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Graveyard Oddities

At the Mount Hope Cemetery, Darwin and I encountered some weirdo oddities.  For example, this marker puzzled us mightily:

I forget what famly plot they were buried in, so I don't have a last name.  Neither of these women were married.  (A married woman would be buried with her husband and have her husband's last name.)  Their deaths were separated by 20 years.  Their births were separated by 11 years.  What was their relationship?  If they were sisters, why did they have such similar names?  They were alive at the same time, and it doesn't seem likely someone would name one daughter Mary and eleven years later, name a second daughter Maria.  (Perhaps Maria was adopted?)  Why do they share a marker?  Mary died in 1847.  Did she not have a marker until Maria's death 20 years later in 1867?  Or was Mary's marker damaged and someone decided to combine their markers?

We couldn't think of a scenario that made sense,  No doubt it's something simple--Occam's Razor--but nothing simple comes to mind!


Aug. 31st, 2015 10:24 pm (UTC)
I wouldn't be so sure that neither girl was ever married; OTOH, I agree that it's unlikely they were sisters.

I also strongly suspect that those markers are not grave markers as such. For one thing, they are too small and too close together for two sets of remains to have been interred side by side, even 20 years apart. For another, I think your guess about damage to Mary's original marker is a good one. Her carving,
which should look older and more worn (given a death date 20 years earlier than the left), is actually much sharper and more deeply incised. I'd lay good odds that Mary's marker has been restored from its original state, and that one or both stones may have been moved at some point.

As to their relationship: my first guess, admittedly on zero actual evidence, would be this. Maria E. was married to a brother of Mary's, but the brother died under conditions that prevented the return of his remains -- very likely in the military. Maria E. was then taken in by her late husband's family, and the sister and sister-in-law were eventually memorialized alongside one another. The E. may be the first letter of Maria's maiden name.

A second, completely different guess: the two girls were half-sisters, with Maria E. being the product of either a second marriage or an out-of-wedlock affair.

Either of these could likely be supported or refuted by evidence from other stones in the plot or other burial records for the family in question.

Sep. 1st, 2015 04:36 pm (UTC)
All possible. Another friend of mine suggested they were aunt and niece, with the one named after the other. It's no doubt something simple and easy, if we were able to talk to the people who put up the stone, but they just aren't available, for some reason! :)

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