Transcription of the Whitcomb burials of Lancaster, Massachusetts, prior to 1850.
BIRTH, MARRIAGE AND DEATH
CHURCH RECORDS AND EPITAPHS
HENRY S. NOURSE, A. M.
EPITAPHS IN LANCASTER BURIAL GROUNDS OF
DATE PRIOR TO 1850.
The founders of the town, and their descendants during the 17th century at least, buried their dead without formal services—foll0wing the custom of the Puritans in England-—and perhaps a plot of ground for the family graves was sometimes selected within the home lot or orchard. Early in the present century ancient graves were visible near the sites of both the Roper and the Prescott garrisons. But in the infancy of the Nashaway Plantation, land adjoining the meeting-house site was set apart for common use as a “burying place.” The practice of marking graves by incribed headstones probably did not begin until after the resettlement, one apparent exception being that of Mrs. Dorothy Prescott, who died in I674. The oldest date now to be found is that over the grave of the ﬁrst ]ohn Houghton—I684. For half a century all memorial stones were but fragments of slate riven from some ledge, or rough granite slabs, upon which unskilled hands rudely incised name and date,—the latter being often upon a foot-stone or on the back of the head-stone. Many of the older inscriptions are illegible to most eyes. In his History of Lancaster, Reverend A. P. Marvin has given a plan of this ancient burial place, upon which the marked graves are located and numbered, and has added literal copies of the epitaphs. In the following carefully revised list of inscriptions the same numbering is adopted. Their arrangement is indicated by division lines. Numbers omitted are of stones not lettered, or of misplaced foot-stones found to belong with other numbers.
HERE LIES BURIED I Ye BODY OF MR | JEREMIAH WILSON| WHO DEPARTED | THIS LIFE | MARCH Ye 22d | A D 1743 | IN Ye 77th YEAR | OF HIS AGE
HERE LIES | THE BODY OF | JOSIAH WHE | TCOMB SEN. D | ECEASED IN H | IS 80 YEAR | JW DYED | MARCH THE | 21 1718
Here Lyes Buried | ye Body of Mr | DAVID WHETCOMB \ Who Died April | 11th 1730 in ye 62d | Year of His Age
Here lied Buried | ye Body of Mrs. Mary | Whetcomb Wife to | Mr. David Whetcomb, | Who Died Janury | 5th, 1733-4 in ye 67th | Year of Her Age.
Here Lyes Buried | ye Body of Mr. HEZEKIAH WHETCOMB | Who Died May 6th. | 1732 in ye 31st Year | of His Age
Of the 4 Whetcomb gravestones legible prior to 1850 only the stone of Josiah Whetcomb remains in 2013.
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