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the Jonadab Moor stone in Bolton. The lettering is identical to the Augustus Dexter stone in Providence. The carver is obviously the Dexter/Moor man, i.e., George Allen Jr. I would guess that the stone was carved just before or just after George Allen’s presumed marriage to Molly Man in 1763. The epitaph is most curious and worth a careful analysis: Upon this Stone here we may see, Jacob & Jonathan who are in Eternity, I have no reason to Complain Of GOD for what he’s Done For he’s a right to take a way, My Friends as well as Sons. The most significant fact here is that the name of the elder son Isaiah is pointedly omitted in the epitaph. A father or family member writing the epitaph would hardly omit the name of one of his own children. To a modern eye, the word “Friends” might suggest an anachronistic reading since friends today are those with whom one has a close but non-familial relationship. In the eighteenth-century, however, “friends” was often a catchall for any person with whom one was close. Siblings and schoolmates or strangers or Quakers might all come under the rubric of “friends.” But the fact that the epitaph omits the one young man George Allen Jr. was less likely to know well does seem very suggestive. Hence, we might assume that the friends of George Allen Jr. were Jacob and Jonathan only. How else can it be explained? There is more internal evidence here that the epitaph was chosen and composed not by a family member, but by the carver himself, a choice I have encountered in the work of other carvers. George Allen Jr. carved the design work, and perhaps the carver also composed the epitaph for the two young men he actually knew, Jacob, and Jonathan, but specifically not Isaiah. George Allen Jr. would be eighteen or nineteen years old at the time of their deaths. Jacob was twenty and Jonathan was sixteen, putting George right in the middle. These three make an appropriate age group for friendship, but Isaiah was twenty-six, a good deal older than the other three young chums, possibly married and/or removed from their sphere of friendship. In fact, since these three Bacon brothers were Molly Man’s first cousins, it would be quite possible that the carver, George Allen Jr., met her through his friendship with the two Bacon brothers or that he met them through his courtship of Molly Man, the less likely of the two suppositions.12 Furthermore, at least three other close relatives of Molly Man in the Bacon family had the same skull design and lettering done by the Dexter/Moor carver on their gravestones as

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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