsman in Massachusetts obtain a flat stone 
suitably inscribed for the new tomb. The receipt is now in the Essex County 
Probate Court: 

Received this 12 march 1711 [1712] of John Whipple on of the executors of 
colonell frances wainwright deces his Esteat ten pounds ten shiHngs for a toom 
stoon 

by John Hartshorne 

This document is easily legible despite a few large and scrawly letters and 
more than Hartshorn's usual quota of misspelled words. But on that day in 
March, 1712, when he received from the estate of one of the most prominent 
men in Massachusetts the handsome sum of ten pounds and ten shillings for 
a single "toom stoon," John Hartshorn, as a capable and respected artisan, 
had at last arrived. 




Fig. 9 Capt^ Samuel Ayer 1708. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 179 

Only by including the stones made during Hartshorn's Rowley period (c. 
1709- c. 1720) can one grasp the full scope of his versatility. His oval faces 
were gradually replaced by nearly circular faces with large, carefully 
engraved rosettes on either side. He made a few bold experiments with dif- 
ferent wing designs, but soon abandoned them. One also finds considerable 
variation in his borders of diamonds, "dominoes" and different circular orna- 
ments, but usually the "modified bell" remained the basic pattern. Most of 
his curious birds were squeezed into corners lateral to the rosettes. Some of 
them resemble chicks with upward pointed beaks, wide-open eyes and long 
necks, but in such cramped quarters they look more like uncomfortable 
ducks. 

The most constant feature of Hartshorn's engraving and therefore a valu- 
able means of identifying his work is the lettering. After he abandoned his 
seventeenth-century V-shaped U, he adopted a distinctive wide-mouthed U 
which he used for the remainder of his life. He also continued his early 5's 
and only gradually did he abandon his undersized capital O's. His early and 
urmecessary "AND" was soon changed to an unnecessary ampersand (&) 
which he continued to use until he died. During his residence in Rowley he 
appears to have learned to carve his letters deeper, or else he engraved on a 
harder stone. 

Now that we know that John Hartshorn made gravestones in upper Essex 
County, that he was not a mere amateur but was held in high esteem and that 
many of his stone-cutting characteristics can be easily recognized, we should 
return to Haverhill to consider three early gravestones that are somewhat 
similar to each other but at the same time different from the stones so far 
described. 

Despite their differences in dates, the three small stones for John White 
(Fig. 10), dated January 1668/9, Israel Ela (Fig. 11), dated 1700, and James 
Gile, dated 1705, have so many features in common that it is more than prob- 
able that they were engraved by the same man. The borders of coils in pairs, 
for example, are nearly identical on all three stones. They also show some 
Hartshorn characteristics, such as inscriptions in capital letters with serifs and 
colons between some words. The oval faces are not only similar to each 
other, but also similar to the faces on the Robert Swan and John Hartshorn, 



180 Connecticut Gravestones 

Jr., stones (Figs. 5 and 8). 

Near the base of the White stone are numerous slanting Hnes which were 
used to fill most of the remaining space. Similar large "grids" are to be found 
on many Essex County stones, dated 1682 to 1716. Similar but smaller "grids" 
also occur, particularly on the stones for Robert and Elizabeth Swan, which 
are known to have been engraved by Hartshorn. 

The last word "AGE" (on the Ela and Gile stones) is on a line by itself and 
carved in letters that are considerably larger than any other letters on those 
stones. This conspicuous "AGE" was a rare peculiarity in lettering. I recall 
seeing it on only two other stones in Essex County, and on only one stone in 
Connecticut. This last stone (for Nathaniel Rudd in Franklin) is now known 
to have been engraved by Hartshorn. The Ela estate paid John Hartshorn 
£0-6-2, although gravestones were not mentioned. On the White stone the 
finial design which, for identification purposes I have been calling a 
decorated "wheel," so nearly resembles the "wheels" on some Connecticut 
stones that it is almost as good as a Hartshorn signature. 

There is considerable circumstantial evidence that the John White stone 
was not carved in 1669. According to "Haverhill Inscriptions," which ap- 
peared in The Essex Antiquarian in 1908, the next earliest dates in Haverhill 
were 1681, 1688, 1689, 1695 and five more dated 1697-1699. These dates 
make it doubtful that any stone in Haverhill was carved as early as 1669. On 
January 1, 1669, John Hartshorn would have been only eighteen years old 
and, although he could have made gravestones at that age, it is unlikely that a 
boy who was trained as a weaver and a tailor could have cut such a sophisti- 
cated headstone on his first attempt. The White stone, therefore, if made by 
John Hartshorn as I beHeve it was, was certainly not made in 1669. 

Unlike contemporary gravestones nearer Boston, the early stones of upper 
Essex County often show phonetic spelling such as HOSPETOLITY, 
DESESED (for DECEASED), HAR (as in HAR AGE), MASH (for 
MARSH), WARE (for WERE) and PASTURE OF YE CHURCH. 
Hartshorn's spelling had improved considerably by the time he arrived in 
Connecticut, although he still found nothing wrong with YARE (for YEAR), 
PACENC (for PATIENCE), DEER (for DEAR), TRESUER, and PASTUR 
OF WINDHAM CHURCH. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 



181 



Only a few early footstones were found in Haverhill, two of them without 
marks of identification. These two appear to have been carved c.1700 to 
1705. Their borders show open hearts which are identical to the open hearts 
that appear on many of Hartshorn's Connecticut headstones. On a footstone 
for James Gile there is a small coffin. One early footstone has a verse: 

THY: HOVR 

IS: RVNE 
THY: TIME 

IS: DVTvfE 

It is reminiscent of a Hartshorn stone in Connecticut for Deliverance Squier: 

LOOK ON MY TOVMB 
& THINfK ON YOUR DOM 



c - - ^.„ 






Fig. 10 John White 1668. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 



182 



Connecticut Gravestones 



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Fig. 11 Israel Ela 1700. Haverhill, Mass. Photograph by Farbers. 

We left Joshua Hempstead back in the first paragraph, where he was un- 
ceremoniously stripped of some honors that he never knew he had. He con- 
tinued to "cut" gravestones almost until he died. He also made coffins, sur- 
veyed property, mended broken wheels, and did many other useful chores. 
Though he was judge of probate when Samuel Ladd's estate was settled, he 
failed to record the death of Ladd or of Hartshorn in his voluminous Diary. 

Did he ever go to northern Massachusetts to sit upon the ground and copy 
eyes and birds and epitaphs? The Diary reveals that he was, fundamentally, 
such a practical person that he could not possibly have done so. Why should 
he travel well over 200 miles to sketch gravestones when he could buy exactly 
the kind he wanted right in the heart of New London {Diary, October 21, 
1724, p. 148)? And he had to travel only eighteen miles to Norwich West 
Farms to obtain as many more stones as he desired. Hempstead went to 
Maryland once; he went to Boston once; but he never set foot in Essex 
County, Massachusetts. 

The possibility that John Hempstead, Joshua's son, may have cut grave- 
stones was not mentioned in the Diary, but John was paid for gravestones 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 183 

from the estate of Thomas Truman in 1764, and he may have been paid for 
other stones before and after that. 

Joshua died in 1758 after a long, very interesting and exceedingly useful 
life. As in the case of John Hartshorn, no stone now exists to mark the spot 
where he was buried. 

Conclusion 

This is admittedly an incomplete report on a new chapter in the history of 
gravestones in New England. The article started as a contribution to 
"Connecticut Gravestones" with emphasis on Joshua and John Hempstead, 
but the many clues in Joshua's Diary proved to be altogether too valuable to 
be ignored. "Old Mr Hartshorn," born in 1650 and one of the earliest stone 
engravers in New England to be definitely identified, was an exceedingly ver- 
satile craftsman who was trained as a clerk, weaver, tailor and soldier, but 
who also made gravestones for his many friends in upper Essex County when 
very few other men knew how. 

When about seventy years of age, most of his immediate family having 
died or moved away, this lonesome old man went to live with his daughter in 
Norwich West Farms, only to find himself once again in an area where he 
could make gravestones better than anyone else around. 

He was never satisfied with himself or his work. A head full of ideas com- 
pelled him to create new designs and then to revert to old ones when the 
results did not please his fancy. Some of his essential features were never 
changed at all. When the Robert Swan stone (Fig. 5), one of his earliest, is 
compared with the Samuel Ladd stone (Fig. 1), one of his last, they appear to 
be as unlike as any two stones could be, yet there is a similarity in the facial 
features, particularly about the eyes, and a suggestion of similarity in the 
coils. Except for names and dates, the wording and letters are almost exactly 
the same, including the somewhat unusual capital letter U and the unneces- 
sary ampersand. The student of early New England gravestones should not 
forget that a stonecutter could, and often did, drastically alter his style. The 
failure to realize this as well as the failure to discount dates may lead a care- 
less beginner into drawing many unwarranted conclusions. 

There still remains a vast amount of original source material in Essex 



184 Connecticut Gravestones 

County to be explored. The gravestones, in particular, require some solid 
down-to-earth research along the lines proposed by Mrs. Forbes over forty 
years ago. A full measure of genuine satisfaction awaits someone at the end 
of this interesting trail. 



[The following "NOTES" conclude the original article and are not to be confused with the ter- 
minal footnotes which follow.] 

1. An unexpected by-product of this research was the discovery of a few notes on the 
Mulicans of Bradford, Massachusetts. In the vital records the name is spelled in ten dif- 
ferent ways. Mrs. Forbes (p. 15) quoted a letter, dated 1739, from Frederick Clifton 
Pierce's Foster Genealogy (Chicago, 1899), asking "Mr Robert Mulican of Bradford Ser 
pray make" three gravestones for some Foster children of Andover. One cannot deter- 
mine, except possibly from the original source, whether "Ser" was a misspelling of "Sir" or a 
misspelling of an abbreviation of "Senior." It makes a difference because there were two 
Robert MuHcans in Bradford at that time, father (1668-1741) and son (1688-1756). On 
December 20, 1728, a Robert Mulicken was paid £2-5-0 for a pair of gravestones for John 
White, who died in Haverhill in 1727. In 1738 Joseph Mulickon was paid forty shillings for 
gravestones for John Sanders of Haverhill. Joseph (1704-1768) was also a son of Robert, 
Sr.^ 

The predominant style of gravestones in Haverhill from about 1723 to 1741 shows a 
clear-cut John Hartshorn influence. The eyes or double circles which were cut in low 
relief, the circular ornaments on both sides of the face and the borders of undulating stems 
with coils were definitely borrowed from Hartshorn (on the Sanders stone by Joseph 
Mulickon, the coils were replaced by carefully engraved leaves). On the other hand, the 
decidedly pointed chins, large oblong mouths and inscriptions of mixed capital and lower 
case letters separate these stone from Hartshorn's. 

Years ago Mrs. Forbes pointed out (p. 77) that the peculiar characteristics of stones 
made by the Worcesters of Harvard with coils, decidedly pointed chins and central features 
of the face suggesting a key were borrowed "from the gravestone-makers of Essex County . 
. ." We can now pinpoint their origin more closely. They originated with the Mulicans of 
Bradford with an assist from John Hartshorn of Haverhill and Rowley. Since Jonathan 
Worcester was born in Bradford in 1707 he could easily have worked with the Mulicans 
during their most productive years. 

2. Gravestones that can be attributed to John Hartshorn with any degree of certainty seem to 
disappear from upper Essex County about 1720, but the post-1720 stones, particularly in 
Rowley, still show a decided Hartshorn influence. The faces with features in relief, almost 
identical rosettes and borders of undulating stems with coils were certainly borrowed from 
Hartshorn. Yet there are noticeable differences in the two groups of stones. On the later 
stones, the engravings are much more crude. The Moses Biadstreet stone in Rowley, 
dated 1727, for example, has a nose that deviates sharply to one side; also, the letters are 
somewhat smaller, although the only decided difference is in the letter Y. Hartshorn's Y's 
were made of straight lines whereas many post- 1720 stones have Y's with curved tails. 

Mrs. Forbes (p. 128) found that Richard Leighton was paid for gravestones for Moses 
Bradstreet, who died c. 1738. A probate record for Moses Bradstreet of Ipswich, dated 
"Aguest" 1739, reads: "mony pade to mr Lighten for ye grave stons . . . £4-00-00." Another 
related entry reads: "Cash p to Righerd Lighten . . . £5-5-0." I was unable to find these 
Bradstreet stones in either Ipswich or Rowley. 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 185 



In Rowley vital records the only Richard Lighten (or Leighton, Layton, etc.) who 
answers the requirements was born in 1686 and died in 1749. Thus he would have been 
about twenty-four years old when John Hartshorn moved to Rowley. 

Obviously more research is needed, but it does not require too vivid an imagination to 
beheve that the Leightons worked for Hartshorn before 1720 and inherited the gravestone 
business after Hartshorn moved away. This belief is strengthened by the fact that Ezekiel 
Laiten, who was paid for some Rowley gravestones in 1723, was the brother of John 
Hartshorn's fourth wife, Mary. Richard was Ezekiel's son. 

John Hartshorn carved two very different kinds of birds. The smaller, conventional birds 
which appeared on the Samuel Ayer stone in Haverhill, dated 1708 (Fig. 9), could have 
been copies of the ravens that were on the Reverend Benjamin Rolfe's family coat-of-arms. 
Armorial beau-ings were a rich source of inspiration for colonial stonecutters. The second 
Thomas Johnson (1718-1774), a popular stone engraver in Connecticut, owned a book on 
heraldry. Not only do coats-of-arms appear commonly on gravestones, but in early colonial 
days escutcheons and hatchments of arms were carried in funeral processions. On such 
armorial bearings one may find all kinds of animals, particularly birds, as well as griffins, 
sheep and even grasshoppers. Suns, stars, flowers, leaves, rosettes and a wide variety of 
other symbols appear on both coats-of-arms and gravestones. The birds on the Samuel 
Ayer stone are important because they prove that if Hartshorn wanted to carve a realistic 
bird as a symbol of the soul or for any other reason, he could easily have done so. 

Instead he frequently carved large stylized birds with beaks and eyes, and although 
these birds appeared on many stones they were never carved with legs. Below the neck, 
the bodies were usually continued as the second tier of the webbed ornament, or 
Hartshorn's substitute for wings. One cannot be certain that he originally intended to 
carve birds at all, because some of the early designs have blunt noses and look more like 
the heads of quadrupeds than birds. 

To understand these stylized ornaments one must follow Hartshorn's use of his 
double circles, which are similar to and generally slightly larger than the double circles that 
he used for eyes. These were apparently his favorite decorative devices, and although it is 
impossible to be certain of their exact chronological development because dates on graves- 
tones are so unreliable, they may be found almost anywhere on a stone. 

On the double stone for John Hartshorn, Jr. (Fig. 8), these circles fill up the second 
tier of wings, and if so much of this stone had not been destroyed there would now be more 
than thirty of these so-called "eyes." They are always found in pairs in the "modified bell" 
borders. On a stone in Salisbury they appear in front of the beaks, and therefore 
Hartshorn did not intend them to be eyes of "birds." 

On his later stones Hartshorn slighted his "birds" by pushing them into corners and 
making them secondary to his rosettes. In Connecticut he continued to experiment. One 
stone, dated 1721, has a bird's head but no eyes. The distorted bodies on the Samuel Ladd 
stone (Fig. 1) do not look anything like the bodies of birds. On other Connecticut stones, 
dated c. 1732, Hartshorn carved four of these strange "birds." That these particular figures 
had any symbolic significance is doubtful. They were certainly the result of trial and error, 
which an accepted symbol would not have been. Had Hartshorn desired to carve a mean- 
ingful bird, he could have tried a little harder and carved one more easily recognizable as 
such. 

Hartshorn was primarily an artisan. He did not even pretend to be a philosopher who 
knew more about symbols than there was to know. These birds were his ovra creations, the 
conceits or whimseys of a man with a fertile brain and a pair of clever hands. Like many 
small ornaments on gravestones, these "birds" pleased the man who carved them, and that 
was all that mattered. They were akin to the human legs and feet on a Haverhill foot- 



186 Connecticut Gravestones 



4. Other stonecutters by the name of Hartshorn, some directly descended from John, were 
encountered in the course of this research. For example: 

august the 17 1742 received of mrs Mary Addams 
forty shillings for a Pare of grave Stons for 
her former husband James Pearson 

Jonathan hartshorn 

James Pearson's headstone has not as yet been found, nor has the identity of this Jonathan 
Hartshorn been established beyond doubt. Possibly he was Lieutenant John's grandson 
who was born in Haverhill in 1703, married Sarah Cross and lived in Methuen, where he 
was described in various deeds, dated 1729 to 1743, as husbandman, yeoman, or laborer. 
He could have been the Lieutenant Jonathan Hartshorn who was in the Louisburg Expedi- 
tion of 1745. Four children of a Jonathan Hartshorn were baptized in Newbury between 
1746 and 1752. Unfortunately there are no probate papers for any Jonathan Hartshorn in 
Essex County before 1800. 

If the gravestone for John Hartshorn, a child who died in Methuen in 1738, was made 
by his father, Jonathan of Methuen, the latter was not much of a stone engraver. This peg- 
shaped gravestone shows a face with a wide hydrocephalic forehead. Everything else about 
the stone, including the lettering, is amateurish. 

Years ago Mr. Kendall P. Hayward called my attention to a gravestone in West 
Thompson, Connecticut, for Samuel Watson which was signed "S. Hartshorn, 1783." This 
was Stephen Hartshorn because his brother, Charles of Providence, on October 8, 1784, 
received "four pounds Lawful Money in full for a pair of Grave Stones" from Samuel 
Watson's estate. Charles and Stephen, great gransons of the first John (b. 1650), were 
probably partners in the gravestone business in Providence. 

NOTE: An unabridged version of this article, and a bibliography, has been deposited at 
The Connecticut Historical Society. 



NOTES 

1. The name of the carver has been spelled several ways. Dr. Caulfield himself spelled it 
HARTSHORN ( = HARTS HORN). John himself always signed his name 
HARTSHORNE ( = HART SHORNE). 

2. Dr. Caulfield's article on John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead is in many ways his most 
thoroughly researched, most scholarly and at the same time his most enigmatic article. 
While his earher articles contained entertaining asides of wry humor. Article XII has a dif- 
ferent tone in places, often one of biting sarcasm. Here are some examples: 

"Joshua Hempstead .... never used abstruse sentences filled with 
polysyllabic words." 

"It is strongly ironic therefore that such simple words as 'cut' and 
'mark' should cause so much confusion and especially when Hempstead practi- 
cally spelled out exactly what he meant." 

"When considering early stone engravers of Essex County it is not 
necessary to compile a list of imaginary characters when it is so easy to find 
authentic records that leave little room for doubt." 

"We left Joshua Hempstead back in the first paragraph where he was 
unceremoniously stripped of some honors that he never knew he had." 



John Hartshorn vs. Joshua Hempstead 187 



"Did he [Joshua Hempstead] ever go to northern Massachusetts to sit 
upon the ground and copy eyes and birds and epitaphs? . . . .Why should he 
travel well over 200 miles to sketch gravestones when he could buy exactly the 
kind he wanted right in the heart of New London?" 

"Hartshorn was primarily an artisan. He did not even pretend to be a 
philosopher who knew more about symbols than there was to know." 

Because future gravestone students may be somewhat bewildered by parts of this, it 
seems appropriate for some background to be provided. To understand comments 
such as those above and several additional ones related to back-dating one must real- 
ize that this article is in part a rebuttal to the discussion of this group of stones as 
treated by Allan Ludwig in Graven Images (the magnificently illustrated book, the 
publication of which more than any other single event brought about the current en- 
thusiasm for gravestone studies). Dr. Ludwig's book appeared in 1966. Dr. Caul- 
field, to my personal knowledge, was very irritated by this book. (A note written by 
Dr. Caulfield on his copy of Connecticut Gravestones XII says "ms sent about Dec. 1, 
1966.") It is almost a classic case of the intellectual conflict between the careful, con- 
servative, non-speculative, document-oriented scholar versus the broad-visioned, in- 
terpretative, big-story, but not so careful with details, worker. While Dr. Caulfield, 
who appears to have been working slowly toward a book on early Connecticut 
stonecarvers, probably felt "scooped" by Dr. Ludwig's book, from personal conversa- 
tion I know that his chief irritation was Ludwig's willingness to conceive a scenario 
of a series of carvers where there was no documentary evidence, but rather where 
there was strong documentary evidence to the contrary. 

One must admit that there may indeed have been a personal side to the inten- 
sity of Dr. Caulfield's feelings. On page 458 of Dr. Ludwig's book he comments on 
the Caulfield articles somewhat offhandedly by stating, after complimenting Caul- 
field on his "carefully composed articles": "However, the author's attributions are 
far less secure than his documentary evidence and the reader should be warned 
against taking them for granted." Dr. Caulfield was a man of pithy temperament 
who had been working hard on the position of Joshua Hempstead relative to John 
Hartshorn, and when he read the above and compared it to the Ludwig series of Es- 
sex County carvers, most of whom Caulfield believed to be John Hartshorn alone, it 
was impossible for his reaction not to seep into this article. 

Since both men contributed immensively to the field and since both were fal- 
lible, as all scholars are, the above is not offered as a judgment but only as an ex- 
planation of what may seem otherwise incomprehensible in the article. 

Perhaps the most important feature of all of the above is the establishment of 
the John White stone (Fig. 10) as not being nearly as early as Ludwig believed. This 
invaluable stone I am now told has disappeared from the Haverhill burying ground. 
If ever there was a lesson to be placed before those opposed to safeguarding impor- 
tant stones, this is it. 

3. Diary of Joshua Hempstead of New London, Connecticut, (New London County Historical 
Society, Collections, 1:163, 167, 173, 281 (1901). 

4. Z)/a/y, 1:148, 173. 

5. Maybe the poetry was "awful," but the word can mean two things. Perhaps not every early 
eighteenth-century wife thought of her husband as a rich treasure, and to me "deer smith 
his bones" still evokes an emotion across the centuries that more sophisticated epitaphs of- 
ten do not. 



188 



Connecticut Gravestones 



6. D/ary, 1:186. 

7. The carver was Obadiah Wheeler. The stone is in the Birchard Plains burying ground in 
Franklin. 

8. An article on the Mulliken Carvers by Ralph L. Tucker will appear in the next number of 
Markers. 

9. A sketch appears in the original article. The footstone in Haverhill is not identified. 

10. For later articles on John Hartshorne see: Peter Benes, "Lt. John Hartshorn: Gravestone 
Maker of Haverhill and Norwich," Essex Institute Historical Collections, 109:152 (No. 2, 
April 1973), and James A. Slater and Ralph L. Tucker, "The Colonial Gravestones of John 
Hartshorne," Puritan Gravestone Art II, (Boston, 1978), 79. 



rir) n") 







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Fig. 1 Abigail Holt 1752. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Carved by Richard Kimball. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Kimballs 189 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XIII 
The Kimballs* 



Richard Kimball (1722-1810) 

By modern standards Richard Kimball was not an outstanding gravestone 
artist, yet he was very popular in his day and had the courage to sign his 
name to at least four stones. Although he bought and sold land in Windham 
occasionally, he is not to be confused with Richard Kimball, joiner, who died 
there in 1760, nor with Richard, the joiner's son. Our Richard, son of 
Samuel, was born in Bradford, Massachusetts, in 1722 and was brought to 
Pomfret by his parents about 1723. There he married Abigail Holt in 1748. 
In most of his Pomfret records he was classified as "husbandman" or 
"yeoman," probably indicating that stonecutting was not his chief occupation, 
which one might surmise by merely glancing at his stones. The last of his 
Pomfret deeds is dated 1761, when he moved to St. John's, New Brunswick. 
But he was back in Connecticut, probably in Pomfret, sometime about 1780, 
because three^ of his signed gravestones are dated about that time. In 1782, 
at the age of sixty, he obtained permission to go to Nova Scotia, then under 
loyal English occupation, and little is heard of him after that date. He very 
probably moved to Lebanon, Connecticut, to live with his sons before moving 
to New York state.'^ His death was reported in Connecticut newspapers in 
July, 1810: "At Canajoharry, Mr. Richard Kimball, aged 88,^ formerly of 
Pomfret in this state." 

The earliest signed gravestone known to have been "Maid by Richard 
■^mll" jg ^j^g Qj^g £qj. j^jg mother-in-law, Abigail Holt, who died in Hampton 
in 1752 (Fig. 1).'' This small stone has undecorated borders and a quatrefoil, 
or four-leaf clover, as its only decoration. Except for the above-mentioned 
errors in spelling and spacing of the signature, the lettering is surprisingly 
good, which may mean that Richard had engraved stones before this one was 
made. 



* This article is the first of three prepared by Peter Benes and based on Dr. Caulfield's un- 
published work. 



190 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Nearby is a stone made for Abigail Kimball, Richard's daughter, dated 
1754 (Fig. 2). This could hardly have been intended as a portrait stone inas- 
much as the circular staring eyes, triangular nose and thick lips form a face 
that did not belong to any man's child. The wings are represented by short 
coiled wires extending laterally from the shoulders and sides of the head. 
Despite his fairly good lettering, Richard Kimball could not have had much 
training in engraving portraits. Except for a few uneven letters in an inscrip- 
tion which begins "Hear Lies . . ." this stone offers additional evidence that 
Richard had prior experience, especially in lettering. The design appears to 
have been original for it does not even closely resemble that on other stones 
in that part of Connecticut. The borders are composed of small uneven 
diamonds, which Richard used frequently on other stones. Stones similar to 
the one he made for his daughter may be seen in the Grow cemetery, but all 
of them are so heavily coated with lichen that at present they are not very 
helpful. 







Fig. 2 Abigail Kimball 1754. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Kimballs 



191 



Richard signed his name on stones he made for Solomon Griggs (Fig. 3) 
and Samuel Sumner (Fig. 4) in Pomfret. Though both stones are dated 1781, 
they differ considerably in style. TTiey also differ from Richard's earlier 
stones, indicating that he may have continued his gravestone cutting while 
living in St. John's. On the Griggs stone a pair of plain spreading wings sup- 
port the head; a pattern of small three-leaf flowers forms the border. The 
Samuel Sumner stone, which more nearly resembles Richard's most common 
designs, has long-feathered wings attached to the sides of the head, while the 
flowered borders are more informal. 










Fig. 3 Solomon Griggs 1781. Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



192 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 4 Deacon Samuel Sumner 1781. Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. 
Photograph by Farbers from rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



The Kimballs 



193 



Kimball stones somewhat similar to the Samuel Sumner marker are to be 
found in many eastern Connecticut towns between Pachaug and the 
Woodstocks. The full, square-jowled faces on these stones (Figs. 5, 6, 7 and 
8) usually show bushy eyebrows and squinting, almond-shaped eyes, although 
sometimes the eyes are angular. A triangular nose is accompanied by a 
small, inappropriate cupid's-bow mouth. The lettering, which is usually very 
good, is characterized by carefully cut numerals. The numerals 3, 5, 7 and 9 
extend below the line, while the 6 and 8 extend above the line. The borders 
are decorated with various floral designs. 

The reason for placing Richard in Lebanon^ sometime after his sixtieth 
year is the existence of a stone made by him which is dated 1783, and which 
marks the grave of Roger Huntington of Lebanon. This stone shows a 
Richard Kimball angel adjusting his crown as he ascends to heaven. Many 
more of Richard's stonecutting characteristics are seen on the Huntington 
stone, such as heavy eyebrows, rhombic eyes, cleft chin, typical lettering and 




Fig. 5 Appleton Holbrook 1767. Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



194 



Connecticut Gravestones 





ere. l^elrri ,^;| 
f l\/lr3 P.e 



r^- r-^. 






Fig. 6 Rebekah Sharpe 1780. Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 







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J i 



■^'O -- i^-^ ^d-idA 



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Fig. 7 Lydia Fuller 1765. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Kimballs 195 

diamond borders. These borders are duplicates of those on the stone for 
Richard's daughter in Hampton (Fig. 2). Except for the raised arms, there is 
nothing unusual about the Huntington stone, because it closely resembles 
scores of other stones which may be seen throughout a large part of eastern 
Coimecticut. 

Lebbeus Kimball (1751-C.1832) 

Richard Kimball's son, Lebbeus, was born in Pomfret in 1751. He 
answered the Lexington Alarm, and served in the war as a sergeant. He 
married Sarah Craft in 1778, and at least two of his children were born in 
Pomfret before 1784. A Pomfret gravestone maker like his father, Lebbeus 
first followed the style he inherited from Richard, but then shifted toward the 
dominant Manning style that proliferated in Eastern Connecticut in the 
second half of the eighteenth century. That he imitated Richard's stones 
closely is indicated by two stones standing side by side in Hampton which are 
so much alike that it is difficult to tell them apart. They are inscribed with 
the same versed including the same mispelled word: ". . . and fallow me you 
must." Yet the stone for John Fuller, dated 1777 (Fig. 9), was "Cut by Leb- 
beus Kimball," while the other for Hannah Fuller, dated 1780 (Fig. 8), was 
signed "Richard Kimball." Because these stones are so similar, it is obvious 
that Lebbeus, during his formative years, was very much under the influence 
of his father. 

However, he was also capable of original work. A stone in Pomfret made 
for George Sumner and his five daughters, who died within five weeks of 
each other, is probably the work of Lebbeus (Fig. 10). (The estate of George 
Sumner paid him £7-4-0 for four pairs of grave stones in March, 1783.) It has 
some characteristics of Richard's work, but additionally has a jewelled crown 
and double-scalloped borders which were contributed by Lebbeus. The 
American eagle on the gravestone of Lucy Fuller of Hampton, dated 1785 
(Fig. 11), which has typical Kimball lettering (including the ampersand), as 
well as the scalloped borders favored by Lebbeus, was also cut by the 
younger carver. 

At about the time of his removal from Pomfret to Lebanon,^ Lebbeus 
shifted to the Manning style. The date of this removal can be fixed between 



196 



Connecticut Gravestones 



May, 1783, the date the birth of his son Sylvester Kimball was recorded in 
Pomfret, and January, 1786, when he was mentioned in one of Jonathan 
Trumbull's account books. (In August, 1786, he was on the Lebanon tax list 
as the owner of five cows and a horse. A son. Craft Payson Kimball, was 
born in Lebanon in 1788.) This shift in style can be seen in its initial phase 
on a stone in Lebanon made for Pelatiah Webster (Fig. 12) which has both 
Kimball and Manning characteristics. The cupid's bow mouth, cleft chin, al- 
mond eyes, and double-scalloped borders suggest the work of Lebbeus; the 
upswept hair and one-piece wings suggest a Manning influence. The culmina- 
tion of this shift is found on the gravestones of Elisabath (sic) Arnold of 
Lebanon (Figs. 13 and 14), and of Peter Robinson of Scotland, both dated 
1785, both signed by Lebbeus; and a gravestone for William Allen of 
Lebanon, who died in 1787 and whose estate paid Lebbeus £3-10-0. Except 
for their lettering, all three of these stones reflect a decided Manning ap- 
pearance. About that time, the two Manning boys were embarking on their 








Wet H 






^Okilltmhl 



Fig. 8 Hannah Fuller 1780. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Kimballs 



197 













Fig. 9 John Fuller 1777. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Farbers from rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 




irn I 6tmQi^/ol'I'4r Geoj??^ 



-J '.J ) ) n 






Fig. 10 George Sumner and daughters c. 1783. 
Sabin Burying Ground, Pomfret. Photograph by Peter Benes. 



198 



Connecticut Gravestones 



own careers as stonecutters, and possibly Lebbeus worked for one of them. 
But since the Mannings were exceedingly popular, it is also possible that Leb- 
beus thought it necessary to imitate their style to obtain his share of the 
gravestone trade. It is sometimes difficult to distinguish late Kimball from 
Manning stones, except for the lettering. The pompadour hair style fre- 
quently extends higher on Kimball stones. Lebbeus, in particular, was more 
prone to spelling errors, such as: "Here lays intered . . . ." Lebbeus even- 
tually abandoned the cleft chin, made his faces thinner, and gradually 
changed his eyes into perfect circles. Most of these characteristics are seen 
on the gravestone of John Moore of Union, whose estate paid Lebbeus £ 1- 
18-0 in 1787. 







Fig. 11 Lucy Fuller 1785. South Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Kimballs 



199 



The Kimballs were a restless family. By 1790 Lebbeus had moved again, 
this time to Mohawk, New York; and he was living in Canajoharie in 1832. 
He probably continued making gravestones after he left Connecticut, al- 
though this period of his artistic life has not yet been investigated. It is pos- 
sible that he occasionally returned to Connecticut to make stones such as the 
one for Samuel Craft in Abington, dated 1791. 




Fig. 12 Peletiah Webster 1785. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



200 



Connecticut Gravestones 




mUti. 



.1 \ tMiA'jU 



Fig. 13 Elisabath Arnold 1785. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



;1 














t/ W4 



Fig. 14 Elisabath Arnold 1785. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Kimballs 201 

Chester Kimball (1763-1824) 

Chester Kimball, brother of Lebbeus, was born in St. John's, New 
Brunswick, September 19, 1763. He returned to Connecticut with his family, 
first to Pomfret, then to Lebanon.^ It was natural that he should also become 
a stonecutter, but instead of joining his father or brother, he was partial to 
the brownstone quarries in Chatham, where he may have gone for expert 
training under the first of the Thomas Johnsons. In 1786 he married Lucy 
Fox of Chatham. Three daughters of John and Mary (Waterman) Fox had a 
profound interest in those brownstone quarries, possibly because they were 
primarily interested in geology, although all three just happened to marry 
young and husky gravestone cutters who worked there! 

Though his father and brother moved to New York state, the independent 
Chester went to New London, There he advertised on April 11, 1786: 

CHESTER KIMBALL 

Respectfully informs the public that he has set up the STONE CUTTER'S busi- 
ness in this city, on Main street, opposite the new meeting-house, where he 
makes Tombstones, Grave-stones, Steps, Hearths, Jaumbs, Sinks, &c. of the 
Middletown Stone. 

The earliest record of Chester's gravestones found so far was dated Sep- 
tember 29, 1787, when he was paid £2-8-0 for a pair of stones for William 
Avery, Esquire, of Groton. Carved of Middletown brownstone, the decora- 
tive work on this marker consisted of an urn in the classical-revival style. 
From this we can infer that the independent Chester had abandoned both the 
Richard Kimball and Manning style of angels. 

The gravestone business was nevertheless very good to Chester. In March, 
1795, he advertised that he wanted: "immediately, an active lad, from 14 to 
15 years of age, as an apprentice." A few months later he moved to a new 
shop on Beech Street, where he kept on display some "Lanesborough 
(Massachusetts) Marble, suitable for grave stones." By 1797 he had an agent 
in Stonington who took orders for lettering ready-made stones from the 
Chatham quarries. Like other Connecticut stonecutters of the late 
eighteenth century, he worked more and more on marble. In 1799 he needed 
another apprentice, for he had just received "A Quantity of white Marble, 



202 Connecticut Gravestones 

Suitable for Grave Stones. Likewise Clouded Marble, suitable for Jambs and 
Mantletree Pieces." His prices were as low as any, even in New York. He fre- 
quently charged for "extry writing" in addition to the gravestones at the rate 
of one and a half to three cents per letter. 

Between 1811 and 1813 he formed the partnership of Chester Kimball "& 
Son," at one time meaning Chester, Junior, (1790-1823), and at another time 
meaning Gurdon (1781-1871). These partnerships did not last very long, and 
Gurdon, at least, who previously had been a blacksmith, continued independ- 
ently as a stonecutter. Chester, Sr., had branch offices in Chelsea (Norwich), 
Stonington, and Mill Town (North Stonington); the last two were in the 
stores of other men. As soon as he would receive sufficient orders at a 
branch office, he would go there for four or five days at a time to do inscrip- 
tions, meanwhile retaining his main shop in New London. 

On June 28, 1820, he said in one of his numerous advertisements that he 
would sell gravestones "as low as any of his craft from any quarter, let their 
pretensions be what they may. Those who wish to purchase Marble are in- 
vited to call and see for themselves, before they purchase of those who are in 
the habit of carrying their work abroad after it is completed." These remarks 
were aimed at a competitor, David A. Rogers, who also advertised frequently 
in the Connecticut Gazette that he had a shop on Beech Street and had hired 
a skillful Philadelphia craftsman to do his engraving. A large marble monu- 
ment, dated 1818, for Anna, wife of Dr. William Lord of Old Lyme, bears 
Chester's engraved signature, as did another in Brooklyn, Connecticut.^ 

Chester Kimball died January 2, 1824, a wealthy man for that day. His to- 
tal estate, which amounted to $6,371.25, included mahogany Pembroke 
tables, a cherry desk, Windsor chairs, Liverpoolware and blue-edged plates. 
His dwelling house and garden were valued at $1,600.00. In his shop, which 
was then occupied by his son Gurdon, there were all kinds of stonecutting 
tools and some unfinished marble and marble and freestone. He also owned 
stock and tools at Norwich and Stonington. One very important item for his 
trade, "A Book of Epitaphs," was also among his belongings. His business 
was continued by his one-time apprentice and partner, James Bloyd Lyman 
(1799-1865), who first married Chester's daughter Abigail, and later on, her 
sister Charlotte. 



The KJmballs 203 

NOTES 



1. According to Alfred Fredette of Willimantic, Connecticut, an authority on the Kimballs, 
there are at least four of Richard's signed stones. 

2. Despite secondary hints, there is no evidence that Richard or any of his sons except Leb- 
beus were living at any time in Lebanon, agetin according to Mr. Fredette. 

3. Fredette tells me that Richard actually died at the age of ninety, as shown on his grave- 
stone in Ames, N.Y. (south of CanajohcU-ie). His stone was carved and signed by Chester 
Kimball. Richard's son Lebbeus is buried to the left of his father. He died September 4, 
1839, in his eighty-ninth year. Both actually lived in Ames, N.Y. 

4. This stone is in the north burying ground in Hampton, but is fallen and badly eroded 
though still legible. Another example of the folly of leaving historically valuable stones ex- 
posed to New England winters. 

5. See note 2. 

6. The fairest flesh 

Is buried in the dust 

Prepare for death 

For fsdlow me you must. 

7. See note 2. 

8. See note 2. 

9. As well as several signed marble stones in and adjacent to Montgomery County, N.Y. And 
Mr. Fredette also states that there is a signed "flared ear" sandstone in Nova Scotia. 




204 



Connecticut Gravestones 




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^W: 



'/ 



&«^''<3B«WJ^1|r^*««'^^J'lf?V<*t ••■ ' 



Fig. 1 West children 1755. Tolland. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Bucklands 205 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XIV 
The Bucklands* 



William Buckland (1727-1795) 

Since their arrival in Connecticut during the seventeenth century, most of 
the Bucklands of Windsor and East Hartford had been weavers. The probate 
papers for the William Buckland who died during the great influenza 
epidemic of 1724-1725, for example, list in great detail all the appurtenances 
of the weaver's trade; they also show that he had been unusually successful in 
his business. After setting aside for his widow one-third of his estate, thought- 
fully including "one third part of the Cellar; and the Liberty of Bakeing in the 
ovens," he left his shop to his son John; another son, Sargeant William (1700- 
1758), similarly continued the weaver's trade, perhaps doing some woodwork 
on the side. With this background it seems most unusual at first glance that 
two boys of the next generation, William, Jr., and Peter, should go into the 
business of making gravestones, because in those days, young men usually fol- 
lowed the family trade. 

Little is known about the early life of these two sons of Sargeant William. 
William, Junior, who was baptized July 30, 1727, the first of eleven children, 
worked at least part of the time in association with his father. During Sep- 
tember and October, 1752, when the father was buying nails, brads, and 
similar items from John Potwine's store, the goods were usually delivered to 
the son. The following year the father, "for Love and Affection," transferred 
to the son one-half of the family homestead. At this time, the part of 
Hartford known then as "The Five Miles," now Manchester, was beginning to 
change from a wilderness to a partially-industrialized community, due in 
some measure to the increasing business of a valuable quarry near the East 
Windsor line. The stones from this quarry were used primarily for making 
jambs, or fireplace walls, and it became known as "The Jambstone Quarry" 
and the adjoining area as "The Jambstone Plain." Because the quarry was 
just to the north of some of his father's lands, it would have been natural for 



* This is the second article based on Dr. Caulfield's unpublished material and edited by 
Peter Benes. 



206 Connecticut Gravestones 

inquisitive young William to become interested in this rapidly growing in- 
dustry. Besides, his aunt Anne Buckland had married a stonecutter, the 
younger James Forbes. Other men may have influenced William to take up 
stonecutting as a trade. He must have known Daniel Chandler (1729-1790), 
who not only owned the quarries but who also appears to have made oc- 
casional gravestones. In that neighborhood also lived the carver Gershom 
Bartlett (1723-1798), who undoubtedly knew the Buckland boys, because the 
gravestones for their mother, Elizabeth Buckland, who died in East Hartford 
in 1752, were cut by Bartlett in the manner of his very popular hook-and-eye 
design. It is doubtful that Buckland was apprenticed either to Chandler or to 
Bartlett, because there was not a great deal of difference in their ages. 

There were at least two older stonecutters in that neighborhood who could 
have taught the fundamentals of the trade to all three young men, however. 
Thomas Ritter (1720-1770), first of a family that later became famous 
throughout most of Connecticut for their gravestones, had come from 
Rowley, Massachusetts, to East Hartford in 1739; and Joseph Johnson (1698- 
C.1770), a skillful Middletown artist, who temporarily resided in East 
Hartford from 1742 until 1750. On closer study, therefore, it appears that 
though William Buckland, Junior, did not inherit any predisposition to work 
in stone, at least he was brought up in an environment favorable to his 
development as a stone engraver. 

First-hand evidence that young William carved gravestones is a signature, 
obviously put there as an advertisement, on a very unusual triple stone (Fig. 
1) made for the three children of Amasa and Amy West who died in Tolland 
in March, 1755, all within forty-eight hours and probably from diphtheria. 
This stone shows an unmistakable Gershom Bartlett influence because its 
hook-and-eye design is similar to Bartlett's except that the features were exag- 
gerated to create a ludicrous bulbous nose and tiny close-set eyes. Neither a 
skull nor a face (it was a curious combination of the two), Bartlett's own 
design was at least as ludicrous as William's copy. Bartlett in fact was prob- 
ably trying to imitate the unwieldy double nose of a winged-skull design of 
the unidentified "Horseshoe skull" carver who was active in the 1740s on the 
east side of the Great River (East Hartford, East Windsor). This carver is 
believed to be William Holland. An imitation twice removed from its 



The Bucklands 207 

original design source (see Fig. 5, Connecticut Gravestones VJ), Buckland's 
and Bartlett's bulbous nose was a "folk" or unconscious stylistic corruption of 
what was otherwise a commonplace design in central Connecticut in 1750. 
Despite the exaggeration of its design, the West children stone also shows 
that by this time William Buckland was an accomplished workman. Stones of 
this irregular shape were exceedingly difficult to complete without breaking 
off some corners; the edges are embellished with an attractive and symmetri- 
cal flower border; and a close examination of the inscription shows that each 
single letter was cut by a careful hand. In fact, the obvious errors on the 
stone can be attributed to too much care rather than too little, because it was 
very easy to omit a whole word while intensely concentrating on single let- 
ters. 

Regardless of its poor spacing, the signature on the West stone, "Made by 
W.m. Buckland Ir. of Hartford," is very valuable because it helps to identify 
more of his early stones. There are about six gravestones in East Hartford 
and in Tolland which so closely resemble the West stone that they may 
reasonably be attributed to William, Junior, while he was still under the 
Bartlett influence. The stone for William's twenty-four year old first wife, 
Hannah (Burnham) Buckland (East Hartford, 1755) (Fig. 2), virtually dupli- 
cates the West stone, as does that of Amy West (Tolland, 1756) (Fig. 3). The 
stone for William's uncle, Jonathan Cole (East Hartford, 1753) (Fig. 4), and 
Ann West (Tolland, 1755) (Fig. 5) are not quite as ludicrous since their noses 
are more pointed than they are bulbous, but in most other ways both are 
stylistically similar to their predecessors. The borders of all four stones could 
easily be mistaken for Bartlett borders, but the features, particularly the dis- 
proportionate size of the nose and eyes, indicate that the stones were 
engraved by William. 

When his father died in 1758, William, Junior, being the eldest son, in- 
herited a double share of the estate; and subsequently he bought many pieces 
of land "in the five Miles so called," most of them near the East Windsor line. 
Nothing was said about a quarry in those transactions, so he probably bought 
his unfinished stones from someone else, either in Windsor or from the 
"Jambstone Quarry" in East Windsor. Nor was anything said to indicate that 
he was in the gravestone business, although apparently he not only remained 



208 Connecticut Gravestones 

in it but prospered. If one looks beyond the outlandish facial designs of his 
early stones it becomes increasingly apparent that Buckland's heart was in his 
work and that it was his chosen profession ~ otherwise he would not have 
spent so much time and care with his borders and lettering. It is easy to im- 
agine that he had decided on stonecutting as a lifetime career by 1755 or 
1756, even though his bulbous-nose designs are not found after those years. 

Because he shifted from one style to another, it is not always easy to iden- 
tify with certainty the many stones he probably made during the remainder of 
his stay in "the five Miles." An indication of how greatly William had altered 
his style after 1756 is found on the gravestone for Rachel Lothrop of Tolland, 
who died in 1754 (Fig. 6). (Though dated 1754, this stone was probably made 
a few years later.) Like the West stone, the Lothrop stone was signed by Wil- 
liam, although his signature in this instance is written in tiny letters and 
placed so near the ground that it is usually obscured by grass. The stone has 
numerous similarities with the West children marker. For example, he again 
did not allow enough space for his name and he had to omit the a and 
reverse the d in the word "Buckln"." He also made major errors in the in- 
scription, but this time they cannot be excused on the ground of over- 
concentration. Among these errors is a backward p and a backward capital 
N. (On another stone of this type he misspelled "Memmory," for which there 
is no excuse, and which suggests that like many colonial stonecutters he was 
more skillful with his hands than with his head.) 

Major differences nevertheless exist between the newer Lothrop marker 
and the West children stone. The border work is considerably altered, for 
example. Rather than a simple vine-and-leaf pattern which repeated itself 
five or six times, he devised a more sophisticated vertical-leaf vine which 
repeated itself only two or three times (Fig. 6). It is in the spirit carving, 
however, that the most sweeping changes are found. Gone are the dispropor- 
tionately sized hook-and-eye face details, as well as the ludicrous scowl. In 
their place are more moderate hook-and-eye features and a normal mouth 
which includes within it what might be intended as a protruding tongue. 
Perhaps the only important holdover from his bulbous nose variants are the 
familiar residual teeth which are found in the form of a zigzag or serration on 
the bottom of the chin. 



The Bucklands 



209 




hpJof[T--!-Un[f.,!-:.;,- 



O. 



rrrd 

Fig. 2 Hannah Buckland 1755. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 



^*|/.V|.., 




Fig. 3 Amy West 1756. Tolland. Photograph by Farbers. 



210 Connecticut Gravestones 

Beyond his two signed stones, we can only speculate as to the extent of 
William's stonecutting activities. A search of Hartford District probate 
records reveals that his name was found in the papers of four estates. He 
was paid £1-10-0 from the estate of Benjamin Cheney in 1760; £1-10-0 from 
that of Samuel Elmer in 1761; and £3-14-7 from that of Simon Gains in 1761. 
These records do not say that he was paid for gravestones, although £1-10-0 
would have been a fair price for them about that time. While the headstones 
for Benjamin Cheney and Simon Gains have not survived, the stones for their 
wives, Elizabeth Cheney, who died in 1759, and Sarah Gains (Fig. 7), who 
died in 1758, may still be seen in Manchester. The headstone for Jabez 
Burnham (1758) still stands in East Hartford, and that for Samuel Elmer 
(1759) in East Windsor. It seems much more than a coincidence that all four 
headstones should so closely resemble one another as to be almost indistin- 
guishable in design and lettering; that they should also closely resemble the 
headstone for Sargeant William Buckland, William Buckland's father, who 
died in 1758; and further, that all four should closely resemble the signed 
stone of Rachel Lx)throp of Tolland. Inasmuch as William, a gravestone cut- 
ter, was a creditor of all five widely separated estates, the documentary 
evidence strongly supports the stylistic evidence that he made all five 
headstones. 

If William in fact made these stones (as seems most likely), it means that 
his initial gravestone style had changed radically in the space of four or five 
years - excepting perhaps his lettering, which remained much as it was on 
the West children stone. This is compatible with at least one additional piece 
of evidence. Gershom Bartlett had moved to Bolton in 1752 and was prob- 
ably no longer an influence on young William, who instead may have come 
under the spell of Thomas Ritter of East Hartford. The facial designs, 
crowns, and particularly the borders on William's 1758-1759 stones have little 
in common with either Bartlett's or even William Buckland's own earlier 
style. They have much in common, however, with the style that may have 
been used by Ritter circa 1760 and may have been devised by Ritter himself 
or perhaps by Ritter and Buckland working in partnership after 1755. A few 
years had made a tremendous difference in William's advance from the 
ridiculous to the more sublime. 



The Bucklands 



211 






''hbrc\ 



•i'^ 



^^ VI Hf.^ /\xo 



Fig. 4 Jonathan Cole 1753. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 
Photograph by Farbers. 







o '2r<=- r^ In re rr^ f/a^ / ^ 
^"^^ /^/^fr. Daur-hfer cFm^^- 

Fig. 5 Ann West 1755. Tolland. Photograph by Peter Benes. 



212 



Connecticut Gravestones 





■] • ; 

.•» 

Fig. 6 Rachel Lothrop 1754. Tolland. 

Turning for a moment from his spirit carvings and borders, we find that 
William Buckland's footstones also provide evidence pointing him out as the 
carver of the later (1756-1759) Tolland/East Hartford stone groups. 
Footstone designs were sometimes used by stonecutters as a trademark -- not 
an absolute trademark in the modern sense, because one stonecutter would 
sometimes imitate another, inasmuch as there was no law to prevent him 
from doing so, but enough of a trademark to help identify the work of a stylis- 
tically versatile carver like William. Buckland's footstones are particularly 
interesting because they also illustrate his change in styles. Although superfi- 
cially dissimilar, the footstones for Hannah Buckland (Fig. 8) and Jonathan 
Cole (Fig. 9) (made circa 1755) have enough elements in common with the 
footstone for the West children to confirm our belief they were all made by 
William. While cut in a related but different style, the footstones for Ben- 
jamin Cheney, Jabez Burnham and Sarah Gains (made circa 1760) also 
closely resemble one another. An interesting additional fact is that the 
footstones for Elizabeth Cheney and Sergeant William Buckland (Fig, 10) 
belong to the earlier period, whereas their corresponding headstones belong 



The Bucklands 



213 



to the later period. William apparently was unable to decide which style of 
footstone appealed to him the more; or, he may have stockpiled the earlier 
style and was trying to "use them up." 

Comparable evidence is gained from stones William Buckland made for 
children. It was a common gravestone custom in those days to mark 
children's graves with small headstones, and sometimes to decorate them in 
the style usually found on the footstones of adults. With that in view one may 
at least tentatively attribute to William the headstone for Richard Rust (Fig. 
11) (Manchester, 1756) because the delicate, flowery tracings are similar to 
those found on William's early footstones. Similar headstones for children 
may be seen in Tolland -- for example, that of Thankful West, who died in 
1754. 




c'i"c3 f -r-.v frift^'cf A/! 



Fig. 7 Sarah Gains 1758. East Burying Ground, Manchester. 
Photograph by Farl^rs. 



214 



Connecticut Gravestones 



A good case can be made for William Buckland as the carver of other at- 
tractive stones on the east side of the river. The stone for Isaac Fellows of 
Tolland (Fig, 12), who died in 1755, has the same irregular profile, the same 
space fillers and the same lettering that appear on the signed West stone; 
that of Clemence Olmsted, who died in Manchester in 1755, has comparable 
eye and eyebrow characteristics. Both these stones have the same protruding 
"tongue" found on the signed Lothrop stone. In the absence of more defini- 
tive records, however, it is perhaps not wise to attribute to William too many 
of the seventy or more red sandstone markers in the burying grounds of East 
Hartford, Tolland, East Windsor, and Glastonbury which share his charac- 
teristic borders and spirit designs, and whose inscription dates are spread 
over a fifteen-year period between 1754 and 1769. Thomas Ritter used, on at 
least one occasion, virtually the same design and lettering on a stone he 
placed in New Hartford. In addition, William's brother, Peter Buckland, 
freely copied William's style, and indeed appears to have worked /or William 







Fig. 8 Hannah Buckland 1755. Footstone. 
Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. Photograph by Peter Benes. 



The Bucklands 



215 







/ .~\ 









...^ K- V 



^^:^ 



Fig. 9 Jonathan Cole 1753. Footstone. 
Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 












Fig. 10 Sarj* William Buckland 1758. Footstone. 
Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. Photograph by Farbers. 



216 



Connecticut Gravestones 



until about 1760 and with him on and off for another seven years. For ex- 
ample, a gravestone in East Windsor (Abigail Loomis, 1760) which exhibits 
many of William's presumed characteristics has misspelled in its inscription 
the word "Boody" for "Body," a very unusual gravestone error. This same er- 
ror occurs on a later stone nearby which was cut in Peter's style. Moreover, 
there were five more brothers in the Buckland family and any one of them 
could have tried his hand at gravestones. Because of the great similarity in 
their styles, all three carvers are possible candidates for these stones, and it 
seems even more than possible that all three worked in partnership. Until 
better evidence is uncovered, one has to be content to describe most of these 
stones as the Buckland (and possibly Ritter) design. 

By September, 1783, William had sold most of his land in Orford Parish 
(the new name for Manchester), apparently in anticipation of his moving 
away. On June 5, 1768, "William Buckland ... of Poultney, Vermont" sold 
his last acre in Orford to the Widow Evans for twenty-four shillings. He is 
said to have died in Poultney on March 11, 1795. 




Fig. 11 Richard Rust 1756. East Burying Ground, Manchester. 



The Bucklands 



217 



/A 



, \iijnjnjsjf' '"■ • ,. 




vx/ <H. 



(X 



') ( 



f II 



\(^ 



'/ . J¥ 



. , .:,{•■■ 



\v 




Fig. 12 Isaac Fellows 1755. Tolland. Photograph by Farbers. 



218 Connecticut Gravestones 

Peter Buckland (1738-1816) 

Peter Buckland, the brother of William Buckland, Junior, was born in 
1738 and was the second in line to William, although there was an eleven- 
year difference in their ages. Since his older brother was proficient in 
making gravestones, there was every reason for the younger Peter to follow 
his example. We can assume also that the two probably worked together for 
a few years, especially since Peter is known to have acted as William's agent 
in some real estate transactions in 1760. At least some stylistic evidence sup- 
ports this hypothesis because some of the stones that can definitively be as- 
signed to one or the other are almost impossible to tell apart. When he was 
twenty-five years old, recently married, and the new owner of additional land, 
Peter no doubt decided that the time had come to be independent, signing 
his own name to the stone he made for Deacon Daniel House of East Glas- 
tonbury (now Eastbury), who died in 1762 (Fig. 13). This gravestone was 
made from a red sandstone similar to the kind that William used, and the 
style reflects William's influence to a marked degree. The irregular shape, 
long leaf-and-vine borders, and the lower-case lettering all indicate that it 
was slowly and carefully cut, and, if this were the only extant example of 
Peter's style, it would be very difficult to separate his work from William's, 
particularly since both were proficient at making backward N's. 

Some design elements of the House stone, however, seem to have been 
Peter's own. Both the grape clusters and twin hearts-on-stems are motifs 
found on other stones in East Glastonbury that might reasonably be at- 
tributed to Peter Buckland - for example those of Elzebuth Hubbard and the 
Reverend Isaac Chalker, who served the East Society at Glastonbury as pas- 
tor for twenty-five years. Both the Chalker and the Hubbard markers are 
made of William's usual red sandstone, and both have borders similar to 
those carved by William - again excepting the thin curly lines on the leaves, 
which William did not seem to use. We can therefore tentatively assign the 
heart and grape motifs to Peter, along with the curling lines - and this with 
some confidence because grape-like design elements are found on Peter's 
later signed schist and granite stones. Numerous other red sandstone 
markers dated 1756-1769 in Tolland, East Hartford, East Windsor, and Glas- 
tonbury, may also be attributed, on a provisional basis, to Peter Buckland for 



The Bucklands 219 

these (and other) reasons, among them the stone of Charles West of Tolland 
(Fig. 14) and of Lieutenant Nathaniel Olcott of East Glastonbury. All, 
however, in one way or another resemble the stones we have attributed to 
brother William, and until additional evidence is found by which we can dis- 
tinguish between their work, we must assume that they shared a common 
workshop 1754-1769, and that they sometimes shared responsibility for the 
same stone. 




Fig. 13 Deacon Daniel House 1762. Eastbury Burying Ground, Glastonbury. 

Photograph by Farbers. 



220 



Connecticut Gravestones 



In 1767 Peter sold most of his property, consisting of forty-six acres of land 
"On the east side of the Great River ... in the five Miles so called . . . with 
the Mansion House I now live in and the Barn" for £20, which was con- 
siderably less than its value when he acquired it. Possibly he went to Bolton 
to work with the popular Gershom Bartlett, because shortly thereafter he 
worked a good deal on gray schist and seems to have taken a great fancy to 
many aspects of Bartlett's gravestone style. Two schist stones in 
Wethersfield, for example, those of John Knowles and James Knowles (they 
died, respectively, 1765 and 1766) could at first sight be mistaken for Bartlett 
stones similar to that of Jonathan Marsh (Wethersfield, 1766). Both 
Bartlett's original and Peter Buckland's imitations share the same nebulous 
masses protruding from the ears (these are presumably wings) and the same 
stylized borders. The two Knowles stones, however, were unquestionably 
made by Peter Buckland, not only because of the backward N's but more par- 
ticularly because the footstone design (a pinwheel and slanting letter J) is cut 








lerclyc\vyfl3(x[: 
I' ( ha rlc'r^' \h cVo 



Fig. 14 Charles West 1760. Tolland. Photograph by Farbers. 



The Bucklands 221 

in the style that Peter generally used. In 1771 he was paid £0-9-5 from the 
estate of Jedediah Spencer of East Hartford, his brother-in-law, and he was 
also paid £0-3-0 from the estate of Benjamin Damon of Manchester. While 
these amounts may have been too small for gravestones, it so happens that 
the graves of both of these men are marked by gray schist stones with back- 
ward N's, and also Spencer's footstone has the slanting letter J and pinwheel 
characteristic of Peter's style. During this period Peter Buckland was not too 
fussy with spelling, and it was typical of him to inscribe a stone in Glaston- 
bury: "Hear Lies Interd . . . SARAH HALE late wife to TIMOTHY HAEL." 
Even if Peter did work with Bartlett, it could have been only a temporary 
arrangement at the most, because advertisements in the January, 1771, issue 
of the Connecticut Courant reveal that he had again decided to be independ- 
ent: 

The Subscriber hereby informs the 

public that he has set up the business of 
making GRAVESTONES of all sorts in Hartford 
Five-Miles. And if the public will favor him with 
their custom, they shall have their work done in the 
best manner, and at the cheapest rate, for Cash or 
Produce in hand, 

by me, PETER BUCKLAND 

Jan 3, 1771 

A casual inspection of old graveyards in Hartford County indicates at once 
that Peter Buckland collected considerable "Cash or Produce" for his handi- 
work, and at least part of the reason for his success was that he continued ad- 
vertising in other ways in towns such as Glastonbury. On three of the many 
gray schist stones he placed in the west parish burying ground of Glastonbury 
he carved his name in a conspicuous place very near the top ~ a place that 
was usually reserved for the name of the deceased. The signed stones for 
Sybil Eells (Fig. 15) and Abigail Merick, both dated 1773, as well as a similar 
but unsigned stone nearby for Benjamin Judd dated 1774, reveal that he still 
did not know how to make an N. He was beginning to learn, nevertheless, 
because on another signed stone (Isaac Mosely, 1773), the N was correctly 
cut, and on the stone for John Goodrich, whose estate paid Peter £3-0-0 in 
1774, the N is also correct. In many ways, the qualities that make these 



222 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Stones distinctive are difficult to describe -- perhaps it is their oriental expres- 
sions, with raised eyebrows; or the sparse "beards"; or the small, straight 
mouths and notched, angular noses. Peter was also partial to hearts, tassels, 
pinwheels and stars, and used them interestingly, if sometimes indis- 
criminately, to fill up empty spaces; yet there is no one motif in his stones 
that cannot be found on those made by other men. 

















Fig. 15 Sibil Eells 1773. Green Burying Ground, Glastonbury. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



The Bucklands 



223 



A search of probate records shows that Peter Buckland was paid from the 
following estates: 

Hezekiah Hubbard, Jr., Glastonbury 1784 £2-0-0 

Elijah Hollister, South Glastonbury 1785 2-13-2 

Jonathan Mygatt, East Hartford 1786 0-11-7 

Joseph Churchill, Glastonbury 1788 2-4-9 

Jonathan Hills, East Hartford 1776 3-0-0 

(for "Grave Stones") (Fig. 16) 

Ashbel Cowles, East Hartford 1793 2-10-0 

(for "Grave Stones") 




Fig. 16 Jonathan Hills 1776. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 



224 Connecticut Gravestones 

Some of this information helps to identify Peter as the man who made scores 
of nearly identical stones in the last quarter of the eighteenth century, such as 
the ones for Mercy Daman and her husband Benjamin of Manchester and 
Sarah Goodrich of Glastonbury.^ We soon note that in these later designs 
the serrated skeletal jaw (which he had carried as a superfluous or vestigial 
element for twenty-five or more years) gradually became a pointed chin. To 
what extent his brother, William Buckland, was involved in this production 
before his departure for Poultney, Vermont, circa 1784, is still not known, al- 
though we find occasional evidence to suggest that he was involved at least to 
some extent. Whatever its extent, Peter's indisputable comercial success had 
a harmful influence on the overall charm of his style. In time, both his 
designs and his lettering became more conventional and therefore less inter- 
esting; and most of his distinguishing characteristics were lost in quantity 
production. His stones became monotonously alike, although he still 
reserved the right to use his own peculiar brand of spelling. For these 
reasons it seems safe to attribute to him the stone in East Hartford for 
"PHENEHAS BURNHAM . . . who died TRYUMPHINGLY in hops of a 
joyful RESURRECTION" in December, 1776 (Fig. 17). 

Because most of his late stones were made of schist, Peter Buckland prob- 
ably still lived in Orford, not too far from Bolton. But soon he was on the 
move again. In March, 1788, "Peter Buckland of Hartford, Stone Cutter," 
with his partner "William Crosby, Stone Cutter" of Chatham, leased the up- 
per quarries in Chatham from the third Thomas Johnson, and the following 
August they bought the quarries outright. A few weeks later, however, Buck- 
land and Crosby sold the quarries back to Johnson for the same amount that 
they had paid, and Peter returned to Orford with nothing more to do with 
Crosby. There exists a record dated 1788 indicating that Peter Buckland was 
paid £17 for "A Sett of Tables" from the estate of Dr. and Mrs. Solomon 
Smith of Hartford. This may refer to a tablestone still standing in the Center 
Church graveyard in Hartford, although there is nothing very remarkable 
about it, either in design or lettering. 

The last known mention of Peter Buckland supplying a stone marker is 
found in the estate papers of Ashbel Cowles of East Hartford (1793). 
Enough still remains of this badly shaled sandstone to show that it originated 



The Bucklands 



225 



in Chatham and that it is similar to several other stones in East Hartford 
characterized by high, many-layered crowns, and touching fronds.^ The 
design partially imitates that of the late Middletown school, suggesting that 
Peter either bought a ready-made stone, or that he had been so greatly in- 
fluenced during his short stay in Middletown that he decided to try his hand 
at imitating what was then a very popular design. 

During the 1790s Peter bought and sold more land in Orford and one of 
these transactions indicates that he was living on a farm. On February 30 (!) 
1799, he went into partnership again, this time with Charles Dolph, a 
stonecutter then living in Manchester or Glastonbury but, like the Buckland- 
Crosby partnership, this one also quickly dissolved, for in February of 1801, 
Dolph, having moved away, sold his share of the dwelling house, farm and 
other property back to Peter at a tidy profit. Later records of Peter are 
obscured by the fact that his nephew, another Peter Buckland (Elisha's son), 
began buying and selling land in Orford, East Windsor and in Bolton. 




V -J /.^ /^ 



J ■ 







r*^. 



• i 



pi/pHEf^EH/:::' Con off^^ 



Fig. 17 Phenehas Burnham 1776. Center Burying Ground, East Hartford. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



226 Connecticut Gravestones 

On March 12, 1816, "Captain" Peter Buckland, who had been made a Cap- 
tain of the 9th Company, 19th Regiment in 1786, died from an "indisposition 
of body" that had afflicted him for many years. No quarry was mentioned in 
his probate papers, but his inventory Hsted "a piece of land on the mountain," 
and some stonecutting tools in a total estate of about $2,400.00. He was sur- 
vived by his second wife, Dorcas (Case) "and family," though no children 
were named in his will. A simple sandstone slab now marks his grave in 
Manchester. 

NOTES 

1. The stones figured in the original text are of the "flared ear" type. Many carvers used this 
design, but probably not Peter Buckland. Presumably it was a Portland carver's work. All 
of the photographs appearing in the original text are not reproduced here, and there are 
included some photographs not included in the original. Hence the numbering of figures is 
different. 

2. The figures in the original text are of elaborate "crowned" sandstones of a type known to 
have been made by WilUam Crosby of Portland. Since Peter Buckland was in partnership 
with WiUiam Crosby for a short period, he almost certainly brought these stones from 
Portland and did not carve them himself. 



if ^ 





/ 

b 

%:/ ■ ■ 

Fig. 1 John Skinner 1773. Center Burying Ground, Hartford. 
Carved by Joseph Tucker (Manning Imitator). Photograph by Peter Benes. 



Three Manning Imitators 227 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XV 
Three Manning Imitators* 



Among the many gravestone makers active in eastern Connecticut in the 
second half of the eighteenth century, the Manning family of Windham 
(Josiah Manning and his two sons Frederick and Rockwell)^ were probably 
the unchallenged leaders of the trade in terms of the numbers of stones they 
produced. Several thousand Manning stones are found in a three-county 
area east of the Connecticut River dated 1770 through 1790, with some in- 
dividual examples dated in the first decade of the nineteenth century. 
Known by their frightened, bloated-eyed angel heads and their downturned 
mouths, Manning angels survived in the rural stronghold of eastern Connec- 
ticut against the incursions of urban classic-revival decorative themes appear- 
ing in Portsmouth, Boston, and other coastal towns, as well as against the 
more sophisticated Hartford and Middletown school of angel carvers. We 
can fairly say that the Manning angel, usually carved on a grey Bolton- 
quarried granite, and whose late stylistic origins go back to the seventeenth 
century Haverhill and Norwich carver Lt. John Hartshorn,^ is the most com- 
mon stone in eastern Connecticut. 

If we add to this equation the numerous carvers who at one time imitated 
all or a portion of their designs, the dominance of the Manning family was 
even greater than the quantity of their stones suggests. Including the Man- 
ning family itself, eighteen^ major carvers in Connecticut and Vermont are 
known to have used Manning-type angel designs - among them the Kimball 
family of Pomfret and the Drake family of Windsor; some three or four addi- 
tional carvers belonging to the late Merrimack school in southern New 
Hampshire are also believed to have been influenced by Manning designs, 
though the connection is still conjectural. In most instances the Manning in- 
fluence on any individual carver is easily recognizable. Among the most com- 
monly borrowed elements are the bloated, half-lidded eyes; the heavily- 
outlined eyebrows; the downturned heavily-outlined mouth; the flamboyant 



* This is the third article based on Dr. Caulfield's unpublished work and edited by Peter 
Benes. 



228 



Connecticut Gravestones 



headdresses; and semi-circular wings. Not all Manning imitators used all of 
these elements simultaneously, and some, such as the Loomis family carvers, 
seem to have borrowed much more from Obadiah Wheeler or the Kimballs 
than from the Mannings. For the purpose of establishing order out of what 
sometimes appears to be artistic chaos, Manning imitators can be roughly 
classified as "close," "partial," or "ephemeral" - depending on the extent to 
which they applied Manning characteristics to their own work. No matter 
how we classify them, however, they all shed additional light onto stonecut- 
ting as it was practiced in rural Connecticut at a time when it was in its last 
years as a vernacular art form, threatened by English cultural modes of the 
late colonial and early republican periods. 




^^:i \Q.m Lies hlhrrly:Ba6-/^% 

l^of Mi^Mfir:/-^ fc of rc^^ 

Ojyr 2 i'^AX 1772 iny? .en 
^^.-zJ^'Ye^^ of'--horA§n.rdj 
r^TT-khfe of herChUdrQjit% 
J by har SHo vrrho all ^ 
5g1jjec[ Soon Afl^er ]:h^:'"<^ 

1>1*- JZJp-ZjmS-jf-- ""■-->(«(• JwP 




Fig. 2 Mary Skinner 1772. Center Burying Ground, Hartford. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



Three Manning Imitators 229 

Joseph Tucker (1735-1800)^ 

A stonecutter who followed the Manning design quite closely was a resi- 
dent of nearby Bolton named Joseph Tucker. The oldest of eleven children, 
Joseph Tucker was born on the Tucker family farm in the northeast comer of 
Bolton, October 18, 1735. His father, Ephraim, a carpenter and farmer, was 
also an active trader, for his name is found in many Hartford account books 
from 1731 until he died in 1759. Joseph, also a carpenter and farmer, first 
appears in the records in 1757 when he sold to Daniel Goodwin of Hartford 
"500 Chesnut Rails Del. at ye River"; but little else is known about him until 
he married Hannah Hammond in September, 1762. From then until 1791 he 
bought and sold numerous pieces of land, especially in Bolton; and even- 
tually he moved from the old family homestead to another homelot on the 
west side of Cedar Swamp, now Bolton Lake. A witness to some of those 
transactions was Gershom Bartlett, the most popular stonecutter in Bolton's 
earlier history, and who also owned land in various parts of Bolton, some of it 
"on the road to Joseph Tuckers." When Bartlett decided that frontier Ver- 
mont was more lucrative than Connecticut for the gravestone business, his 
friend and neighbor seized the opportunity to acquire a thriving trade, and 
inserted the following advertisement in the Connecticut Courant: 

JOSEPH TUCKER, 

BEGS leave to inform the public that he has lately set up his business of engrav- 
ing and making grave stones in Bolton, in the Quarrey lately occupied by Ger- 
shom Bartlett, and as he has hired a very neat workman at the business, 
whoever will employ him may depend on having their work done in the best 
manner, and on the most reasonable terms. 

Bolton, October 11, 1773 

Although a great many stones in the Bolton graveyards no doubt 
originated in his quarry, not many stones can be definitely attributed to 
Joseph Tucker. He was paid £4-10-0 for two pairs of gravestones from the 
estate of John Skinner, who died in Hartford in 1773, and we can assume that 
these are by his hand. But, in view of Tucker's attempt to capitalize on Ger- 
shom Bartlett's popularity, it is curious that the stones for John and Mary 
Skinner should in no way resemble Bartlett's style. Instead, the bonnet-tied 
faces on these stones (Fig. 1) suggest that they were made by someone 



230 Connecticut Gravestones 

trained under the Manning family carvers; and the lettering on the John Skin- 
ner headstone and the pinwheel design on the corresponding footstone ap- 
pear to have been cut by Peter Buckland.^ Joseph Tucker, therefore, seems 
to have had some direct contact with Josiah Manning or his young sons 
Frederick or Rockwell, and Peter Buckland may well have been Tucker's 
"very neat workman," at least for a short time. This last supposition is sup- 
ported by the fact that at least one additional stone purchased at this time by 
the Skinner family, that for Mary, wife of John Skinner, Junior, (Hartford, 
1772) (Fig. 2) is clearly the work of Peter Buckland. 

Within four years, however. Tucker had exchanged the early Manning 
style (bonnet-tied faces and banded wings) for the later Manning style 
(bloated eyes and elaborate headdresses). An example is the stone of 
Hezekiah King of Bolton (Fig. 3), who died in 1777 and whose estate paid 
"To Joseph Tucker for Grave Stones . . . £7-17-6." Although Hezekiah's 
headstone is now nearly destroyed, enough of it remains to show that it was 
originally a duplicate of the stone for Isaac Sheldon of Hartford, who died in 
1786 and whose estate paid Tucker £4-10-0. The design on these stones is 
notably different from the designs on the Skinner stones, yet Tucker ap- 
parently is responsible for all of them.^ The contradiction is partially 
resolved by the double stone for Jonathan and Hannah Fowler found in the 
old graveyard near the Nathan Hale homestead, a stone which shows ele- 
ments of both designs. But the knowledge that one of these designs is fre- 
quently found on stones that were made long after Tucker died casts some 
doubt on his identity as a "working" stonecutter. It is possible that, like 
Joshua Hempstead, he owned the business, but that his designs and lettering 
were the handiwork of other carvers or of hired workmen. If it could be 
proved more fully that one of the Mannings or even a Walden sometime 
worked for Tucker or sold him pre-carved gravestone blanks, the uncertainty 
would be more fully resolved. 

Lieutenant Joseph Tucker died April 8, 1800; he was survived by his 
widow and four of his six children. Only a few stonecutting tools were men- 
tioned in his probate papers. His lands in Pittsford and Rochester, Vermont, 
which he probably bought on speculation, were left to two of his sons. His 
third son, Josiah, inherited all of his land in Bolton as well as his livestock 



Three Manning Imitators 



231 



and farming utensils. 







\ 



— K \ \ ^ - • 



-V L-.t 



^1 • -^ ^ -^^ -^ ^-«.»_ -^ --W -*w -V. -v_ '"%,M 






Fig. 3 Hezekiah King 1777. Bolton. Photograph by Peter Benes. 



John Walden I (c. 1682-1759) 
John Walden II (1734-1807) 
John Walden III (1752-1824) 

A family who imitated the Manning design equally closely was the John 
Waldens of Scotland. The Waldens' work is found throughout eastern Con- 
necticut between the Woodstocks and the Sound. Their markers resemble 
Manning stones in many respects, yet when examined closely they are seen to 
have their own special characteristics. No doubt exists that the Waldens 
were "working" carvers. At least sixteen stones, all dated between 1790 and 
1804, were signed by them, sometimes merely by "JW," but more often by 
"John Walden of Windham."^ 

Vital records concerning John Walden are confusing because there appear 
to have been at least four of them, three of them in direct line. The only 
reason for bringing the first John Walden (c. 1682-1759) into this discussion 
is the signed gravestone in Scotland for Esther Palmer, dated 1754, which 
was "Engraven by John Walden" (Fig. 4). This stone is decidedly different 
from the later signed stones which were presumably made by his son, John 



232 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Walden II (1734-1807). The headdress on the Palmer stone reminds one a 
little of the Mannings, yet the stone differs from most Manning stones in its 
borders and uplifted wings. The first John Walden was a farmer who left 
nothing in his estate pertaining to stonecutting, so it is probable that the Pal- 
mer stone represents the early work of his son, John II. 

The second John Walden (1734-1807) grew up in Scotland. Inasmuch as 
he owned some land near Merrick's Brook, he was both a neighbor and con- 
temporary of Josiah Manning (1728-1806), and in fact this Manning signed a 
John Walden land record dated 1760. If this second John Walden made the 
Palmer stone in or just after 1754, he antedates Josiah Manning because the 
latter did not cut stones much before 1761. However, when this second John 
Walden lost a son Asa in 1760, the son's gravestone was made by Gershom 
Bartlett - which makes it unlikely Walden was a professional stonecutter at 
that time. The best hypothesis is that the Palmer stone was made much later 
than 1754, say 1765 or 1770, and that Walden worked with Josiah Manning, 
from whom he learned his trade. 




•*.'•■- ^ •¥«. '{[.^ \ -"^ ''^- " 



In Lleinory of M^:'' 

Fig. 4 Esther Palmer 1754. Scotland. Photograph by Farbers. 



: i 



Three Manning Imitators 



233 



This second John Walden married Sarah Parrish or Sarah Knight (the vi- 
tal records are most confusing), probably the latter since the land records 
favor her. They spent their lives in Scotland, where ten of their children were 
born. Having proudly signed his name on the Palmer stone about 1765, why 
did Walden not sign any more stones until about 1790? A fair number of 
stones are found in Windham County dated in the 1770s and 1780s such as 
the Sarah Kimball stone (1786) which are somewhat similar to the Palmer 
stone and which can be at least tentatively attributed to this second John; but 
none is signed, so far as is known. When again we find his signature, it is on a 
changed stone (Fig. 5). The hair arrangement on the angels conforms closely 
to the Manning design, as do the bloated eyes, half-circle eyebrows, upswept 
wings, and semicircular border designs. A close examination, however, 
reveals their faces are perfect circles, in contrast to the Mannings' oval faces, 
and sometimes the bonnet strings appear to have been too tightly drawn. On 
some stones, especially those dated in the late 1790s, Walden angels appear 
on a background of weeping willows. 



■^^ 




g i"-m^^^^^^^'^^^sm:s^^>^ ^li 



Fig. 5 Mary Pearl 1790. Hammond Hill Burying Ground, Hampton. 
Photograph by Farbers from rubbing by Kelly and Williams. 



234 Connecticut Gravestones 

Although there is one signed stone in Norwich with a border of three- 
leaved clovers cut in the style that was later made popular by Amasa Loomis, 
few of the later Walden stones show border ornamentation. But some are 
distinguishable by their profiles, many of which are shaped like antique mir- 
rors and frequently embellished with heavy scrolls. Nothing distinctive is 
found in their lettering, except perhaps in the numerous errors which the 
engraver could easily have avoided. He made mistakes even when carving 
"Walden" or "Windham," indications of an intense concentration on the im- 
mediate job at hand. Most of the stones were made of gray schist, though 
there are at least one brownstone in Lisbon and two marble stones in 
Westminister. 

Except that he was chosen Deacon of the Brunswick Separate Church in 
1777, little is known of the private life of the second John. He died Septem- 
ber 10, 1807, and his wife died seventeen hours later, both probably from 
dysentery which prevailed late that summer in Windham. His will suggests 
that by that time he had abandoned stonecutting and had become primarily 
occupied by farming because no quarries or stonecutting tools were men- 
tioned in his estate. Seven of his ten children survived him. His sons John 
and Silas were instructed to "provide decent gravestones" for their parents. 

A third John Walden (1753-1824) also appears to have been a stone 
engraver. One indication of this is found in signed receipts. Whereas a 
receipt for gravestones in the estate of Daniel Bushnell of Lisbon (1798) is 
signed "John Walden," similar receipts in the estates of Josiah Cleveland of 
Canterbury (1793) and Joseph Bushnell of Lisbon (1796) are signed "John 
Walden Jr." The signatures, as well as the signatures on the respective John 
Walden wills, look so much alike that the handwriting is not a helpful means 
of distinguishing them. However, the inclusion of "Jr." in some of the above 
receipts is fairly good evidence that the second and third John Waldens both 
made gravestones. Which made the signed Walden stones that are dated be- 
tween 1790 and 1804? The third John, commonly known as "Captain John," 
bought a small quarry "near a place called the notch of the mountain" in Bol- 
ton in 1792. This was bought from the Jonathan Loomis estate and sold to 
Amasa Loomis, another stonecutter, in 1822. There is, therefore, good 
evidence that the third John Walden was an active stonecutter in his own 



Three Manning Imitators 235 

right and not just an assistant to his father. Asa Walden, son of John the 
third, died in 1794; he was buried in Scotland, and his grave is marked by a 
marble stone with a typical Walden round-face design; so, as a preliminary 
hypothesis, the "round-face" designs were probably made by John III. But 
additional data and documentary records are needed before one can deter- 
mine whether most of the signed Walden stones were made by the second or 
the third John. 

Thatcher Lathrop (1734-1806) 
Loring Lathrop (1770-1847) 
Luther Lathrop (1766-1851) 

A family which imitated the Manning design at a somewhat greater 
remove was the Lathrops of East Windsor and Wapping. This family is 
responsible for a group of stones found predominantly among towns north 
and northeast of Hartford; these stones have some characteristics of those 
made by Ebenezer Drake,^ but they also have distinct Manning characteris- 
tics. They have, for example, Drake's geometric border design; and the word 
who is in italics as it is on many of Drake's stones. Their headdresses, 
bloated eyes and downturned mouths are all Manning, however. A distin- 
guishing feature of this mouth is its peculiar appearance as a mustache, so for 
descriptive purposes these stones may be conveniently called the Wapping 
"mustache" stones. Previously unidentified, enough information is now avail- 
able to indicate that this group was made by the Lathrop family of Wapping. 

An important clue in this identification is found in the probate papers for 
Elisabeth Bliss (died East Windsor, 1781) which contain this entry: 



To going to Wapin for grave stones 0-0-4 
To Thatcher Lothrop for grave stones 1-11-6 



The Bliss marker, which still stands in East Windsor, is similar to the stone 
Lathrop made for Matthew Rockwell (Fig. 6), who died in East Windsor in 
1782. Both have typical Drake borders, but the crown or headdress reflects 
the influence of the Manning school, as does the downturned mouth. 
Thatcher Lathrop (1734-1806) in fact was a contemporary of Ebenezer 
Drake (1739-1806) and worked out of the same red sandstone quarry, but 



236 Connecticut Gravestones 

Drake was always much more popular. Both of the names appear in the 
Abiel Grant estate (East Windsor, 1762), where Drake is mentioned as 
having been paid for gravestones. In other probate papers for that time and 
area Drake's name appears at least ten times more often than Lathrop's. 

Like other Manning imitators, Thatcher Lathrop seems to have been eclec- 
tic in his early work. The little headstone for Thatcher's daughter Lydia, who 
died in Wapping in 1772, has a facial design and a border that faintly reflects 
the work of the Ritter-Buckland school. It suggests that Lathrop began his 
career by working for Ritter or one of the Bucklands before working with 
Drake. The stone for Lathrop's wife Submit, who died in 1794 (Fig. 7), has 
yet another facial design; indeed the design is unique in Connecticut. The 
body and arms are not at all in proportion to the head and are obviously the 
work of a man who was not familiar with correct anatomy. The remainder of 
the stone, however, including the inscription, shows very good workmanship 
and is in some ways similar to much of Ebenezer Drake's later work and that 
of his son Silas ~ particularly the word who which is italicized, suggesting that 
Lathrop had been working for Drake many years before this stone was made. 
However, the bulk of Lathrop's work closely conforms to the mustache 
design found on the Elisabeth Bliss marker, which places him within the Man- 
ning school. 

Lathrop's son Loring (1770-1842) appears to have followed his father's 
trade. Loring was paid "4 Dolars" for the stone of Mark Tully Cicero Phelps, 
who died in Windsor in 1797. These four dollars, however, may have been 
merely the cost of transportation, for Mark Tully Cicero Phelps has such a 
high stone that it may have cost that much just to carry it to the graveyard. It 
shows the conventional willow-and-urn design which by that time had be- 
come popular throughout the state, and has no other outstanding characteris- 
tics. 

Lathrop's other son, Luther, can be more definitively identified as a car- 
ver. Luther was born 1766 and married Lucy Hartwell of Wilmington, Ver- 
mont, where he died in 1851. In Wilmington and nearby Halifax are a large 
number of slate stones with mustache faces made in the Drake-Lathrop man- 
ner. Some of them have Drake's geometric borders and all of them have the 
word who in italics. Both the face and the peculiar Manning crown are the 



Three Manning Imitators 



237 



same as those found in the Windsor- Wapping region. It seems safe, there- 
fore, to attribute these stones to some member of the Lathrop family, most 
probably Luther. In Colrain, Massachusetts, a town founded by Scotch-Irish 
Presbyterians some eighteen miles south of Wilmington, thirty-two such 
stones stand in the Chandler Hill cemetery (Fig. 8). Most of these are dated 
in the 1790s, the last dated 1801. If Luther is responsible for this group (as 
he most likely is), he was probably in his early twenties when he removed to 
Vermont and not much older than twenty-five. 




Fig. 6 Deac" Matthew Rockwell 1782. 
Edwards Burying Ground, South Windsor. Photograph by Peter Benes. 



238 



Connecticut Gravestones 







lif- • '!nrop._ 

l-l- -J hacherjLotnrap.- 






'SW 






;^.!rirS^lKir#f»^S?^^>^..^ 



Fig. 7 Submit Lothrop 1794. Wapping Burying Ground, South Windsor. 
Photograph by Peter Benes. 



Three Manning Imitators 



239 




I Armory 



Fig. 8 Deacon Thomas McGee. Colrain, Mass. Photograph by Peter Benes. 




Fig. 9 Josiah Hammond 1793. Woodstock Hill Burying Ground, Woodstock. 

Photograph by Farbers. 



240 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Signed Stones by John Walden 

ELIHU ADAMS, South Canterbury 1804 "J + W" 
SUSANNA BINGHAM, Versailles 1795 "Cut by John Walden" 
CAPT. JOSEPH BOARDMAN, Rixtown (Griswold) 1796 "Cut by John Walden, 
Windham" 

ANN DORRANCE, Oneco Cemetery, Sterling 1792 

JOSIAH HAMMOND, Woodstock 1793 "Cut by J Walden, Windham" (Fig. 9) 
ANNAH HYDE, South Canterbury 1801 "Cut by J Walden" 
NICHOLAS JUSTIN, South Canterbury 1804 "Cut by J Walden" 
URANIA LYONS, North Woodstock 1797 "Cut by John Walden Windham" 
DISIRE WIFE OF JONATHAN MAPLES, Oak St., Norwich 1798 "Cut by J Wal- 
den, Windham" 

ESTHER PALMER, Scotland 1754 "Engraven by John Walden" (Fig. 4) 
MARY PEARL, Hampton (North) 1790 "Cut by J Walden" (Fig. 5) 
BETHL^H PECK, Burchard Plains, Franklin 1802 "Cut by John Walden Windham" 
LYDL\ SAFFORD, Westminster 1793 [marble] 
LYDL\ SAFFORD, Westminster 1804 [marble] 

TRUMBULL CHILDREN, Norwichtown 1794 "Cut by John Walden Windham" 
(Fig. 10) 




'(("■.) 




>J^Jif'>)J 



■,f%^,0(^ 



U' 





Sac. red (othc JVJciDwi.y.oT' <v, o 
Sons, of IVIr, lo])i-) 'liiinihi!])/ 



v\/I)() (l(:))ai l(.(l iliis l]i( .afli 1 a 



\\...J. ... 



Fig. 10 Trumbull children 1794. Norwichtown Burying Ground, Norwich. 
Photograph by Farbers. 



Three Manning Imitators 241 

NOTES 

1. Connecticut Gravestones VIII. (Caulfield footnote) 

2. Connecticut Gravestones XII. (Caulfield footnote) 

3. Besides the several Manning imitators discussed in this article, the following carvers at one 
time borrowed elements of Manning family gravestone designs, and can be considered part 
of the larger Manning school: Richard, Lebbeus, and Chester Kimball; Peter Buckland; 
Amasa Loomis; and Ebenezer, Nathaniel, and Silas Drake. {Connecticut Gravestones III, 
XIII, and XIV.) (Caulfield footnote) 

4. There is now probate evidence that Aaron Haskins of Bolton carved most of the stones 
here attributed to Joseph Tucker. Slater, T/ie Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connec- 
ticut (Hamden, Conn., 1987), 24. 

5. The John and Mary Skinner stones are difficult to reconcile as being made by the same car- 
ver. As Dr. Caulfield notes, the lettering on the John Skinner stone (especially the back- 
ward N's) suggests that the carver was Peter Buckland. However, the face and "snake-like" 
horizontal undulating design that is continued through the border panels, as well as the 
small loops immediately below the face, are similar to designs used on early Manning 
stones. The Mary Skinner stone is a typical example of the early style of Josiah Manning in 
every particular. It is impossible to believe that it was not carved by Manning. Since Mary 
Skinner died two years before her husband, John, the most reasonable conclusion seems to 
me to be that Josiah Manning carved the Mary Skinner stone for Joseph Tucker, who hired 
Peter Buckland two years later to carve the John Skinner stone with instructions to make it 
as similar to the Mary Skinner stone as possible. As Dr. Caulfield notes, the stone for 
another Mary Skinner (Fig. 2), wife of John Skinner Jr., is almost certainly the work of 
Peter Buckland and is dated 1772, further evidence that Tucker was using Peter Buckland 
at that time. (However, just to keep things from being too evident, this latter Mary Skinner 
stone does not have the backward N used so often (but not always) by Peter Buckland). 

6. The Isaac Sheldon 1786 stone is beyond doubt a Manning stone. It was probably carved by 
Rockwell Manning, as it closely resembles signed and probated stones of Rockwell. This is 
further evidence that Joseph Tucker was buying stones from several sources rather than 
carving them. Despite the fact that this Sheldon stone is a true Manning stone, it must be 
emphasized that the majority of stones west of Mansfield that closely resemble Manning 
stones (including Joseph Tucker's own stone) were not carved by the Mannings but by at 
least one other hand. As noted above, there is probate evidence that Aaron Haskins 
carved stones of this type. He may have carved all of them, but there are tantalizing dif- 
ferences in the designs that suggest the possibility that other hands were at work. Detailed 
imalysis of these "Manning-copies" is greatly to be desired. 

7. A list of fifteen signed stones appears at the end of this article. There is another dated 
1811 for Reuben Peck in the Hanover Burying Ground in Sprague. 

8. Connecticut Gravestones III. 




242 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 1 Joseph Lx)oinis 1766. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 










Fig. 2 Nathaniel Ladd 1779. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 



The Loomis Carvers 243 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XVI 
The Loomis Carvers* 



In Coventry, Connecticut, and surrounding towns there are 128 
eighteenth-century granite-schist gravestones that are in a class by them- 
selves. They are for the most part large, heavy stones whose cherub faces of- 
ten have a rather clown-like, sleepy quality with their heavy eyebrows, half- 
closed eyes, and (frequently) small smiling mouths (Figs. 1 and 2). 

In a real sense these may be thought of as "hybrid" stones. They combine 
the designs of several earlier carvers to produce a stone with a visual effect 
unlike any other. 

Who Carved the Stones? 

Evidence for the identity of the carvers of these "hybrid" gravestones is 
Hmited but, we believe, conclusive. No signed stones have yet been dis- 
covered (a number of them have sunk into the ground so that even the age at 
death cannot be seen). There is a single probate record where an individual 
is definitely named as being paid for gravestones. Joseph Miner of Coventry 
died in 1774 and is buried in the small Silver Street, Coventry, Cemetery. 
His estate paid "Jona Loomis for gravestones 3-4-4."^ In addition, Thomas 
Kingsbury, who died in 1754, had a headstone carved by one "Jonathan 
Loomis," who was paid "0-1-6" for his work. The Samuel Parker (1779) estate 
also paid £1-10-0 to Jonathan Loomis, but gravestones are not specifically 
indicated. The James Parker estate paid an unidentified carver "2-5-0" for 
"gravestones for ye deceas" in 1781, while the Jabez Carey estate paid an 
unidentified carver £3 for a set of headstones in 1761. 

All of the above individuals lie below gravestones obviously cut by the 
same hand as that which carved the Joseph Miner stone. This is indicative, 
but not absolutely conclusive, evidence that Jonathan Loomis (1722-1785) 
was a gravestone carver. The indirect evidence involving quarry ownership 
fortunately is more compelling. 

* This article was published after Dr. Caulfield's death under the names of both Slater and 
Caulfield. It was written by Slater, using unpublished notes of, and documentation of carvers 
by, Caulfield. All of the photographs are by the Farbers. 



244 Connecticut Gravestones 

In 1750 Jonathan Loomis bought an acre of quarry land in Bolton "at a 
place commonly called the notch of the mountain ... on the west side of the 
highway from the notch to the meeting house." This land was purchased 
from Edmund Bartlett, the brother of Gershom Bartlett, the famous "hook- 
and-eye man," who subsequently bought land on the same road.^ 

As the earliest stone of the "Loomis-type" is dated 1749, it is reasonable to 
assume that Jonathan Loomis entered the gravestone business at the time he 
purchased the Bolton quarry. He retained this quarry until his death in 1785, 
when he willed it to his son John Loomis (1745-1791). 

Relatively little is known of Jonathan Loomis. He was born in Lebanon, 
Connecticut, September 9, 1722, the son of John and Martha Loomis, and 
was admitted to the church there on July 26, 1741. In 1744 he purchased 
land in Coventry from William Sheldon, where three children were born to 
him and his wife Margaret (John, b. July 12, 1745; Lydia, b. May 8, 1749; 
Rhoda, b. October 3, 1752).^ He was engaged in numerous land transactions 
in the area, but no other information is available relative to his gravestone 
activities. 

Jonathan's only son, John, was also certainly a carver. In this instance 
there are no signed stones nor are there probate records of payment for his 
services. However, gravestones of the "Loomis-type" continued to be carved 
after Jonathan's death in 1785 and until John's own death in 1791, when the 
style abruptly disappeared from Coventry area burying grounds. 

As noted above, John inherited the Bolton quarry from his father in 1785. 
When John died six years later, his estate contained six pairs of gravestones, 
a stone pit, two compasses, six chisels, a large and small stone hammer, a 
broad chisel, and three augers. At least some of these tools he left to his son, 
Amasa Loomis, who also became an established carver (signed stones).'' In- 
terestingly, John Loomis's widow Irene sold to "John Walden, Jur, of 
Windham," a well-known gravestone carver, all the stone and "all the 
privilege of diging and carying of the above said stone on a certain lot of land 
that M. Jonathan Loomis late of Coventry deceasd purchased of Edmund 
Bartlett of Bolton in the county of Tolland containing one acre of land near a 
place called the notch of the mountain lying on the west side of the road that 
leads to Bolton meeting house "^ 



The Loomis Carvers 245 

Further evidence that John Loomis was a stonecarver will be presented 
below on stylistic grounds. He served in the Revolutionary War and was 
called "lieut." Both Jonathan and John are buried in the Coventry South 
Street (Holy Grove) Cemetery, Amasa was about eighteen years old when 
John died, and although there are signed and probated stones carved by 
Amasa Loomis dated in the early 1790s, the stones for both Jonathan and 
John appear to be the work of Thatcher Lathrop of South Windsor, Connec- 
ticut! 

Influence of Other Carvers on Jonathan Loomis 

Loomis headstones are striking examples of motif borrowing from earlier 
and contemporary carvers. They are often translated into a simpler or more 
stylized form, in part at least due to the lesser skill possessed by Jonathan 
and his son. 

To most gravestone students first acquaintance with the Loomis stones 
gives the impression of relatively crude attempts to copy the work of Obadiah 
Wheeler of Lebanon, Connecticut.^ This is because one's attention is drawn 
(as it is intended to be) to the face of the cherub. Here the influence of ear- 
lier carvers is particularly striking. The face is often bordered by a frame 
(Figs. 1 and 2), a design feature introduced into eastern Connecticut by John 
Hartshorne and continued by Wheeler, Benjamin and Julius Collins, and on 
the early stones of Josiah Manning.^ The facial elements are distinctly those 
of Wheeler's later stones, especially the elongated slender aristocratic nose, 
the "closed eyes," and the small, simple, slightly smiling or "neutral" mouth 
(Fig. 2). The horizontal area below the face frequently possesses a central 
heart with flanking "stemmed" rosettes (Fig. 1), designs first used by Obadiah 
Wheeler and also frequently used by Benjamin and Julius Collins. 

The use of Wheeler designs might be expected since Jonathan Loomis 
lived for a time in Lebanon, where the majority of Wheeler stones were 
being produced. Yet the faces and horizontal areas of the earliest Loomis 
stones are not of the Wheeler type. On some (Figs. 3 and 4), the face is not 
even framed. This suggests that the Wheeler influence may not be a direct 
one. This view is strengthened when one realizes that in the two major 
Coventry cemeteries there is a series of stones probably carved by Benjamin 



246 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Collins's less well-known carving son, Julius.^ These stones closely resemble 
Loomis's stones in the appearance of the cherub face, top outline and 
horizontal heart, and rosette development. After viewing these stones there 
seems little doubt that Jonathan Loomis "copied" these Julius Collins stones 
rather than taking the elegantly crafted Wheeler stones as his immediate 
model. 

The earliest influence on Jonathan Loomis was unquestionably the "hook- 
and-eye man," Gershom Bartlett. Almost all of the early Loomis headstones 
have the "double anchor" (Figs. 4, 5 and 6) border panels, which are a 
trademark of Bartlett, and the "wings" of most Loomis stones throughout his 
career have the peculiar series of elongate "curls" (Figs. 1-4, 7 and 11) beside 
the face used almost exclusively by Gershom Bartlett. Loomis even followed 
Bartlett as the latter modified these curls. On early Bartlett stones each curl 
has a deep groove running through its length. Later Bartlett examples aban- 
doned the groove and used a series of incised dots on the surface of the curl. 











Fig. 3 Hannah Hunt 1758. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 



The Loomis Carvers 



247 







- ..; J: J.t<j:i-^ Lies . 'hi k-.r * ^ !' '. 



d 



Fig. 4 Samuel Bingham 1760. Scotland. 

Loomis stones (Figs. 1 and 2) follow exactly the same pattern. The curls 
of his early works have vertical grooves; those of his later stones have a series 
of incised dots. The "crown" that Bartlett placed above his cherubs is also 
found on early Loomis stones (Figs. 1, 3 and 4). Finally, on several of the 
early Loomis headstones the nose is swollen and the eyes beadlike (Fig. 3), a 
most obvious attempt to follow the Bartlett style. 

One of the remarkable aspects of the work of the Loomises is their resis- 
tance to the Manning influence. Manning stones became so popular and 
dominant in the last half of the eighteenth century that their style was 
adopted to some extent by most carvers in eastern Connecticut. The Man- 
ning influence, however, is completely, or almost completely, absent from 
Loomis stones. The only possible influence is the occurrence of the undulate 
type of border panels and horizontal areas (Figs. 5 [17]* and 14[17]), a style 
that Jonathan Loomis first used in the 1770s. However, this is not an early 



* The figures in brackets refer to the code in the charts and graphs in this article showing 
design motifs. These charts and graphs and the map (Fig. 19) were prepared by Mary Jane 
Spring of the University of Connecticut. 



248 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Manning feature and could well have been a characteristic adopted by the 
Mannings from Loomis. This is particularly noteworthy, as John's son Amasa 
adopted the Manning style almost without modification. 

Evolution of Style 

Cherubim faces: On a few early stones, such as those for Harmah Hunt 
(1758) (Fig. 3), Esther Hunt (1757), and Jude Steadman (1757), the nose of 
the cherub is grotesquely broadened, and the eyes are represented as small 
rounded "beads," These features are obvious attempts to imitate Gershom 
Bartlett's stones. The style was quickly discarded in favor of the heavy- 
browed, aquiline nose and half-closed eye design which appeared as early as 
1754 on the Thomas Kingsbury stone and then scarcely changed at all 
throughout the careers of both Jonathan and John. 




l5o 




18a 18b 



n 




) c 

) c 

) c 

) c 

) c 

) c 



Fig. 5 Loomis designs used in the vertical border panels. 
For chronology and abundance see Figure 6. 



The Loomis Carvers 249 

"Wings": On either side of the face, where wings were carved on most 
eighteenth-century stones, the Loomis carvers used the Bartlett type series of 
elongate curls (or "wings") (Fig. 7 [10-1 lb]) on the great majority of their 
gravestones. It is also the area where the style modification on Loomis 
headstones is sharpest and where one may see most clearly the evidence of 
backdating. The earliest death date on a Loomis gravestone is 1749 (most 
colonial stones were presumably cut not later than two or three years after 
the death of the individual). Until 1771 almost all headstones using the curl 
motif are of the "grooved curl" type. The three stones dated before 1770 that 
use the dotted curl design appear to be back-dated. The Mary Page (1750) 
Coventry gravestone has a double-anchor border panel and a form of the let- 
ter Y, suggesting that it probably was carved in the mid- 1770s. The Esther 
Barrows (1761) Mansfield Center stone has the late "saw-toothed" border 
panel motif which does not occur on any other stone dated before the 1770s. 
It is the companion stone to that of her husband, Thomas, who died in 1776, 
and stylistically both stones appear to have been carved at that time. The 
Hannah Lathrop (1767) Tolland stone appears to be the earliest to use the 
"dotted curl" style. While it could have been carved at that time, it probably 
was not carved earlier than 1770 or 1771, when this motif became dominant 
and the use of grooved curls disappeared. 

Before 1770 only four additional stones are known that do not use the 
grooved curl design. Of these, the Stephen Stiles (1758) Coventry stone (Fig. 
13) is back-dated at least from the mid-1770s if not later; all design elements, 
including the letters Y and G, are from the later period. The other three 
pre-1770 stones use upswept wings (Fig. 7 [9]), a design of limited use by 
Loomis. These stones represent attempts to produce wings that sweep up- 
ward in the style of later Wheeler and particularly many Benjamin and Julius 
Collins stones. The Olive Hovey (1765) stone at Storrs is particularly well 
executed. Why Loomis abandoned this design is unknown; perhaps it 
presented too challenging a technique. 

In 1775 and 1776 a few stones were placed in the Colchester area that 
have the wings represented by a series of down-curved stripes. These stones 
are reminiscent of those carved by the Mannings for children. 

From the mid-1770s into the 1780s an occasional stone was produced with 



250 



Connecticut Gravestones 



a balloon-like wing (Fig. 7 [12, 12a]), and a banded wing (Fig. 7 [13]) design. 
None of these styles ever really superseded the dominant "curl" style, and the 
essential evolutionary importance of the "wing" area lies in the supplanting of 
the "grooved curl" (Figs. 7 [10] and 8 [10]) by the "spotted curl" (Figs. 7 [11- 
lla] and 8 [11]). 



1790 


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1750 


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15 



16 



17 



14 18 



23 44 45 



Fig. 6 Chronology and abundance of designs used in the border panels. 
See Fig. 5 for illustrations corresponding to numbers at bottom of chart. 



The Loomis Carvers 251 

Border Panels: (Figs. 5 and 6). While it may seem that the Loomises used a 
bewildering array of border panel motifs, their stones are quite limited in 
style. There are only three early designs. The most common is the "double 
anchor" (Fig. 5 [15a]) which, as mentioned previously, is a direct copy from 
the stones of Gershom Bartlett. Variations of this motif are used where a 
connecting stripe is added (Fig. 5 [15]) and the top of the design terminates 
in an arrow (Fig. 5 [15b, 18b]). This design is dominant from the late 1750s 
through the 1760s and persists until 1779, when it is no longer used (Fig. 6 
[15]). The disappearance of this design element may well indicate the end of 
any appreciable amount of carving by Jonathan Loomis. 

In the 1750s seven stones have a simple frame border (Fig. 5 [19]), but this 
is used subsequently only once. Jonathan Loomis also carved a series of 
fancy border panels consisting of clusters of grapes (Fig, 5 [18]). This design 
was used on the Lot Luce (1749) Scotland stone which bears the earliest date 
of any Loomis stone. These must have been special efforts, as he almost 
never carved more than one a year (Fig. 6 [18]). The design is not used after 
1778. 

As with the "wings" (curls), a marked stylistic change occurs in the border 
panels in the early 1770s (Fig. 6). While the "double anchor" design con- 
tinues to be used (Fig. 6 [15]), it is gradually replaced by the "saw-toothed" 
(Fig. 5 [16]) and "undulate" designs (Fig. 5 [17]). After 1779 these are the 
only border panel designs used (Fig. 6 [16, 17]). Rarely, there is a peculiar 
geometric motif used, as on the Sarah Taylor (1774) (Fig. 5 [23]) and Lydia 
Isham (1775) stones. The Jonah Isham (1775) gravestone used hour glasses. 
In the late 1770s stones occur with a series of circles in the border panels 
(Figs. 5 [14] and 6 [14]). 

Horizontal Row Designs: (Figs. 14 and 15). As with the preceding design 
elements, there is a marked stylistic change in the 1770s. This alteration is 
less striking since two major motifs are retained throughout the 1770s. In the 
early 1760s Loomis produced a series of stones on which the "double anchor" 
design of the border panels is carried across the width of the stone below the 
face and wings and above the legend (Figs. 14[ 15, 15c-d] and 4). However, 
the two most prevalent designs are either a simple line that forms a frame 



252 



Connecticut Gravestones 



(Fig. 2) or a central heart with "stemmed" circles containing four- or six-rayed 
rosettes (Figs. 14 [27-27z] and 1). This latter design is taken directly from the 
stones of Obadiah Wheeler and Julius Collins. The disappearance of this 
design before 1780 (Fig. 15 [27]), like that of the "double anchors" in the bor- 
der panels, again suggests the end of Jonathan Loomis's carving. 

Beginning in the 1770s (Fig. 15 [16 and 17]), a number of stones carry the 
saw-toothed and the undulate border panel motifs across the stone, but these 
never become the exclusive patterns. By 1780 a completely different motif 
appears in which the central heart is usually retained, although the old six- 
rayed rosettes have lost their circular frames, and stems have been trans- 
formed into "snowflake" patterns (Fig. 14 [29 and 30-3 lb]). Evidence sug- 
gests these stones were all carved by John Loomis and occur in a number of 
variations, the snowflakes sometimes even creeping into the area of the 
"wings" and crown. A few other designs occur (Fig. 14 [14, 28 and 28a]) but 
are found on only a very few stones (Fig. 15). 






Fig. 7 Loomis designs used in the lunette on either side of face. 
For chronology and abundance see Fig. 8. 



The Loomis Carvers 



253 




12 9 13 43 



Fig. 8 Chronology and abundance of designs used in the lunette 

on either side of the face. See Fig. 7 for illustrations 

corresponding to numbers at bottom of chart. 



"Crown Area": (Figs. 16 and 17). Although the Loomises used many design 
variations above the face of the cherub, the majority of these can be grouped 
into three categories. The first is an early spiked crown style where the 
"crown" consists of a number of pointed triangles (Figs. 16 [2, 2a, 3, 4 and 6], 
1 and 3). These designs are used exclusively on stones carved in the 1750s 
and on almost all those carved in the 1760s. The motif becomes scarce in the 
1770s and does not occur after 1779 (Fig. 17). 

By the 1770s, the spiked crown is a series of half circles (Fig. 16, [1, 5, 5a, 
7-8a]), three (Figs. 16 [1], 2 and 13) being most common. This motif, 
however, appears as early as 1762 on the Damaris Ashbo stone - which prob- 
ably is not back-dated! The half-circle design is used almost to the end of 
Loomis's career (Fig. 17). From 1780 on, however, it is largely supplanted by 
a quite different design in which the "crown" is composed of a series of out- 
curved lines resembling hooked hairs (Figs. 16 [40-40e] and 18) of varying 
number and shape. This later design probably represents only the work of 
John Loomis. 



254 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Shape of the Stone: Unlike the versatile Mannings, who used nearly 100 dif- 
ferent outlines on the tops of their stones, the Loomises were very conserva- 
tive. Most early stones have a rounded lunette with "square" shoulders (Figs. 
4 and 9 [32a]), but this outline disappears completely after 1762 (Fig. 10). By 
the early 1770s the design settled into a rounded lunette with shoulders that 
curved gently upward from the corners (Figs. 2, 9 [32], 10 and 13). This is the 
only design used after 1771 (Fig. 10 [32]). During the 1760s a number of 
elaborations occur (Figs. 9 [33-37, 39] and 1). Surprisingly, the central 
rounded lunette with round shoulders (Fig. 9 [38]), so common on other 
gravestones of the period, was rarely used (four stones only, three in one year 
in the late 1760s) (Fig. 10 [38]). 











Fig. 9 Shapes of stones used by the Loomis carvers. 
For chronology and abundance see Fig. 10. 



The Loomis Carvers 

1790" 



255 



1760 



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32a 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 

Fig. 10 Chronology and abundance of shape of Loomis stones. 
See Fig. 9 for illustrations corresponding to numbers at bottom of chart. 

Area Below Face: This is the most conservative design area. Almost all 
stones have a series of curving stripes present from the ventral area of the 
face to the horizontal element (Figs. 1, 2, 4, 11, 13 and 18). Rarely, a short 
neck, a heart, or a pair of dots occur. 



Footstones: Unfortunately all of the footstones have been removed from the 
South Street (Holy Grove), Coventry, Cemetery. It was here that the 
greatest number and variety of Loomis headstones appeared. The extant 
footstones usually have a simple rounded lunette that meets the upper lateral 
corner of the stone in a gentle arc, or have a rounded lunette with right- 
angled corners. They are usually simple, and the design often consists of two 
or three small circles reminiscent of the triangles on Gershom Bartlett's 
footstones. On the Jonathan Weston (1790) stone a four-leafed clover (or 
"propeller") is used, and the Abigail Walbridge (1783) stone has a rather 
simplified snowflake design and saw-toothed border panels. The extant 
footstones are recognizable as Loomis productions, but in the absence of 
Coventry material no real stylistic evolution can be clearly seen. 



256 Connecticut Gravestones 

Distribution of Stones: By their limited distribution the Loomis stones il- 
lustrate the local craftsman tradition that was present in inland eastern Con- 
necticut throughout the eighteenth century. The widespread distribution of 
the stones of such popular carvers as the Manning family, Bartlett, and 
several Connecticut Valley carvers such as the Johnsons, Drake, and the 
Lathrops tends to obscure the importance of more local carvers. This is true 
of the towns of Killingly, Plainfield, Sterling, Putnam, Thompson, Scotland, 
Hampton, and Ashford. It is one of the most interesting aspects of 
eighteenth-century burying grounds, yet has been little studied. Even the 
names of many of these carvers remain unknown. 

The Loomis carvers dominated the Coventry cemeteries during the last 
half of the eighteenth century.* Sixty-two percent of their stones are found in 
Coventry, and 75% occur in Coventry and towns immediately adjacent. 
Stones further away are usually isolated groups of from one to four, carved 
for one or two related families. In the Coventry South Street Cemetery 
(Holy Grove), where both Jonathan and John are buried, their work con- 
stitutes 34% of the stones produced after 1750 (with Jonathan's grandson 
Amasa Loomis's stones included, the Loomis headstones constitute 75% of 
the total). This does not necessarily suggest other carvers were not available, 
as the Manning family and their various "imitators" were actively carving all 
around Coventry during the same period. 

John or Jonathan Loomis? 

Without signed stones or probate evidence, recognition of a given grave- 
stone as being carved by John rather than by his father, Jonathan, must, of 
course, be by indirect evidence. It is possible, perhaps even likely, that they 
worked together on some stones. That John did carve some of them seems 
beyond reasonable doubt. As noted above, his estate included many stone- 
cutting tools and a number of gravestones, and he continued to own the 
quarry inherited from his father. 



* A chronological list of Loomis stones and a list showing their distribution will be found at 
the end of this article. See also Fig. 19. 



The Loomis Carvers 



257 



Of more importance, a number of Loomis-type stones were carved for five 
years after Jonathan's death in 1785. None, however, was carved after John's 
death in 1791 (Figs. 6, 8, 15 and 17). If one examines these 1785-1790 stones 
(post- Jonathan), several features are evident. The border panels and horizon- 
tals are essentially the same and are of either the undulate (Fig. 11) or saw- 
toothed design. There is frequent use of hooked hair in the "crown" area 
(Fig. 18), and on the 1790 stone the snowflake design occurs above the face 
and in the circle of the lower curl. On the one for Submit Murdock (1785) 
both the saw-toothed border and snowflake horizontal motifs are used. The 
word "the" begins to replace the archaic "ye," as in the statement, "In ye 27th 
year of her age." We can thus identify the saw-tooth (Fig. 5 [16]), undulate 
(Fig. 5 [17]), snowflake (Fig. 14 [29, 30, 31]), and hooked hair (Fig. 16 [40- 
40d]) motifs as designs used by John. 




Fig. 11 Asa Hendee 1788. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 



258 



Connecticut Gravestones 



In examining the above design elements chronologically it becomes ap- 
parent that all are late Loomis designs (Figs. 6, 15 and 17). The saw-tooth 
and undulate designs first appear in 1770 (Fig. 6), when John Loomis was 
twenty-five years old. The snowflake and hooked hair designs are very late, 
both appearing first on the Ichabod Freeman and Humphrey Taylor stones of 
1782 (Figs. 15 and 17). We believe it safe to attribute any stones using these 
latter two motifs to John. If this is true, can the saw-toothed and undulate 
border motifs also be attributed solely to John? Both of these designs first 
appear in the early 1770s although neither predominate until late in the 
decade (Fig. 6). 






20a 



20b 





or 



o o 



22 



just above a 
horizontal design 



21 





24 



Fig. 12 Lx)oinis designs used in area immediately below face. 



The Loomis Carvers 259 




r/ 



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Fig. 13 Stephen Stiles 1758. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 

In the early 1770s the shape of the letter y changed from a pair of intersect- 
ing straight lines (Fig. 3) to a curving "tail" below the legend line (Fig. 2), sug- 
gesting that another hand was at work. Thus there is a striking consistency in 
the changes adopted for the crown area, border panels, horizontals, lettering, 
and appearance of snowflake designs in the late 1770s and early 1780s. Be- 
cause these designs continue to make their appearance after Jonathan's 
death in 1785, it is very likely they are the work of his son. 

What, then, is the position of the Loomis stones in the context of 
eighteenth-century gravestone work in Eastern Connecticut? Technically, 
the Loomises were only moderately skilled craftsmen. While their stones are 
often attractive and pleasing, this is more the result of their "folk" aspects 
than the skill of their carving. Almost all Loomis designs were borrowed 
from earlier craftsmen, especially Gershom Bartlett, Obadiah Wheeler, and 
Benjamin and Julius Collins. In addition, there is no evidence that they were 
especially sensitive to the significance of the designs they used beyond what 
must have been common knowledge in the society. Furthermore, there is a 
definite evolution of style from the early stones of the 1750s to the last stones 



260 



Connecticut Gravestones 



in 1790. This evolution of stylistic elements enables us to make a case for 
recognition of backdated stones and to suggest a means of distinguishing the 
work of John Loomis from that of his father, Jonathan. 

The persistence of the Loomis-type stones in Coventry is a good example 
of the strength of local craft tradition in the face of a dominating adjacent in- 
fluence. Finally, the Loomises are important in carrying the Eastern Connec- 
ticut ornamental style, originated by John Hartshorne about 1722, through 
the eighteenth century to 1790. Rather than having it disappear in Connec- 
ticut upon the removal of Zerubbabel Collins to Vermont in the 1770s, the 
Loomises carried on a stylistic tradition to the end of the eighteenth century. 




^J KJ KJ — 
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28 



28 a 






29 






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NO DESIGN 



27 z 



26 



Fig. 14 Loomis designs used in the area immediately above the legend. 
For chronology and abundance see Fig. 15. 



The Loomis Carvers 



261 




Fig. 15 Chronology and abundance of designs used in the 

horizontal area above the legend. See Fig. 14 for illustrations 

corresponding to numbers at bottom of chart. 



t;^ 




^ 



O 



^^ 




Fig. 16 Loomis designs used in the area immediately above the face. 
For chronology and abundance see Fig. 17. 



262 



Connecticut Gravestones 



1790 


M 414 


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1780 




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Fig. 17 Chronology and abundance of designs used in 

area immediately above the face. See Fig. 16 for illustrations 

corresponding to numbers at bottom of chart. 



The Loomis Carvers 



263 




Fig. 18 Cap^ John Bissell 1783. Holy Grove Burying Ground, Coventry. 



264 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Chronological List of Loomis Stones 

(For explanation of numbers see charts on pp. 248-262.) 



Death 
Date 


Name and Location 


Shape 
Top 


Abo^ 
Face 


le Besid 
Face 


e 
Border 


Hori- 
zontal 


Below 
Face 


Age 


1749 


Luce, Lot SCT 


32a 


6 


10 


18 


26 


20 


6 


1750 


Page, Mary CS 


32 


6 


11 


15 


27x 


20 


24 


1752 


Graves, Benjamin COL 


35 


2? 


10 


18 


15 


20 


76 


1754 


Kingburry, Thomas CS 


34 


6 


10 


19 


27x 


20 


37 


1755 


Kingberry, Anne CS 


34 


2 


10 


19 


27x 


20 


46 


1755 


Lamb, Ebenezer CS 


32a 


2 


9 


18 


27 


20 




1756 


Hunt, Hannah CS 


32a 


4 


10 


15a 


26 


22 


19 


1757 


Steadman, Jude A. 


32a 


4 


10 


15 


26 


22 


23 


1757 


Steadman, Sarah 


















Leach A. 


32a 


4 


10 


19 


26 


20a 


20 


1757 


Hunt, Esther CS 


32a 


4 


10 


15 


26 


22 




1758 


Chauncey, Abiel MG 


34 


2 


10 


18b 


27 


20 




1758 


Hunt, Hannah CS 


32a 


4 


10 


15 


26 


22 


42 


1758 


Stiles, Stephen CS 


32 


1 


12 


14 


26 


20 


16 


1758 


Rust, Mary CS 


32a 


2 


10 


19 


26 


20 




1759 


Brown, Mary C 


32a 


4 


10 


15 


15 


20 


25 


1759 


Tracy, Eunis SCT 


32a 


2a 


10 


19 


15 


20 


8 


1759 


Throop, Josiah CS 


32a 


3 


10 


19 


26 


20 


9 


1758-59 Porter, EHzabeth & 


32a 


6 


9 


19 


27 


20 


60,63 




Thomas CS 
















1760 


Bingham, Samuel SCT 


32a 


6 


10 


15 


15e 


20 


74? 


1760 


Coolly, Noah CS 


33 


3 


10 


19 


27 


20 




1760 


Cary, Jabez M 


32a 


2 


10 


15 


15d 


20 


70 


1760 


Rudd, Nathaniel SCT 


38 


6 


10 


15 


15 


20 


76 


1761 


Hunt, Rachel CS 


32a 


4 


10 


15 


15 


20 




1761 


Rust, Elisabeth CS 


32a 


3 


10 


15 


26 


20 




1761 


Gilbert, Nathaniel 


















Capt. CS 


32a 


2a 


10 


15 


15d 


20 


71? 


1761 


Barrows, Esther M 


32 


1 


11 


16 


16 


20 


64 


1762 


Ashbo, Damaris CS 


32a 


1 


10 


15 


15c 


20 




1762 


Curtis, Bildad C 


35 




1 


15b 


27 


20 


29 


1764 


Kingberry, Mary CS 


35 


6? 


10 


18 


27 


20 




1764 


Hovey, Olive ST 


35 


5 


9 


15b 


27 


20 


24 


1765 


Kimball, Timothy Dr. CS 33 


3 


10 


15 


27x 


20 


45 


1765 


Talcott, Esther CS 


35 


6 


10 


19 


26 


20 




1765 


Robertson, Anne C 


35 


6 


10 


18 


27 


20 


50 


1766 


Loomis, Joseph CS 


36 


2 


10 


15b 


27 


20 


22 


1766 


Potwine, Mary CS 


35 


2 


10 


15b 


27x 


20 


68 


1766 


Daughter of Joseph & 


38 


(No 


cherub design; footstone-like) 






Eunice Talcott CS 
















1767 


Bingham, Anne CS 


38 


2 


10 


15b 


27 


20 




1767 


Lathrop, Hannah T 


32 


8a 


11 


15 


27 


20 


96 


1767 


Hale, Elisabeth C 


38 


2 


10 


15b 


27x 


20 


40 


1767 


Willson, Francis CS 


38 


2 


10 


15b 


27 


20 





The Loomis Carvers 



265 



1767 


Merrough, Mary C 


32 


2 


10 


15b 


27x 


20 




1767 


Sweetland, Jonathan AT 


' 32 


8a(y) 


11 


18 


27 


20 


59 


1768 


Dunbar, Susanna A 


32a 


(No cherub design; footstone-like) 


28 


1768 


Ladd, Henry C 


39 


1 


10 


15b 


27u 


20 


52 


1768 


Collins, Zerubbabel CS 


33 


3 


10 


15b 


26 


20 


16 


1768 


Ladd, Abigail C 


3 


8 


10 


18a 


27x 


20 


16 


1768 


Clark, Submit A 


32 


8 


10 


15 


27x 


20 


19 


1769 


Kingberry, Jabez 


















Deacon A 


33 


3 


10 


15b 


27 


20 


53 


176- 


Dodge, David COL 


35 


3 


10 


18 


27 


20 




1770 


Sweetland, 


















Hephzibah AT 


32 


8a(y) 


11 


18 


27 


20 


21 


1770 


Brigham, Polly CS 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


21 




1770 


Werner, Sarah M 


33 


3 


10 


18 


27x 


20 


84 


1770 


Jones, Patience CS 


33 


3 


10 


15 


27 


20 




1770 


Kimball, Hannah CS 


33 


3 


10 


15b 


27x 


20 


53 


1770 


Bishop, Kezia HA 


32 


40e 


11 


17 


17 


20 


49 


1771 


Jones, Sarah A 


32 


6 


11 


15 


27 


20 


21 


1771 


Burnap, Hannah CS 


32 


2 


11 


15 


27x 


20 




1771 


Huntington, Hannah C 


32 


2 


10 


15 


27x 


20 


29? 


1771 


Smith, Hanah CS 


33 


3 


10 


15 


27 


20 


91 


1771 


Bingham, Belle C 


32 


1 


11 


15? 


27x 


20 


57 


1772 


Graves, Mary CS 


32 


1 


11 


17 


16 


20 


83 


1772 


Curtis, Henry C ' 


32 


2 


11 


15 


27 


20 


83 


1773 


Manley, Mary C 


32 


2 


11 


15 


15d 


20 


12 


1774 


Lyman, Hannah A 


32 


6 


11 


15 


27x 


20 


15 


1774 


Miner, Joseph CSI 


32 


8 


11 


15 


27 


20 


41 


1774 


Ripley, Elijah C 


32 


1 


11 


18 


27 


20 


28 


1774 


Hendre, Abner CS 


32 


2 


11 


15 


27 


20 




1774 


Taylor, Sarah ST 


32 


1 


12b 


23 


27z 


20 


75 


1774 


Peirce, Samuel ST 


32 


1 


12b 


16 


27y 


20 


93 


1774 


Foot, Hannah MB 


32 


1? 


11 


18 


27 


20 


39 


1774 


Baxter, Mindwell H 


32 


8? 


11 


16 


26 


20 


5 


1775 


Palmer, Stephen C 


32 


1 


11 


15 


27v 


20 


67 


1775 


Ripley, Elijah Jr. C 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


20 


2 


1775 


Mead, John C 


32 


1 


11 


17 


26 


20 




1775 


Lyman, Lydia L 


32 


6 


11 


16 


26 


24 


89 


1775 


Isham, Lydia, WST 


32 


1 


43 


44 


27 


20 


5 


1775 


Hawkins, Sarah C 


32 


8 


11 


18 


27 


20 


43 


1775 


Parker, Samuel 


















Deacon C 


32 


1 


11 


47 


26 


20 


94 


1775 


Mead, Hannah C 


32 


1 


11 


17a 


26 


20 


7 


1775 


Isham, Jonah WST 


32 


7 


43 


45 


? 


20 


7 


1775 


Rust, Mary C 


32 


1 


11 


17a 


26 


20 


69 


1775 


Loomis, Solomon WST 


32 


1 


11 


15 


26 


20 


5 


1775 


Miner, Grace CSI 


32 


1 


11 


17 


27w 


20 


67 


1775 


Mead, Anna C 


32 


1 


11 


17a 


26 


20 


4 


1775 


Strong, Martha HA 


32 


43 


11 


16 


16 


20 


31 


1776 


Post, Israel Deacon H 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


20 


67 


1776 


Dutton, Timothy 
Bartholomew WST 


32 


1 


11 


17 


26 


20 


3 


1776 


Leach, Ebenezar Capt. A 32 


8b 


11 


14 


27 


20 


70 



266 



Connecticut Gravestones 



1776 


Bishop, Abiel HA 


32 


43 


11 


17a 


17a 


20 


35 


1776 


Bulckley, Anna COL 


32 


1 


11 


17a 


26 


20 


5 


1776 


Hatch, Jemima WST 


32 


2a 


43 


17a 


26 


20 


26 


1776 


Buckley, Gordon COL 


32 


4 var. 


43 


18 var. 


26 


20 


12 


1776 


Button, Amaziah WST 


32 


2a? 


43 


14 


26 


20 


14 


1776 


Barrows, Thomas M. 


32 


1 


11 


16 


28 


20 


79 


1776 


Hawkins, James C 


32 


5 


11 


46 


27var. 


20 


71 


1776 


Fowler, Esther CS 


32 


1 


13a 


14 


26 


23 




1776 


Palmer, Elisabeth C 


32 


1 


11 


17 


26 


20 


70 


1777 


Robertson, Sarah 


















Anna C 


32 


2 


11 


18 


27 


20 




1777 


Hawkins, Sarah C 


32 


1 


12a 


17? 


16 


29 


58 


1777 


Hawkins, Joseph C 


32 


42 


11 


16 


26 


20 




1777 


Davenport, Clarisa CS 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


22 




1777 


Manley, Chloe C 


32 


1 


11 


14 


26 


20 


36 


1777? 


Infant of Thomas & 
Anna Brown CSI 


Erodec 














1778 


Moulton, Hannah ST 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


20 


74 


1778 


Maxwell, Samuel L 


32 


1 


11 


14 


16a 


20 


67 


1779 


Ladd, Nathaniel CS 


32 


1 


11a 


16 


26 


20 


34 


1779 


Badger, Mehetibel A 


32 


1 


11 


14 


28a 


20 


31 


1779 


Brown, Anna CSI 


32 


7 


11 


16 


26 


20 




1779 


Curtis, Henry C 


32 


2? 


11 


15 


27 


20 


83 


1781 


Parker, James C 


32 


1 


11 


16 


16 


20 


73 


1782 


Maxwell, Esther L 


32 


1 


11 


16 


26 


20 


69 


1782 


Freeman, Ichabod CB 


32 


40d 


11 


17 


31b 


20 


67 


1782 


Taylor, Humphrey C 


32 


40b 


11 


17 


31 


20 


37 


1782 


Shapley, Adam Capt. NL 32 


1 


11 


16 


16a 


20 


43 


1783 


Walbridge, Abigail T 


32 


2 


13a 


16 


31a vai 


. 22 


34 


1783 


Bissell, John Capt. COL 


32 


40c 


11 


17 


31a 


20 




1783 


Strong, Lucy C 


32 


8b 


13 


16 


29 var. 


20b 


36 


1783 


Hutchinson, Jemime AT 32 


1 


11 


17 


17 


20 


76 


1784 


Curtis, Abigail C 


32 


1 


11 


17 


14 


20 


23 


1784 


Carpenter, Dan CB 


32 


40b 


12b 


17 


31a 


20 


18 


1784 


Robertson, Hannah C 


32 


40a 


11 


17 


16 


20 


54 


1785 


Murdock, Submit W 


32 


5a 


11 


16 


30 


22 


75 


1785 


Burnap, Abraham CS 


32 


1 


11 


17 


16 


20 


90 


1786 


Bishop, Caleb HA 


32 


44 


11 


17 


17 


20 


71 


1788 


Hendee, Asa CS 


32 


1 


11 


17 


17 


20 


73 


1788 


Strong, Phinaeus CS 


32 


1 


11 


17 


17 


20 


83 


1790 


Weston, Jonathan T 


32 


40 


11 


16 


16 


20 


74 


1790 


Tilden, John C 


32 


41 


lib 


16 


16 


20 


24 


1790 


Dow, Anne C 


32 


40 


11 


16 


16 


20 


21 



Locality Abbreviations 



A 

AT 

C 

CB 

COL 



Andover 

Andover (Townsend Hill) 

Coventry (Nathan Hale Cemetery) 

Columbia 

Colchester 



The Loomis Carvers 267 



CS Coventry (Holy Grove or South Street Cemetery) 

CSI Coventry (Silver Street Cemetery) 

HA Hanover 

H Hebron (Andover Road Cemetery) 

L Lebanon (Trumbull Cemetery) 

M Mansfield Center Cemetery 

MB Marlborough 

MG Mansfield (Gurley or Pink Ravine Cemetery) 

ML New London 

SCT Scotland 

ST Mansfield (Storrs Cemetery) 

T Tolland 

W Windham 

WST Westchester 



Distribution of the Loomis Stones (Fig. 19) 





Number 


Coventry 


76 


South Street 


38 


Nathan Hale 


34 


Silver Street 


4 


Andover 


9 


Westchester 


6 


Colchester 


5 


Scotland 


4 


Storrs (Mansfield) 


4 


Hanover 


4 


Mansfield Center (Mansfield) 


4 


Tolland 


3 


Lebanon 


3 


Andover (Townsend Hill) 


3 


Hebron 


2 


Columbia 


2 


Pink Ravine (Mansfield) 




Marlborough 




Windham 




New London 






131 



Design Coding Footnote 

Design numbers run consecutively. Wliere the same design is used in the border panels and in 
the horizontal row above the legend, it is coded with the same number. 



268 



Connecticut Gravestones 



SCOTLAND 




HANOVER 



\WESTCHESTER___^ 



DISTRIBUTION OF 
JONATHAN LOOMIS 
STONES RADIATING 
FROM COVENTRY \ 
NATHAN HALE CEMETERY\ 



NEW 
LONDON 



Fig. 19 Distribution of Jonathan Loomis stones. 



The Loomis Carvers 269 

NOTES 

1. Windham County Probate Records, file 2741, The Connecticut State Library, Hartford. 

2. Connecticut Gravestones XVIII. 

3. Coventry Town Records, 77. 

4. Amasa Loomis carved in the Manning and Walden traditions. 

5. The quarry was later purchased from Walden by Amasa Loomis in 1822 and was sold again 
in 1829 to William Hunt for one dollar. 

6. Connecticut Gravestones XVII. 

7. James A. Slater and Ralph L. Tucker, "The Colonial Gravestone Carvings of John 
Hartshorne," Puritan Gravestone Art II, The Dublin Seminar for New England Folklore: 
Annual Proceedings 1978 (Boston, 1978), 78-146. 

8. Connecticut Gravestones IX. 



270 



Connecticut Gravestones 



MaSSACHUSETTS 



CONNECTICUT 




Fig. 1 Geographical distribution of Wheeler gravestones. 



Obadiah Wheeler 271 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XVII 
The Colonial Gravestone Carvings of Obadiah Wheeler* 



In recent years there has been a considerable increase in scholarly interest 
in the colonial gravestones of New England. In the past these gravestones 
have generally been viewed either as curiosities, as material for "rubbings," or 
as genealogical source material. It is now realized that these stones provide 
rich source material for studies of religious symbolism, cultural interrelation- 
ships, artistic styles, mortality data, family composition, and other aspects of 
early New England culture.^ 

Before maximum use can be made of this research source it is necessary to 
identify the individual craftsmen involved in the creation of these stones, to 
determine the influences that have acted upon them, and to note the evolu- 
tion and distribution of their work in time and space. In this paper we 
present a study of one of the early colonial craftsmen of eastern Connecticut. 
We shall indicate who this man was, where he lived, what he produced, and 
will describe the evolution and diversity of his creative effort. 

The colonial cemeteries of eastern Connecticut contain nearly 200 distinc- 
tive gravestones of high artistic quality, the identity of whose carver has 
heretofore been unknown. These stones are characterized by depicting faces 
that have elongate, slender, aristocratic noses connected with the brows 
above the eyes, and by a characteristic type of "wing" or "curl" motif adjacent 
to the face. 

Allan I. Ludwig placed these stones in what he called "Phase II of the East- 
ern Connecticut Ornamental Style" and discussed them as having been ex- 
ecuted by an unknown carver whom he referred to as the "Collins Master." 
Ludwig was apparently unsure whether or not these stones were the early 
work of Benjamin Collins of Columbia or the work of another artist who in- 
fluenced the work of Collins.^ Ernest Caulfield had, however, previously 
demonstrated that the work of Benjamin Collins is clearly distinguishable 
from that of the craftsman under consideration,-' and the present analysis 

* This article was published after Dr. Caulfield's death under the names of both Slater and 
Caulfield. It was written by Slater, using unpublished notes of, and documentation of carvers 
by, Caulfield. It was published in Proceedings of the American Antiquarian Society, 84 (Part 
I): 73-103 (1974). The photographs are all by Daniel Farber. 



272 Connecticut Gravestones 

supports this conclusion. The authors do not agree with Ludwig's statement 
that after 1730 it is difficult to distinguish the work of the "Collins Master" 
from that of Benjamin Collins. The work of these two stonecarvers is quite 
distinct in execution and even in the nature of the stone used during both 
men's careers, although some borrowing of motifs is evident, possibly in both 
directions. 

Identity of the Carver 

Although many colonial stonecarvers placed their names on some of their 
gravestones, the artist in question did not. Therefore, to determine the iden- 
tity of the "Collins Master" it is necessary to turn to other forms of evidence. 
The most reliable method available is the examination of early probate 
records to attempt to find evidence of payment to an individual for the 
production of a given gravestone. Establishment of the identity of the carver 
for as many stones as possible is imperative, as such stones provide base 
points for determining if a single craftsman produced rather different stones 
at different periods of his life or whether varied motifs were the work of dif- 
ferent individuals. In the present case, although we recognize five major 
motifs or "types," we have probate evidence for the stone "types" which are 
the most disparate both chronologically and stylistically. Even in the absence 
of such probate records careful analysis of the relationships of the stones 
alone would lead to the conclusion that all of the stones discussed below 
were produced by a single individual. Nevertheless, the probate evidence 
seems conclusive. 

First, among the probate papers of Jonathan Hutchinson, who died in 
Lebanon, Connecticut, in 1717, is an undated receipt which reads, "Yhis may 
sartisfy whome it may consarn that I obadiah wheeler made one pair of grave 
stones for Mrs mindwell tisdale for har first husband mr Jonathan huch I sun 
pris 2-5-0 and one pair for har litele daughter mindwell hutchisun price 0-14- 
0."'* Second, in 1742 six adult members of the Sluman (Sleuman) family of 
Norwich West Farms (now Franklin, Connecticut) died during an epidemic 
of "Extraordinary sickeness." Among the deceased were Mr. and Mrs. 
Thomas Sluman, the younger Thomas, Joshua and David Sluman. Joseph 
Sluman of Lebanon, adminstrator of the estates of the elder Thomas 



Obadiah Wheeler 



273 



Slumans, hired Obadiah Wheeler to make their gravestones. Wheeler was 
also paid three pounds for a pair of gravestones for Joshua Sluman.^ 

The Mindwell Hutchinson (Fig. 3) and Jonathan Hutchinson stones still 
stand in Lebanon, and the stones for Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Sluman are in 
Franklin. The Hutchinson stones represent what we classify as Type I and 
the Sluman stones represent Type V. Thus if Obadiah Wheeler carved the 
Type I and Type V stones, he certainly also was the craftsman who produced 
the Type II, III, and IV stones, as will be seen. 

Obadiah Wheeler was for many years a resident of Lebanon, Connecticut, 
as is shown not only by documentary evidence but also by the distribution of 
the gravestones themselves. Where a given carver's stones are the most 
numerous and most varied in form is almost invariably where he lived. Table 
I at the end of this article shows the marked concentration and diversity of 
Wheeler stones in the Trumbull cemetery in Lebanon (see Fig. 1). 



»«« 








s 

s 

• 


•• 


1742 










•••••••• 


™ 


•tmw 

o 




ft 

• 


•sfis. 
T 

o 


ns 

•• 

••• 
•• 

: 

o 


,. 




o 




Q 


o 


rm- 




o 








■i(a 






oo 




o 




' 


" 


m 


'v 


V 








TrPiiS 







Fig. 2 Distribution of Wheeler gravestones by year and type. 
(White symbols indicate back-dated stones.) 



274 Connecticut Gravestones 

Wheeler was born in Concord, Massachusetts, in 1673 and, together with 
his wife and children, disappeared from the records there in 1717.^ He first 
appeared in the Lebanon records on November 25, 1718, when, describing 
himself as a "husbandman," he signed an indenture (lease) for fourteen years 
for 401 acres of land, two male white servants, two oxen and some breeding 
mares7 

Unfortunately, we have no information on the last years and death of 
Obadiah Wheeler. We have not been able to locate any probate papers for 
him, and there is no gravestone marking his grave in the area, nor is there 
one for his wife, the former Hannah Fletcher, whom he married in Concord 
in 1702.^ 

Early Influences 

The gravestone craftsman who most significantly influenced Wheeler's 
work was John Hartshorn of West Farms, Connecticut.^ Hartshorn first 
produced stones in northern Essex County, Massachusetts. Over seventy- 
three years old, he came to West Farms to live with his daughter. His stones 
are present in a number of cemeteries in eastern Connecticut. Wheeler 
stones, particularly those of Type I, show a marked Hartshorn influence. 
Hartshorn stones show similar elongate straight noses joined to the brows, 
the same three-lobed lunettes as those on early Wheeler stones, and often 
the same floral border panels. See the Mindwell Hutchinson stone of 1726 in 
Lebanon (Fig. 3). The four converging hearts in the finials of Hartshorn's 
Joanna [ ] stone in Norwichtown, Connecticut (Ludwig, Plate 221B), are 
actually the same as those used on the Wheeler stone for Jonathan Hutchin- 
son in Lebanon. The double circle around the face in Hartshorn stones is 
used on almost all Wheeler stones. The Hartshorn stones for Joshua Abell 
of Norwichtown and John Arnold of New London (Ludwig, Plate 222B, C) 
have "curls" and "loops" beside the face that are very similar to many Wheeler 
Type I stones. Furthermore, the linear "segmented" motifs on many 
Hartshorn stones (Ludwig, Plate 221A, B, C, Plate 222A, D), considered by 
Ludwig to be "bird" motifs, may equally well be considered as attempts to 
portray stylized wings and are probably predecessors of Wheeler Type III 
stones. Ludwig asserted that the use of wings by the Collins Master had to 



Obadiah Wheeler 



275 



represent an outside influence. ^° Such may be true, but there is no direct 
evidence to support the idea that any carver other than John Hartshorn had 
an important influence on the early Wheeler style. We believe that Wheeler 
was strongly influenced by Hartshorn and probably learned the art from him. 
The diversity and skill of Wheeler innovations soon surpassed the work of 
Hartshorn and mark Wheeler as a man of great technical ability and 
originality, the master indeed of the whole eastern Connecticut school of 
gravestone art. The importance of Wheeler's work then lies not only in its 
high artistic quality and individual innovations of style, but also in its in- 
fluence on a number of contemporary and later carvers to about 1800, when 
the decline of the art began. 




Fig. 3 Mindewel Hutchinson 1726. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



276 Connecticut Gravestones 

The Period of Wheeler's Work 

Students of gravestone art tend to believe they have a more precise means 
of dating their artifacts than scholars of most other early American art forms 
since the stones bear a date of death and were ordinarily carved soon after 
this date.^^ This is partly true, but dating must be used with caution and in 
conjunction with the design details carved on the stones, as it was not uncom- 
mon for stones to be produced some years after the actual date of death of 
the subject. 

Wheeler stones carry dates ranging from 1702 to 1749. The latter date 
probably was the last year in which Wheeler produced gravestones. The ear- 
lier stones, however, are unquestionably "back dated." They represent design 
types developed much later and, as shown in Figure 2, are isolated in time 
from the years when their motifs were dominant. In attempting to establish 
the early dates for Wheeler's work it is particularly important to note that on 
several stones Wheeler carved the actual date that the stone was executed as 
well as the date of death. The Jonathan Hutchinson stone bears a 1717 
death date, but at the end of the inscription "1726" is carved, which must indi- 
cate the year the stone was actually cut. The signed receipt for this stone 
probably should be dated shortly after February 2, 1727, when his widow, 
Mindwell Hutchinson, married the widower James Tisdale. The Thomas 
Cushman stone in Lebanon indicates that he died January 9, 1727, and the 
Sarah Cushman stone in the same place shows that she died December 25, 
1726. Both of these stones have "1728" carved after the inscription, indicating 
that both were produced at this later date. 

There is no evidence that Wheeler carved stones between 1718, when he 
arrived in Lebanon, and 1726, when he produced the Hutchinson stones. Yet 
these early stones are not the work of a novice. It is possible that Wheeler at 
least assisted in the carving of some of the stones attributed to Hartshorn. In 
any event the earliest stones definitely attributable to Wheeler date from 
1726. 

Characteristics of Wheeler Inscriptions 

Wheeler's use of letters and numbers on his stones is characteristic and is 
a valuable means of attributing stones to his hand. Ligatures (combined let- 



Obadiah Wheeler 277 

ters) such as H & E, H & M, M & R, N & D, and N & E are frequently used. 
The Aaron Burnham stone in Lisbon has the AND in HUSBAND combined 
into a single letter and a Lebanon stone has the NIE in NATHANIEL 
similarly combined. His capital A has a characteristic slant to the left verti- 
cal. Numbers such as 2, 5, and 7 are also characteristic, as is the use of a 
single or double sinuate horizontal dash separating major features or ter- 
minating the inscription. 

The Wheeler spelling is strikingly original and frequently inconsistent. 
Many words are spelled phonetically and the flavor of New England speech 
comes through charmingly in such treatments as HAR as in HAR AGE, 
HAR LIS (or LIES, LISE, LYES, LYETH) and in FATHAR, 
DAUGHTAR, MISTAR, BRUSTAR, JENEWARY, AGUST, DESEM- 
BAR. The ampersand is frequently used unnecessarily, as in "He died 
December 25 & 1726." 

In early Wheeler stones little attention was paid, prior to the actual carv- 
ing, to laying out the number of letters that could be carved on a given line. 
The result was that Wheeler frequently came to the end of a line with letters 
left over, resulting in the use of tiny superscript letters between the lines or in 
such an unusual breaking of words as: 

HAR^ LIS A VARTUOUS LOVJ 
NG WIF & EVER SHE WAS KI 
ND VNTO HAR HUSBAND & 
HAR BABES WHOM SHE 
HATH LEFT BEHINfD 

The vagaries of Wheeler's spelling, which improved in time but was never 
perfect, should not detract from an appreciation of the skill and esthetic 
quality of his work. A man who could execute the facial qualities of the Ann 
Johnson and Mary Clap (Fig. 15) stones in Lebanon and Windham Center 
respectively, the haunting beauty of the Hannah Williams stone in Mansfield 
Center, and the spatial perfection of the Thomas Bingham (Fig. 9) stone in 
Windham Center must be regarded as a craftsman of the first order. 

Analysis of Stone Motifs 

There are five major types of Wheeler stones and several minor motifs. 



278 



Connecticut Gravestones 



The chronology of the stones and the development of Wheeler's technique 
are best understood through study of the five major types, as these stones are 
not only the most numerous but were also executed with the most care and 
elaboration. 



/f 




V 




Fig. 4 Abigll Tisdall 1726. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



Obadiah Wheeler 279 

Type I Stones (Figs. 3-6) 

Stones of this type are characterized by the presence of a series of curls 
(volutes), rather than wings, on either side of the face. These curls some- 
times have a rather "Medusa-like" appearance. There are seventeen extant 
stones of this type, concentrated in Lebanon (eleven stones) but also present 
in Mansfield Center (two), Canterbury (two), Scotland (one), and Lisbon 
(one). The curls vary considerably in appearance, some being essentially a 
series of loops (Figs. 3 and 4), others tightly coiled circles in two or three 
series (Fig. 6). The Beulah Clark (Fig. 5) stone in Lebanon has a very 
abstract "curl" motif. On two of these stones the outer "strands" end in tassels 
(Fig. 4). 

It is evident that Wheeler developed this early motif from Hartshorn 
stones, as some of the "looped" types closely resemble a number of the 
latter's stones. Furthermore, these stones always have the three-lobed 
lunette that was a constant feature of Hartshorn stones. 



, <> 



or. 



ON-W 



x^ 



: >M .^■ 



Fig. 5 Beulah Clark 1726. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



280 Connecticut Gravestones 

Most Type I stones are about two feet square (above ground), although 
one, the Samuel Estabrook stone in Canterbury, is much larger, three to four 
feet tall. 

Stones of Type I were apparently all carved in the short period between 
1726 and 1728. The Exercise Conant stone (Ludwig, Plate 224B) in 
Mansfield Center is dated 1722 but is almost certainly back dated.^^ These 
stones constitute a remarkably homogeneous group not only in size but also 
in use of motif. All have the three-lobed lunette (a rounded top with 
rounded "shoulders" or "knees") and complete, "open," almond-shaped eyes. 
The face is never in relief and in all but one stone a diamond design of vary- 
ing complexity (Figs. 4, 5 and 6) is present in the border panels. The 
diamond motif is less elaborate on later Type I stones. On twelve stones 
there is a simple frame or border usually consisting of a single line (Fig. 6), 
but occasionally double (Fig. 5), above the inscription without any other 
horizontal design in this area. In the five stones with a horizontal design 
below the face and above the inscription the center consists of a downward 
pointed triangle with two circles on either side connected to a base line by a 
downswept stem (Fig. 8). These circles may be simple with only an indented 
compass point in the center (called "spot circles") or they may be a more 
elaborate series of circles (Fig. 10). 

The finial located above the border panel is somewhat more variable than 
are other features of earlier Type I stones, although it is one of the least vari- 
able features of later stones. Three stones possess finials that relate these 
stones directly to a Hartshorn influence. We have previously mentioned the 
four converging hearts. Two stones (one of which is illustrated as Fig. 3) pos- 
sess an initial in each finial, a feature on some Hartshorn stones. On ten 
stones an eight-rayed rosette (Figs. 5 and 6) is present, on three stones a six- 
rayed rosette (Fig. 4). One stone possesses a circle with an indented central 
compass point. 

The sides of Type I stones are usually straight. In only three cases is there 
a noticeable taper toward the base. 

Type I stones represent the earliest known work of Wheeler. A number of 
early features were retained on stones of later types, such as the open 
"almond" eyes, use of a triangle in the center horizontal series rather than a 



Obadiah Wheeler 



281 



heart, spot circles rather than six-rayed rosettes laterally in the horizontal 
row, and eight-rayed rosettes in the finials. The 1726 Rachil Fitch stone (Fig. 
7) in Lebanon is especially significant in showing transition. This stone 
retains a rather "loop-like" curl motif lateral to the face, but beyond this are 
several distinct wing vanes similar to those found on Type II stones. The 
Susannah Griswold stone of 1727 (Fig. 8) in Windham Center has typical, al- 
though crude. Type II wings but retains the diamond border panel motif and 
the eight-rayed rosette. The transitional nature of these three stones is 
remarkable and links Type I and Type II stones so obviously that they leave 
absolutely no doubt that the same craftsman produced both types of stones. 

All but one of the Type I stones possess capital letters in the inscription 
except for an occasional small superior e. The use of a colon between words 
is a primitive feature of colonial stones that is frequently used here. 



£''''.r^ 



|^<^| .^tme ri:|f ^b^k ri,E;f^, Vr 






&i 



,-. . . rut coinitE r*:/i 'i.?ol<N\^, i 






Fig. 6 Thomas Cushman 1727. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



282 Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 7 Rachil Fitch 1726. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 

The identification of Obadiah Wheeler as the carver of these stones rests 
on the probate evidence relative to the Mindwell Hutchinson and Jonathan 
Hutchinson stones, as previously discussed. The Mindwell Hutchinson stone 
(Fig. 3) compares with other Type I stones in all significant details except for 
the presence of a floral design on the border panels. It shares with the James 
Tisdale stone in Lebanon the presence of initials in the finials. The curls and 
face are typical of the other stones. The very crude Hutchinson child stone^^ 
(Fig. 17) possesses, below the ground level, a remarkable series of practice 
carvings. One of these is an elaborate triangle or diamond motif which is ex- 
actly the same as that found completely developed on the border panels of 
the stone of her father, Jonathan Hutchinson, and Lebanon's Josiah Baker 
and Abigail Tisdale (Fig. 4) stones. Thus there seems no reason to doubt 
that the same hand carved the Mindwell and Jonathan Hutchinson stones as 
carved all of the other Type I stones. 

Type II Stones (Figs. 8, 9 and 10) 

Stones of Type II may be characterized by the presence of a pair of 



Obadiah Wheeler 



283 



downswept wings, one attached to each side of the face by a narrow pedicel 
(Fig. 9). Each wing is composed of a series of elongate simple vanes that ter- 
minate downward. The eyes are always open, complete "almonds," and the 
face is never in strong relief. Transitions from Type I stones have been noted 
above. 

If transitionals are included, there are twenty-three stones of this type 
(Table I), located in Lebanon, Windham Center, Canterbury, Norwichtown, 
Scotland, Mansfield Center, and Ashford. Seventeen stones bear dates from 
1727 to 1731. Two stones bear the partial date "172" - with the year ob- 
viously not eroded but left blank. The Abel Ganes stone in Lebanon is dated 
1718, but is amost certainly back dated. 




I t^s.^^^ 



'. l>rK!y 'o? •Air'^' kit 
Xflhe wife of ca 
a"^ I f llor^y/ich^y/ho 
iX^\ 1 7:xit ^ ill IKe ^^ 







Fig. 8 Susannah Griswold 1717. Windham. 



284 Connecticut Gravestones 

Type II stones mark Wheeler's first departure from the three-lobed 
lunette. While eighteen stones retain this feature, one has a strongly trian- 
gular top, one a slight triangle, and three (two a "double stone") a rounded 
top. A small heart replaces the primitive triangle in the center of the horizon- 
tal row on four stones. The triangle is retained on seven. The use of the six- 
rayed rosette in the lateral horizontal row (Fig. 15) first appears on the Wil- 
liam Moore 1728 stone in Windham Center. Spot circles are present on ten 
stones. The eight-rayed rosette is used on two stones in the finial. The spot 
circle also appears here twice, but the transition is strongly to the six-rayed 
rosette, present on fifteen stones, which is such a dominant feature on later 
Wheeler stones. 

The border panels are diverse on Type II stones. While simple framing is 
present on ten stones and the diamond motif which predominates on Type I 
stones is used twice (Fig. 8), new motifs appear. Six stones possess a sinuate 
ellipse pattern. One stone has a series of alternating complete and paired 
half spot-circles. Two stones vary this pattern by using sbc-rayed rosettes in 
the same alternating series. Another stone uses an elongate basally tapering 
triangle (Fig. 9). This last stone, that of Thomas Bingham (1730), located in 
Windham Center, not Norwichtown as stated by Ludwig,^'* is one of the most 
beautiful stones produced by Wheeler in terms of both the simplicity and sym- 
metry of the design. Wheeler's technique improved rapidly during this 
period, as can be seen by comparing the fluidity of the wings of the Susannah 
Griswold stone (Fig. 8) and that of the Bingham stone (Fig. 9). Wheeler 
tapered the sides of twenty Type II stones. This, together with the greater 
variation in the size of stones, demonstrates his increasing release from the 
conformity evident in his earlier work. 

The method used by Wheeler in carving the wings of Type II stones may 
be reconstructed from the appearance of four children's stones, three in 
Lebanon, one in Colchester. These are simple, small stones intended for 
children who died at two to nine years of age. Here the wings are pediculate 
as in classic Type II stones and have a scalloped or serrated lower margin, 
but the surface of the wings is solid without the individual elongate vanes, or 
feathers, being carved. They have the appearance of being "blanks." The 
1729 Mary Jones stone in Colchester possesses a unique lateral horizontal 



Obadiah Wheeler 



285 



motif with the words "O ETER" on the left and "NITY" on the right.^^ 

Important transitional stones between Types II and III stand in Lebanon. 
The Elizabeth Buel stone, 1729, (Fig. 10) possesses typical sweeping Type II 
wings but each elongate vane bears a series of transverse cuts across the sur- 
face to give the effect of a series of overlapping shorter feathers indicative of 
the secondaries or coverts over the basal portions of the primaries of actual 
birds. This feature is definitely transitional to Type III stones. The Ephraim 
Terry stone of 1730(?) (Fig. 11) has the rigid stylized downcurved wings with 
rounded tips of the "feathers" as in Type III stones, but each vane is entire as 
in Type II stones and lacking the cross cuts to give the effect of overlapping 
feathers as in Type III stones. Thus this is obviously a transitional stone. 




Fig. 9 Deacon Thomas Bingham 1729/30. Windham. 



286 



Connecticut Gravestones 



There is great variation in the skill and quality of the work exhibited on 
Type II stones. The variation is so great as to suggest that possibly a son or 
apprentice was assisting Wheeler. However, the great similarity of design 
and use of motifs leave little doubt that Wheeler designed all of them. 

More than half of the Type II and Type III stones have the inscription 
carved in small letters, of which the letter a is often most unusual and distinc- 
tive. The "bulb" of this a is shaped like a tear drop and is frequently attached 
near the top of the ascender (Fig. 9). Where capital letters are used, the R is 
unusual in that the right-hand descender is separated from the bulb and 
peculiarly carved. 

Wheeler's spelling had improved considerably by the time he produced 
Type II and Type III stones. Nevertheless, on about twenty-five percent of 
the stones the phonetic spelling is evident, particularly in the use of A for E. 
Sarah Leffingwell, buried under a Type III stone of 1730 in Norwichtown, is 
characterized as "A VARTUOUS AND MOST INIENIUOUS JENTEAL 
WOMAN." 




1^ 



,^\//-- Duc'« n\h 






Fig. 10 Elisabeth Buel 1729. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



Obadiah Wheeler 



287 








\m'-^'-^'^-i^-m^/-K'!i) 



Fig. 11 Ephraim Terry 1730(?). Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



Type in Stones (Figs. 12 and 13) 

Stones of Type III retain the pedicel connection of the wings to the face, 
but the individual elongate vanes are each bisected with a series of cross cuts 
of lunate shape giving the effect of overlapping feathers. The wings have a 
more rigid stylized appearance and usually lack the free-flowing outward 
sweep of the best examples of Type II wings. The eyes remain as open al- 
monds on all of these stones. Type III stones mark the first appearance of 
pronounced relief of the face outward from the surface of the stone (the 
Josiah Dewey 1732 stone, Lebanon). The use of simple double framing 
above the inscription is very common, appearing on seven Type III stones; 
otherwise, spot circles are used in the lateral horizontals in all but the 
elaborate James Fitch stone (Fig. 13) in Lebanon, on which the use of six- 
rayed rosettes was first introduced in the area. 

There are twenty Type III stones (Table II). They exist in Norwichtown, 
Lebanon, Windham Center, Exeter, Mansfield Center, Canterbury, and Ash- 
ford. All but four are dated between 1730 and 1733. One is dated 1729, two 
in Lebanon 1711, and one 1702. The latter three stones are certainly back 



288 



Connecticut Gravestones 



dated. The James Fitch stone, dated 1702 and located in Lebanon, is a 
memorial to the founder of the town. It is a very large stone with an 
elaborate inscription written completely in Latin (unique among Wheeler 
stones) and probably is the last stone of Type III that Wheeler carved. Prob- 
ably all Type III stones were executed in the period between 1730 and 1733, 
twelve in 1732-1733 alone. 




Fig. 12 Capt. Thomas Huntington 1732. Windham. 



Obadiah Wheeler 



289 







-; i' c' 



V. , 



i s 



'hisritt' 



Ik 



,V *.!%'. '*?.•.!, 



Fig. 13 Reverend James Fitch 1702. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



290 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Type IV Stones (Figs. 14 and 15) 

Stones of Type IV represent the zenith of Wheeler's work. They are the 
most numerous and include a number of his largest and most elaborate 
stones. Type IV stones are characterized by especially striking wings in 
which the pedicel attachment to the head is abandoned and the wings are in 
contact with the head along the entire lateral surface of the head. The in- 
dividual vanes are "layered," as in Type III stones but with the vanes curved 
out and slightly angled upward, or as Ludwig described it, in a sun-ray 
motif.^^ The effect, when viewed from the perspective of the previous types, 
is of Wheeler having reversed and "twisted over" the wings. 




*r fj^ 



•X... , €i 



^ 








loYYO'clKyii 



3^k<L'^^P4^xAV.CJ.'Al\. 




Fig. 14 Clap child 1736. Windliam. 



Obadiah Wheeler 291 

Stones of Type IV also introduced a striking change in the appearance of 
the eyes. On all previous types the eyes appear to be open in that there is an 
almond-shaped center and complete circular lids below as well as above. On 
the majority of Type IV stones (fifty-four of the seventy-four where the eyes' 
appearance is still recognizable), the lower lids are absent and the area of the 
upper lids is represented by two or more lunate cuts or the eyes appear 
closed (Fig. 14). Wheeler thus was here producing eyes that were closed (in 
both cases) rather than open and staring. On the better stones this innova- 
tion gives considerable expression to the face. The closed-eye style began to 
predominate in 1736 in twelve examples. There are examples on stones 
dated 1731, 1734, and 1735, but these are perhaps back dated. Before 1736 
open eyes appear on sixteen of twenty Type IV stones. After 1735 open eyes 
occur on only five of fifty-four stones. The open-eye motif was never com- 
pletely abandoned, as it also appears on Type V stones. Once closed eyes 
were developed, they predominated.^^ 



\ 

\ 




\. 



\ • n 



Fig. 15 Mary Clap 1736. Windham. 



292 Connecticut Gravestones 

We have analyzed eighty-four of these stones. A few other Type IV stones 
exist but were not included in the analysis because of their poor condition. 
The omissions do not change the proportionate use of the various motifs to 
any significant extent. The eighty-four stones are distributed in Lebanon, 
Norwichtown, Windham Center, Mansfield Center, Goshen Hill, Hebron, 
Colchester, Exeter, Franklin, Coventry, Montville, Ashford, Preston, 
Woodstock, and Union, and are dated from 1720 through 1749. Two stones 
dated 1720 and 1725 are unquestionably back dated. A 1731 stone is prob- 
ably back dated also. Type IV stones were probably all produced from 1732 
or 1733 through 1749. 

One of the striking features of a number of Type IV stones is the relief of 
the face (Fig. 15). Sometimes this relief is only slight and more evident to 
the hand than to the eye; on others the face is very strongly produced out- 
ward and is as close to a death mask as was developed on New England 
gravestones. Eighteen Type IV stones have the face in such strong relief. 
There are an additional seven stones extant which have some relief evident. 

Where a horizontal row is developed above the inscription (sucty-nine 
stones), the central heart is almost always used. Only two of these stones 
(1734 and 1738) retain the use of the primitive triangle. Laterally on the 
horizontal row the use of six-rayed rosettes predominates. The triangle motif 
was not completely abandoned, but is present on only eight stones and then 
always in conjunction with two or two and one-half spot circles on either side, 
although the latter are, interestingly, sometimes present when the triangle 
has been abandoned (Fig. 14). Where the six-rayed rosette is used in this 
area, two rosettes are present on either side in the great majority of stones 
(fifty-three) (Fig. 16). Two stones, however, possess only a single rosette on 
each side, three have one and one-half rosettes, two possess two and one- 
half, and one stone has three on either side. 

At the finial a six-rayed rosette is used on all but ten stones; of these, six 
lack configuration in this area and four use spot circles (two each, dated 1736 
and 1739). 

The border panels on Type IV stones are often quite elaborate. On thirty 
stones only a frame is present (sometimes elaborate) around the inscription 
(Figs. 14 and 15), but such a style appears only once on a stone cut subse- 



Obadiah Wheeler 293 

quent to 1739 (1746). The most common design is some combination of six- 
rayed rosettes, such as: an ahernating series of paired half rosettes and a 
complete rosette (twenty-one stones); a series of complete rosettes (ten); a 
series of paired half rosettes (one); a series of paired half rosettes but with a 
sinuate ellipse pattern interwoven between them (one); and a series of com- 
plete rosettes in the upper portion and simple circles toward the base (two). 
Only two stones bear a series of spot circles (dated 1733 and 1735), which 
may have been a primitive feature retained on these advanced stones. A tri- 
angle or diamond motif resembling that of Type I stones, but more elaborate, 
is present on two stones. An ellipse pattern occurs twice. Two stones possess 
the elongate triangles that first appeared on the Type II Thomas Bingham 
stone (Fig. 9). On seven stones an elaborate floral design is used which is 
much more ornate than Wheeler's usual style and probably reflects the in- 
fluence of Benjamin Collins. This floral pattern frequently incorporates the 
use oi the fleur-de-lis. 

The top margin of Type IV stones is also more variable than in preceding 
types. Twenty-five of the most elaborate stones have the top prolonged into 
a sharp elongate triangle (Fig. 15) but there are a number of other motifs, in- 
cluding a primitive three-lobed top on twenty-five stones, a rounded top 
(fifteen), a straight or nearly straight top (four), a rounded top with a low 
secondary central elevation (three), a low sloping triangle (three), a flat cen- 
ter with angulate lateral area (one), and a rounded top with the central area 
raised into a prominent rounded elevation (four). 

The sides of these stones are both straight and tapered inward to the base, 
but the latter condition predominates, appearing as it does on fifty-six stones. 

The small a usually differs on Type IV stones from that used on stones of 
Types II and III. It is usually much taller than the other small letters and can 
easily be confused with a letter d. Type IV stones are the most numerous 
and elaborate of the Wheeler stones. 

Type V Stones (Fig. 16) 

Stones of Type V resemble those of Type IV in several ways. Type V 
stones possess wings which are broadly in contact with the sides of the face. 
The elongate vanes slope outward and slightly upward as in Type IV stones. 



294 Connecticut Gravestones 

but each elongate vane is complete and not separated into layered series by 
cross impressions. It is possible that Wheeler considered these stones 
simpler versions of Type IV stones and may have used them when a lower 
price was involved or when he was hurried. Unless a considerable number 
were back dated, Type V stones were first developed in the 1730s, perhaps as 
early as Type IV stones, but did not become numerous until after 1740. 
While many of these stones show care in preparation, others are surprisingly 
crude, with asymmetrical eyes and shallow lettering and carving of motifs. In 
some cases stone of inferior quality was used. A number of these stones, 
therefore, are so badly eroded that it is difficult to decipher the characteris- 
tics. It is likely that some of these stones were produced, at least in part, by 
an apprentice working with Wheeler. Nevertheless, one cannot avoid the 
overall impression that Wheeler's work deteriorated in the 1740s. 

We have analyzed fifty-two of these stones, dated from 1712 to 1749. 
Stones of 1712, 1718 and 1725 were unquestionably back dated. Some of the 
stones of the 1730s may have been as well. These stones predominated in 
Wheeler's later years, twenty-eight being dated after 1740. Type V stones 
may be found in Lebanon, Norwichtown, Windham Center, Exeter, Goshen 
Hill, Franklin, Colchester, Coventry, Preston, Hebron, Mansfield Center, and 
Woodstock. 

The motifs correspond closely to those used on Type IV stones. The face 
is in relief on six stones, and sometimes is as strongly produced as on the 
most elaborate Type IV stones. The triangle is retained in the center horizon- 
tal on only two early stones, whereas the heart is used forty-two times. The 
lateral horizontal row uses the six-rayed rosette thirty-six times and varies the 
expression as follows: two rosettes on each side (on twenty-four stones) (Fig. 
16), one on each side (five), one and one-half on each side (three), two and 
one-half on each side (two), and three on each side (two). Spot circles occur, 
surprisingly, in the horizontal on eight stones as follows: two on each side 
(four), one each side (three), three each side (one). The remaining stones 
use only a frame below the face and above the inscription. 

The area of the finial is represented by a six-rayed rosette on forty-one 
stones. One stone has circles. The area is undifferentiated on the remaining 
stones. 



Obadiah Wheeler 



295 



lA 






























Fig. 16 Hannah Ripley 1738. Windham. 



296 Connecticut Gravestones 

The border panels display many of the same motifs as do Type IV stones 
but with less variation. Two types predominate, a single or double frame 
(nineteen stones) and a series of six-rayed rosettes (nineteen). Only one 
stone has alternating complete and paired half-rosettes. In two stones the 
upper portion has rosettes and the lower portion simple circles. One stone 
possesses an elongate triangle. Ten stones have border panels that show an 
elaborate floral or fleur-de-lis design. The sides and tops of Type V stones 
have the same forms as those of Type IV. 

Distribution of Stones 

Wheeler stones have been identified in twenty-three cemeteries in twenty- 
one communities in eastern Connecticut.^^ Of these, only the Lebanon and 
Mansfield Center cemeteries contain examples of all major types. As may be 
seen in Table I, the early stones were not widely distributed. While there 
may be some bias in the figures given below because destruction in some 
cemeteries may have been greater than in others, we believe the figures to be 
quite accurate in reflecting the concentration in the area near Lebanon, i.e., 
within the society in which Wheeler lived. 

Table I and Figure 1 indicate the disposition of Wheeler stones. Colonial 
gravestones may reveal important clues to the degree of cultural interchange 
between communities during this period. One must be cautious, of course, in 
using evidence from only a single craftsman. A more rewarding approach 
will ultimately be to analyze each graveyard and each craftsman completely, 
as we have done here. Nevertheless, the distribution of Wheeler stones sug- 
gests the existence of a close cultural relationship between the villages of 
Lebanon, Franklin, Norwichtown, Windham Center, Mansfield Center, Ex- 
eter, and Goshen Hill, with the relationship declining rapidly beyond these 
towns. It is of particular significance that the cultural influence appears to 
extend only a short distance west (Hebron, Columbia, Colchester) and not to 
have reached such eastern Connecticut villages as Brooklyn, Pomfret, or 
Putnam.^^ 

Minor Motifs and Children's Stones 

In addition to the face and wing, or face and curl, motifs that occur on the 



Obadiah Wheeler 



297 



great majority of Wheeler stones, there are scattered stones by his hand that 
use other patterns. In a few cases these may have been experiments that 
were not repeated. Mostly, however, they were used on small stones for 
children, presumably when less expense was desired, although many 
children's stones were of the major types. The motifs on these small stones 
often resemble those employed on many Wheeler footstones. Consequently, 
where only one stone remains, it is sometimes difficult to tell whether it is a 
headstone or footstone.^° 




298 Connecticut Gravestones 

The most common motif used on these stones is a series of spreading rays 
at the top of the stone that curve outward and upward from the center of the 
stone. These conceivably represent a very abstract "tree" motif. The same 
configuration is occasionally used near the apex of large strongly triangular 
headstones, particularly those of Types IV and V, and also is found on 
footstones. Stones of this type are found in Lebanon, Franklin, Hebron, Ex- 
eter, Columbia, and Hampton, and date from 1736 to 1745. The age at death 
indicated on stones of this motif ranges from ten months to eleven years, with 
the exception of one marking the grave of an eighty-five-year-old man in 
Franklin, Joseph Kingsbury. 

A second motif is a series of only six-rayed rosettes in various combina- 
tions and sizes. Stones of this type are in Lebanon (five) and Colchester 
(one). Ages of subjects vary from one month to eleven years. Two Lebanon 
stones are dated 1717 and 1719 (certainly back dated). The others are from 
1732 to 1740. There are two Lebanon stones (dated 1739 and 17-1) of 
children aged two and six where a large heart encloses the inscription. 
Footstones also employ this motif. 

The Lebanon cemetery also possesses two stones with faces that do not 
conform to any of the types previously discussed. One of these, dated 1742 
and probably the work of Wheeler, has a large six-rayed rosette replacing the 
wings on either side of the face. The second, a 1730 stone, somewhat 
resembles Type V stones but only four unusually elongate, straight slender 
vanes are present in each wing. This stone might be a precursor of Types IV 
and V stones but is more likely an unsuccessful innovation and may even be 
the work of a Wheeler apprentice. 

The final type of gravestone produced by Wheeler is a very large, rectan- 
gular slab with divisions forming squares. Within each square is a separate 
inscription. In the Lebanon cemetery there are two of these large slabs, both 
broken but placed upright along the longitudinal axis.^^ It is quite possible 
that they originally were placed flat on the ground. There is no evidence of 
leg attachments to indicate that these slabs were intended to be tables. One 
of these stones contains the inscription for a Mrs. Mary Sprague, her three 
infant children, and a ten-year-old child named Elknah Tisdeal. The second 
slab has inscriptions for the two wives of Benjamin Sprague, one of whom 



Obadiah Wheeler 



299 



was also named Mary. 

Footstones 

The footstones produced by Obadiah Wheeler are as distinctive as his 
headstones. They include some of the most unique footstones ever produced 
in New England. Like the headstones, Wheeler footstones show an evolution 
in style. Early stones are usually square or rectangular although occasionally 
triangularly peaked. There is a plain frame or ribbon border with a large 
capital letter inscription within. In some cases spot circles or six-rayed 
rosettes appear on these early stones. 

From approximately 1734 on the upswept ray or stylized tree motif occurs. 
On footstones this ray motif is often associated with large hearts around the 
inscription. 

The most elaborate footstones are usually associated with Type IV and V 
headstones and are quite uniquely Wheeler's. Often these footstones are 
very large and vary greatly in shape. 




Fig. 18 Jabez Fitch 1736. Footstone. Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



300 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Some are football- or elliptical-shaped (Fig. 18); others large round or 
ovate discs; some are square or rectangular; and a few are deeply scalloped 
along the margins. On many of these elaborate footstones there is a wheel- 
like circle, or several circles, and often within the inner circle a large six- 
rayed rosette is present. Between the two circles the name and date are 
usually carved with the letters and figures forming a complete circle. Some- 
times elaborate use is made of additional or exclusive series of six-rayed 
rosettes. 

An occasional stone, particularly that of a Hutchinson child,^^ is evidently 
the work of an apprentice. The Hutchinson (1717) (Fig. 17) stone is so crude 
that it could not be attributed to Obadiah Wheeler except for the practice 
carving below the ground level on the stone. 

The Solomon Williams footstone (Fig. 19) in Lebanon is in its overall im- 
pact quite unlike any other stone carved by Wheeler. It is an elaborate ar- 
tifact, very carefully carved with a fancy fleur-de-lis design. The letters and 
inscriptions are of the Wheeler type, and the accompanying headstone is un- 
mistakably Wheeler's. 




Fig. 19 Solomon Williams 1748. Footstone. 
Trumbull Burying Ground, Lebanon. 



Obadiah Wheeler 



301 



TABLE I 
Distribution of Wheeler Gravestones 

Type I Type II Type III Type IV Type V Total 



Lebanon 


11 


7 


5 


26 


12 


61 


Norwichtown 




1 


6 


14 


10 


31 


Windham Center 




6 


4 


10 


6 


26 


Franklin 








4 


6 


10 


Exeter 






2 


3 


4 


9 


Mansfield Center 


2 


1 


1 


4 


1 


9 


Goshen Hill 








4 


4 


8 


Hebron (2) 
Scotland 


1 


5 




4 


2 


6 
6 


Canterbury 
Colchester 


2 


2 


1 


3 


2 


5 
5 


Coventry 

Mystic 

Ashford 




1 


1 


2 
4? 

1 


2 


4 
4 
3 


Preston(2) 
Woodstock 








1 
1 


2 
1 


3 

2 


Lisbon 


1 










1 


Union 








1 




1 


Montville 








2 




2 


Columbia 












1 


Hampton 












1 








TABLE II 







Obadiah Wheeler Gravestones 



Name 



Cemetery 



Type Date of Death Age 



Abbe, Richard 


Windham Center 


IV 


1737 


55 


Abel, Lydia 


Norwichtown 


V 


1739 


14 


Adgate, Thomas 


" 


IV 


1736 


34 


Alleine, Mary 


Windham Center 


II 


172- 


-- 


AUin, William 


" 


V 


1747 


78 


Archer, Annar 


Exeter 


IV 


1741 


17 


Badcock, Mary 


Coventry 


IV 


1735 


58? 


Bailey, Isaac 


Lebanon 


III 


1711 


30 


Baker, Josiah 


" 


I 


1726 


23 


Baldwin, Abis 


Norwichtown 


IV 


1737 


23 


Barber, David 


Hebron 


V 


1739 


44 


Barker, John 


Lebanon 


V 


-- 


-- 


Bingham, Thomas 


Windham Center 


II 


1729/30 


88 


Bingham, Abegail 


" 


V 


1741 


51 


Birchard, John 


Lebanon 


IV 


1735 


64 


Bissel, Rachel 


Hebron 


IV 


1736 


23 



302 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Bliss, John 


"• 


IV 


1741 


32 


Bliss, Joseph 


Lebanon 


II 


1730 


26 


Brewster, Jonathan 


" 


Circle 


1717 


11 






& Rosettes 




Brewster, Nehisuniah 


" 


" 


1719 


11 


Bridges, Jonathan 


Exeter 


V 


1738 


20 


Brigham, Paul 


Coventry 


V 


1746 


28 


Brown, Dorithy 


Hebron 


V 


1739 


20 


Buel, Elisabeth 


Lebanon 


II 


1729 


.. 


Buel, Mehetable 




Solid 
Wings 


1726 


6 


Bugbe, Eunice 


Woodstock 


V 


1745 


31 


Burnham, Aaron 


Lisbon 


I 


1727 


55 


Bushnale, Aron 


Lebanon 


V 


174[2?] 


20 


Bushnell, Joseph 


Norwichtown 


V 


1746 


96 


Bushnell, Mary 


" 


V 


1745 


92 


Calkin, Simon 


Lebanon 


Circle 


1735 


5 






& Rosettes 




Carew, Diadema & 










Lucrecia 


Norwichtown 


IV 


1739 


9,1 


Carriar, Ruth 


Colchester 


IV 


1734 


19 


Caverly, Philip 


" 


IV 


1739 


22 


Chapel, Caleb 


Exeter 


III 


1732/3 


63 


Clap, Mary 


Windham Center 


IV 


1736 


24 


Clap, Temprance 


" 


III 


1731 


5 


Clap, (Infant) 


" 


IV 


1736 


1 day 


Clarke, Aaron 


Exeter 


V 


1744 


58 


Clark, Beulah 


Lebanon 


I 


1726 


10 


Clark, David 


" 


IV 


1735 


2 


Clark, Jonathan 


" 


IV 


1743/44 


- 


Clarke, Nathaniel 


Exeter 


IV 


1737 


45 


Cleveland, Samuel 


Canterbury 


II 


1727 


46 


Conant, Eunice 


Mansfield Center 


IV 


1736 


25 


Conant, Exercise 


" 


I 


1722 


85 


Crane, Jonathan 


Lebanon 


IV 


1735 


77 


Cushman, Sarah 


" 


I 


1726 


52 


Cushman, Thomas 


" 


I 


1727/8 


57 


Davenport, William 


Coventry 


IV 


1742 


77 


Dewey, Ebenezer 


Lebanon 


III 


1711 


33 


Dewey, Hephizibah 


Lebanon 


III 


1732 


89 


Dewey, Josiah 


" 


III 


1732 


92 


Dewey, Josiah 


" 


Circle 


1734 


1 mo. 






& Rosettes 




Dimmuck, Joanna 


Mansfield Center 


I 


1727 


84 


Dimmuck, Shubael 


" 


III 


1732 


90 


Doggol(sp?), Experience Lebanon 


V 


1736 


23 


Doubleday, Margrat 


" 


IV 


1749 


32 


Durkee, Hannah 


Franklin 


V 


1744 


— 


Eastabrook, Rebeckah 


Canterbury 


I 


1727 


47 


Eastabrook, Samuel 


" 


I 


1727 


53 


Edgerton, Ane 


Franklin 


V 


1744 


28 


Fitch, An 


Lebanon 


II 


1728 


48 



Obadiah Wheeler 










Fitch, Hannah 


.. 


IV 


1738 


34 


Fitch, Jabez 


" 


V 


1736 


7 


Fitch, James 


Canterbury 


II 


1727 


80 


Fitch, James 


Lebanon 


III 


1702 


80 


Fitch, John 


Windham Center 


V 


1743 


77 


Fitch, Mary 


Canterbury 


III 


1732/3 


25 


Fitch, Mason 


Lebemon 


IV 


1734 


23 


Fitch, Rachil 


" 


I 


1726 


6 


Fitch, Sarah 


" 


IV 


1720 


34 


Fitch, Simon & Cypron 


" 


V 


1736 


5,3 


Fobes, John 


Preston 


IV 


1739 


44 


Foster, Ezekiel 


Lebanon 


II 


1727 


23 


Ganes, Abel 


" 


II 


1718 


73 


Genengs, Jonathan 


Windham Center 


IV 


1733 


79 


Ginings, Jemima 


" 


IV 


1736 


28 


Gookin, Elizabeth 


Norwichtown 


III 


1731/2 


16 


Gray, Ann 


Lebanon 


Circle 


1732 


1 mo. 






& Rosettes 




Gray, Simeon 


" 


IV 


1742 


33 


Griswold, Susannah 


Windham Center 


II 


1727 


60 


Hartshorn, David 


Franklin 


IV 


1738 


82 


Hartshorn, Rebeckah 


" 


IV 


1742/3 


79 


Hide, Caleb 


Lebanon 


Elongate 1730 


6 






Wings 






Hide, Samuel 


" 


IV 


1742 


-- 


Hide, William 


Norwichtown 


V 


1738 


63 


Hilleious, John 


Montville 


IV 


1733 


9 


Hilliard, 


Franklin 


IV 


1739 


53 days 


Howard, William 


Hampton 


'Upswept 1736 


5? 






Rays' 






Hunt, Thomas, Jr. 


Lebanon 


IV 


1735 


-- 


Huntington, Abigail 


Norwichtown 


III 


1730 


46 


Huntington, Abigail 


" 


IV 


1734 


56 


Huntington, Andrew 


Norwichtown 


IV 


1739 


15 


Huntington, Christophei 


• " 


IV 


1735? 


75 


Huntington, Elizabeth 


" 


IV 


1735 


42 


Huntington, Elizabeth 


Windham Center 


II 


1729 


39 


Huntington, Elizabeth 


" 


V 


1733 


37 


Huntington, Lydia 


Norwichtown 


IV 


1737 


74 


Huntington, Preseila 


" 


IV 


1740 


67 


Huntington, Rebeckah 


" 


IV 


1725 


8 


Huntington, Sibel 


" 


V 


1744 


25 


Huntington, Simon 


" 


IV 


1736 


77 


Huntington, Thomas 


Windham Center 


III 


1732 


69 


Huntington, Eunice 


Norwichtown 


III 


1732 


8 


Hutchison, John 


Hebron 


'Upswept 1742 


11 






Rays' 






Hutchison, Jonathan 


Lebanon 


I 


1726 
(1717) 


3- 


Hucison, Mindwell 




I 


1726 
(1717) 


Imo. 


Janes, Mary 


" 


IV 


1735 


80 



303 



304 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Johnson, Ann 


" 


IV 


1735 


- 


Johnson, Ebenezer 


" 


I 


1727 


9 


Jones, Mary 


Colchester 


Solid 
Wings 


1729 


6 


Kellage, Margaret 


" 


V 


1747 


71 


Kingsbury, Joseph 


Franklin 


'Upswept 1741 


85 






Rays' 






Kingsle, John 


Scotland 


Solid 
Wings 


1733 


68 


Lasell, Johney 


II 


I 


1727 


26 


Leffmgwell, Sara 


Norwichtown 


III 


1730 


39 


Leffingwell, Thomas 


" 


III 


1733 


60 


Lilie, George 


Scotland 


II 


1719 


~ 


Lilie, Rebeckah 


" 


II 


1719 


~ 


Lilie, Sarah 


" 


II 


1713 


~ 


Loomis, Elisabeth 


Colchester 


IV 


1736 


69 


Loomis, EUzabeth 


Exeter 


IV 


1742 


54 


Lx)thrup, Abigail 


Norwichtown 


V 


1734 


104 


Lothrup, Israeli 


" 


IV 


1733 


73 


Lothrup, Rebeckah 


" 


IV 


1737 


74 


Lothrup, 


" 


III 


1732 


8,6,1 


Mead, John 


Coventry 


V 


1746 


40 


Metcalf, Daniel 


Lebanon 


'Upswept 1742 


37 days 






Rays' 






Metcalf, Eliphalet 


" 


" 


1745 


10 mo., 21 days 


Metcalf, Jonathan 


" 


IV 


1738 


63 


Moore, WilUam 


Windham Center 


II 


1728 


77 


Mory, Jerusha 


Lebanon 


IV 


1736 


26 


Otis, Delight 


Colchester 


Rosettes 1740 


11 


Otis, Nath 


" 


V 


1740 


16 


Palmer, Amasa 


Scotland 


II 


1727 


10 mo. 


Parker, Jacob 


Ashford 


II 


1731 


70 


Parker, Sarah 


" 


III 


1731/2 


36 


Peck, Benjamin 


Franklin 


V 


1742 


76 


Peck?, Joseph 


" 


'Upswept 1731 


15 mo. 






Rays' 






Phelps, Abi 


Lebanon 


V 


1742 


26 


Phelps, David 


" 


V 


1747 


2 


Phelps, Esther 




Solid 
Wings 


1734 


9 


Phelps, Joseph 


" 


V 


1735 


~ 


Phelps, Joseph 


" 


V 


1747 


-- 


Phelps, Submit 


" 


Heart 


17-1 


6 


Post, Jabez 


Norwichtown 


V 


1725 


22 


Post, John 


" 


V 


1718 


18 


Post, Samuel 


" 


V 


1735 


68 


Post, Stephen & Samue 


" 


V 


1735 


26,1 


Raymond, Elizabeth 


Montville 


IV 


173- 


-- 


Renalls, Joseph 


Norwichtown 


II 


1728/9 


69 


Ripley, Hannah 


Windham Center 


V 


1738 


76 


Ripley, Jeremiah 


" 


IV 


1736 


-- 


Ripley, Joshua 


" 


IV 


1739 


81 



Obadiah Wheeler 










Ripley, Mary 


.. 


IV 


1731 


61 


Ripley, Nehiamiah 


" 


IV 


1736 


71? 


Robinson, Experience 


Scotland 


II 


1727 


55 


Rollo-, William 


Hebron 


IV 


1732 


55 


Sabin, John 


Franklin 


V 


1742 


43? 


Sargant, John 


Mansfield Center 


IV 


1745 


36 


Sawyer, Jonathan 


Hebron 


IV 


1737 


27 


Sleuman, David 


Franklin 


IV 


1742 


27 


Sluman, Hannah 


Lebanon 


IV 


1736 


19 


Sluman, Joseph 


" 


V 


1744 


3- 


Sluman, Sarah 


Franklin 


V 


1742 


65 


Sluman, Thomas 


" 


V 


1742 


67? 


Smith, Hannah 


Preston 


V 


1743 


38 


Sprague, Barnabus 


Lebanon 


Slab 


17-8 


1 mo. 


Sprague, Benjamin 


" 


Slab 


1723 


3 mo. 


Sprague, Frelove 


" 


Slab 


1722 


3 mo. 


Sprague, Mary 


" 


Slab 


1721 


- 


Sprague, Mary 


" 


Slab 


1723 


43 


Sprague, Prudence 


" 


Slab 


1726 


38 


Stoares, Martha 


Mansfield Center 


II 


172- 


57 


Strong, Abijah 


Exeter 


V 


1732 


70 


Terry, Dan 


Lebanon 


IV 


1739 


4 


Terry, Ephriam 


" 


II 


1730? 


8 


Thatcher, — - & 


" 


V 


1740 


12,- 


Thomas, Mary 


Goshen Hill 


IV 


1740 


74 


Thorp, Peter 


Exeter 


V 


1734 


72 


Throope, Amos 


Woodstock 


IV 


1735 


34 


Throope, Chloe & 










Issabella 


Lebanon 


IV 


1736-37 


3 mo., 12 hrs 


Throope, Dan 


" 


IV 


1737 


67 


Tiffany, Hanah 


Ashford 


IV 


1734 


65 


Tilden, Stephen 


Lebanon 


II 


1727 


" 


Tisdale, Abigail 


" 


I 


1726 


45 


Tisdeal, Elknah 


" 


Slab 


1731 


10 


Tisdale, James 


" 


I 


1727 


48 


Trescold, Bridgett 


Mansfield Center 


V 


1744 


42 


Vetch, Andrew 


Goshen Hill 


V 


1742 


87 


Vetch, Sarah 


Lebanon 


Solid 
Wings 


172- 


2 


Wadsworth, John 


Goshen Hill 


IV 


1736/7 


32 


Wales, Abner 


Windham Center 


III 


1733? 


2? 


Wales, Esther 


" 


IV 


1737 


35 


Wales, Susannah 


" 


V 


1737 


15 


Wales, Susannah 


" 


II 


1730 


68 


Waterman, Mary 


Norwichtown 


IV 


1736 


15 


Wattle, Abigael 


Goshen Hill 


V 


1744 


68 


Wattles, Judeth 


" 


V 


1742 


39 


Wattle, William 


" 


IV 


1737 


65 


Wayman, Ebenezer 


Union 


IV 


1746 


38 


Webster, Georg 


Lebanon 


V 


1749 


23? 


Webster, John 


" 


IV 


1736 


63 


Webster, Samuel 


" 


V 


1742 


18 



305 



306 



Connecticut Gravestones 



West, Sarah 


Goshen Hill 


V 1743? 


20 


Williams, Alice 


Lebanon 


IV 1740 


22 


Williams, Eleazer 


Goshen Hill 


IV 1740 


49 


Williams, Eleazer 


Mansfield Center 


IV 1740/2 


55 


Williams, Hannah 


" 


IV 1742 


27 


Williams, Lydia 


Exeter 


III 1731 


48 


Williams, Precisla 


Lebanon 


IV 


-- 


Williams, Samuel 


" 


IV 1742 


1 mo. 


Williams, Solomon 


" 


IV 1748 


19 


Witter, Ebenezer 


Preston 


V 1712 


44 


Woodward, Abigail 


Lebanon 


Heart 1739 


2 


Woodworth, Anne 




Rosette 1742 
Wings 


1,15? 


Wright,[Writ] Elizabeth 


Windham Center 


II 1727 


25 


, Jonathan 


Lebanon 


IV 1738 


63 




Markers Represented by Footstones Only 




Davenport, Samuel 


Exeter 


only 1732 
Border 


3 weel 


Loomis, Isaiah 




'Upswept ~ 
Rays' 


~ 


Noritshon?, Elizabeth 




'Upswept - 
Rays' 


— 


Holbrook, Caleb 


Lebanon 


Circles -- 


-- 



Addenda 

Since the original publication of this article the following stones carved by Obadiah 
Wheeler have been discovered. 

Bolton (Center burying ground) 

Kingsbery, Deborah V 1745 

Bozrah (Johnson burying ground) 

Hilliard, John V 1744 



Columbia 

Lyman, Anna 



IV 



1737 



Coventry (South Street burying ground) 
Fowller, Hannah IV 

An illegible eroded stone 



1743 



Franklin (Gager burying ground) 

Edgerton, John II 1730 

This stone is for a twenty-one-year-old boy who was killed by the bite of a rattlesnake. 
This statement on a fine Wheeler stone definitely establishes the former presence of 
these reptiles in the area from which they have now long been exterpated. 



Obadiah Wheeler 307 



Hampton (Old Litchfield burying ground) 
Durkee, John Dec. V 1739 

Lisbon (Ames burying ground) 

Hebard, Deborah IV 1737 

Stone fallen and buried. 

Norwich (Royal Indian burying ground) 

Pompi Uncas 

Seasar Uncas 

The stone for Uncas, the great chief of the Mohicans, may also have been in this bury- 
ing ground. It is now in the Slater museum in Norwich. Uncas's grave in the Royal 
burying ground is a later obelisk. 

Plainfield 

Dean, Christopher ~ 1740 

Preston (Fobes-Ames burying ground) 

Fobes, John Dec. IV 1739 

Tracy, Margarate IV 1743 

Putnam (Aspinwall burying ground) 

Fisk, John IV 1721 

Scotland (Palmer) 

Cook, Phineas II 1728 

Bristol, Rhode Island 

Peck, Joseph V 1735 

Throope, Elisabeth II 1727 

Bristol, Rhode Island (St. Michael's churchyard) 
Throope, Sarah IV 1736 

Dickran and Ann Tashjian published in 1974, the same year the above article appeared, a 
book entitled Memorials for Children of Change (Middletown, Conn.) in which they discuss 
symbolism on colonial gravestones. Unfortunately they have confused the work of Obadiah 
Wheeler and Benjamin Collins in a manner that invalidates the evidence upon which they base 
a number of conclusions. The following stones assigned to Collins are actually Wheeler 
stones: Deacon Thomas Leffmgwell (1733), Abigail Huntington (1735) and Deacon Chris- 
topher Huntington (1735). 

One suspects Dr. Caulfield might have wondered if Obadiah Wheeler really thought of his 
symbolism in the manner expressed by the Tashjians, as for example, "This metaphysical view 
is further strengthened by the presence of the heart within the total pattern. Its association 
with both the angel and the frieze implies that man is a composite of the spiritual and the ra- 
tional, a creature whose dualities are not exclusive but interpenetrative." 



308 Connecticut Gravestones 



NOTES 



Mr. Slater wishes to thank Miss Molly Hubbard and Mrs. Kathleen Schmidt of the University 
of Connecticut for aid in the preparation of illustrations, Mrs. Ralph Wetzel for critically read- 
ing the manuscript, and the University of Connecticut Research Foundation for providing 
typing facilities. [Note appearing in original publication.] 

1. For a general analysis of the subject, see Edwin Dethlefsen and James Deetz, "Death's 
heads, Cherubs, and Willow Trees: Experimental Archaeology in Colonial Cemeteries," 
American Antiquity, XXXI (1966), 502-510. 

2. Allan I. Ludwig, Graven Images: New England Stonecarving and Its Symbols 1650-1815 
(Middletown, Conn., 1966), 380-381. 

3. Connecticut Gravestones IX. 

4. Probate Court Department. Connecticut State Library, Hartford. 

5. Probate Court Department. Connecticut State Library, Hartford. 

6. Concord, Massachusetts Births, Marriages, and Deaths 1635-1850 (n.d.), 17, 54, 59, 63, 67, 

73. 

7. Land Records of the Town of Lebanon, Connecticut. Book 3, 206-208. Lebanon Town 
Hall. 

8. Concord, Massachusetts Births, Marriages, and Deaths, 54. 

9. Ludwig, Graven Images, Plates 221A, B, C; 222A, B, C attributed some Hartshorn stones to 
Joshua Hempstead of New London, Connecticut. Caulfield, Connecticut Gravestones XII, 
has shown the stones in question to be the work of Hartshorn. 

10. Ludwig, Graven Images, 380. 

11. Dethlefsen and Deetz, "Death's Heads," 502. 

12. The Exercise Conant stone is now preserved in the Mansfield Historical Society's museum. 
There is an excellent replica in place in the Mansfield Center burying ground. 

13. The statement in the caption to Plate 22 of the original article that this stone is the 
footstone of the 1726 Mindwell Hutchinson stone is an unfortunate error. A careful ex- 
amination of the picture will show clearly that this is a headstone for an unnamed daughter 
of Jonathan and Mindwell Hutchinson who died in 1717 when a month old. This makes 
the practice carving below ground very enigmatic indeed. It is hardly conceivable that 
Obadiah Wheeler would have made such elaborate practice carving and at the same time 
have produced such a crude stone above ground. I can only speculate that this was the first 
crude attempt by Wheeler at making gravestones and that he pulled the stone up (it's a 
very small stone) and practiced on it when making the Jonathan Hutchinson stone, or that 
it was made by another hand and used later for practice by Wheeler. If it is the latter case, 
it is the only stone of this type to be found today in any Lebanon burying ground. 



Obadiah Wheeler 309 



14. Ludwig, Graven Images, Plate 223C. 

15. For an amusing account of Dr. Caulfield's relationship to this stone see the note by James 
A. Slater, "The Fate of Peter Nity." Association for Gravestone Studies Newsletter 4:20. 
(1980). 

16. Ludwig, Graven Images, 189. 

17. Peter Benes in a 1987 article [Chapter 7, Mirror and Metaphor, ed. D. Ingersol, Jr., and G. 
Bronitisley (Lanham, Md., 1987), 140-141] suggests that the change in the faces on 
Wheeler stones gave them an "ecstatic" expression, that the key date was 1736 and that this 
was associated with a mid-century religious revival, and the Wheeler's closed-eye stones 
are the earliest expression on gravestones of this change in religious enthusiasm. This may 
well be true as Wheeler stones from the same period tend to have smiling mouth slits. It 
does, however, bring to mind Tolstoy's warning about cause and effect when he states his 
amazement that whenever his watch shows twelve o'clock noon a great bell in the tower 
rings and he finds it remarkable that the little watch can cause that great bell to toll. Cer- 
tainly there has been no lack of speculation about the symbolism on Wheeler stones. The 
Tashjians believe that Type IV Wheeler stones are sun symbols and have commented ver- 
bally to me that they believe the large Wheeler footstones are meant to represent the eye 
of God, whereas Dr. Caulfield and I had felt they tended merely to show an exuberant use 
of the compass by Obadiah. 

18. Both Preston and Hebron have two cemeteries with Wheeler gravestones. 

19. The Aspinwall burying ground in Putnam (see addenda) had a beautiful Type IV Wheeler 
stone for John Fisk (1721, back dated). This stone was missing from the burying ground in 
the faU of 1989. 

20. Students using the old cemetery in Franklin, Connecticut, should be aware that in the 
spring of 1971 the colonial stones were all dug up and placed in windrows. This action was 
taken to remove woody plant growth, straighten rows and replant grass. Unfortunately the 
stones no longer have any semblance of their original spatial relationship to one another. 
The people involved also had no idea that each grave was marked by a footstone as well as 
a headstone so that the footstone for a given individual is often far down the line from the 
headstone for the same individual. 

21. In the late 1980s these slabs, together with several fallen Wheeler, Collins and Manning 
stones, were placed flat on the ground and encased in cement. Today they lie exposed to 
the rain and snow and are deteriorating rapidly. They are disfiguring to what is otherwise 
an outstanding colonial burying ground and are examples of the very worst type of 
"preservation." These examples, in contrast to the Jonathan Hutchinson stone, which after 
being stolen and returned has been placed indoors where it is safely protected from the ele- 
ments, should be an object lesson to those who oppose removal of gravestones, for 
Lebanon has made an attempt, although a misguided one, to preserve these stones in situ. 




310 



Connecticut Gravestones 




S^'. - ' 






Fig. 1 Abr[a]ham Pease 1749. Enfield. 



,ftr- \5^^ > 







I 



Hem Lies^th^ ?^9 



I^BodyofHFrAb 



Y 



Fig. 2 Mrs. Abiah Kent 1748. Suffield. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 3IX 

CONNECTICUT GRAVESTONES XVIII 
Wanted: The Hook-and-Eye Man* 



The Search for an Elusive Stonecutter 

Once while searching for the hook-and-eye man, we lost our way near Staf- 
ford Hollow, and we were happy to meet a toothless native trudging along 
the road, pitch-fork in hand. When we asked for the old graveyard, he asked 
us, "What do you want to go there for?" We explained that we were inter- 
ested in gravestones as manifestations of early American art and that we 
could often identify the stonecutter by the inscription and the design. "And 
what good does that do you?" he asked us next. We had no answer, and as 
we drove on we kept repeating to each other, "And what good does that do 
you?" 

Without doubt the hook-and-eye man was the most popular stonecutter of 
his day in eastern Connecticut, where he catered to the beaver-hat trade and 
won favor despite the repetitious and rather awkward creations which gave 
him his name. Years ago Harriette Forbes dubbed him the "hook-and-eye 
man," an appropriate name because his carved faces, made with simple 
curved lines, suggest the eye of the old-fashioned garment fastener known as 
hook and eye. 

He was, of course, attempting to imitate earlier Hartford and Middletown 
carvers, but he lacked the material, the ability, and the imagination to go 
beyond the simplest designs. He embellished each moon-like face with a few 
notches on the jaw-bone, presumably to resemble teeth. He also carved un- 
der each bulbous nose a small turned-down mouth, which gives a sad but 
ludicrous expression to his mask. Two separated, raised eyebrows completed 
the face, which was surmounted by a four-pointed crown and enclosed on 
either side by three tiers of wings. For important people, ministers, deacons, 
and some others, he sometimes carved a formless mass exuding from the 
ears, its significance still unknown. 



* The original article, published in Markers I, carried a short preface by Dr. Slater about the 
author. This has been omitted here because of the more complete biographical sketch at the 
beginning of this volume. 



312 Connecticut Gravestones 

In the rounded finials, where the more skillful artists usually carved the 
multi-foliate rose, a symbol of paradise since early times, the hook-and-eye 
man experimented with various figures and then adopted a simple four- 
leaved clover. Often he also carved a heart at the bottom of the stone, and 
occasionally he supplied a footstone engraved with diamond shapes. We 
took many pictures in order to compare his work with that of others, since 
the old stonecutters frequently carved their letters, numerals, and designs in 
their own peculiar manner, which now helps us identify their work. 

One effort we made to trace the hook-and-eye man was a spot map of his 
stones, in the expectation of finding him near their geographic center. Some 
stones appear in Hartford, Farmington, and Wethersfield, west of the Con- 
necticut River, but nine out of ten are located east of the river. His stones 
occur frequently in towns along the Massachusetts border, as in Enfield, 
Somers, and the Woodstocks, and they are also found in Pomfret, Brooklyn, 
and Plainfield near the Rhode Island border. Although he placed an oc- 
casional stone in New London, Old Lyme, and even in New York City, most 
appear north of the Glastonbury-Colchester-Norwich pike. 

This geographic distribution, reinforcing the clue given by the stone itself, 
led us to believe that our stonecutter lived somewhere near the Bolton 
quarries. The stones are nearly all gray schists. The Bolton quarries 
produced a sparkling, quartz-containing schist and once occupied an impor- 
tant place in Connecticut economics. Grindstones from Bolton schist were 
inferior because the stone was too soft, but Bolton flagstones were in great 
demand in many New England towns. 

One day in summer we decided to hunt gravestones in Tolland, the an- 
cestral home of President Grant. The Boston highway now skirts the town, 
leaving it as it was long ago - a one-store village with shade-trees surround- 
ing a typical New England green. Even the Tolland jail, overlooking a broad, 
colorful valley, seemed an attractive place to live. 

After inquiries we found Cider Mill Road, leading to the old graveyard, 
with many exciting stones. There we were startled to come on a triple stone 
for three West children, who all died, probably from diphtheria, within forty- 
eight hours in March of 1775. (See Connecticut Gravestones XIV, Fig. 1.) 
Their stone has many characteristics of the hook-and-eye design, even the 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 313 

misplaced teeth and four-pointed crown. Across the bottom of the stone, in 
letters written large, is this obvious advertisement: "Made by W"^ Buckland 
Ju/ Hartford." Our problem was solved, or so we thought. 

Many clues favored William Buckland, Jr., as the long-sought hook-and- 
eye man. Both his wife's and his mother's gravestones conform very much to 
type, indeed so closely that we decided that if Buckland did not make most of 
the common hook-and-eye stones, he was at least related in some way to the 
man who did. Reservations, however, soon began to accumulate. Buckland, 
we learned, lived in East Hartford, which was contrary to our belief that the 
hook-and-eye man lived in Bolton. A stonecutter in Bolton would have had 
difficulty enough transporting his stones over bad country roads as far away 
as Pomfret, Scotland, or Norwich, but carting them over the mountain from 
East Hartford would have been even more difficult. Furthermore, hook-and- 
eye faces that are known to be Buckland's work had tiny eyes and enormous 
bulbous noses that were almost caricatures rather than typical of the work we 
believed to be the original hook-and-eye man's. Buckland's footstones are 
also decidedly different; and, furthermore, all of his typical known stones 
were made from red sandstone. Not a single gray schist stone had the enor- 
mously enlarged nose found on the stones known to have been carved by 
Buckland. So we tentatively eliminated William Buckland, Jr., as the man we 
were after. 

Next in line was William's brother, Peter Buckland, who also cut grave- 
stones and signed his name at least once on sandstone (see Connecticut 
Gravestones XIV, Fig. 13) and three times on gray schist. He lies buried in 
Manchester, not far from Bolton, so he had to be considered. Peter's known 
stones are also somewhat similar to typical hook-and-eye stones, but the style 
of his signed stones seemed to us quite distinctive, especially his border panel 
and footstones. At this point we felt much confused by our evidence. 

A year or so later, driving from Hartford to a medical meeting in Quebec, 
we spotted an old graveyard on the roadside in Wilder, Vermont, which is 
near the crossing to Dartmouth in Hanover, New Hampshire. And whom 
should we meet there? None other than old Hook-and-eye himself. There 
he was, sneering at us through his funny faces. We soon began to doubt, 
however, that the Vermont cutter could be the same as our Connecticut 



314 Connecticut Gravestones 

hook-and-eye man, for although we saw some four-leaved clovers, typical 
hearts and diamonds, and the same ridiculous crowns, we thought he was 
much too far from home, about 160 miles. So we concluded that some Ver- 
mont workman had attempted to imitate the master. Besides, rain began to 
fall, and we resumed our journey. 

Through two following years, good weather and bad, we continued to hunt 
gravestones. The winding country lanes, inviting doorways, stone fences, 
hundreds of little lakes, and the ubiquitous laurel of the Connecticut 
countryside were never without charm. We could not see too much of 
Sharon, Gilead, Coventry, the Woodstocks, Old Lyme, and Essex, each with 
its graveyard on a hill - the choicest land in town. We shall never forget that 
autumn day when we intruded on the old graveyard on the crest of a hill in 
Bolton Center, where one could look over numberless hills and valleys far 
away to Rhode Island and see nothing but wave upon wave of color. What a 
glorious place it would be, we thought, to behold the Resurrection. 

For every interesting or pleasant aspect of gravestone hunting there was a 
compensating hazard. We soon learned to respect even a single leaf of 
poison ivy. We also learned the hard way that woodchuck holes may be dis- 
regarded only by those with rubber bones. Snakes inhabit nearly every 
country graveyard, but they never bothered us much after our first encounter, 
for we always gave any snake the right of way. But these were minor irrita- 
tions compared to the gruesome verse that abounds in old graveyards: 

All you that read with little care, 
And walk away and leave me here; 
Should not forget that you must die, 
And be intomb'd as well as I. 

Meanwhile, with all our theories on the hook-and-eye man upset by our 
Vermont discovery, we traced other stonecutters, especially George Gris- 
wold, the earliest known stonecutter in the American colonies, with his 
simple unornamented stones in Hartford, Windsor, Suffield, Longmeadow, 
Westfield, and Northampton. We also enjoyed pursuing Ebenezer Drake, 
with his scarecrow designs, and possibly the most fascinating of all Connec- 
ticut stone engravers, if only because he varied his designs from year to year. 
Always skillful with his chisels, Drake might have become a famous sculptor. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 315 

had he not been so thoroughly infatuated with his own brand of surrealism. 
He almost seems to have created designs solely for the purpose of keeping 
colonial boys and girls out of graveyards at night, for surely nothing in this 
world could have been more discouraging to romance than suddenly to en- 
counter one of Ebenezer's stony ghosts lighted by a harvest moon. But 
nearly everywhere we went, especially around Glastonbury and Wethersfield, 
we found old Hook-and-eye with his taunting sneer seeming to defy detec- 
tion. 

Lacking any definitive evidence from the stones, we came to believe that 
probate records offered our only remaining possibility of success. 

At first a probate search seemed very simple. One had only to copy names 
and dates from hook-and-eye inscriptions and then to search the probate 
records of the decedent. In Connecticut the old probate records for nearly 
all districts are on file in the State Library in Hartford, well-indexed and 
well-preserved, each in its own folder. These include some 6000 estates, all 
before 1800, for the Hartford district alone. We quickly realized, however, 
that this avenue of research was not as simple as it seemed. 

In the first place, many records consist of the decedent's will or bonds of 
administration, neither of which reveals the expenses of an estate. And 
again, many consist of only inventories and distributions, which though inter- 
esting, rarely yield any information on stonecutters. While glancing through 
some inventories, we did, however, find items of interest. Ichabod Higgins of 
Durham, for example, left some unfinished gravestones in his estate (1758), 
so we thus discovered another Connecticut engraver that no historian had 
reported. In short, the probate records yielded no quick solution to our 
problem. 

When a stonecutter's name appears in the probate records, we usually find 
it in separate papers called "Accounts of Administration" or "Returns to the 
Court," but only about one estate in five includes such papers, so our problem 
was at least five times more difficult than we first supposed. We were en- 
couraged, though, to find the names of the men who made coffins, and we 
learned to our surprise that the leading cabinet makers also spent con- 
siderable time making coffins. Even gravediggers' names could be easily 
found. Old Uriah Burkit, who was no Dickens character, made his living dig- 



316 Connecticut Gravestones 

ging graves in Hartford for fifty years. To Uriah each burial was a statistic, 
for when he died in 1801 his obituary noted that he had buried 2,245 persons. 

The "Accounts of Administration" showed other expenses for funerals. 
The drummer boy had to be paid, and mourning gloves purchased by the 
dozen. When the widow Grant was buried in 1705, the "6 qts. of Rom for her 
funrill" came to ten and six, and this charge was typical of scores of similar 
entries. We found one instance where the mourners drank nearly the whole 
estate. 

Our problem, however, was that even detailed accounts seldom included 
the name of the stonecutter, because, as we later discovered, the accounts 
were made up fairly soon after the individual's decease, and the estate was 
settled long before the gravestone was erected. Sometimes one or more 
years elapsed between the funeral and the payment for the gravestone. Only 
when a contract for a gravestone was signed or the gravestone actually 
delivered could the cost be considered as a legitimate expense. We finally 
realized that often the cost of the gravestone was voluntarily contributed by 
one or more of the descendants after the estate was settled. On occasion, dis- 
agreement about the gravestone prevented timely allowance of the cost. In 
South Canterbury, for example, a gravestone dated 1804 bears this note: 
"This monument was erected wholly at the expense of Mr. G. Justin Son of 
the deceas'd." 

The most tantalizing aspect of our probate search was to find administra- 
tive accounts with names of creditors but with no indications of the objects of 
expenditure. And worse still was occasionally to find the exact cost of the 
gravestone but no mention of the engraver's name. 

We searched over 350 probate records for the hook-and-eye stones on our 
list without finding a single definite clue. We would go to the old graveyard 
in Windham, for instance, copy all the names and dates from the hook-and- 
eye stones, spend hours examining the corresponding probate records, and 
come home with nothing more than a list of suggestive names, none of which 
meant much. We did this for town after town. 

We frequently cursed the old probate judges and clerks for keeping such 
miserable records. They would write the administrator's receipts in one 
column and expenses in another, accounting for every shilling without divulg- 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 317 

ing one bit of useful information. 

Making little progress in our search, we next made a list of creditors of 
Hartford estates for matching against the creditors from Tolland estates, 
hoping that any name common to both would be the name of the hook-and- 
eye man who made the gravestones for all the estates. Here again, we met 
disappointments. Joel White was a name common to both groups, but he 
turned out to be a money-lender. William Ellery turned out to be Hartford's 
first postmaster, who also kept a general store. Elisha Burnham happened to 
be a blacksmith who was popular throughout both counties. We found that 
certain men in every community were creditors of nearly everyone for miles 
around. 

We continued until we had examined the estates for all of our hook-and- 
eye stones in Hartford, Tolland, and Windham counties, and we were no 
nearer to a solution that when we began. We still had some Colchester es- 
tates to examine, but we were leaving town the next morning on vacation, 
and it hardly seemed worth while to begin them. 

Suddenly we had a break. Colchester had had a judge who knew how to 
run a court. He had saved every scrap of paper. We found scores of in- 
dividual receipts signed by every person to whom the estate had paid money. 
We had about twenty-five Colchester estates to investigate, each with five to 
thirty slips of paper, and we had to read every word. But it was closing time 
for the library, and the young lady in charge, though too polite to tell us to 
leave, began bustling around the room, shutting doors and windows, putting 
away books from our table, turning out lights, and dropping other forceful 
hints. Yet we felt driven to finish those Colchester records before leaving on 
vacation. Noting our dejected expressions, James Brewster, the State 
Librarian, gave us permission, despite the rules, to return to the library that 
night to examine the records. 

It was a memorable night for us - that night of July 30, 1950. Alone in the 
eerie basement where the old probate records are kept, we felt squeamish in 
our task of tracking down those eighteenth-century ghosts. We had already 
learned to decipher most of the handwriting of the period, but even so, we 
found many receipts written and signed by tradesmen who seemed never to 
have grasped a quill before. The hours went by and our pile of unexamined 



318 Connecticut Gravestones 

records went down, but long after ten o'clock we were suddenly electrified by 
the discovery of a single scrap of paper with an item that seemed almost too 
good to be real. This precious, fragile document was among the records of 
the estate of Isaac Bigelow, who died on September 11, 1751: 

Colchestg- March y^ 11^^ 1752 

Then rec of Isaac Biglow Twenty four 

pound in bills of Credit, for wich 

I promis to DeUver 3 pare of Grave 

Stones at or before y^ first Day of may 

next after y^ Date herof 

at my DweUing hous in bolton 

Rec as aforsd I say 

p me Gershom Bartlet 

The estate of Abner Kellogg (Colchester, 1755) proved an anti-climax, 
with another receipt signed by Gershom Bartlett, but we needed no addi- 
tional proof. We had found our man. 

To us Gershom Bartlett was the most elusive carver of the eighteenth cen- 
tury, and we had caught him with his stone hammers, his chisels, and his 
leather apron. He lived in Bolton, right where the quarries are. The 
evidence was perfect! 

Now who was Gershom Bartlett? When and where was he born? What 
became of him after 1772, when he stopped carving gravestones in Connec- 
ticut? When and where did he die? 

Once we had his name, we had new leads into the old records and new 
leads through the old graveyards. 

The old Bolton church records, which have been published by the Connec- 
ticut Historical Society, show that Bartlett was born in 1723, the son of 
Samuel and Sarah Bartlett. Samuel had migrated from Northampton, Mas- 
sachusetts, and was admitted to the church in 1725. Gershom had many 
children by his wife, Margaret, but there is no record of his death in Bolton. 

The original Bolton land records also provided an important clue. An 
entry dated June 20, 1747, shows that John Ellsworth bought ten acres of 
land in Bolton from "Garshem Bartlett of Windsor." Since we knew that 
Bartlett had lived for a good part of his life in Bolton, this reference to 
Windsor came as a distinct surprise and opened up a new line of research. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 



319 



Stiles's History and Genealogy of Ancient Windsor confirmed Bartlett's 
residence in Windsor, because his son Joseph was born there in January, 
1749, and his daughter Lucy in November, 1750. 

The association with Windsor led back to the graveyards, since it 
reminded us of fourteen red sandstones which we had previously classified as 
"modified hook-and-eye," but which we had been unable to assign to any 
known stonecutter of that period. Of these stones, four are in South Windsor 
(originally part of East Windsor), four in Enfield (Figs. 1 and 6), four in El- 
lington (Figs. 4 and 7), and one in Somers (Fig. 5), all on the east side of the 
Connecticut River. There are no similar stones in Windsor proper or 
anywhere west of the river except a pair of stones for Mrs. Abiah Kent in Suf- 
field dated 1748 (Figs. 2 and 3). 




Fig. 3 Mrs. Abiah Kent 1748. Footstone. Suffield. 



320 



Connecticut Gravestones 



We became convinced that these little gravestones were Bartlett's work, 
and our belief grew firmer when, on checking our files, we found that the es- 
tate of Abraham Pease of Enfield (Fig. 1) had paid "Garshem Butlit ... 8 
pounds" in 1750. Although this probate record does not specifically mention 
a gravestone and the amount is considerably more than was usually paid for 
gravestones at that time, we can be sure that Bartlett, the stonecutter, was a 
creditor of the Pease estate. The stone for Pease differs from the common 
Bolton hook-and-eye stones, being a velvety smooth red sandstone less than 
two feet high and having hollowed eyes and a rather pleasing tear-drop bor- 
der. We later noticed that hollowed eyes and tear-drop borders appear on 
several early grey schist stones from the Bolton quarries. Furthermore, the 
Pease stone has the typical crown, raised eyebrows, turned-down mouth, and 
teeth at the bottom of the skull, all common characteristics of Bartlett's Bol- 
ton stones. 








eve X12S A-t5:p! 
. , ini' 1 o h n 2^n#* 



Fig. 4 John Barret 1750. Ellington. Photograph by James Slater. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 



321 



The tear-drop border, representing grapes or leaves growing on a vine, 
then took on added significance, because this feature helped attribute to 
Bartlett five more stones, including markers for Hannah Parce (1749) and 
Ebenezer Chapin (1751) (Fig. 6) in the same graveyard. These early stones 
all show typical Bartlett features, and four of them show a sixteenth-century 
numeral 5, which became our principal means to identify more of Bartlett's 
early work. No other eighteenth-century stonecutter made this unusual 5. 










^Td 



■^*'. - :>^'«-AA.,.«-?m.*>- 




Fig. 5 Jacob Ward 1748. East Burying Ground, Somers. 



322 Connecticut Gravestones 

Having found that Bartlett's early stones could show considerable varia- 
tions in border designs, we then returned to Somers to review one of the ear- 
Hest stones there, the marker for Jacob Ward (Fig. 5), who died in 1748. On 
Ward's stone was the imperfect pinwheel for a finial, typical crown, raised 
eyebrows, misplaced teeth, unclosed small a's, space-filling serpent, as well as 
the typical and distinctive numeral 5. We concluded that Bartlett was the car- 
ver, despite some variations, such as the slit-like eyes, angular nose, and 
crude, elementary wings, but the most interesting variation was the border, 
which showed an undulating climbing vine adorned with simple, pointed 
philodendron leaves, noticeably asymmetrical. 

The border on the Ward stone became in turn the clue that led us to find- 
ing the first stones that Bartlett ever made, at least the first of all his stones 
still standing in place. Two are in Ellington, both dated 1747. We can see at 
a glance that Sarah Moulton's and John Bingham's (Fig. 7) stones were cut 
by the same carver who made the Ward stone because the borders are practi- 
cally identical. Other similarities include square shoulders and the absence 
of a mouth. The only differences are in the lack of teeth and in the crowns, 
the two early stones having crowns with three tufts, one of them peaked. 

We thus found that in his early days Bartlett was not a hook-and-eye man 
at all. His squinted eyes, joined to an angular elementary nose, though lend- 
ing an amusing, inquisitive expression to the face, cannot be classified as a 
hook-and-eye design. And his earliest stone, for Deborah Ellsworth, who 
died in East Windsor in 1747, shows no face at all, but a meaningless (to us) 
pair of "cucumbers" and some six-pointed stars, indicating that Bartlett had 
been trying a compass to lay out his work. 

Stones for the two Barret boys (Fig. 4), who died in Ellington during a 
dysentery epidemic in September 1750, show Bartlett's variations in style, 
even for stones made at the same time. One stone shows a turned-down 
mouth, three tiers of wings, perpendicular numeral I's, and a tear-drop bor- 
der. The other shows no mouth, a tier and a half of wings, a numeral 1 is 
slanted and hooked, and - most interesting of all ~ a border which later 
evolved into the pattern of bisected mushrooms on an undulating stalk that 
Bartlett adopted for nearly the remainder of his life. 

We searched for every kind of Bartlett record, published or unpublished, 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 



323 



while he Hved in Windsor, but except for references to the births of his first 
two children, we had little luck. We had little prospect of finding him for, 
after all, stonecutting was not a trade commanding great respect, and besides, 
Bartlett was only a novice at this period of his life. Then, while engaged on 
another project, we came across the manuscript account book of Ebenezer 
Grant of East Windsor. Grant's house still stands, a lovely colonial mansion 
on "The Street" in what is now South Windsor, north of the old Edwards 
burial ground. Grant kept a general store where he traded assorted goods, 
including cloth, salt and rum; and many a neighbor crossed a page of history 
merely by charging a purchase in Grant's store. 



p**\' 






%^ 



mWxe Lies \Wf 

Fig. 6 Ebenezer Chapin 1751. Enfield. Photograph by James Slater. 



324 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Ir 1 ears ^^7 raarf jXf -^ 



Fig. 7 John Bingham 1747. Ellington. Photograph by James Slater. 

On the debit side of Grant's account book are some entries made when 
Bartlett was a boy of twenty years: 





Gershom Bartlett Dr 




1743 Octobr 5 


to three qrts Rum 4s/2d pr quart 


0012 06 


1745 April 4 


to 2 Gallons Rum 18s/prG 






&1/2 quire Paper 


0119 00 


" 15 


to pint Rum 2s/4d: 






23rd from Day Book 72s 


0314 00 


May 13 


to 4 yrds Green Tammy 10s per yrd. 






pd Sugr 3s/ 


02 03 00 


May 28 


yrd fme Holld for Wallis 23s 


0103 00 



From the Windsor vital records we can deduce that Bartlett married 
around April or May in 1748, so it was of interest to see what he might have 
bought for his bride on that occasion. The only entries for 1748 are as fol- 
lows: 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 325 



1748 May 21 


to Galln Rum 45s/2pd Sugr at 6s/ 


0217 00 


July 28 


to half pint Rum 3s/ 






29th Galln molas 28s/ 


OHIO 


Sept 29 


to Bushel Salt 46s/ 


02 06 00 


October 14 


to molas 6/6 & pound Sugr 5/6 


0012 00 



The price of rum went from eighteen shillings to forty-five shillings be- 
tween 1743 and 1748, or else Gershom was treating his bride to better 
quality. Numerous other entries show Bartlett buying salt, sugar, molasses 
and "sundries," and at one time his debt to Grant was as much as £22-02-02. 

The opposite side of the ledger is also revealing. In the first place, the 
rum that Bartlett bought on October 5, 1743, was not paid for until February 
24, 1745, although it cost a mere twelve shillings. We might suppose that he 
was nearly broke, except that it was not unusual for even the well-to-do to let 
their accounts stand unpaid for years, only to be settled in full at a later date 
by barter or someone else's note. Cash was scarce, but trade nevertheless 
went on. The fact that Bartlett was not a wealthy man, however, is confirmed 
by other entries: 

Gershom Bartlett pr Contra is Cr[edited] 



1748 July 28 


Reed 2 Days to mow as by Day Book 


0112 00 


1749 July 11 


By Day to take up Oats 


0100 00 


July 19 


By three Days to mow and be kept 






night and Day at 18s 


02 14 00 


1750 June 12 


Reed a Day to mow. Come late 


00 16 00 


July 27 


Reed a day to mow 


00 18 00 


Septr 10th 


Reed a day to thresh flax 


00 16 00 




Rub Stone las July 


00 05 00 



Apparently Bartlett lived far enough away from Grant to find it con- 
venient to stay overnight at least on one occasion in July, 1749; but he still 
lived within Windsor bounds, because his children were officially listed as 
having been born there. We can conclude, therefore, that he lived east of the 
river (thirteen of his fourteen early stones are there) and that his home was 
probably far to the east of Grant's, probably in that part of Windsor, East 
Parish, which became the farming town of Ellington. 

Ebenezer Grant's account book is still more interesting for other entries, 
which at first sight do not concern Bartlett but which may throw light on 



326 Connecticut Gravestones 

some of his early work. Among the latest entries are transactions with 
Joseph Johnson, who on two occasions was paid for gravestones for members 
of Grant's family. The Johnsons were a family of skillful stonecutters in Mid- 
dletown, and Joseph was, in my opinion, the most versatile and accomplished 
stonecutter in Connecticut in colonial times. His carvings, easily identified 
by their excellence in workmanship, may be found in almost every old town 
in the Connecticut Valley south of Springfield. Grant's account book 
definitely places Johnson in South Windsor in the 1740s, which explains the 
presence of so many of his stones there and in Windsor, East Hartford, and 
Glastonbury. It also explains why all the Joseph Johnson stones of this 
period were carved on smooth Windsor sandstone. 

No direct evidence of his acquaintance with Gershom Bartlett has so far 
come to light, but Johnson's influence on Bartlett's early work cannot be 
doubted. The best of Bartlett's early stones, the marker for Mrs. Abiah Kent 
(Fig. 2), who died in Suffield on February 23, 1748, shows carefully cut, even 
letters, with serifs, fancy capital H's and A's, and other imitations of Johnson, 
such as a Johnson crown and a time-consuming stippled background. In fact, 
Mrs. Kent's gravestone was so well made that at one time we tentatively at- 
tributed it to Joseph Johnson, but we came to believe that Bartlett cut the 
stone during his formative years when he either worked as an apprentice to 
Johnson or when he needed patterns to follow. 

The last purchase that Bartlett made from Grant was dated May 18, 1751, 
which is near the date of his last red Windsor sandstone. He soon moved to 
Bolton, because his next child, Margaret, was born there on September 6, 
1752; and practically all hook-and-eye stones for the next twenty years came 
from the Bolton quarries.* Determining the exact date of his move to Bolton 
was a problem. Dates on gravestones are not reliable, inasmuch as the 
stones were frequently made much later than their inscribed dates. For ex- 
ample, stones from Bolton quarries often carry dates in the 1740s, at a time 
when Bartlett is known to have lived in Windsor. The texture of the stones is 
more helpful. The last of his smooth, red Windsor sandstones is dated 
March 31, 1751, whereas his stones from grey Bolton schist increase in num- 



* Stones of the Bartlett type occur in some numbers in the old Plainfield and adjacent burying 
grounds carved on an easily eroded light tan-colored stone. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 327 

ber during and after 1751. Bolton land records give another clue. A deed 
dated December 27, 1750, mentions "Garshem Bartlett of Windsor," whereas 
another dated October 7, 1751, mentions "Garshem Bartlett of Bolton." We 
can suppose that he moved to Bolton in the summer of 1751. 

Just as carving gravestones did not fully occupy his time in Windsor, so he 
had time in Bolton for other pursuits. Like many of his contemporaries, he 
tried his hand at real estate speculation and enjoyed beginner's luck. On 
August 27, 1753, he bought twenty-four acres of land "on East Side of ye 
Great River" within Windsor bounds from William Phelps for £75, and he 
then sold the same land on May 12, 1756, to Salvanus Willobee for £115. As 
time went on, however, he was less fortunate. In 1764 he paid £100 for a 
"Sartain tract of Land in Coventry . . . with a Grist-Mill Standing thereon, the 
whole of ye Land where the Grist-mill stands and ye whole of ye Land that is 
Ponded by the said Mill Dam and Liberty of a Convenient pent Road from 
Sd Gristmill Southerly to ye highway." 

Possibly he considered becoming a miller, especially since he raised "corn 
grain flax and oats" on his Bolton farm, but the gristmill venture did not 
succeed, because two years later he sold out for £85. Altogether he bought 
about eighteen parcels in different parts of Bolton, yet when the time came 
for him to sell his land and buildings, the £369 which he received was con- 
siderably less than his original costs. Despite his losses he still was con- 
sidered financially respectable, for at one time he was tax collector in Bolton 
and collected part of the town dues in 1763. 

Bartlett might have done some work with wood, but our evidence on this 
score is all indirect. His son Joseph, when about twenty-one, "builded a small 
house" in Bolton, so Gershom probably knew the tricks of carpentry. In 1754 
he bought 1500 four-penny nails from a store in Coventry; also, the land he 
sold in 1772 had buildings on it which did not come with his purchase. His 
largest plot in Bolton was about fifty acres of none-too-fertile land running 
slightly northeast from "a Great Rock on the Top of the Ledges," which still 
exists as a landmark a few rods north of the famous notch in the mountain. 

All this time Bartlett's production of gravestones was increasing, although 
his resulting prosperity barely kept pace with the increase in his family. In 
addition to his two children born in Windsor, eleven more were born in Bol- 



328 



Connecticut Gravestones 



ton between 1752 and 1771. On January 24, 1754, John Potwine of 
"Covintrey" sold Bartlett some paper, pins, and "a primer (costing) 0/4/6." 
Four Bartlett children died in Bolton, all when very young. 

A list of persons for whom Bartlett made gravestones during his Bolton 
period would make a good "Who Was Who in Colonial Connecticut." For 
examples, there were the Reverend Samuel Tudor of East Windsor, the 
Reverend Thomas White of Bolton, the Reverend Nathaniel Huntington of 
Ellington, and the Reverend Ephraim Avery of Brooklyn; also Colonel John 
Whiting of West Hartford, Captain Joseph Hooker of Farmington, Captain 
John Manning of Scotland (Fig, 8), and a host of other captains and 
lieutenants. The list of doctors includes Dr. Jonathan Marsh of Norwich, Dr. 
Thomas Mather of Farmington, Dr. John Wells of Wethersfield, and Dr. 
Jonathan Bull of Hartford. Mrs. Esther Edwards (mother of Jonathan Ed- 
wards) of East Windsor, Thomas Welles, Esquire, of Glastonbury, Colonel 
Israel Putnam's sons of Brooklyn, Benoni Trumbull of Gilead, and David 
Luce of Scotland all had stones by Bartlett. 




,i 

A' lolm Mnhnms ':.>,^ 




fen-) itltetb^fcSiEBfeliS- 



ifxhr«S^ 




.-»a»-i^ -f- 



Fig. 8 Capt. John Manning 1760. Scotland. Photograph by James Slater. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 329 

As every Dartmouth man well knows, "Eleazar Wheelock was a very pious 
man." He lived in that part of Lebanon called "The Crank" (now Columbia), 
where he kept a school for educating Indians. His most famous pupil, 
Samuel Occum, was converted from his primitive beliefs to become, at least 
temporarily, "a saved heathen." In 1766 Occum went to England to raise 
funds for a new college, and there he proved his conversion to the white 
man's ways by organizing a drive which yielded a handsome sum of money. 
In this effort he was aided by the Earl of Dartmouth, and in grateful 
remembrance, Eleazar Wheelock named the new college after the good earl. 
The point of this digression is that the illustrious Eleazar Wheelock must 
have known Gershom Bartlett. 

In Hebron we found a miniature hook-and-eye stone for Mercy Wheelock, 
who died in 1758; and a double hook-and-eye stone in Columbia marks the 
graves of two more of Eleazar's children, both named Eleazar and both dying 
under three months of age. 

More interesting still is the Columbia gravestone for "Miss Sarah the wife 
of ye Revd Eleazar Wheelock who died Novr, 13, A:D: 1746." She was the 
daughter of John Davenport of Stamford and was earlier married to William 
Maltby, by whom she had a son, John, who later became the first to be buried 
in the Dartmouth graveyard in Hanover, New Hampshire. The interest in 
Sarah Wheelock's gravestone, other than its elaborate coat-of-arms and fine 
inscription, which could not be Bartlett's work, is the stone itself, which came 
from Bartlett's quarry. The footstone, however, is certainly Bartlett's, being 
engraved with diamond shapes, a Bartlett trademark. 

As soon as we had identified Gershom Bartlett, we made a triumphant 
call to Kendall Hayward, another gravestone sleuth who had been as an- 
noyed by the hook-and-eye mystery as we had. Hayward had visited us to 
swap photographs and yarns about our various discoveries. He was par- 
ticularly interested in the Collins family, starting with Benjamin, one of the 
finest early stonecutters, and one who had been both proud and obliging 
enough to place an occasional signature on his work. At that time Hayward 
was investigating Zenibbabel Collins, who, after discovering that Vermont 
marble was a superior medium for inscriptions, settled in Shaftsbury, where 
he carved some of the most beautiful of all New England gravestones. 



330 



Connecticut Gravestones 



Having just returned from tracing Zerubbabel in Vermont, Hayward told us 
that he had seen some hook-and-eye stones near White River Junction. We 
immediately recalled the stones that we had seen in Wilder, so the itinerary 
of our vacation to Vermont was decided at that moment (Fig. 9). 



COMNECTJCUT RIVER 



E.Ryegate /-■ 



Wells River 



Newbury 



Bradford 



■ Haverhill 



Piermont 



■ Orford 



E.Thetford 
POMPANOOSUC 



Lyme 



Norwich 

Wilder ^ 
Hartford ( 

White River 
Junction 



Hanover 
Lebanon 



m Plainfield 



Windsor ■ 



Fig. 9 Dr. Caulfield's journey in search of the Hook-and-Eye Man. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 331 

During the summer Dan Harvey, a colleague of mine at the Hartford 
Hospital, had invited us to visit in South Strafford. The night before our 
departure, Dan had dropped in to give us directions for finding their house. 
He also told us that a friend of his at the Hitchcock Clinic in Hanover had 
just shown him an old graveyard that had been long deserted and was not 
well known. We always followed leads like this and usually found why they 
were deserted; they usually contained nothing but urn-and-willow designs, 
the most uninteresting gravestones ever carved. Nevertheless, we promised 
Dan that we would take a look at his new discovery, which, he told us, was on 
top of a hill at the end of a country road across a bridge near some railroad 
tracks somewhere in Vermont. "You just can't miss it," Dan told us, and we 
knew what he meant: it would be hard to find. 

Winding up the Connecticut River valley past Brattleboro and Putney, 
finding nothing exciting, we stopped at Ascutney for lunch in an old 
graveyard, where we noticed two designs new to us, which, for want of better 
names, we called "the fat-faced angel" and "the sloe-eyed guy." In the church- 
yard of the Old South Church in Windsor we picked up Bartlett's trail, five or 
six stones, including a small black soapstone for Rachel Abbot, who died in 
1774, This stone, without question by Gershom Bartlett, showed not a letter 
or figure that was not duplicated on his Connecticut stones. 

Crossing the river, we proceeded north to Plainfield, where we found 
more Bartlett stones, one for Persis Freeman dated 1793. The date made 
Bartlett seventy years old and still cutting gravestones. Then to Lebanon, 
and across the bridge to White River Junction, with a side trip to Hartford, 
which, like numerous other towns in the region, contained many stones for 
the Bartlett family, but none carved by Gershom Bartlett. We then 
proceeded to Wilder, where we had found hook-and-eye stones in 1948. 
Wilder had over a dozen early Bartlett stones, dating from 1775. About five 
o'clock in Norwich, we found one hook-and-eye design on a poor grade of 
Vermont marble, though most of the stones were various attractive red 
slates, dating between 1775 and 1791. We also found gravestones which sug- 
gested a dysentery epidemic among the children during the autumn of 1775. 

Enough daylight remained on our reaching Hanover, just across the river, 
for us to see that Gershom Bartlett was not only the earliest stonecutter in 



332 Connecticut Gravestones 

the region, but that he had been successful, just as in Connecticut, in building 
a large trade. From the perpendicular 7's and bisected mushroom borders, 
we could tell that he had made the tablestone for the Reverend John Maltby, 
step-son of his friend Eleazar Wheelock. Nor was there much doubt that 
Bartlett had joined the migration from Connecticut to New Hampshire and 
Vermont. Convinced that somewhere in the upper Connecticut valley he had 
lived and died, we retired for the night, anticipating some fruitful exploration 
on the following day. 

It was crisp and cold as we started up the east bank of the river the next 
day on a clear September morning. It was a New England autumn day in all 
its glory. It seemed good just to be alive. We picked up the Bartlett trail 
again in Lyme and in various small graveyards along the road to Orford. On 
some stones he showed causes of death, which he had seldom done in Bolton. 
Two stones in particular, those for Mrs. Abigail Barron and Mrs. Lydia 
Dewey (Fig. 10), aroused our interest, as we had long been studying maternal 
mortality in colonial times. One stone was inscribed: "My sister and I in 
childbed died and here we lie both side by side." One sister was twenty-one 
years old and the other twenty-three. We took photographs of these for our 
collection. 

At Peirmont were some peg-shaped stones and another stone of white 
marble dated 1792. We noticed that throughout the region most of the lead- 
ing military men had Bartlett stones. In Orford we had seen a stone for Cap- 
tain Jeremiah Post, who fell at Bennington; there was one for Colonel Bailey 
in Peirmont dated 1794; and in the next town, Haverhill, noted for its hand- 
some village green, there was a large double stone for Colonel and Mrs. 
Timothy Bedel. 

We paused in many places to admire the ox-bows in the river and the 
foliage on the far side, but having lost the trail, we crossed at Wells River and 
drove on as far as East Rygate. We later concluded that Rygate Corners, two 
miles inland, is the northernmost point for Bartlett stones. Near noon we 
turned south to Newbury and had lunch in the Ox-Bow Graveyard, said to be 
the oldest and most beautiful in all Vermont. There Bartlett carved a double 
stone for two of the three wives of Captain Robert Johnson, a military hero 
of the town. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 333 



1 "( I 




Fig. 10 Lydia Dewey 1784. Orford, Vt. 

Our next stop was in Bradford, where Bartlett stones increased in number. 
He surely had an eye for attractive material. The jet-black soapstones have 
so well retained their sharp inscriptions that they look as if they were made 
yesterday, although the red and black slates are often badly shaled. Vermont 
must have invigorated Bartlett as he advanced in years, because he began to 
use various sizes and shapes of stones, and he even made many scalloped bor- 
ders. He showed more originality as he grew older than he had shown at the 
peak of his career in Bolton, though he retained the perpendicular descender 
on the numeral 7, which appears on all of his Bolton stones. 

In the old graveyard in East Thetford were more Bartlett stones, one 
dated 1796, when he would have been seventy-three years old, but his hand 
was as steady as ever. One badly shaled stone has particular interest: "In 

Memory of M*^ Stephen ar y^ 3" of Middletown [who] was Killed by 

[breaking up] a Jam of Logs. April 1793." This stone commemorated 
Stephen Miller, whose estate was settled in Middletown, Connecticut, in 
1796, and among the creditors was Gershom Bartlett with a charge of three 
pounds for that gravestone. The selfsame identity of the Vermont and Con- 
necticut hook-and-eye men is clearly established by Miller's gravestone. 



334 Connecticut Gravestones 

Near sundown we left East Thetford, with one more stop to make before 
we were expected at the Harveys'. We had promised Dan that we would visit 
his deserted graveyard in Pompanoosuc, and when he had said that very few 
people knew its location, he spoke the truth. After going off course, our 
second trial took us over a covered bridge and up a steep hill where the road 
turned to make a sharp angle. We took this hair-pin turn in high gear, and 
our luck ran with us, because the car stalled within inches of a gully. Within 
the week since Dan's visit, a flood had washed out gullies on both sides be- 
tween two and three feet deep. So we panted up the remainder of the hill, 
only to find the graveyard shoulder high with brush. It was near darkness, 
but we were determined to be able to report to Dan that we had given the 
place a look. The snakes had gone to bed, but woodchuck holes 
honeycombed the ground, and we stumbled repeatedly as we peered from 
stone to stone. 

To our great surprise, we found over twenty-five Bartlett stones in Pom- 
panoosuc, many of them for members of the Fitch, Kimball, Spaulding, and 
Waterman families, all eastern Connecticut names. In the center of the yard 
were many stones for the Bartlett family, all difficult to read in the darkness. 
One white stone suddenly caught my eye. I let out a yell that echoed back 
from across the Connecticut River in the distance. Nothing like it had been 
heard in that region since the St. Francis Indians raided Royalton, nearly 200 
years before. The name on the stone was GERSHOM BARTLET (Fig. 12). 

We could barely read the recently erected white marker for "Gershom 
Bartlet Pvt. Olcott's Regt. Vt. Mil. Rev. War December 23, 1798." The end 
of the trail. Fully satisfied but exhausted, we found our way up to South Straf- 
ford and the Harveys. 

Up early the next morning, we could not wait to return to Pompanoosuc. 
Driving back, we imagined that along that very road old Gershom Bartlett 
and his eldest sons had marched with their hastily aroused Norwich neigh- 
bors "to assist the Strafford people in their retreat" in August and September, 
1777, and again in 1780 when "the enemy came to Royalton." In charge of 
that small band of citizen soldiers was Colonel Peter Olcott, Bartlett's old 
friend and neighbor from home in Bolton. 

In the morning the graveyard was easier to find. By daylight the gullies 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 335 

looked even more formidable than they had in darkness. The graveyard 
looked more unkept, with its broken-down fence, overturned stones, weeds 
and bushes, and with a forest obstructing the view. We could easily imagine, 
nevertheless, the beautiful spot that it must have been in the old days, 
situated on a high crest overlooking the Oompomponoosuc and Connecticut 
Rivers. We found Bartlett's original gravestone (Fig. 11), its surface badly 
shaled with only fragments of the original lettering still clear. What irony! 
This man who had spent at least fifty of his seventy-five years taking extraordi- 
nary care to see that his contemporaries had enduring monuments on their 
graves had for himself a stone which in a very few years would be but a heap 
of dust. 

We found other interesting surprises in the Pompanoosuc graveyard. 
Bartlett had two wives, Margaret, who died in 1778, and Hannah, who sur- 
vived him. Margaret's stone is puzzling. We had seen many similar stones in 
Vermont and decided they were cut by someone closely associated with 
Bartlett, perhaps an apprentice or, more likely, a son. The skull and wings 
bear no resemblance to the hook-and-eye stones, yet there were snails, four- 
leaved clovers, perpendicular sevens, typical borders, and most important, 
the completely unmistakable Gershom Bartlett footstone with its diamonds. 
We came to suppose that the old man himself had cut the borders and the in- 
scription after a son or other associate had cut the skull and wings, though we 
felt less certain about our attribution of this important Bartlett stone than 
about any other that he had ever made. 

The inscriptions especially surprised us. "In Memory of Mrs. Margret wife 
of DD Gershom Bartlet," and "In Memory of Hannah, wife of Gershom 
Bartlet DD." We later learned more about him from Vermont records, many 
supplied by Arthur Chivers, who was then working on the history of the 
Dartmouth graveyard. We learned that Bartlett had subscribed to the first 
Dartmouth College Fund about 1770; he was a pioneer settler in Norwich 
(Pompanoosuc was then a district of Norwich), an official fence viewer, also 
a member of the committee for laying out roads to the meeting house. 
Numerous Vermont records tell of his service in the militia during the 
Revolutionary War and earlier service in 1757 in the French and Indian 
Wars. 



336 



Connecticut Gravestones 




Fig. 11 Gershom Bartlett 1798. Pompanoosuc, Vt. 




Fig. 12 Gershom Bartlet 1798. Pompanoosuc, Vt. New marker. 



The Hook-and-Eye Man 337 

But how did he get his doctorate in divinity? Throughout his life he had 
preached sermons on stones, frequently using scriptural quotations, but his 
name is not officially listed as a graduate of Dartmouth or of any other 
American college existing at that time. His probate papers, now in 
Woodstock, Vermont, revealed many facts, among them the fact that he lived 
on the banks of the Oompompanoosuc River not far from the old graveyard; 
that he died intestate and left some household furniture including a looking- 
glass valued at twenty-one cents and a tea set valued at seventy-one cents. 
We can also note the significant fact that he left not a single book, suggesting 
that he had no formal education. 

We ended by believing that Bartlett's degree was justly earned, if not by 
scholarship, then by his contributions to early American art, recognized by 
his life-long friend, Eleazer Wheelock, scholar and founder of Darmouth Col- 
lege, Perhaps Bartlett assisted Wheelock in transporting from Connecticut 
those 500 gallons of New England rum, now celebrated in Dartmouth song, 
and perhaps his degree in divinity was granted, though not recorded, on the 
happy occasion of its arrival. 




338 



Index 



Boldface page numbers indicate illustrated gravestones. 



Addams, Joseph, 103, 104 

Alger, John, Jr., 50 

Allen, John B., 147 

Allyn, John, 43, 45, 49 

Arnold, Elisabath, 196, 200 

Ayer, Captain Samuel, 176, 178, 185 

B 

Backus, Ebenezer, 110, 113 

Backus, Elizabeth, 154, 155 

Baker, Jacob, 131, 132 

Barber, Thomas, 24, 25 

Barret, John, 320, 322 

Bartlett, Gershom, 5, 48, 97, 109, 110, 157, 

206, 207, 210, 220, 221, 229, 232, 244, 246, 

247, 248, 249, 251, 255, 256, 259, 318-337, 

336 

Bat, The, 6, 101-108 

Belcher, WilUam, 128, 130, 131 

Belding, Jonathan, 69, 71 

Bennington, Vt., 137, 138 

Bennitt, Lydia, 139 

Berlin, 74 

Bigelow, Timothy, 79, 81 

Bingham, John, 322, 324 

Bingham, Samuel, 247 

Bingham, Thomas, 277, 284, 285, 293 

Bishop, Sarah, 156 

Bissell, Ame, 42 

Bissell, Captain John, 263 

Bliss, John, 44, 46, 48 

Bloomfield, 32, 33, 105 

Bolton, 231 

Brainod, Caleb, 62 

Brewer, Daniel, 56 

Brooklyn, 112 

Brown, Peter, 11 

Brown, Thomas, 147 

Buckland family, 97, 157, 205-226, 236 

Buckland, Hannah, 207, 209, 212, 214 

Buckland, Peter, 82, 142-144, 147, 205, 214, 

218-226, 230, 241, 313 

Buckland, Sergeant William, 212, 215 

Buckland, William, 7 



Buckland, William, Jr., 205-219, 218, 224, 

313 

Buel, Elizabeth, 285, 286 

Buel, Mercy, 14, 15 

Burnham, Phenehas, 224, 225 

Butler, Benjamin, 120, 124 



Chandler, Daniel, 97, 142, 206 

Chapin, Ebenezer, 321, 323 

Chapman, Henry, 145 

Chapman, Mary, 50, 51 

Chapman, Simon, Jr., 106, 107, 108 

Clap child, 290 

Clap, Mary, 277, 291 

Clark, Beulah, 279 

Clark, Enos, 140 

Clinton, 63, 64 

Cochran, Mary, 135, 138 

Cole, Jonathan, 207, 211, 212, 215 

Collins family, 129-140, 309 

"Collins Master", 271, 272, 274 

Collins, AUce, 68 

Collins, Benjamin, 3, 129-135, 136, 245, 249, 

259, 271, 272, 293, 307, 329 

Collins, Edward, 139 

Collins, Julius, 133-134, 245, 246, 249, 252, 

259 

Collins, Zerubbabel, 7, 135-139, 260, 329 

Colrain, Mass., 239 

Columbia, 136, 139 

Coventry, 117, 242, 246, 257, 259, 263 

Cromwell, 58, 66, 78 

Crosby, WUliam, 82, 224, 225, 226 

Curtice, Richard, 133, 134 

Cushman, Thomas, 281 

Cushman, Timothy A., 117, 118 

D 

Darley, A. and J., 147 

Dewey, Lydia, 332, 333 

Dolph, Charles 141-151, 225 

Drake family, 227 

Drake, Ebenezer, 6, 7, 38, 39-49, 235, 236, 

241, 256, 314 



339 



Drake, Nathaniel, 241 
Drake, Nathaniel, Jr., 49 
Drake, Silas, 49, 236, 241 
Dwight, John, 151 



East Hartford, 71, 100, 123, 209, 211, 214, 

215, 223, 225 

Easton, James, 71, 86 

Edwards, John, 56 

Eells, Sybil, 221, 222 

Ela, Israel, 179, 180, 182 

Ellington, 320, 324 

Ely, Ensn. John, 97, 98 

Enas, Hannah, 108, 110, 112 

Enfield, 68, 310, 323 



Farnsworth, Mary, 11, 15 
Fellows, Isaac, 214, 217 
Fitch, Jabez, 299 
Fitch, James, 287, 288, 289 
Fitch, Rachil, 281, 282 
Forbes, James, 206 
Francis, Elizabeth, 6, 26, 27 
Franklin, 164 
Freeman, Ichabod, 258 
Fuller, Hannah, 195, 196 
Fuller, John, 195, 197 
Fuller, Lucy, 195, 198 
Fuller, Lydia, 194 



Gains, Sarah, 210, 212, 213 

Gay, Lydia, 106, 107 

Gibbs, 15, 37 

Giddings, Thomas, 30 

Gill, Ebenezer, 37 

Gill, John, 6, 26, 37 

Glastonbury, 21, 55, 90, 219, 222 

Glastonbury Lady, The, 51-57 

Gleason, Joseph, 81, 82 

Gold, Thomas, 34 

Granger, Robert, 105, 106 

Grant, Abiel, 38, 39, 41, 43, 49 

Grant, Ann and Eunice, 93, 94 

Grant, Tryphena, 41 

Griffin, Chloe and son, 118 

Griggs, Solomon, 191 

Griswold, George, 8, 9-16, 17, 37, 91, 128, 



141, 157, 314 

Griswold, Matthew, Jr., 15, 16 
Griswold, Susannah, 281, 283, 284 
Groton, 161 

H 

Hale, Gideon, 89, 97 

Hall, Captain Daniel, 145, 147, 150 

Hammond, Josiah, 239, 240 

Hampton, 118, 124, 188, 190, 194, 196, 197, 

198, 233 

Harris, Zipporah, 16 

Hartford, 76, 226, 228 

Hartshorn, Charles, 186 

Hartshorn, John, 165-188, 227, 245, 260, 269, 

274, 275, 280, 308 

Hartshorn, John, Jr., 175, 176, 179, 185 

Hartshorn, Jonathan, 186 

Hartshorn, Stephen, 186 

Hartshorne, John, Jr., 177 

Haskins, Aaron, 126, 140, 241 

Haverhill, Mass., 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 

181, 182 

Hayden, Ezra, 92 

Hayden, Isaac, 92 

Hebron, 133 

Hempstead, John, 182 

Hempstead, Joshua, 27, 56, 57, 69, 146, 

165-188, 230, 308 

Hendee, Asa, 257 

Higgins, Ichabod, 315 

Hills, Jonathan, 223 

Holbrook, Appleton, 193 

Holland, William, 206 

Holt, Abigail, 188, 189 

Hook-and-Eye Man, 5, 311-337 

Hook-and-eye, 97 

Hooker, Mary, 76, 77, 86 

House, Deacon Daniel, 218, 219 

Howard, Lucy, 120, 124 

Hubbel, Mehetable, 135, 137 

Hubbert, Sargt. John, 33 

Huit, Reverend Ephraim, 8, 9, 15, 37 

Hunt, Hannah, 246, 248 

Huntington, Captain Thomas, 288 

Huntington, John, 126 

Hurlbut, Lieut. John, 120, 123, 125 

Hutchinson child, 282, 297, 300 

Hutchinson, Mindwell, 273, 274, 275, 276, 

282,308 



340 



Johnson family, 256 

Johnson, Joseph, 6, 91-100, 95, 142, 157, 326 

Johnson, Joseph I, 206 

Johnson, Lemuel, 77, 78 

Johnson, Stephen, 75 

Johnson, Thomas, 30, 37, 57 

Johnson, Thomas family, 146 

Johnson, Thomas I, 59-65, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 

75, 78, 93, 96, 100, 102, 104, 201 

Johnson, Thomas II, 38, 67, 69, 70, 72, 74, 

75, 77-79, 185 

Johnson, Thomas II ("Deacon Thomas"), 76 

Johnson, Thomas II ("of Chatham"), 79 

Johnson, Thomas III, 80-84, 224 

K 

Kent, Mrs. Abiah, 310, 319, 326 

Kilborn, Abigail, 53, 55 

Kilbourn, Thomas, 100 

Kimball family, 189-203, 227, 228 

KimbaU, Abigail, 190, 195 

Kimball, Chester, 147, 150, 201-202, 241 

Kimball, Chester, Jr., 202 

Kimball, Gurdon, 202 

Kimball, Lebbeus, 116, 195-200, 241 

Kimball, Richard, 188, 189-195, 241 

King, Hezekiah, 230, 231 

King, Joseph, 98, 99 

Knight, John, 126 

Knight, Jonathan, 110, 112, 113 



Ladd, Nathaniel, 242 

Ladd, Samuel, 164, 165, 166, 169, 170, 171, 

182, 183, 185 

Lamb family, 153-163 

Lamb, David, 153-158 

Lamb, David II, 158-162 

Lamson, Joseph, 173 

Lamson, Nathaniel, 34 

Lathrop family, 256 

Lathrop, Loring, 235, 236 

Lathrop, Luther, 48, 235, 236, 237 

Lathrop, Rachel, 208, 210, 212, 214 

Lathrop, Submit, 236, 238 

Lathrop, Thatcher, 48, 116, 235, 236, 245 

Latimore, Elizabeth, 32, 34 

Ubanon, 199, 200, 275, 278, 279, 281, 282, 

286, 287, 289, 297, 299, 300 



Leighton, Richard, 184, 185 

Lester, Jonathan, 159, 161, 162 

Lindsay, George, 147 

Lisbon, 156 

Loomis, Giles and Joel, 6, 41, 42 

Loomis carvers 243-269,243 

Loomis family, 228 

Loomis, Amasa, 116, 234, 241, 244, 245, 248, 

256,269 

Loomis, Anna, 103, 105 

Loomis, Capt. Joseph, 90 

Loomis, John, 244, 245, 248, 252, 253, 

256-58, 260 

Loomis, Jonathan, 243-248, 251, 252, 256, 

257,260 

Loomis, Joseph, 242 

Lyman, James Bloyd, 202 

Lyme, 29, 30 

M 

MacCleave, Robert, 52, 53 

Manchester, 213, 216 

Manning family, 109-127, 140, 144, 150, 198, 

249, 254, 256, 309 

Manning Imitators 227-241, 227 

Manning style, 195, 196, 201, 247, 248, 269 

Manning, Abigail, 119, 121, 125 

Manning, Captain John, 328 

Manning, Frederick, 116-119, 120, 227, 230 

Manning, Josiah, 35, 108, 109-116, 115, 120, 

154, 157, 227, 230, 232, 241, 245 

Manning, Mary, 114, 116 

Manning, RockweU, 116, 119-126, 160, 162, 

227, 230, 241 

Marvil, Phebe, 23, 24 

Mather, Ruth, 43, 45 

McGee, Deacon Thomas, 239 

Merriam, Revd. Burrage, 79, 80, 87 

Middletown, 16, 19, 62, 81, 83, 95 

Miller, David, 116 

Miller, John, 56 

Mills, Pelatiah, Esq., 32 

Montville, 161 

Mulican family, 184 

Mulliken carvers, 188 

Mumford, Caleb, 168, 169 

N 

New Haven, 88 

New London, 169 



341 



Newington, 27 

North Haven, 66 

Norwich, 111, 113, 124, 128, 155, 167, 240 



O 



Old Lyme, 23, 50, 147 
Orford, Vt., 333 



Pahner, Capt. Gershom, 63, 64 
Palmer, Esther, 231, 232, 233, 240 
Pearl, Mary, 233, 240 
Pearson, Peter, 28, 29 
Pease, Abraham, 310, 320 
Pelet, Feles, 52, 55 
Pierson, Revd. Abraham, 63 
Pomfret, 159, 191, 192, 193, 194, 197 
Pompanoosuc, Vt., 336 
Portland, 25, 26, 29, 34, 53 
Post, Samuel, Jr., 128, 131, 132 
Preston, 152 
Prince, William, 161, 162 

R 

Riley, Lt. Isaac, 69, 70 

Ripley, Hannah, 295 

Ritter, David, 147 

Ritter, Thomas, 97, 206, 210, 214, 216, 236 

Rockwell, Matthew, 235, 237 

Rocky Hill, 80 

Rogers, David A., 202 

Rolfes, John, 175, 176 

Rudd, Nathaniel, 164, 167 

Rust, Richard, 213, 216 



Scotland, 121, 122, 232, 247, 328 

Sedgwick, Samuell, Captain, 52 

Sharpe, Rebekah, 194 

Simsbury, 14, 24, 35, 103, 104 

Skinner, John, 226, 229, 241 

Skinner, Mary, 228, 229, 230, 241 

Smith, Captain Obadiah, 167, 168 

Smith, Daniel, 72, 74, 86 

Smith, Martha, 52, 54 

Smith, Richard, Jr., 21, 22 

Somers, 321 

South Britain, 36 

South Windsor, 38, 40, 41, 42, 46, 90, 92, 94, 

237,238 



Sprague, 113 

Stafford, 134 

Stanclift family, 17-38 

Stanclift, Comfort, 38, 76 

Stanclift, George, 36 

Stanclift, James, 6 

Stanclift, James 1, 15-22, 24, 27 

Stanclift, James II, 22, 27, 28, 30, 56, 57, 77, 

81,89 

Stanclift, James III, 32-35, 37, 56, 81, 89 

Stanclift, James III ("James of Chatham"), 

31 

Stanclift, James IV, 35 

Stanclift, James, Jr. (James III), 36 

Stanclift, Olive, 25 

Stanclift, Sarah, 28, 29 

Stanclift, William, 6, 22-28, 30, 51, 56, 57, 64, 

74 

Stedman, Sarah, 40, 41, 48 

Stevens, 126 

Stevens shop, 88 

Stevens, John, 157 

Stevens, John 1, 169 

Stiles, Stephen, 249, 259 

Suffield, 99, 102, 106, 107, 310, 319 

Sumner, Deacon Samuel, 191, 192, 193 

Sumner, George, and daughters, 195, 197 

Sumner, Hannah, 19, 22 

Swan, Robert, 173, 174, 175, 179, 180, 183 

Sweetland, Isaac, 150 



Tallcott, Deacon Joseph, 63, 65 

Taylor, Humphrey, 258 

Taylor, Sarah, 251 

Terry, Ephraim, 285, 287 

Tisdale, Abigail, 278, 282 

Tolland, 132, 204, 209, 211, 212, 217, 220 

Tood, Galup, 64, 66 

Treat, Samuel, 72, 75, 86 

Trumbull children, 240 

Tucker, Gershom, 158, 159 

Tucker, Joseph, 116, 226, 229-231, 241 

TuUer, Joseph, 33, 35 

Tyler, Hopestill, 2nd, 152, 153, 163 

Tyler, Jane, 110, 112, 114, 126 



U 

Union, 108 



342 

V 

Vets, Cattron, 103 

W 

Wainwright, Ann, 173, 175 

Walden family, 116 

Walden style, 269 

Walden, John I, 231, 232 

Walden, John II, 231-234, 240 

Walden, John III, 231, 234, 235 

Walden, John, Jr., 244 

Ward, Jacob, 321, 322 

Waterman, Simeon, wife and child, 110, 111 

Webster, Pelatiah, 196, 199 

West children, 204, 206, 207, 208, 210, 312 

West Hartford, 52 

West Springfield, Mass., 98 

West, Amy, 207, 209 

West, Ann, 207, 211 

West, Charles, 219, 220 

Westbrook, 145 

Wethersfield, 54, 55, 65, 70, 71, 73, 75 

Wheeler, Obadiah, 4, 130, 140, 188, 228, 245, 

246, 249, 252, 259, 270, 271-309 

White, Jacob, Jr., 58, 59 

White, John, 179, 180, 181, 187 

White, Joseph, 63, 66 

White, Joseph, Jr., 85 

White, Robert, Jr., 134 

Williams, Solomon, 300 

Willis, Samuel, 82, 83 

Willson, Deacon John, 44 

Winchel, Captain Joseph, 101, 102 

Windham, 114, 115, 283, 285, 288, 290, 291, 

295 

Windsor, 8, 9, 11, 44, 45, 50, 107 

Wolcott, Judith, 72, 73 

Wolcott, William, 91, 92 

"Womb to Tomb", 122 

Woodbridge, William, 90 

Woodstock, 239 

Woodward, Sarah, 88 

Worcester, Jonathan, 184 



AGS JOURNALS 



MARKERS I Reprint of 1980 journal, a 
collection of 15 articles on recording and 
care of gravestones, resources for teachers, 
some unusual markers and carvers Ithamar 
Spauldin of Concord, Mass. and the Connec- 
ticut Hook-and-Eye Man. 
182 pages, 100 illustrations 



MARKERS II Signed stones in New 
England and Atlantic coastal states; winged 
skull symbolism found in Scotland and New 
England; early symbols discussed from a 
religious perspective and the wider social 
context; Mass. carvers Joseph Barbur, Jr., 
Stephen and Charles Hartshorn, and the car- 
ver known as "JN"; Portage County, Wise, 
carvers from 1850-1900; and a contemporary 
carver of San Angelo, Tex. 
226 pages, 168 illustrations 



MARKERS V Pennsylvania German 
gravestones; carvers Louis Henri Sulhvan, 
Thomas Gold, and 7 carvers working in Bos- 
ton between 1700-1725 who signed stones 
with their initials; Canadian gravestones and 
yards in Ontario and Kings County, Nova 
Scotia. 
240 pages, 155 illustrations. 



MARKERS VI John Dwight of Shirley, 
Mass.; the gravestones of Afro-Americans 
from New England to Georgia; a sociologi- 
cal study of monuments in the Chicago area; 
New Mexican camposantos; the hand as a 
symbol in Southwestern Ontario; a book 
review of James Slater's book, Tlie Colonial 
Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut; and 
an epitaph from ancient Turkey. 
245 pages, 90 illustrations 



MARKERS III Gravestone styles in fron- 
tier towns of Western Massachusetts; the 
emblems and epitaphs on Puritan graves- 
tones; John Hartshorn's carvings in Essex 
County, Mass.; New Hampshire carvers Paul 
Colburn., John Ball, Josiah Coolidge Wheat, 
Coolidge Wheat and Luther Hubbard. 
154 pages, 80 illustrations 



MARKERS rV Delaware children's stones 
of 1840-99; rural southern gravestones; the 
New York and New Jersey carving tradi- 
tions; camposantos of New Mexico; and 
death Italo-American style. 
180 pages, 138 illustrations 



MARKERS VII A trilogy on cemetery 
gates and enclosures with excellent illustra- 
tions. The Boston Historic Burying 
Grounds Initiative reports on three 
graveyards. Unusual monuments in colonial 
tidewater Virginia and the tree stump stones 
of the Limestone Belt of Indiana. The life 
and work of Virginia stonecarver Charles 
Miller Walsh and stonecarvers of Monroe 
County, Indiana. Tsimshian Indian monu- 
ments and Celtic crosses complete the 
volume. 
281 pages, 158 illustrations