Thursday, August 15, 2019

Written in Stone, But Still Wrong

William Shewmaker and Mary "Polly" Adams were my 3rd great-grandparents. They married 29 August 1809 in Caldwell County, Kentucky and sometime between 1820 and 1830 they migrated across the Ohio River and settled in the part of Pope County, Illinois that is today Hardin County, Illinois.

William and Polly had several children, including my 2nd great-grandmother, Elizabeth Shewmaker, who was born about 1810 Kentucky. Elizabeth married Abraham Womack 26 November 1831 in Pope County and died after 1870. Elizabeth is buried in Good Hope Cemetery in Hardin County, while her parents and other relatives are buried in Lavender #1 Cemetery in Hardin County.

Buried next to William and Polly Shewmaker in Lavender #1 Cemetery  is a daughter, Mary.  Very little is known about Mary except she never married and  lived with her parents all her life. According to her tombstone,  Mary, age 66,  died 8 November 1882, just slightly more than a month before the death of her mother, who died 27 December 1882.

Mary Shewmaker
Died Nov. 8, 1882, 
Age 66 yrs

Because the death dates  of Mary and her mother, Polly, were so close, I had wondered if there was an epidemic of some disease in the area, but I found nothing to indicate that to be true. Nevertheless, I kept on looking and just recently while reading old issues of the Hardin County newspaper guess what was found -   a death notice for Mary Shewmaker, who died 8 November 1881, age 67 years, 7 months and 7 days. [1] The death date on her tombstone was off by a year!  The death notice would have been generated shortly after Mary's death and carries more validity that a tombstone that may have been created long after her death. 

Hardin County, Illinois Independent 18 Nov 1881, p. 5

I think it is safe to say that just because a date is written in stone, it is not necessarily true. I am happy to have verification of her date of death.

[1] Death notice of Mary Shewmaker, Hardin County, Illinois Independent, Fri., 18 Nov 1881, p. 5.

Published 15 Aug 2019, Western Kentucky Genealogy Blog,

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