Monday, May 23, 2011

The 949 Year Old Man

Upper Burial Ground, Germantown
Burial Insurance plans would have been a good idea for William Uxley back in 1822. He died age 49 in Germantown, which is part of Philadelphia, and was buried there. The stonecutter making his tombstone made a mistake and carved Uxley's age as 94 years instead of 49. But there wasn't any money for a new stone, so the stonecutter simply filled in the first 9 with plaster and put a second 9 after the 4. By 1905, though, the plaster had worn away and the stone read that William Uxley died in 1822 - age 949. So even if you're not 949 years old, seniors funeral insurance is an excellent idea.

Mr. Uxley put me in mind of some of my own ancestors who were from the Philadelphia area; one of my great grandmothers was born there. Some of her Swiss Mennonite ancestors originally settled in Germantown*, and may be buried near William Uxley for all I know. The non-Swiss ancestors were Welsh and Scotch-Irish, some of them Quakers and some not. My great grandmother's father was a Civil War veteran, and her grandfather was supposed to have run away from home to fight in the Mexican War in the 1840s. I'm not certain whether he did or not, but I intend to find out. I don't know where either of these men are buried, but I intend to find that out too (if you have ever read my history blog, you'll know that I have been an amateur genealogist for a long time).

Creating Military Memories is a wonderful idea, something that wasn't available in the 19th century. Although my Civil War ancestor did write a letter about his service, at least. He was at the Battle of Antietam, but not in it - he was guarding the bridge over Antietam Creek with his regiment -  luckily for him, since there were 23,000 casualties that day - the highest number for any single day of that war. And though he didn't live to be 949 years old, he did survive the war and lived well into the 20th century.

"Tombstone Says 949 Years Old," New York Times [from The Philadelphia Record], Mar. 23, 1905, p. 8.

*Her ancestor Jacob Frick (1717-1799) went straight to Pottstown and then to Chester County, near Philadelphia. But his brother Conrad settled in Germantown.

1 comment:

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