Saturday, February 16, 2013

Signed by Carvers

I'm always on the lookout for gravestones that have the signatures of the carvers. So far, in all the 7,500 plus photographs that I've taken, I've only found three--two signed by Ebenezer Price of Elizabethtown, NJ, and one by H + O.

March 22, 1786, Political Intelligence, Elizabeth, NJ

This is to give notice,

That Ebenezer Price, Stone Cutter, has remo-
ved to the White House, in this town, and
continues to carry on that branch of business in all its
parts—where the public may depend upon being sup-
plied with any kind of STONE CUTTING and EN-
GRAVERY WORK, done with the utmost care, dis-
patch and as reasonable as possible—And wanting to
build immediately, will BARTER for timber, stone,
brick, boards, window-frames, doors, sashes, shut-
ters, hinges, carting, labor, &c. &c. as may best
suit those respectively who incline to undertake to
get any part of the said wanted articles, provided they
apply and agree very soon, who may depend upon
ample justice and all accompts evened with cash,
by                                            EBENEZER PRICE

A L S O,
He has a five acre lot of SALT MEADOW to sell,
and a HOUSE and GARDEN in town to rent this
spring, to the first that applies and agrees, and all in
the way of barter for the building articles above men-
tioned, if convenient. –Enquire of said Price or
the Printer thereof.


the Body of Mrs. Mary Read
Consort of the Rev’d Israel Read,
who departed this Life Janua’y
the 13th A.D. 1770. In the 38th
Year of her Age ~~~~~~~
Love my Memory. Cherish my Friends.
and in me behold the End of this World
with all it’s vanities.

Thus must thy flesh to silent Dust descend,
Thy Mirth & worldly Pleasures thus will end,
Then happy holy Souls: but wo to those
Who Heaven forgot & earthly Pleasures chose.
Hear now this preaching Grave without delay
Believe, Repent & Work While it is Day. 

Life how short
Eternity how long
Memento Mori
                                       Cut by E. Price at Eliz:Town


The gravestone of Mary Read (above) can be found at the Old Presbyterian Graveyard in Bound Brook, NJ. Ebenezer Price's signature is in the lower right corner of the stone. 


There are also two crudely cut initials in the upper left section near the heart-shaped soul effigy--at first glance they appear to be an E. and possibly a P., but one is actually an F., the other an O. or a D., most likely those of an apprentice. 

 June 18, 1788, New-Jersey Journal, Elizabethtown, NJ

RUN away from the subscriber about three
weeks ago, an apprentice boy, named Abner
Stewart, strong and able, near twenty years old, five
feet eight inches high, brown hair, bluish eyes,
cloathed in a half worn suit of blue coating, plated
buttons, and good wool hat; went away on account
of a riot, &c. committed in this town, in which he
was supposed to have been an aggressor; it all be-
ing settled by his father, who is desirous that he
should return to his master and serve out his time,
being his duty and interest so to do. –All persons
are hereby forewarned entertaining, employing or
carrying him off, but should he return immediately,
all shall be well, if not, whoever will take up said
apprentice and bring him home, or secure him in
any goal, so that his said master may have him a-
gain shall have the above reward, and all reasonable
charges paid by
                                    EBENEZER PRICE, Stone Cutter
Elizabeth-Town, June 3, 1788

 Eben Price Sculp

Another gravestone with his signature is that of Katherine Eckley (above) which is located in the cemetery next to the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover in East Hanover, NJ. See my blog about this ledger-style marker.  

Ebenezer Price died on March 23, 1788. He is buried in the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Elizabeth, NJ. 

Here lies ye Body of Sa-
rah Wife of William Dixon
Who died Febru’y 17th 1778
Ag’d 70 Year 11 Mos & 17 Days
How lov’d how Valu’d once avails ye not
To whom Related or by whom begot,
A heap of Dust alone Remains of the
Tis all thou art & all ye Proud shall be.

                                                H + O

Sarah Dixon's gravestone is also in the cemetery at the First Presbyterian Church of Hanover. The initials H + O could be those of Henry Osborn, a stone cutter from the Westfield Ward of Elizabeth Township, not far from where Ebenezer Price conducted his business, but this is only a guess.

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer

Friday, February 8, 2013

Founders' Day Celebration

For the past year I have been a volunteer on the Livingston Bicentennial Historical Committee planning events to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the founding of our town in 1813. I was mainly focused on providing costumes, creating exhibit boards and researching descendants of the Founding Fathers.

Our first event was on January 1st where we had people dressed in costume for the Town's Reorganization Meeting.


In preparation for our second event, Founders' Day on February 5th, I did an exhibit board for each of the original seven hamlets in the township: Teedtown, Cheapside, Squiertown, Northfield, Centerville, Washington Place, and Morehousetown.  Here they are hanging in Town Hall.

The Morehousetown board has a picture of our house which was built in 1730 and is the oldest in town (lower right). Early owners, Aaron and Phebe (Burnet) Beach raised their children here and their eldest daughter, Nancy (1788-1873), married David Morehouse (1785-1849) who owned and operated a general store. Aaron Beach, his son Israel Beach, and David Morehouse were all Founding Fathers.

We defined a Founding Father as one who signed the original 1811 petition to establish the Township of Livingston; or, was elected to a position at the first Town Meeting April 12, 1813; or, was on the 1813, 1814, or 1815 tax list. Based on this criteria we set our goal to find living descendants of some of the Founding Fathers and invite them to our celebration.

I chose to research the descendants of Aaron Beach (1765-1826), Israel Beach (1790-1868), David Morehouse (1785-1849), Brainard Dickinson (1752-1819), Elijah Squier (1738-1808), Jedidiah Tomkins (1737-1818) and Thomas Force (1758-1827).

Our committee located 32 living descendants, some of whom were related to more than one Founding Father, and presented their direct-line ancestry on exhibit boards like the one above. We hung a total of 15 genealogy boards. 


Founders Day finally arrived this past Tuesday. Students portrayed various characters from early Livingston and welcomed guests to "1813." 

Veteran actor, Ed Schiff, as New Jersey Governor Aaron Ogden, read the Town Charter. 

Each of the descendants was presented with an "Acclamation of Historic Lineage" certificate.

Ex-Governor, Thomas Kean, reminisced about Livingston in front of an audience of nearly 300 people who filled the court room and hallways. Afterwards, there was a "Sweet Memories of Livingston" reception with lots of goodies made by volunteers. When it was all over, I was flying high!

The next day I invited several Beach/Morehouse descendants, who had come all the way from California and Massachusetts, to spend a day at our house and visit the cemeteries where their ancestors are buried. It was our house that brought us together--and we so enjoyed sharing it with them!

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer