Thursday, September 2, 2010

Day 74

No sign of the hurricane but I have gas in the car and ice in the cooler. Somehow I doubt that I will need either to escape the wild waves. The air is full of humidity but the breezes are wonderful.

I left Stonington this morning at 7:30 and covered 3 states by 9:30. In the west you could only accomplish this at the 4-corners area. It took 15 minutes to get from CT to RI. Then 20 miles across RI, and then wander 20 miles through Massachusetts as I make my way down the peninsula to Little Compton, and finally back into RI. I went all the way down to the coast just to see the waves crashing and smell the open water. Then back to Little Compton (about 7 miles inland) to see the cemetery at the Congregational church.

Elisabeth Alden Pabodie's grave is easy to identify. The community erected an obelisk in 1882 and placed her small gravestone in one facet to protect and preserve it. Elisabeth died in 1717 at age 94. She did her best to populate this part of New England leaving hundreds of grandchildren and great grandchildren. Next to her was William Sr. who died in 1707 at age 88. Other gravestones included William Pabodie Jr who died in 1744 age 80. Also his first wife Judith Tilden and 2nd wife Elisabeth.

I then made my way back up the peninsula past Swansea and into Providence (Fiona goes into spasms in Providence - good thing I knew the route). I wanted to hit the beaches for a bit so made my way down another peninsula (going through CT, RI and MA again) to Misquamicut. I found an area where you could park for free, walk on the beach and enjoy the waves. Just perfect. I continue to be amazed that our ancestors a) came from England armed with faith and not a lot else and b) the next generation (Elisabeth Alden P was the first white female born in NE) got back in a boat and explored the coastline looking for new land. This was a much easier process by boat than land given the rugged coastline, estuaries, marshes and rivers, but how daunting to try and choose an optimal spot.
I got back in the car heading for more grave sites in N. Stonington, CT. These sites have caused me headaches. I was looking for the Crary-Peabody cemetery and the Great Plain cemetery. The directions say is 2.5 miles NE of the town center and .5 miles NW of the town center. I found some directions from 30 years ago but the roads are not labeled the same. To complicate things, N. Stonington had a huge flood a few months ago, washing out the bridge on Main Street, effectively cutting off my access to some of the roads in the obscure directions. After wandering around, searching one cemetery that wasn't the right one, I headed for the Town Clerk's office. Lo and behold, she was in today and I could reach her office located next to the abyss left by surging flood water. I got a map and sort of reasonable directions. Fiona and I finally found Crary-Peabody. It sits in a field on a working farm. All the fields are edged with rock walls and they continue over rolling hills for miles. I got permission from the owners to walk through their lanes to get to the graves. They graves are not well tended. I am grateful the cemetery is fenced off, there is a mowed path around the edge, and that the local historical society has recorded the inscriptions.

Sure enough there are tons of Peabodys. I found William Peabody III who died in 1778 (age 77), Thomas Peabody (age 87) and his wife Ruth (age 78). I also found Mary, wife of William Pabody. She died in 1756 at age 86, one of the oldest stones in the cemetery. I haven't connected her but she might be William Jr's 3rd wife Mary Morgan Starr and may have been living with William III and his wife Jerusha Starr (Mary's daughter) after William Jr. died. One of the most interesting graves in this cemetery is for Sirley, a William Peabody's horse who died in 1875 at age 30. I have included this photo for my mom.

I then followed the map to Wynassup Lake. According to probate records for Robert Coats Jr (1658-1724), his land grant included this lake and the surrounding countryside - 100s of acres. It is gorgeous and was inherited by William Coates (7 GG). Too bad not inherited by one of us!

Finally, as the sun was beginning to set, I made my way to Great Plain Cemetery. It is on an obscure gravel road across from a strip mall. You follow the road into and through the woods until you come to a sunny field on a hill. Many stones in this cemetery are in very poor shape. I found Hannah Bill Coates (d 1769-age 77) (notice that our early ancestors had an e in the name but had dropped it by about 1800). Her husband William Coates Sr's grave was not there but it easily could have crumbled given the state of many of the surrounding stones.
I was glad to get back to my hotel - a long day but very worthwhile. Lots of pictures that take up too much space to upload but you have seen enough gravestones through this blog that I won't worry that you are deprived. One last note - happy 12th birthday to my granddaughter Clancy and happy 80th birthday to uncle Carl.

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