Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday–James Jacob Warner

I have no photos of my paternal 4x great-grandfather James Jacob Warner (1762-1803).  In the 1980s, long before Billion Graves or Find a Grave, I thought to take pictures of many ancestor’s tombstones.  I guess I thought since I couldn’t have a picture of the person then this would be something that belonged to that ancestor and was a piece of time and information that I could have.
James lived in Baiting Hollow, Suffolk County, NY.  He is buried in the Congregational Church Cemetery also in Baiting Hollow.
Warner James Jacob
The transcription of the stone is:
to the Memory
James Warner
who died Sept. 30th
1803, in the 42d year
of his age.
The hour concealed and so
remote the fear
Death still draws nearer
never seeming near.”
I have always wondered about the quote on his tombstone.  I know that in the early 1800s tombstones generally just contained general information and to add quotes, etc. was rare.  James was reported by family lore to have been ‘a college bred man and taught school’.  To date I have not been able to verify his attendance at any college of his time or any record of his teaching school in the area.  It has been speculated within the family that perhaps James had a thirst for knowledge and educated himself by reading a lot.  (Definitely a family trait). 
I have searched several times over the years to find out where the quote came from or what larger poem it may be part of.  Yesterday I finally found out it is part of An Essay on Man, Epistle III written by Alexander Pope (an 18th century English poet) and published in 1732. 
Now I wonder ….why this quote?  Was this An Essay on Man something James had read?  Why did he die so young?  Can I find a record of his death?
More information can be found on James by clicking the link for the blog post Amanuensis Monday-James Jacob Warner.
I walked through this cemetery when I was back East in December and was unable to find this tombstone.  Many of the tombstones are so old and worn out they are hard to read.  Several others have fallen over.
Lesson: When you find an ancestor’s tombstone be sure to take a picture and to write down what is on the tombstone!  Remember- tombstones don’t last forever.
I would appreciate any additional information or corrections you may have.
Enjoy the journey,



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