Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tombstone Tuesday (January 21, 2014) -- Eber Miller Carpenter

Eber Miller (1805 - 1877) is my 3rd great grandfather.  He was married to Abby Hunt (1807 - 1893) and to my knowledge (thus far) he and Abby had two children: Ruth Ann Miller, my 2nd great grandmother (1828 - 1893); and Cornelia Crosby Miller (1833 - 1914). Eber, Abby and Ruth are all buried in  what is now designated as Rhode Island Historical Cemetery, Cumberland 3 on Dexter Street in Cumberland. In fact, many of my Carpenter, Miller and Hunt ancestors are laid to rest in this particular cemetery.

In late March 2010, I visited the Dexter Street cemetery and took many photographs of family headstones, but this sad one especially caught my eye for a couple of reasons.  For one, it was in remarkably good shape compared to most of the others in the cemetery.  For another, it involved a very sad loss of a young child by drowning AND it presented a mystery.

The headstone reads . . . 

                                        This monument is erected by
                                            Eber Miller,
                                     To   the   memory   of
                                            EBER MILLER,
                                                 son of
                                        John Jay & Susan
                                         who was Drowned
                                          Aug. 16, 1829,
                                      aged 4 years 6 mo's &
                                                   6 days.
                                                   *  *  *
                                Unveil thy bosom faithful tomb,
                                Take this new treasure to thy trust.
                                And give these sacred relicks room,
                                To slumber in the silent dust.

My 3rd great grandfather, Eber Miller, obviously had this headstone prepared for his young namesake, Eber Miller Carpenter, who drowned as a boy of less than five. The mystery was . . .  what was the exact connection between Eber Miller and John Jay Carpenter and his wife, Susan? Eber and Abby's daughter, Ruth Ann Miller, married into the Carpenter family when she married my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Carpenter, but that Carpenter connection was a generation away.  The drowned boy, Eber Miller Carpenter, was born in 1825 and Ruth Ann Miller, who would eventually marry my 2nd great grandfather Samuel Carpenter, was not even born until August 23, 1828 -- almost exactly a year before Eber Miller Carpenter drowned.  Eber M. Carpenter's father, John Jay Carpenter did not yet appear in my Carpenter family tree.

Consulting my copy of the 1896 Carpenter genealogy compiled by Amos Bugbee Carpenter (the "ABC") at page 297, I learned that the maiden surname of John Jay Carpenter's wife, Susan, was "Hunt."  John J. Carpenter is also buried in the Dexter Street cemetery, and his headstone states that he died May 21, 1879 -- the same date stated in the Amos B. Carpenter genealogy.

John Jay's wife Susan was born in 1796.  She and John Jay married on January 2, 1819. The supposition therefore -- yet to be confirmed -- is that Susan was the older sister of my 3rd great grandmother Abby Hunt who married Eber Miller.  Eber Miller provided the headstone for his drowned namesake, Eber Miller Carpenter, the nephew of his wife Abby.  

Eber and Abby's daughter, Ruth Ann Miller, would later marry Samuel Carpenter in 1852, so the question became, "Were John Jay Carpenter and Samuel Carpenter, related -- and if so, how?" This will be the subject of a future post.  
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Photograph by the author (March 2010)
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Copyright 2014, John D. Tew
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