Saturday, October 22, 2011

"We see thee still that cheek of rose, Those lips with dewy fragrance wet, That forehead in serene repose, Those soul lit eyes, we see them yet.'" From the headstone of Apphia Atwood in Duck Creek Cemetery, Wellfleet, Massacusetts

When we vacationed on the Cape as a large entourage, we always took time to walk though the Duck Creek Cemetery in Wellfleet,  This beautiful graveyard is home to graves dating back to well before the Revolutionary War.  The headstones from that particular period of time are almost impossible to read, having sat in place for nearly 300 years.  The history that lies there, and the history that has passed before them!  It is a wonderful and fascinating piece of land to wander through.

Bruce and I spent part of an afternoon revisiting the Duck Creek Cemetery.  Below are some photos of that visit and a bit of background information on a particular group of children interred there.  

The three headstones pictured below are of the Atwood children.  A fourth headstone lies on the ground nearby.

All four of them died in 1849.  I did a little internet sleuthing to see if I could discover what may have been going on here in 1849, particularly in August, when three of them died within two weeks of one-another.  I am always amazed at what can actually be found with a bit of digging - even what was actually written on their headstones.  I wish that I could have learned more, but what I did find was that the cause of death was only listed for one - and I couldn't determine which one - dysentery. While it stands to reason that this would also be the cause for the other three,  I read that there was also a cholera outbreak in North America in 1849. What harsh times, and to lose four children in such a short period of time - what their parents' grief must have been.

"Apphia C. Atwood, daughter of Lewis & Apphia Atwood, died Feb. 12, 1849, aged 2 yrs. 9 mos.
'We see thee still that cheek of rose
Those lips with dewy fragrance wet
That forehead in serene repose
Those soul lit eyes, we see them yet.' "
"Samuel R. son of Lewis & Appia Atwood, Aug. 4, 1849, aged 5 years.
'Said Jesus, now suffer little children to come
I'll bless and protect them and take them safe home
Then grief stricken parent, s-- up with faith's eye
Your sweet cherub, Sam'l, now dwells in the sky' "
"Lewis W., son of Lewis & Appia Atwood, died Aug. 11, 1849, aged 6 years & 6 months.
'Since Sam has fled to the Region of Light
You, sweet little Lewis, must go from our sight
In life so ----, in death they can't part
Although so afflictive to a fond parent's heart.' "
"Rachel, daughter of Lewis & Appia Atwood, died Aug. 15, 1849, aged 10 months.
'Now Sam'l and Lewis have gone up on high
One more little cherub, sweet baby too must die
In one their bodies were here laid away
To rest with their spirits at the great coming day' "

The Atwoods had  four other children.  Interestingly, another was named Apphia, after the mother - whose name is spelled Appia and Apphia in different locations.  

  • Hannah Atwood was born in 1833, with no date of death listed
  • William Atwood was born in 1835 and died in 1879
  • Maria Atwodd was born in 1838, with no date of death listed
  • Apphia Atwood (the second child named after her mother) was born in 1851 and died in  1878

A few other photos in closing ~ 

I will return here on Wednesday with some more photos and tales of our travels!

1 comment:

  1. Boy, do I wish I had been there to make rubbings of those head stones. What a treat to read such personal epitaphs, thanks to your super sleuthing skills. Looking forward to what's in store on Wednesday.