Friday, February 05, 2010
I have had a question from a historian about footstones. Much to my surprise, the books I own don't cover footstones very much! I have spent some time yesterday trying to find out what I know about the arrangement of the headstone and the footstone.
I thought this might make a good investigation for Granite-in-my-Blood for a few posts to see what readers think about footstones.
This footstone of my third great grandfather, Edward Stewart. His headstone is face down and broken. But, judging from the footstone, it must "match" the style and shape.
I do know that the headstone was standing upgright in the 1930s when Charles Hale recorded the graveyards as part of a WPA project because there is a transcription of what it reads.
I also know that his parents, who are buried a few miles away are my most classic example of the placement of headstone and footstone.
Notice it is inscribed with the carved initials E.S. I know that Edward was born 8 Dec 1774 and died 29 April 1837. He is buried in the Stewart Cemetery, North Stonington, CT. This family cemetery is unkempt and is in danger of being "hidden" by the current landowner with shrubbery. But, that's a story for another day.
So, I am lucky to know what the headstone says but what can we learn about footstones? Are they prevalent only in certain time periods? Are they confined to New England?
I am going to need your help on this one!