Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Jonathan Lyman, Springfield, MA - 1766

Springfield Cemetery, Springfield, Massachusetts

In Memory of
born in Lebanon, Educa
where he 5 years acceptably
& worthily discharged ye
Duties of a Tutor ye last
winter was an Instructor
in ye Accademic School at
Hatfield, & for 2 Years
Past a Preacher Universally
approved. Returning from
Hatfield on a Visit to his
Parents, he was taken sick
in this Town, & after 3 days
on May 14 1766 in ye 29 Year
of his Age he breathed his

What does the date say?

Most online sources list Lyman's date of death as May 4th 1766.  What is the character between the Y and the 4? Is it a thorn (ye) or a 1? To me, it doesn't look like the thorn which follows later in the sentence.

I have written the date above as 14 because that's what the number looked like to me but now I'm not so sure. What do you think it says?


  1. Could be 14 alright. Would love to kneel in front of the stone and have a proper look, torch in hand.

  2. Typographically speaking the "1" is pretty far from the 4...but we're not talking laser printer technology here and stone cutting can be a less than perfect art. It could go either way but I can see how many folks have read it as a "4" and not a "14".

    When it comes to "online sources" however, it could be only ONE person who read it as a 4 and everyone else just copied the information from each other!

  3. Beautiful stone! I see the 14--but is it because someone else pointed it out to me? It's a tough one, for sure.

  4. 14 to me. As with all online sources, verify, verify, verify.


  5. Looks to me like the thorn is part of the word "May" and the 14 is the full day. I can't see enough of the rest of the wording, to check spacing...but whoever carved it, looks like he was pretty consistent in the clip you showed. Maybe you'll have to scan it to find out for sure.