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A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Posted by alisande (My Page) on
Thu, Nov 8, 12 at 18:21

I saw this gravestone as I was leaving a cemetery this week, and took the picture through the open car window. It was getting late, and my hands were beyond cold, so I didn't notice that one of the dates was covered by the flag. I'll photograph it again the next time I'm there.

It was the statement at the bottom that caught my eye: MORE SINNED AGAINST THAN SINNING. I wonder what he meant by that. Any thoughts? And I think MA is written under the clasped hands.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Ah my Comparative Literature degree comes in handy - It's from King Lear.

Here's the quote:

Close pent-up guilts,
Rive your concealing continents, and cry
These dreadful summoners grace. I am a man
More sinn'd against than sinning.

Remember Lear was thrown out by his daughters and cries out in grief and despair at his ungrateful daughters.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

oops - forgot to add. By putting it on his wife's tombstone he's commenting that she was a good, honorable woman who seldom sinned. Perhaps she too had ungrateful children. What a story might lie behind that monument.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Another validation for ask a librarian! Thanks, Maire.

A literate man with a good wife. And ungrateful daughters. ;-)


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Wow; how interesting! You are very observant!


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That is interesting. I've never seen a monument that told who erected it. Is that common or uncommon?


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

I think it's uncommon, Mammie, at least in my experience. And my experience is growing! My photo total so far with FindAGrave is up to 1,225.

This week I came upon a tall monument with names engraved on three sides--a total of six names. Then on the fourth side I read, The children of Matilda and Enos Potter. The oldest was 11.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Oh wow, how sad. I find it interesting that they had separate last names, way back then, even though they were married.


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She was almost certainly Mrs. MacTaggert back then. Gravestones often list the wife under her maiden name--and I'm sure today's genealogists are grateful for that.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

I didn't know the literature reference, but it seemed pretty clear to me that he was saying she treated people a lot better than people treated her.

Uncommon to put a name of the person donating it but my dad put his name on (his never-married sister's) my aunt's gravestone. A niece robbed her of her entire estate then wouldn't even put up a gravestone after she died so he put it up and put "donated by" on there. I'm trying to figure the tactful way to put a stone on my brothers' grave. I think it should have the wording rather than be anonymous but might go the anon route or else leave an allocation in my Will for its purpose.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

cynic - Could you have "in memory of my beloved brother" engraved on the tombstone? If you're the only sibling then friends and family will know you donated the tombstone. It's not exactly anonymous.


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Interesting stone.

I read something totally different when I saw it. I took it that she WASN'T buried there--perhaps because she'd been falsely accused of something immoral (having an affair?). And she was therefore not allowed to be buried in hallowed ground. However, the husband wanted her remembered, so had the stone made, with the dig at the bottom to the people who made the untrue accusation.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Azzalea, I had a similar reaction when I first saw it. I thought the statement was a dig at people who had hurt her.

Cynic, I think Maire's suggestion is excellent. There's something especially moving about a stone revealing the love of one family member for another.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Hmmm.

Perhaps Mr. MacTaggert's conscience was bothering him?

Sue


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Sue, you may be onto something there! LOL


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Memorial markers are not all that unusual....at least in the past. The practice provided a physical stone in a local cemetery for someone buried far away, lost in a war, etc. I know that the placement of such a stone in a hometown cemetery of a famous public figure is pretty common.

It gives friends and family a physical memorial....something to visit.

I used to take classes to the National Cemetery in Beaufort, SC. I saw many, many such stones on our wanderings. Quite a few were in honor of someone lost in a war, but not all. I only remember one that was placed in recent times, for a political figure burued in Washington, but who's family members (living and deceased) were still in Beaufort.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Wait a minute--Salem? Salem in what state? I don't know the dates for it, but could she have been accused of being a witch? That would explain a LOT about this stone. But there are Salems all over the country, so this may not even be that Salem.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Cemetery classes, Rhizo--how interesting!

I wondered if someone would pick up on the Salem reference, Azzalea. Unfortunately, the explanation is rather boring.....Salem Township, Pennsylvania. :-)


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

AW, what a shame--could have made things even more interesting--LOL. But as I said, Salems are just everywhere. There's another one not too far from me.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Alisande, not 'cemetery classes ', but tree classes in the cemetery! Everyone who loves old cemeteries knows that they are a wonderful place to study trees and other plants.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

LOL Rhizo, I really thought you were studying the history of a cemetery.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Lol, that's why I thought I better jump in and explain myself. I taught the horticulture curriculum at the local community college and every semester conducted some sort of plant identification course.

I loved using that cemetery for at least two of the classes out of the semester...the students loved the experience, too, some of whom had never visited that remarkable place. The cemetery director, who lived on the property, was always so generous with his time, giving us a little history lesson.

You would have loved it!


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I'm sure I would have!


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You said it has MA on it at the top. Massachusetts perhaps? There is a Salem, Massachusetts, isn't there? Isn't that the Salem where the witches were persecuted?


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That's the place where the witch trials took place, yes. But this gravestone is in Salem Cemetery, in Salem Township, PA.

Maybe her children called her Ma. :-)


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Aren't the dates all wrong for the time of the Salem witches thing.

Sue


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Yes, that too, Sue. The witch trials were much earlier.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

I did a really quick check on Ancestry and didn't find much.

The 1850 Census for Salem, Wayne County lists an Anna Hogancamp, 2 years old, which fits with the birth year on the monument.

The 1921 Scranton directory has a listing for Jas McTaggart and his wife Anna at 637 Kressler Ct.

There were 10 other Scranton directory listings (ranging from 1888 to 1918) for James MacTaggart. I didn't find any census records for him but that could be a matter of spelling variations.

Here is a link that might be useful: 1850 census


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Oooh, I forgot you had Ancestry, Maire! You may be sorry you reminded me. :-)

The link won't work, unfortunately, because they want me to sign up and pay. Census records are fascinating to see, though. Thanks for looking this up!


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

My husband's family has a small section in an old cemetary in Alachua, FL. There is one large marker (headstone) that has BOSTON, the family name on it and then on the other side ,it has his Great Great Grandfathers and Great Great Grandmother's name, followed by their two children's names (son and daughter)followed by the 8 children's names of their son (who would be DH's Great Grandfather) and his wife's name. The dates go back to 1818. We have in the past started to research his linage (Is that correct?) but ran into trouble because each generation used some of the same names. Also found it strange that the Great Grandmother's first name was actually Harry (not a nickname according to birth records). DH's uncle actually had heastones placed for all his (the uncle) brother's and sisters (11 of them.) In this cementary though there are 3 generations of Boston men and DH wants his ashes there and a marker at least. Its the Newnansville Cemetary and the Alachua Historical Commission has a viritual cemetary online. I found that interesting.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

Has anyone else watched the Ric Burns documentary about death in the Civil War?

It was the first time that Americans had been wounded and killed in such astounding numbers, and far from home. Tens of thousands died in a single battle, overwhelming resources to identify or even to bury the dead. Family had no certain knowledge of a soldier's death. They were unable to mourn and bury him. He had gone to war and...vanished.

The aftermath of this war saw the establishment of the first national cemeteries for war dead. (Lincoln at Gettysburg.) Clara Barton raised funds as an individual to nurse the wounded -- and the vast numbers of men who contracted disease living in crowded and unsanitary camps. A grieving father of one Union soldier fought to establish an ambulance service. This war also brought the first military hospitals.

Women volunteers began a registry to help family seeking information about soldiers who went to war and just *vanished*. Sometimes a man's fellow soldiers would be able write to the registry to recount his last hour -- some comfort and closure for his family.

Each side acted largely without mercy towards the opposition's wounded or dead. The restored Union did not gather and individually bury enemy soldiers; nor did the South.

I'm glad we watched this before Veterans Day.


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

That sounds like such a wonderful show, Chisue. Is Ric related to Ken Burns?

Someone (perhaps you?) mentioned this show awhile back, and I made a note to watch it on the computer. Maybe I can still do that. I haven't been able to get any of the PBS stations since a wind storm changed the direction of my antenna. I was hoping the hurricane would change it back, but that didn't happen.

The whole Civil War is so hard to comprehend--Americans fighting Americans--and there's so much we don't know because it took place so long ago. Documentaries like this are invaluable. Thanks for sharing.


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I also looked around on Ancestry.com and could not find much on her. I did find her father, where he deserted the civil war then tried to get disability from the war, the rheumatis took him, he said. I have a large family history in Mercer County Pennsylvania, in Hendersonville PA, named after my Henderson descendants and others in Coolspring PA. I have a lot of web sites saved for Mercer County PA. I will look thru them and see if I can find anything else on them. I am a little confused on the last name... suppose it is Taggert or VacTaggert?


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RE: A somewhat enigmatic gravestone

That V is actually an M (MacTaggert).

Gee, Ancestry.com must be fun! I don't need another distraction to tempt me, nor another bill, but maybe someday.....


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