“Here Lyes y body of Ann(?) Grigg Wife of Thomas Grigg Aged 30 years Dec Sep y 17 1742 A Thousand (Times) Farewell Dear hart(?) Till we Shall meet & never Part Oh may(?) we Shorely(?) meet(?) again(?) To Praise Our God Amen” ~Tombstone, Trinity Church burial ground, NYC, Broadway & Wall Street (additional random letters placed in several locations, ie a small D above “c” in Dec)

Trinity Church burial ground dates back to the 1600’s. Many of the tombstones are so faded that reading the face is nearly impossible. It therefore seems meaningful when locating several that are legible, despite being nearly 300 years old and carved in soft brownstone.

Visiting three historic New York graveyards over the past few months, has been a most adventurous experience. I was left with so many questions, and will now likely spend dozens of hours researching.

The above tombstone has wings and a skull at the top. This was a typical ornamental detail during this era. The size of the tombstone, which provided space for the extra words and the symbolic image, indicates the Griggs were an affluent New York family.

During colonial times, tombstones for females rarely contained any information other than name and dates.[1] So it is intriguing to see one from 1742 that has such a beautiful message as well as an elaborate image. I’m left with trying to fill in the blanks by imagining the story of their lives, wondering how Ann may have died, how many children she left behind, and how emotional her husband appears to have been by her passing at such a young age.

Source: Old Dutch Church graveyard, Sleepy Hollow, NY. Is this the tree of life?


[1] Snider, Tui, Understanding Cemetery Symbols, A Field Guide For Historic Graveyards, page 35

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Posted by:Gallant Gold Media

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