Lately, I have been doing a lot of work on www.findagrave.com, both as a user and a contributor. Over the past few days, I have been exploring the Berkshire cemetery near Sunbury, Ohio. It turns out that cousin Gail did a lot of in-person work at that cemetery many years ago, and has in his files photos of all the Myers stones he found there. I have not seen his file yet, but appreciate his work, and his concern for the poor condition of many of the gravestones at Berkshire. Gail actually had one stone professionally restored. Unfortunately, most of them are made of very soft material, and nothing can be done to restore or preserve them.
Using find-a-grave memorials, I was able to piece together a whole new line of ancestors who married into the Myers family. I will save those discoveries for the next post; today I want to look at the monument of a very well-known ancestor, Lawrence Myers (1794-1829), co-founder of the village of Sunbury. His memorial on Find-A-Grave can be found here.
There is also a brass plaque placed in 1967, commemorating Lawrence’s role as co-founder of the town.
But let’s take a closer look at the stone, and the epitaph thereon. If you click on the image to view at full size, you will see that it is difficult to read, but right away, you can tell it is not words of praise for the deceased or comfort for his loved ones. After some squinting, and tweaking of the photograph, this is what I came up with:
Turn, mortal, turn, thy dangers know,
Wher’er thy foot can tread;
The earth rings hollow from below,
And warns thee by her dead.
Whoa! Not exactly sweetness and rest. I was curious where this poem might have come from, so I Googled the first few words, and found it in a Methodist hymnbook from the 1800’s. Here is the entire hymn.
Oh, those old-school Methodists! I daresay you wouldn’t hear that hymn in any church today. Now I hope to find out whether the forbidding words may be related to the circumstances of Lawrence’s death at age 35. Meanwhile, stay tuned for some more ancestors previously unknown to me.