Friday, August 19, 2011

William Gurney, Medway, MA - 1878

Born in Newport
Died in Providence, RI
January 17, 1878
in his 73 year
At Rest.

Evergreen Cemetery, Medway, Massachusetts

This stone is not 17th or 18th century but I decided to include it anyway as an example of what great information can be found on a gravestone.  This gentleman was born in Newport, Rhode Island and died in Providence, Rhode Island and yet was buried in Medway, Massachusetts.

It's curious to wonder why he was buried in Medway and what his connection was to the town.

The 1850 US Federal Census shows a William Gurney, age 43, born in Rhode Island in living in neighboring Franklin (Norfolk County), Massachusetts with his wife Caroline, sons, William and Paul, and daughter, Sarah.

Massachusetts vital records reveal more of the story.  William Gurney had married Franklin native Caroline Pond, daughter of Paul and Huldah Pond.  Her death record (MA VR 356:255) reveals that she was living in Providence in the time of her death in May of 1884.  She died in Providence as well. It's curious that it was recorded in the Medway vital records.  I'm assuming it was recorded because she was buried in town since she neither died nor resided in town, though this is highly unusual.  William who also resided and died in Providence, while being buried in Medway, is not recorded in the Massachusetts vital records.

The Gurney family was living in Providence for the 1860, 1870 and 1880 (Caroline was a widow at this point) US Federal Censuses.

Since William died before Caroline and he was a native of Rhode Island and not from Massachusetts, it makes me think that they had strong family ties with the Pond family for him to be buried in her native place.  I did not notice a gravestone for Caroline.  I will have to check with the cemetery superintendent to see if there is a family plot with others buried there in unmarked graves.

My own great grandmother was a Gurney from Providence so it will be interesting to see if this family is a somehow a connection to my branch.

See what kind of journeys can be started from an unexpected encounter with an informative gravestone!

1 comment:

  1. I just have to comment on this post because William's wife was Caroline Gurney! I do hope you find her grave, Marian.