During a brief warm spell awhile ago, my husband, who is very tolerant of my genealogy obsession, drove me to a remote part of Wayne County, NY to search for the graves of my Vincent ancestors. While only a little over an hour from our home, the town of Butler is what you could call a few miles past the back of beyond. We drove around a bit before we located the cemetery behind a small white church. We also located a lovely trash heap directly adjacent to the cemetery as seen in the photo, but that’s a topic for another blog, sigh…
As we walked down the path behind the church, I couldn’t help noticing two large stones near the center of the cemetery that unlike all the others there were not facing the road. They instead faced each other. I wondered whose relatives had placed those cockeyed stones. Of course they were my relatives. At least it made them easy to find.
The story behind these stones is a sad one, but then few stories concerning tombstones are happy ones. Sarah Charlotte Vincent, the former Sarah Fowler was the wife of John Vincent whose name is above hers on the stone. The name below hers is their 20 year old daughter Mary Ann. You can see from their stone that Sarah and Mary Ann both passed away in 1883. What the stone doesn’t tell you is they died less than two weeks apart that awful summer, both of consumption, now known as tuberculosis. First Mary Ann, then a heartbroken Sarah followed her daughter to the grave.
The stone facing theirs belongs to Sarah’s parents Merritt Fowler and Abiah Wells who bore sad witness to the deaths of their daughter and her child. Abiah was the daughter of Austin Wells of Revolutionary War fame. A Google search of, “Austin Wells” Cambridge, turns up many hits.
For anyone who may have ancestors in Wayne County, New York the following site has burial indexes and is very helpful for locating cemeteries with driving directions for most of them-- http://wayne.nygenweb.net/cemeteries.html