Without movies, burial grounds were a good show (still are)...

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Here was one that conceivably needed a copyright, I saw this inscription on three headstones:

Behold, and see, as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, you must be.
Prepare for Death, and follow me.

The pale-blue shale, the red sandstone, and the white marble, must have been brought by horse and carriage from places like the Granite State, New Hampshire.  These materials are not local to sandy Long Island.  Shale, sandstone, then marble, was the order of longevity (and likely cost) of the headstone material.  Shale had the finest engraving work, marble was the most granular.

Women had their husbands name on their headstone.  Men conveyed any societal rank to the wife.  Husbands did not name their wife on their rock memorial.

“F” often replaced “S” in both writing, and engraving here.  This may have been to deter slaves learning to read.  New York State officially ended a weak slavery economy in 1827.  “Lies interred” was spelled “Lyes inter’d.”  “The” was spelled “ye”, with a superscript, “ye”.

Many headstones were sketchy on dates.  Not everyone knew what day it was, calendars were not available (for the most part, neither were dictionaries).  On the monuments, there are dates of death, but not so often birth dates.  They knew the age at death much more than the number of years with any fraction.  Their math skills were also likely weak, they couldn’t calculate the length of life between birth and death.


At a woods burial ground, outside of the grand congress of Huntington Village, I have seen a headstone addressing God as “Sir”!  The Church must have had incredible power, and god was addressed so obsequiously, with such profound fear and reverence.  The whole “loving god” notion was not present then, as evidenced by their fond farewells.  They wanted redemption for entry into Heaven, so that might, in part, explain the extreme formality.

This burial grounds in the woods was for those who may have never even seen Huntington Village, the equivalent to Manhattan to those eight miles distant.  Pioneers could easily have spent just about their entire life within the boundaries of their farm.  Even going to a church would be a rather long slog.  Being this isolated could make a relationship with god not the generally accepted god as friend, but rather god as authority figure.


Several headstones of soldiers who fought in the Revolutionary War, refer to the deceased as “Associators,” and not Revolutionairies.  This doesn’t even signify Patriot or Loyalist backing, whose linking might have been trouble this close to the exit of British soldiers from America.

Long Island did have Loyalist, British sentiment.  Nathan Hale, in fact, was lynched for not supporting Britain.  His last words were: “I only regret that I do not have more than one life to give for my country.”  (Then, with a second life, he could be hung, and still go back to being a farmer, or whatever?...)

My favorite was the one headstone adorned with a fleur-de-lis.  The inscription, massaged from the French (perhaps the only one on the hill not in English) with my imagination, was: “All we do, is enjoy the day!”  (And our employ does not like that!)

At the Huntington Village Burial Grounds, the main boulevard, the main promenade, was once not by the parking lot, but on the other side of the Historical Society building, which was built in 1892 — a late-comer to this hill.  The new, Best in Show were buried by the parking lot, West of the earlier show-stoppers.


This appears to be a very interesting indictment of early medical malpractice — “died...by inoculation” (the headstone was broken into two halves, as if to avoid implicating wrong-doing):

In Memory of
Peleg, Son, of
Thomas & Mary
Conklin
who died
[broken in half here]
of the Small pox
by Inoculation
Jany 27th. 1788
Aged 17. Years.

The headstone inscribed, “Mrs. Temperance”, is a bit confusing.  Is this meant as an insult, or as praise?  The headstone doesn’t display any given name, or family name, just the nickname.

Mothers dying during child birth were not entirely uncommon, and mom and infant were buried together.  One multiple burial under a single headstone was from a regular to the cemetery, a bloodline of record, “Titus.”  It was a bit more interesting.  “James, Ira, & Clary Titus” comprised a triple burial on one very small headstone.  A family of three died simultaneously?  I have no idea how that occurred, but it sounds very ominuous.

People dying in their twenties, thirties, and forties, were not unusual at all.  Making it to one’s eighties was rather uncommon.


As interesting as the Huntington graves are, the Hampton “Good Ground” settlements predated Western Suffolk by close to a hundred years.  From Europe, the Twin Forks would be the first stop, not interior Huntington.

Heading out to the Southern Fork of the East End would be worth a trip.  Rolling into East Hampton on Montauk Highway, there is a significant, near four-hundred-year-old burial plot with a nearby reflection pond.

“Sir, in memory of Adaline, the daughter...”The scrariest of them all: Our ancestors referring to God as “Sir”...
In 1764, Peleg Potter died at the age of thirteen, perhaps due to a “divide” from his peer group.