Friday, May 19, 2017

Epitaphs Can Provide Clues

Have you wondered about the origin of an epitaph on a tombstone? Did it have special meaning to the deceased or the family?  One of the easiest ways to check on the epitaph is to ask our friend, Google. That's what I did with the epitaph on the tombstone of Martha A. Perkins, who is buried in Leeper Cemetery in Livingston County.

 Martha A.
Wife of
J.D. Perkins
Sept. 24, 1827
Apr. 3, 1876
48 yrs. 6 mo's, 9 da's

"Hard is it from thee to part
Tho it rend my aching heart
Since an heir to glory's gone
Let the will of God be done."

The epitaph is taken from "Psalms and Hymns Adapted to Social, Private and Public Worship of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church."  Could this be a clue to Martha A.'s religious affiliation? Or was this epitaph ordered from a tombstone catalog with little thought given as to whether it was appropriate for the decedent? If charges were made for each letter, an epitaph of four lines would have been fairly costly and certainly more expensive than a simple epitaph like Gone Home or Farewell or Gone But Not Forgotten.

To be most helpful, transcribe every word on the tombstone.

Published 19 May 2017, Western Genealogy Blog,

No comments: