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Lastly, let me present a small group of stones that appear to be lettered by George Allen Jr. but that do not have skulls carved by him. The early dates may indicate that this work was done by young Allen as a journeyman. This small group includes the following stones: 1756 Joseph Morse, Marlboro 1759 Eunice Raymond, Holden 1760 Catharine Jenison, Shrewsbury 1761 Isaac Metcalf, Wrentham 1761 Joseph Fisher, Franklin (Fig. 14, skull and borders, only, by Samuel Fisher) 1761 Margret Fisher, Franklin (Fig. 14a, skull and borders, only, by Fisher) Having drifted so far from the original “norms” for identifying the work of George Allen Jr., as set forth earlier, let me mention parenthetically a researcher’s nightmare in closing: those completely odd fringe stones that defy explanation. One is for Samuel Read (1764) in East Providence, Rhode Island. It has an unusual finial shape and a continuous border around the stone that is very skillfully done with the design and beveled modeling of a Boston carver. The lettering is a John New type. The skull is a welldone Allen Jr. type without the lower teeth crescent undercutting. And, to complicate matters further, Jeremiah Fisher was paid for these gravestones according to a probate record of 1765. Just as perplexing is the Timothy Morse stone (1765) of West Walpole, which has a rare border identical to that of Samuel Read with John-New-type lettering and a very generic, roundeyed skull. The memorial for Mrs. Mehetabel Morse (1765), in the same cemetery, has a typical George Allen Jr. border, but neither skull nor lettering is his. Similarly, the stone for Abial Ware (1757) of Wrentham also has a typical Allen Jr. border. These show Allen’s influence on other carvers, whose names remain unknown. Summary George Allen Jr.’s story was a challenge to unravel, leaving us even now with only a minimal biography and a clear-cut, but small, core body of work with distinctive effigy and skull designs and a characteristic lettering style. He learned his skills from a major colonial carver, his father George Allen, but as a very young apprentice/journeyman he ceded his home territory to his very prolific father and, either as an itinerant or through a middleman, placed stones in disparate areas in central Massachusetts to the north of his birthplace in Rehoboth, Massachusetts. The brief catalogue of his works creates problems of various sorts, particularly his positioning in a

Profile for Chris Davis

Markers XXVII  

Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies

Markers XXVII  

Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies

Profile for cvdavis
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