Epitaphs [2/2]

Lieut. John Merriam, Sept. 20, 1767, aged 67 years.

But Christ shall change my sinful dust,
The grave shall rot off all my rust;
This body of mine shall fashioned be
Like to his own in its degree.

Mrs. Esther, amiable comfort of Lieut. William Merriam, March 17, 1785, aged 33 years 9 months 8 days.

That face that none unmoved could view
Has lost the enchanting rosy hue;
Dwelt faith and wit in sweetness there.
O view the change and drop a tear.

Capt. John Moore (son of John Moore), Sept. 27, 1807, aged 78 years.

Glory with all her lamps shall burn,
To watch the Christian’s sleeping clay,
Till the last trumpet cause his urn
To aid the triumph of the day.

[He was captain of the militia of the town, was at Concord fight, and active during the Revolution.]

Mary, first wife of Capt. John Moore, July 6, 1797, aged 73 years.

Mary, second wife of Capt. John Moore, April 2, 1806, aged 76 years.

[She was the widow of James Lane, Jr., and formerly Mary Wellington.]

[ p 88 ]

Dea. Nathaniel Merriam, Dec. 11, 1738, aged 66 years.

The memory of the just is blessed. [*1]

[He was one of the first selectmen; he bequeathed five pounds to the church, of which he was a deacon from Aug. 4, 1730, till death.]

Elizabeth, wife of Mr. John Moore, March 18, 1732, aged 25 years.

Mr. John Moore, Aug. 21, 1765, aged 58 years.

[His death was occasioned by a fall from a load of hay when entering the barn.]

Mrs. Elizabeth (Wheeler), second wife of John Moore, Feb. 2, 1745.

The sin of Adam hath laid me low.
For sin hath wrought an overthrow;
From dust I came, to dust I come,
And now the dust’s become my home;
When Christ comes down with saints to reign,
The dust me no more shall detain.

Hugh Maxwell, March 19, 1759, aged 59 years.

My body turned into dust,
My dust it shall arise,
In resurrection of the just,
To sound Jehovah‘s praise.

[He came from Belfast, Ire.; was killed by a fall from his horse.]

William Maxwell, May 10, 1832, aged 79 years.

Mrs. Sarah, his wife, April 21, 1833, aged 76 years.

Rhoda Maxwell, born April 25, 1794, died Dec. 8, 1875.

Desire Mead, wife of Mr. Stephen Mead (Desire Bachelder), and former wife of Mr. Joseph Brown, Sept. 9, 1797, aged 59 years.

Anna Mead, Jan. 19, 1818, aged 49.

Refrain, my friends, and dry your tears,
Here I must lay till Christ appears.

Stephen Mead, Jan. 30, 1808, aged 71.

John Mead, Jan. 12, 1799, aged 22.

Mrs. Amittai Neuton, Aug. 29, 1756, aged 25 years.

Mr. Joseph Pulsifer, of Boston, June 3, 1815, aged 25 years.

Reader, if love of worth thy bosom warm,
If virtue please thee, or if friendship charm,
Upon this stone you’ll drop a tear;
Worth, virtue, friendship, all are buried here.

Mr. Joseph Porter, July 13, 1770, aged 52 years.

Although I sleep in dust awhile,
Beneath the barren clay,
Ere long I hope to rise and smile,
To see my Saviour God.

Sacred to the memory of Mr. Joseph Porter,

son of Mr. William and Mrs. Lucy Porter, June 14, 1811, aged 21.

Mrs. Anna Page, relict of Mr. Thomas Page, July 10, 1810, aged 73 years. [*2]

From scenes of woe with sorrow prest
She’s bid adieu, and gone to rest.

William Page, Feb. 10, 1812, aged 74 years.

[They were the founders of the Page fund.]

Pattey, wife of William Page, April 14, 1809, aged 69.

Thomas Page, July 31, 1809, aged 76.

Cornet John Page, Feb. 18, 1782, aged 78 years.

[Erected by Cyrus Page, in 1880.]

Cornet Nathaniel Page, March 2, 1755, aged 76 years.

[He was son of Nathaniel, 1st.]

Mrs. Susanna (Lane, daughter of Col. John, 2d), his wife, Sept. 2, 1746, aged 63 years.

Cornet Nathaniel Page, April 6, 1779, aged 76 years.

Death from all death has set us free,
And will our gain forever be;
Death loosed the rusty chain of woe,
To let the mournful captives go.

[He was a Minute Man in 1776, and an energetic patriot in the cause of freedom.]

Mr. Ebenezer Page, June 9, 1784, aged 47 years.

Dorothy Page, wife of Mr. Ebenezer Page, Feb. 6, 1779, aged 41 years.

March 26, 1754, Lucy Page, aged 2 years.

March 28, 1754, Susanna Page, aged 3 years 2 months 20 days.

April 7, 1754, Job Page, aged 5 years 10 months 7 days.

Children of Mr. Christopher and Susanna Page.

[A triple stone suggests the ravages of throat distemper in this family of the town.]

Widow Sarah Parker, formerly the wife of Mr. John Lane, March 5, 1814, aged 88 years.

Vain world, farewell to you,
Heaven is my native air;
I bid my friends a short adieu.
Impatient to be there.

Pierce monument:
George Pierce, Aug. 24, 1870, aged 42 years.
George N. Pierce, March 24, 1848, aged 31 years.
Augustus Pierce, May 6, 1846, aged 30.

Page monument:
Nathaniel Page, Aug. 30, 1858, aged 83 years.
Lydia, wife of Nathaniel Page, Jan. 24, 1852, aged 79 years.

[ tipped-in page ]

[ house photo ]
Residence of Edwin H. Blake.

[ p 89 ]

In memory of Benjamin Page, Jan. 13, 1848, aged 34. Two children of Benjamin and Mary C. Page.

Mr. Samuel Page, member of the junior class of Dartmouth College, N.H., Jan. 31, 1839, aged 22 years.

Nathaniel, son of Mr. Nathaniel Page, Jr., and Mrs. Lucy Page, his wife, April 10, 1808, aged 11 months.

Mr. Nathaniel Page, July 31, 1819, aged 77.

Mrs. Sarah, wife of Mr. Nathaniel Page, Aug. 22, 1834, aged 92.

Isaac F. Page, Nov. 21, 1844, aged 39 years.

Capt. John Page, June 29, 1848, aged 81 years.

Esther, wife of Capt. John Page, Dec. 21, 1852, aged 81 years.

Mr. Christopher Page, son of Nathaniel, 2d, Nov. 11, 1786, aged 80 years.

Mrs. Susanna, relict of Mr. Christopher Page, July ye 20, 1792, in ye 83d year of her age. [*2]

The sweet remembrance of the just
Shall flourish when they sleep in dust.

[She was formerly the widow of Benjamin Webber, of Medford, and daughter of Whitmore.]

In memory of Mrs. Lydia, wife of Capt. Christopher Page, Feb. 20, 1808, aged 64.

Betsey B., wife of Silas W. Page, June 25, 1842, aged 37.

John H., Feb. 27, 1841, aged 18 months. Susanna, May 4, 1841, aged 4 years 6 months. Children of Betsey B. and Silas W. Page.

Sacred to the memory of Mrs. Hannah, wife of Dr. Amariah Preston, Feb. 8. 1795, in the 26th year of her age.

Hark! hear my dear Redeemer’s voice,
My soul must hence remove;
Farewell to all those earthly joys,
And haste away to realms above.

In memory of Hannah, daughter of Dr. Amariah Preston, Aug. 8, 1810, aged 15 years.

Dea. Israel Putnam, Nov. ye 12, 1700, aged 62 years.

[He was one of the first deacons, foundation member of the church, and gave the land for the burial ground.] [*3]

In memory of Mr. Jonas Putnam, March 10, 1818, aged 32.

Death with his dart has pierced my heart
When I was in my prime.

Mr. Oliver Pollard, May 28, 1831, aged 94 years.

Mrs. Oliver Pollard, Feb. 20, 1840, aged 91 years and 4 months.

To them the solemn hour has come,
And life’s short space is o’er;
They both have readied their final home,
Where they shall part no more.

Mr. Matthew Pollard, Nov. 15, 1801, aged 52 years.

Stranger, as this spot you tread,
And meditate upon the dead,
Improve the moments as they fly,
For all who live must shortly die.

Mrs. Rebeccah Quimby, July 8, 1820, aged 25 years 5 months.

All earthly scenes are quickly o’er,
For transient is their date;
‘Midst all our joys we oft deplore
The cruel stroke of fate;
But stop each fond parental tear,
And each fraternal sigh,
She’s freed from all her troubles here.
To dwell with God on high.

John Reed, Esq., Nov. 20, 1805, aged 75 years.

Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord,
That they may rest from their labors, and their works do follow them. [*4]

[He was an influential man, a member of the Continental Congress at Concord and Cambridge in 1775, and took an active part in the war of the Revolution. [*5] His name appears on a family memorial erected in Shawshine Cemetery in 1890.]

Jesse Robinson, Dec. 1, 1842, aged 76 years.

Rebecca, wife of Jesse Robinson, Aug. 3, 1863, aged 86 years 6 months.

Miss Mary Robinson, June 9, 1833, aged 20 years.

Draw near, my friends, and take a thought,
How soon the grave must be your lot;
Make sure of Christ while life remain,
And death shall be your eternal gain.

Miss Martha Robinson, Aug. 7, 1840, aged 21 years.

Stay, thou passing maiden, stay!
Learn how earthly joys decay!
Here three lovely sisters sleep;
Read their fate, and, reading, weep.

Eliza Robinson, born Dec. 27, 1809, died Sept. 16, 1871.

Life to thee was but a burden,
Sister, thou art gone to rest;
Yes, we trust thou art in heaven,
The place awaiting all the blest.

Mrs. Abi, wife of Mr. David Rice, Oct. 30, 1820, aged 31.

Oliver Reed, Aug. 15, 1837, aged 81.

Mary, second wife of Oliver Reed, May 31, 1812, aged 32.

Mrs. Betsey, wife of Mr. Oliver Reed, Jr., Oct. 22, 1802, aged 45.

Stop, passenger, as you pass by;
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, so you will be:
Prepare for death, and follow me.

[ p 90 ]

Mrs. Abigail, wife of Capt. David Reed, Sept. 1, 1803, aged 44 years.

She is fled, the loveliest mind,
Faith, sweetness, wit, together joined: [^1]
Dwell faith and wit and sweetness there;
Oh, view the change, and drop a tear!

Erected in memory of Mrs. Hannah, wife of Capt. David Reed, April 29, 1790, aged 39 years.

Martha S., wife of Nathan O. Reed, March 22, 1841, aged 24 years.

Eliot, daughter of John Reed, Esq., and Mrs. Ruhamah (Brown), his wife, Aug. 24, 1780, in the 16th year of her age.

How uncertain this life! How little did I expect to die so young! Dear youth, remember my sudden death; for in such an hour as ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Grace Page, daughter of John Reed, Esq., and Mrs. Ruhamah, his wife, Sept. 16, 1778, in the 19th year of her age.

From death’s arrest no age is free, as beholders may see; and now, dear youth, brothers, sisters, and friends, all prepare to come, for sure you must, and mingle with me in the dust.

Mrs. Ruhamah (Brown) Reed, wife of John Reed, Esq., Jan. 9, 1798, in the 68th year of her age.

Roger Reed, June 8, 1844, aged 82.

Sarah, his wife, Feb. 8, 1849, aged 83.

Oliver Reed, Sept. 18, 1811, in the 83d year of his age.

Betsey, daughter of Mr. Reuben and Mrs. Mary Reed, May 3, 1813, aged 3 years and 8 months.

Amanda Reed, Sept. 15, 1846, aged 26.

Melvina Reed, July 18, 1844, aged 21.

Mrs. Sarah Randall, March 2, 1821, aged 44 years.

Elijah Skelton, Jan. 30, 1852, aged 68.

Remember that you, too, must die.

Mrs. Sarah, wife Elijah Skelton, Dec. 31, 1873, aged 87 years 11 months 1 day.

Precious in the sight of the Lord
Is the death of his saints. [*6]

[She had been gone from this town many years, but remembered the Church of Christ in her last will.] [^2]

Sarah, daughter of Elijah and Sarah Skelton, Feb. 4, 1852, aged 33 years.

Edwin, son of Elijah and Sarah Skelton, April 11, 1849, aged 28. In memory of five infant children of Elijah and Sarah Skelton.

Mrs. Louisa, wife of Mr. Elias Skelton, July 2, 1836, aged 24.

Samuel, their son, Oct. 18, 1832, aged 4 months.

A wife and child have gone to their rest,
And why should the soul of the mourners be sad?
Faith tells they have gone where the weary are blest.
And the spirit of hope looks up and is glad.

Mr. Solomon, son of Capt. Edward and Mrs. Lucy Stearns, May 18, 1775, aged 19 years.

[He was at Concord fight, April 19, 1775, and in the camp at Cambridge, where he contracted the disease from which he died.]

Mary Elizabeth, daughter of Elijah Stearns, Esq., and Elizabeth, his wife, July 12, 1818, aged 11 years.

Lieut. Edward Stearns. May 18, 1798, aged 30 years.

God my Redeemer lives, and often from the skies
Looks down and watches all my dust,
Till he shall bid me rise.

Capt. Edward Stearns, June ye 11, 1793, aged 68 years.

Here in this grave, this silent cave,
Lies our beloved friend,
A husband near, a father dear,
To lie till time shall end.
Then at the call of God he shall arise, no more to die,
And, as we trust, among the just spend an eternity.

Mrs. Lucy, wife of Capt. Edward Stearns, Nov. 28, 1802, aged 69 years.

Here sleeps our mother in the dust;
So we e’er long her children, must,
When God sees fit to call us hence,
To leave this world of flesh and sense. [*7]

Here lies the bodies of two children of Capt. Edward Stearns and Mrs. Lucy, his wife: [*8]

Edward, May ye 24, 1768, in the 8th year of his age.

Here lies bones of Edward Stearns. [*8] His soul, I trust, rests in Christ’s arms. Then he shall rise out of the ground.

Lucy, May ye 20, 1768, in the 13th year of her age.

The body of a lovely maid
Lies buried in her silent grave;
And in it doth take quiet rest,
As if of beds it were the best.

Betsey D., relict of William Stearns, July 27, 1844, aged 61 years. [*2]

Betsey, wife of Noah Stearns, Sept. 17, 1842, aged 71.

Mr. John Sprague, March 4, 1810, aged 51.

John Sprague, Jr., eldest son of Mr. John and Mrs. Phebe Sprague, May 21, 1805, aged 16 years 6 months.

[ p 91 ]

Sally Sprague, second daughter of Mr. John and Mrs. Phebe Sprague, April 25, 1805, aged 18 years.

Mrs. Sophia, wife of Mr. Abel Shed, Feb. 20, 1824, aged 41 years.

Mrs. Jane (Pollard), widow of Thomas Smith, Feb. 29, 1868, aged 87 years.

Mrs. Eunice, wife of John Taylor, May 7, 1737, aged 81 years.

[She bequeathed the first legacy to the church, £5.]

Miss Elizabeth Thomas, April 6, 1839, aged 72.

[A row of sunken, moss-covered stones suggests the sorrow that befell the Whitmore family during the prevalence of throat distemper.]

Aug. 2, 1743, Ebenezer, aged 2 years 7 months 23 days.

Aug. 29, 1743, John, aged 5 years 10 months 7 days.

Sept. 11, 1745, William, 4 years 5 months 24 days.

Feb. 16, 1750, Lucy, aged 4 years 3 months 8 days.

Feb. 21, 1750, John, aged 8 months 8 days.

March 4, 1750, Susanna, aged 2 years 7 months 16 days.

April 17, 1750, Martha, aged 7 years 6 months 18 days.

Children of Mr. John and Mrs. Martha Whitmore.

[ object sketch ]
[[ Jonathan Willson’s gravestone. ]] [*9]

Jonathan Wilson, Sept. 25, 1797, in the 35th year of his age.

Betsey A., wife of George Wilson, Aug. 25, 1876, aged 40.

Mr. John Whitmore, Oct. 25, 1748, aged 37 years.

[He was town clerk from 1716 till death, and a man of great influence.]

Susanna, daughter of Benjamin and Susanna Webber, late of Medford, and granddaughter of Mary and John Whitmore, April 2, 1743, aged 15 years.

Mrs. Mary, relict of Mr. John Whitmore, of Medford, and daughter of John and Susanna Lane of Bedford, March 27, 1783, aged 96 years. [*2]

[She killed the Indian. See “Experience of Mary Lane.”] [*10]

Capt. John Webber, April 29, 1868, aged 75 years.

Mrs. Sarah, his wife, May 9, 1782, aged 38 years.

Mrs. Susannah (Page), second wife, Feb. 5, 1825, aged 75 years.

Mr. William Webber, Sept. 25, 1833, aged 71 years.

An honest man, the noblest work of God. [*11]

Mrs. Mary (Abbott), wife of William Webber, March 24, 1817, aged 49 years.

Job Webber, Oct. 10, 1838, aged 69.

Sarah, wife of Job Webber, Jan. 31, 1861, aged 91 years 5 months 12 days.

Miss Eliza F. Webber, Jan. 21, 1839, aged 33.

Gently the passing spirit fled.
Sustained by grace divine;
Oh, may such in me be shed,
And make my end like thine!

Hannah R., daughter of James and Hannah Webber, Sept. 18, 1844, aged 34.

Joseph Thompson, son of Joseph and Eliza Webber, June 1, 1844, aged 15 years 9 months.

Tell mother I am willing to die.

James Webber, May 21, 1852, aged 79.

Mrs. Hannah, wife of James Webber, Jan. 20, 1835, aged 63.

Hiram Webber, Jan. 18, 1857, aged 62 years.

Fidelia, wife of Hiram Webber, April 5, 1834.

Harriet, relict of Samuel Wyman, Nov. 11, 1843, aged 50. [*2]

Miss Elizabeth P. Whitford, June 1, 1843, aged 20.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord. [*4]

Ellen Adelia, infant of George W. and Adelia B. Woodward, Sept. 2, 1841, aged 3 weeks.

“It is well.” 2 Kings, iv. 26. [*12]

Mr. James Wright, March 27, 1826, aged 51 years.

[ p 92 ]

Mrs. Dorcas Wright, his wife, Nov. 22, 1846, aged 71 years.

Mourn not, dear children, though we sleep
Beneath this cold, damp sod;
For soon the last, loud trump will sound
To raise us up to God.

Timothy Page, son of Mr. James Wright and Mrs. Dorcas, his wife, Sept. 22, 1801, aged 20 months.

Miss Margaret, daughter of Mr. James and Mrs. Dorcas Wright, May 10, 1832, aged 20.

Her months of affliction are o’er,
Her days and nights of distress;
We see her in anguish no more,
She’s gained a happy release.

Jonathan Woolley, July ye 25, 1766, in the 65th year of his age.

Samuel Woolley, Nov. 25, 1773, in the 70th year of his age.

Dea. James Wright, Dec. 24, 1818, aged 73.

Mrs. Ruth, wife of Dea. James Wright, Jan. 6, 1830, aged 82.

What though to stranger’s unaccustomed hand
‘Twas left to smooth life’s rough and toilsome road?
No cold friend’s office she now demands,
A friend, the best of friends, sustains her, God.

Their children:
Ruth, Sept. 15, 1775, aged 7.
Sally, Sept. 1, 1775, aged 4.


The absence of head-stones to the memory of many prominent citizens may be accounted for by the erection of family tombs. John Reed and John Merriam, Esq., erected a tomb for their families in August, 1795, and Capt. Robert Pulsifer in 1824.

Thirteen tombs were built in 1826, and purchased by families as follows:—

No. 1.  Eleazer Davis, Sampson Spaulding, and Amos Hartwell. The Davis family were removed to Shawshine Cemetery. The Spaulding family were deposited in one common grave in the Old Burial Ground, where a granite tablet may be seen, erected by Mrs. Martha E. S. Norris, of Iowa, on which is “Sampson Spaulding and Family.”

No. 2.  Josiah Hill.

No. 3.  Mr. Jacob Gragg and Capt. Timothy Page.

No. 4.  Mrs. Jonathan Lane and Mrs. Stephen Lane.

No. 5.  Benjamin Simonds.

No. 6.  Uriah and Thomas Goodwin.

No. 7.  Mather Hayward and Joshua Page.

No. 8.  Capt. David Reed.

No. 9.  Dea. M. Crosby and Jeremiah Fitch.

No. 10.  Job Lane, John Wheeler, and Simeon Blodgett.

No. 11.  Samuel Sage, John B. Wilson, David Rice, and Francis Wilson.

No. 12.  Rev. Samuel Stearns and E. Stearns, Esq.

No. 13.  A. Preston, Esq., M. Cutler, and Benjamin Bacon.

The following are from “Shawsheen” Cemetery:—

1770, Rev. Samuel Stearns, 1834. Born in Epping, N.H.; graduated from Harvard College; ordained over the Church of Christ in Bedford, April 27, 1796. Died Dec. 26, 1834, in the 65th year of his age and 39th of his ministry.

An earnest preacher, a faithful pastor, a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost.

Mrs. Abigail Stearns, wife of Rev. Samuel Stearns, daughter of Rev. Samuel French, of Andover. Born May 29, 1776; died Dec. 2, 1858, in the 83d year of her age.

Wise and good, respected and beloved, she sleeps in Jesus, and her memory is precious.

Josiah A. Stearns, A.M., Ph.D., son of Rev. Samuel Stearns. Born Sept. 1, 1812; died Sept. 8, 1883.

For thirty-nine years in the service of the city of Boston, as usher in the Adams and head-master of the Mather, Lawrence, and Norcross schools.

Peter, a Revolutionary soldier, freed slave of Rev. Josiah Stearns, Epping, N. H., faithful hired servant of Rev. Samuel Stearns. Born 1750, died 1807.

A good Christian.

[Peter “Freeman” served in the Revolution, was freed by his master, Rev. Josiah Stearns, of New Hampshire, whose son, Rev. Samuel, met him in Boxford, Mass., many years after, and took him to his home and cared for him till death. He was buried near the door of the tomb where the body of Rev. Samuel Stearns lay for many years.]

Jonathan Lane, fifth generation from Job Lane, the head of the family in this country. Born in Bedford, Jan. 27, 1788. Removed to Boston in 1824. Returned to his native town in 1847, and died Nov. 12, 1860, aged 72.

[Simple, earnest, charitable; a genial friend, a liberal citizen, an humble Christian.] [^3]

Ruhamah, wife of Jonathan Lane, daughter of Nathaniel and Sarah Page. Born in Bedford,

[ tipped-in page ]

[ house photo ]
Domine Manse, 1729 — John Reed Homestead.

[ p 93 ]

May 1, 1788; married July 27, 1815, and survived her beloved husband twenty-two years.

By her strong, attractive, and original character, became a conspicuous and honored representative of the two families. She died June 19, 1882, aged 94 years.

Samuel W., son of Jonathan and Ruhamah Lane. Died March 25, 1856, aged 35 years.

A dutiful son and affectionate brother, a faithful, generous friend. Born in Bedford, early removed to Boston. He was there known for uprightness, sincerity, and truth for kindness to the poor, sympathy with the unfortunate and oppressed, and for a consistent Christian life. The active service of which he has exchanged for the “Rest of the people of God.”



  1. fled, ∨ fied,
  2. will.] ∨ will.
  3. Christian.] ∨ Christian.


  • Pope’s Essay on man (1734)


  1. cf. KJV’s Proverbs 10:7
  2. “relict”: widow
  3. “the burial ground”: the Old Burying Ground: 7 Springs Road
  4. cf. KJV’s Revelation 14:13
  5. “Continental Congress”: [ an error for ] Provincial Congress
  6. cf. KJV’s Psalm 116:15
  7. “e’er long”: [ an error for ] ere long
  8. “lies”: [ an error for ] lie
  9. This sketch of Willson’s gravestone reads

    In Memory of Cap^t
    Jonathan Willson, who
    was Killed in Concord=
    Fight April 19^th AD 1775.
    In the 41^th year of his Age.

    NB: “41^th” is an error (on the illustrator’s part) for “41^st”.

  10. cf. (in this volume) p 21
  11. cf. Pope‘s Essay on man (1734) p 67 [ no scan ]
    The original verse (in its fuller context) reads:

    A Wit’s a Feather, and a Chief a Rod;
    An honest man’s the noblest Work of God:
    Fame but from death a Villain’s name can save,
    As Justice tears his body from the grave

  12. cf. KJV’s 2 Kings 4:26

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