Saturday, April 11, 2015
The Dead and Beautiful Rest (Cont.): Platypus Travels Part LXV
This is the grave of Agur and Abigail Shelton. It can be found near the downtown area of the town that shares their family name. This is, I believe, the oldest burial ground in the community and the bones of Lieutenant Daniel Shelton are laid to rest nearby. Agur is a generation or two removed from Daniel as his death date testifies: June 24, 1845. The style of Agur and Abigail's tomb, marble rather than slate with a weeping willow and urn instead of the winged death's head, show not only a change in date but a change in culture. Gone is the stark Puritan reminder that death comes for us all and a more euphemistic Neo-Classicism has taken its place. Along with added wealth and sophistication comes a few little flourishes that mark tomb stones from the early and mid-nineteenth century. Abigail's inscription is enriched by the note that she was "the daughter of the late Rev. Mr. Newton" and that she "died as a Christian should die". As she preceded her husband in death by sixteen years, this may very well be his verdict on the manner of her passing. Beneath the scroll-work embellished inscription is a final epitaph for the pair that reads "the sweet remembrance of the just, shall flourish when they sleep in dust". Years of winter snow and summer weed-wackers have taken their toll on this final note and it is beginning to fade. I wonder how long memory of Agur and Abigail's lives "flourished" after they were laid to "sleep in dust."