Tombstone Tuesday: An 18th Century Graveyard “Haunting” in Hingham, Massachusetts

ghost

Just in time for Halloween, a bit of historical haunting debunking…

By the 1820s, Dr. James Thacher of Plymouth, famed Revolutionary War surgeon and doctor, was on a mission: to provide scientific or medical explanations for superstitions he had encountered. He gathered evidence from medical journals as well as anecdotes from learned friends near and far and compiled An Essay on Demonology, Ghosts and Apparitions, And Popular Superstitions. Also, An Account of the Witchcraft Delusion at Salem, published in 1831.

He reported the following story:

“Were all the supposed apparitions and spectres to be met with the intrepidity displayed in the following instance, ghost stories would seldom be repeated.”

“About the latter part of the last century, a Mr. Blake of Hingham, Massachusetts, was passing the church-yard in the night, when he saw an object in human form, clothed in white, sitting near an open tomb. Resolving to satisfy himself, he walked toward it. The form moved as he approached, and endeavored to elude his pursuit; when he ran, the object ran before him, and after turning in different directions, descended into the tomb. Mr. Blake followed, and there found a woman, who was in a deranged state of mind, who had covered herself with a sheet, and was roaming among the silent tombs.” [p. 54]

Dr. James Thacher, courtesy Wikipedia Commons

The Mr. Blake who spotted this “haunting” in the late 1700s was perhaps Joseph or Solomon Blake of Hingham and churchyard mentioned was the Hingham Cemetery by the Old Ship Church.

Tombstone Tuesday: Lake View Cemetery, Seattle, Washington

Lake View Cemetery Entrance at 1554 15th Avenue East, Seattle

Lake View Cemetery Entrance at 1554 15th Avenue East, Seattle

 

Incorporated on October 16, 1872 as the Seattle Masonic Cemetery, it later changed its name to Lake View Cemetery in 1890. The cemetery is located on the top of Capitol Hill with stunning views of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, and Lake Union and Lake Washington.

View of Lake Washington and Cascade Mountains from Lake View Cemetery

View of Lake Washington and Cascade Mountains from Lake View Cemetery

Although the cemetery was incorporated in 1872, it soon became the home of several reburial projects from smaller earlier cemeteries throughout the city. One of the earliest stones located here is the following curious marker:

Gravestone of "A Pioneer" who died in 1852

Gravestone of “A Pioneer” who died in 1852

Members of the Denny Party had moved from Alki Beach [today’s West Seattle] to the western shore of Elliott Bay [modern-day Seattle] in the spring of 1852, and official plats were not submitted to form the official town of Seattle until 1853, so this unnamed burial truly would have been one of the original pioneers. Though his [or her] original burial doesn’t seem to fit into the several known earliest Seattle cemeteries – the first recorded burial at Denny’s Hotel Cemetery was in 1853 (about 20 bodies were buried here, then later removed to the Seattle cemetery); the first recorded burial at Maynard’s Point Cemetery was in 1854 (whose bodies were moved to Seattle Cemetery in 1864); the first recorded burial at the Little White Church Cemetery was in 1856 (whose bodies were moved to Seattle Cemetery). The bodies from these three early cemeteries were moved to the Seattle Cemetery in the 1860s. But when Seattle Cemetery was turned into Denny Park in 1883, those bodies were again moved to Washelli Cemetery [named after a Makah Native American word for “west wind”]. Yet a few short years after the founding of Washelli Cemetery, Seattle converted the grounds into a park called “Lake View Park”, then re-named Volunteer Park in 1903, causing the bodies buried in Washelli to be removed to other cemeteries, including Lake View Cemetery. This therefore caused some families within the course of a few short decades between the 1850s-1880s to have to rebury their deceased loved ones for the fourth time. So someone cared enough to spare the expense of placing a gravestone over the site of this pioneer whose body was likely moved several times before arriving at Lake View Cemetery, despite not knowing his [or her] identity. If anyone out there knows more about this mystery pioneer, I would love to learn more details.

 

Many of the well known Seattle pioneer families are buried here, including the Denny family and the Yesler family:

Yesler Family Graves

Yesler Family Graves

Denny Family Plot

Denny Family Plot

David Denny (1832-1903), courtesy of HistoryLink

Henry Yesler (1810-1892), courtesy of HistoryLink

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just to the right of the Henry Yesler family plot, is the gravestone of Kikisoblu Sealth, “Princess Angeline”, the daughter of Chief Seattle. Although her father is buried at the Suquamish Cemetery across Puget Sound (which I recently visited and wrote about here), Angeline requested that she be buried by her friends the Yeslers.

Kikisoblu Sealth, “Princess Angeline” (1820?-1896), daughter of Chief Seattle, courtesy of History Link

Epitaph reads: Princess Angeline Born 1811 Died May 31, 1896 The daughter of Chief Sealth for whom the city of Seattle is named was a life long supporter of the white settlers. She was converted to Christianity and named by Mrs. D. S. Maynard. Princess Angeline befriended the pioneers during the Indian attack upon Seattle on January 26, 1856. At her request she was laid to rest near her protector and friend, Henry L. Yesler. Seattle Historical Society 1958.

Epitaph reads: Princess Angeline Born 1811 Died May 31, 1896
The daughter of Chief Sealth for whom the city of Seattle is named was a life long supporter of the white settlers. She was converted to Christianity and named by Mrs. D. S. Maynard. Princess Angeline befriended the pioneers during the Indian attack upon Seattle on January 26, 1856. At her request she was laid to rest near her protector and friend, Henry L. Yesler. Seattle Historical Society 1958.

The cemetery is also the resting place of Captain Jefferson Davis Howell (nephew of Jefferson Davis), the captain of the SS Pacific which sunk in 1875 and is considered one of the worst maritime disasters on the Pacific coast with a loss of about 275 lives.

Jefferson Davis Howell (1841-1875), captain of the SS Pacific, courtesy of History Link

Epitaph: Capt. J. D. Howell, perished at sea on steamship Pacific, Nov. 4 1875 aged 34 years

Epitaph: Capt. J. D. Howell, perished at sea on steamship Pacific, Nov. 4 1875 aged 34 years

Beautiful stonecarving can be seen on the Fairservice memorial:

Angel on the memorial of the Fairservice family

Angel on the memorial of the Fairservice family

 

 

Later stones showcase the rich diversity of Seattle’s growing population:

Pavel V. Homeak

Pavel V. Homeak

IMG_0849

 

And just in case you were wondering, Lake View has plenty of spots still available!

Three pre-made gravestones and burial plots available for purchase

Three pre-made gravestones and burial plots available for purchase

Travel Tuesday: Saxon Cross in Follifoot, Yorkshire, England

The Saxon Cross located on a green in the center of Follifoot on Main and Plompton streets, with the arched gateway of Rudding Gates behind it

The Saxon Cross located on a green in the center of Follifoot on Main and Plompton streets, with the arched gateway of Rudding Gates behind the cross

This Saxon cross in Follifoot dates to the 9th century and is made from local stone

This Saxon cross in Follifoot dates to the 9th century and is made from local stone

 

Several years ago, while visiting family in Knaresborough, we briefly stayed in the small and beautiful village of Follifoot.  Follifoot is believed to derive from a Norse phrase meaning “Place of a Horse Fight” which was popular in the medieval era. The village is believed to have been a place where horses were trained and fights were staged. The village was not listed in the Doomsday Book of 1086. The earliest written record of Follifoot referred to it as “Pholifet” in the twelfth century. According to a conservation appraisal of the town, several Saxon remains have been unearthed in Rudding Park and in 1964 a kiln with five or six flues was found at Low Garth, which definitive evidence of a permanent medieval settlement at Follifoot.

In the center of the village of Follifoot sits a lovely Saxon cross which dates to the 9th century, although its upper portion was restored in the 19th century. Fewer monumental Saxon stone crosses have survived in England compared to Ireland, due to the iconoclasm which occurred after the English Reformation.

English Heritage reports that the cross is carved from local gritstone, described as a tall columnar cross on three square stone steps with a molded circular base with similar triple swagged motif above. A plain shaft rises to its square top with similar molded cap. A cross on the top, which was restored in the 19th century, includes small figure of the crucifixion.

Military Monday: 2nd Lieutenant Roy Edwards of the Rifle Brigade, 10th Battalion

After writing a post the other week about Sydney Henry Payne’s service in World War I, I found myself wondering what happened to Syd’s commander, 2nd Lt. Roy Edwards [no relation to Syd’s brother in law, William James Stephen Edwards, the husband of Syd’s sister Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards, who also served in WWI].

You may recall that he sent Syd’s mother, Edith Jane (Scarrott) Payne Burns Hart the following letter, assuring her of Syd’s safety:

“Oct. 26 1917.  Dear Mrs. Payne, No doubt your son has told you he is servant to me in France and as I have just arrived home on leave I thought you might like to hear from me that he is quite well and as we are in a quiet part of the line he is quite safe for many a day to come. As an officer’s servant he has quite a good time as I think he will admit & I feel sure it will be a consolation for you to know that servant’s seldom if ever do any of the dangerous jobs. Yours truly, Roy Edwards, 2nd Lt. R.B. PS Your son asked me to tell you that I am getting his watch mended & will take it back with me.”

First page of letter written from Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

First page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

Second page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart

Second page of letter written by Roy Edwards to Edith Hart, 1917

The tragedy of that letter, of course, was that one month later the 10th Battalion of the Rifle Brigade would be called to participate in the Battle of Cambrai. Sydney Payne was injured in the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917 and died of his wounds on 21 November 1917.

It seems that Lt. Edwards returned to the front in time to give Syd back his newly-repaired watch.

2nd Lt. Roy Edwards is listed as a casualty who died 30 November 1917 on the Cambrai Memorial in Louveral, France, according to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and The War Graves Photographic Commission, but unlike Sydney Payne, he does not have an individual gravestone. Investigating further, it seems that the reason for this was because his body was never found or identified. According to British Army WWI Medal Rolls Index Cards, 1914-1920, 2nd Lt. Roy Edwards of the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade [service number NW/5/15883] was “wounded and missing” on 30 November 1917, with a note stating that Roy’s brother, L.H. Edwards, applied for a medal in his late brother’s honor on 29 October 1921, and that Roy’s next of kin was his mother, Mrs. Edwards of 30 Nevern Place, S.W. 5.

Probate of Roy Edwards of 21 Bush-lane Cannon-street, London, a lieutenant of the Rifle Brigade who “died on or since 30 November 1917 in France” was granted to his widow Louise Isabelle Edwards on 20 November 1919. His effects were valued at £1051 7s. 6d., according to the National Probate Calendar.

So Lt. Edwards survived his servant Sydney Payne a mere 10 days along the previously “quiet” and “safe” front in France, yet unlike Syd’s family who were immediately notified of his death, Lt. Edwards’ family waited two years before declaring Roy dead, since his body was not identified on the battlefield, presumably holding onto the slim hope that he would miraculously appear, perhaps having been taken prisoner rather than dead. But like so many of England’s families at the time, their son/husband/brother never came home.

Tombstone Tuesday: “Chief Seattle’s Grave” and Suquamish Cemetery, Suquamish, Wa.

Suquamish Cemetery and St. Peter's Catholic Mission, Suquamish, Washington

Suquamish Cemetery and St. Peter’s Catholic Mission, Suquamish, Washington

We recently visited Suquamish Cemetery beside St. Peter’s Catholic Mission in Suquamish, Kitsap County, Washington on a cold and rainy day. The cemetery is well-known as the burial site of “Chief Seattle” [so-called by Midwestern settlers who founded the city of Seattle and named it in his honor in the 1850s, the title “Chief” was an American title, he was named si?al in Lushootseed]. It is also the burial site of numerous Catholic Suquamish tribe members and related families.

Chief Seattle, 1864. Photo by E.M. Sammis. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries Special Collections #NA1511.

In the early 19th century, Catholic French Canadian trappers were working along the waters and forests of Puget Sound, and several took local Puget Salish or Lushootseed wives. In the 1830s, the Hudson Bay Company established the trading post Fort Nisqually on Puget Sound, and had enough Catholic workers within the company that in 1838, Catholic priests Francis Blanchet and Modeste Demers arrived to serve the Catholic community at Puget Sound. They also served as missionaries to the local Puget Salish tribes. In 1841, Lt. Charles Wilkes of the U.S. Navy remarked that a large white crucifix stood on the beach beside Ol’-Man-House of the Suquamish tribe (a 2,000 year old village site with a large cedar longhouse). Chief Seattle’s father belonged to the Suquamish tribe, and during the 1840s Chief Seattle began attending Masses held at the Ol’Man House and was baptized there, taking the name “Noah Sealth”. In 1861, a Catholic mission church was built above the Ol’Man House village. In 1870 (shortly after the death of Chief Seattle, who died in 1866), the U.S. government burned the Ol’Man House in an effort to have the Suquamish tribe take up farming and spread out into individual land plots rather than a centralized community. The efforts largely failed, as the tribe rebuilt the village and continued to reside at the Ol’Man House village. The federal government then condemned the Ol’Man House site in 1904 with the intentions of building a naval fortification which was never built, and at this time the mission church was destroyed.  Portions of the church, such as the Gothic windows, were salvaged and included in the new St. Peter’s, which was rebuilt next to the Suquamish Cemetery in 1904. The government sold the Old Man House property in 1937 to private development and much of it became vacations homes. In 1950, the Washington Parks department purchased an acre of waterfront property near the site of the Ol’Man House which was donated to the Suquamish tribe in 2004. Several dedication ceremonies and memorials have been held in honor of Chief Seattle which in part have resulted in a number of historic photographs of his grave as well as the cemetery over time. Here is a view of Chief Seattle’s grave and the overgrown cemetery, overlooking St. Peter’s and Puget Sound, taken by famed photograph Asahel Curtis in 1910:

Chief Seattle’s Grave in Suquamish Cemetery overlooking St. Peter’s Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound beyond. Taken by Asahel Curtis, c. 1910. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division.

Mary Kitsap’s grave, St. Peter’s Catholic cemetery, Suquamish. Taken by Asahel Curtis, c. 1911. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections Division.

Here is the cemetery in 1938:

Chief Seattle’s grave. Taken by Lawrence Denny Lindsley, 1938. Courtesy of University of Washington Libraries. Special Collections Division

The overgrown tree stumps and brush evident in the 1910 and 1938 photographs are nowhere to be seen today, as the cemetery has expanded as a burial location to the present day, and as various grants over the past century have been obtained to help with landscaping, pathway development, and plaques and sign installation. In 1939 the graveyard was restored by funding from the Federal Works Progress Administration (WPA) and the Suquamish Commercial Club. Using burial records from St. Peter’s Church, the groups made and placed 503 cement grave markers. Over 400 names were carved into the markers, and unidentified graves were noted a stone marked with an X.

Our view of the cemetery was the same as Asahel Curtis’ in 1910:

View of Chief Seattle's grave, overlooking St. Peter's Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound

View of Chief Seattle’s grave, overlooking St. Peter’s Catholic Mission Church and Puget Sound

View of Suquamish Cemetery overlooking Puget Sound

View of Suquamish Cemetery overlooking Puget Sound

In 1890, a white marble gravestone was placed over Chief Seattle’s burial site by Seattle pioneers, including Arthur Denny, on which they inscribed the following: “”SEATTLE Chief of the Suqampsh and Allied Tribes, Died June 7, 1866. The Firm Friend of the Whites, and for Him the City of Seattle was Named by Its Founders” On the reverse is written: “Baptismal name, Noah Sealth, Age probably 80 years.” In the 1976, a Bicentennial grant funded the construction of cedar poles and two war canoes, carved by Jim and Ernest Chester of the Nitinat and George David of the Nootka, to place by Chief Seattle’s grave. As it deteriorated, recently two 12 foot cedar poles portraying the life of Chief Seattle, created by artist Andrea Wilbur-Sigo, replaced the canoe memorial.

Marker by the entrance to the cemetery recognizing the 2009 renovation of Chief Seattle's gravesite.

Marker by the entrance to the cemetery recognizing the 2009 renovation of Chief Seattle’s gravesite.

Chief Seattle gravestone and monument

Chief Seattle’s gravestone, flanked by two 12 foot cedar poles portraying the life story of Chief Seattle by artist  Andrea Wilbur-Sigo of the Squaxin Island Tribe.

Chief Seattle grave

Chief Seattle’s grave

Tributes left along the stone wall by Chief Seattle's grave.

Tributes left along the stone wall by Chief Seattle’s grave.

A plaque marked the recent burial site of “Our Ancestors from Old Man House Village, Returned to Rest In Peace, September 21, 2007, With Others from Our Ancient Village Sites”. The Burke Museum in Seattle for many years had held the remains of  almost a dozen historic Native Americans which had been discovered through construction activities near the site of the Old Man House Village during the past century. The museum had very little in the way of acquisition, provenance, or historical records pertaining to the remains. In 2007, following the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the Burke Museum notified the Suquamish tribe and the remains were reburied on 21 September 2007.

Memorial plaque honoring the 11 human remains that had been discovered near the Old Man House Village and held for many years at the Burke Museum. Pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains were reburied at Suquamish Cemetery in 2007.

Memorial plaque honoring the 11 human remains that had been discovered near the Old Man House Village and held for many years at the Burke Museum. Pursuant to the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, the remains were reburied at Suquamish Cemetery in 2007.

There were several benches installed throughout the cemetery modeled after historic Suquamish canoes (the silhouette of which is also featured on the marker memorializing the Old Man House burials):

One of several benches installed throughout the cemetery styled as historic Suquamish canoes.

One of several benches installed throughout the cemetery styled as historic Suquamish canoes.

Many of the cemetery’s burial records from the Kitsap County Historical Society Museum are listed at the Suquamish Cemetery’s FindAGrave page.

Tombstone Tuesday: WWI Rifleman Sidney Henry Payne

Sidney Henry PAYNE was born on 21 July 1898 in 125 Blackfriars Rd., Southwark, London, England, the son of Thomas Samuel Henry Payne and Edith Jane Scarrott. His name was also spelled as “Sydney”. He was the brother of Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards and the half-brother of Lucy Lilian Burns. He was baptized on 16 December 1900 in St. Mary’s, Lambeth, London, England.

Sidney/Sydney Henry Payne, 1917, World War I

Sidney/Sydney Henry Payne, 1917, World War I

At the age of 18, he enlisted for World War I at Southwark on 7 September 1916, and was assigned service number S/25413. From then until August 1917, he was stationed at Minster West, North Sheerness, where he engaged in rifle training and machine gun training. As Sidney’s letters to his sister Ida show, he became frustrated having to wait in England. He volunteered three times for service to France, but was turned down. Upon receiving advice from his uncle Henry Percy Scarrott, he volunteered again and was accepted for service in France. He wrote to his sister about the news, but asked that she not inform their mother, since he did not want her to worry unnecessarily. By September 1917, he was stationed in France.

He wrote to his mother Edith on 25 September 1917, “My Dear Mother, Just a line in reply to your most welcome letter and also to thank you very much for parcel and give my thanks to Lucy. I could not write before as I have just come out the line and I am getting on fine and am in good health and I hope you are not worrying over me, I hope the war to be over very shortly”.

On 26 October 1917, Sidney’s senior officer wrote a letter to Edith (Scarrott) Payne Burns, describing Sidney’s service in the war thus far: “ Dear Mrs. Payne, No doubt your son has told you he is servant to me in France and as I have just arrived home on leave I thought you might like to hear from me that he is quite well and as we are in a quiet part of the line he is quite safe for many a day to come. As an officer’s servant he has quite a good time as I think he will admit & I feel sure it will be a consolation for you to know that servant’s seldom if ever do any of the dangerous jobs. Yours truly, Roy Edwards, 2nd Lt. R.B. PS Your son asked me to tell you that I am getting his watch mended & will take it back with me.”

On 12 November, Sidney Payne wrote his last letter to his mother, written only 8 days before he was injured in the Battle of Cambrai on 20 November 1917 and died of his wounds on 21 November 1917. “My Dearest Mother, Just a few lines in reply to your most welcome letter, and am so glad to know that you still are quite safe and you must cheere[?] and look forward to the best and you must not worry over me because I am quite allright, and I should like you to thank Lucy very much for photograph and I also answered Mrs. Butler’s letter, also I am jolly glad you have had some one to console you feelings during these awful air raids and you must thank Mr, [Maxter?] for me & also for cigarettes. Well how is Lucy getting on I hope she has been a good girl while I have been out, here also next line you write you might send me a few safety razer blades ask for Gilletts. Well how are you getting on; well I hope and not worrying about Fritz’s aeroplanes, I expect by now you are quite use to them any way I wish it was all over, you had better not keep my dinner hot because I don’t suppose I shall be home this Christmas very likely. You say in your letter Ma that my officer is a [sport?] well as a matter of fact he is one of the best officers we have got and all the boys like him. As Christmas is drawing near I think I would like you to get me a present. I should very well like a ring, if you think you can get me one, let me know and I will send you the one I have on my finger so you can get the size. Well this is about all I have to say and I hope you are all in the pink and that you will write again soon. Closing with heaps of love and kisses. I am Your Loving Son, Sid. XXXXXXXXXXXXXX PS Am enclosing a Gillett safety blade these are the sort I want.”

Although Sid didn’t know it at the time, his mother had very good reason to worry.

While in France, Sidney served as a rifleman in the military in the 10th Battalion, Rifle Brigade which served in the 59th Brigade of the 20th (Light) Division, which was a New Army division formed as part of the K2 Army group. They were stationed in a quiet section of France along the German Hindenberg line. However, his division was called in to participate in the surprise attack known as the Battle of Cambrai, which began at 8 PM on November 20, 1917.

From Wikipedia: The Battle of Cambrai (20 November – 7 December 1917) was a British campaign of the First World War. Cambrai was a key supply point for the German Siegfried Stellung (part of the Hindenburg Line) and the nearby Bourlon Ridge would be an excellent gain from which to threaten the rear of the German line to the north. The British plans originated from Henry Hugh Tudor, commander of the 9th Infantry Division artillery. In August 1917, as Brigadier-General, he conceived the idea of a surprise attack in IV Corps sector that his unit occupied. Tudor suggested a primarily artillery-infantry attack, which would be supported by a small number of tanks to secure a breakthrough of the German Hindenburg Line. The German defences were formidable. Cambrai having been a quiet stretch of front thus far enabled the Germans to fortify their lines in depth and the British were aware of this. Tudor’s plan sought to test new methods in combined arms, with emphasis on artillery and infantry techniques and see how effective they were against strong German fortifications. The battle began at 8 p.m. on 20 November, with a carefully prepared and predicted but unregistered barrage by 1,003 guns on German defences, followed by smoke and a creeping barrage at 300 yards ahead to cover the first advances. Despite efforts to preserve secrecy, the German forces had received sufficient intelligence to be on moderate alert: an attack on Havrincourt was anticipated, as was the use of tanks. Initially there was considerable success in most areas and it seemed as if a great victory was within reach; the Hindenburg Line had been penetrated with advances of up to 5 miles (8.0 km). The 20th (Light) Division, which Sidney Payne was a part of, forced a way through La Vacquerie and then advanced to capture a bridge across the St Quentin canal at Masnières. The bridge collapsed under the weight of the crossing tanks, halting the hopes for advance there. Of the tanks, 180 were out of action after the first day, although only 65 had been destroyed. Of the other casualties, 71 had suffered mechanical failure and 43 had ditched. The British had suffered around 4,000 casualties and had taken 4,200 prisoners, a casualty rate half that of Third Ypres (Passchendaele) and a greater advance in six hours than in three months there.

Sidney Payne was injured the first night of the attack on 20 November 1917, and he died on 21 November 1917 at the age of 19. He had been brought to a clearing station located just to the west of the line, where he died of his injuries. He was buried in Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery, Manacourt, France.

Two days after his death, the matron of the clearing station where Sidney died wrote the following letter to his mother:

“48 Car Clear Stn. 23 Nov 1917.

Dear Mrs. Payne [51 Rockingham St., New Kent Rd., London ],

It is with much regret I have to tell you of the death of your son 25413 Pte. S. Payne on Tues. from wounds sustained in battle. He was brought in to us that day, but we found him beyond our aid to resussitate, & all we could do was to ease his pain & make him comfortable. He passed very peacefully away to his rest. He is buried in the military cemetery nearby here. With very sincere sympathy, Yours faithfully, Matron”

Sid’s mother’s pain must have been amplified by having likely just received the letter from Sid on November 12th (which was packaged with his officer’s letter from October 26th) with assurances of his safety and how quiet the line was.

Battle of Cambrai, France, 20 November 1917, The 20th British Division in which Sidney Payne was stationed with the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade, moved from Gouzeaucourt to Masnières, France, where he suffered injuries and died the following day

Battle of Cambrai, France, 20 November 1917, The 20th British Division in which Sidney Payne was stationed with the 10th Battalion Rifle Brigade, moved from Gouzeaucourt to Masnières, France, where he suffered injuries and died the following day

Not only did Sid’s mother and sisters mourn his loss, but he had also recently become engaged. Sydney Henry Payne and Emily Louise Fournier were engaged in 1917, probably during or just prior to his service in World War I, although it is likely they met before the war began. She was born in 1901 at Southwark, London, England, the daughter of Emile A. Fournier and Emily Brett.   While it is uncertain how long their engagement lasted, it may have taken place while Sidney was away during the war, since Emily Fournier’s mother had never met Sidney. Emily later married Robert Thomas Bastin, in 1926 at Lambeth, England.

95 years ago today, Mrs. Emily (Brett) Fournier wrote the following letter of condolence to Edith (Scarrott) Payne Burns regarding the death of Sidney, as reported by Emily:

17 St. Albans St. Kennington Dec 4th 1917

Dear Mrs. Payne,
Since Emily told me the sad news I have not had courage to write as I feel so sorry for you being your only son perhaps I should not have noticed it so much only Emily told me you had a letter saying he was an officer’s servant and would be allright for a time it seemed no time after all is finished in this world for him for Emily it is a wound that will heal but for your it will be for the rest of your life. I have never seen your son but as the child received his letters, she used to pass them to me. I will tell you his mother what I thought of him. I thought him a most noble character with all of the fine qualities to make a good man it seems to me so hard for you with no husband. I hope I am not hurting your feelings but I have wanted to write two or three times but could not do it. Mrs. Payne I have much to be thankful for as I have my husband and all of my children still and this is much to be thankful for. The eldest is 21 years next May he goes up again tomorrow, the next is in the army but still in England, and I have Emily and five younger. The youngest two next February and when I look around and know such lovely boys have gone I feelt frightened of what I should feel if I was in your place today accept my best wishes for your health and strength to help you over this great trouble.
Yours Respectfully.
Mrs. Fournier.
[Note, handwritten in blue pen by Ida Edwards: From Sid’s Fiancee’s Mother]

Sidney Henry Payne wrote numerous postcards and letters to his mother, Edith Jane (Scarrott) Payne Burns Hart and to his older sister, Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards during World War I, which were saved by sister, Ida Edith (Payne) Edwards. Sid often mentions that he has spoken to or wishes to speak with the two men in his immediate family who were also serving in World War I: his uncle, Henry Percy Scarrott, and his brother-in-law, “Will”, William J.S. Edwards, the husband of Ida (Payne) Edwards. He also often requested that his sister Ida send his love to his little sister Lucy Burns.

Sid’s letters show that he was a funny, stubborn, cocksure, brave young man. In his death at the all-too-young age of 19, he joined the almost one million casualties that the United Kingdom suffered during the Great War. Although but a small percentage of that overwhelming statistic, his death was greatly felt in his immediate family for generations to come.

So 95 years after his untimely death, here’s a moment to honor Sidney Henry Payne, beloved son, brother, uncle.

The gravestone of Sydney Henry Payne, Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery Manancourt, France, courtesy of the War Graves Photographic Project http://twgpp.org/

The gravestone of Sydney Henry Payne, Rocquigny-Equancourt Road British Cemetery Manancourt, France, courtesy of the War Graves Photographic Project http://twgpp.org/

ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT, FRANCE, where Sidney Henry Payne is buried

ROCQUIGNY-EQUANCOURT ROAD BRITISH CEMETERY, MANANCOURT, FRANCE, where Sidney Henry Payne is buried. Image courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission,  http://www.cwgc.org/

Sid’s gravestone is listed by the War Graves Photographic Project, and he also has an entry at FindAGrave.

Wordless Wednesday: The Gravestone of the Children of Andrew Neal, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Mass.

Gravestone of the Children of Andrew Neal, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, Mass.

The gravestone reads:

The children of Andrew & Melicen Neal

TEMPUS EDAX RERUM (Time, devourer of all things)

Elizabeth Neal Elizabeth Neal Andrew Neal
Aged 3 Dayes
Dec’d 1666
Aged 2 weeks
Dec’d June ye 12 1671
Aged 18 months
Dec’d
As Also ye body of Hannah Neal is here inter’d

The carver of this stone has been identified as the “Old Stone Cutter” in the Farber Collection. This is one of the more memorable and dramatic stones in the graveyard, I often stop by it when I am passing by.