The answer to my headline is, Yes!
Many years ago I attended a ceremony given by the local SAR chapter at a small cemetery in the town that I live. This Cemetery is historic as it is where one of the town founders and his family are buried. Since I share the last name of the town founder (although spelled slightly different) someone from the Historical Society thought I should be there. They were thinking since there were know known ancestors living in the area and that with my last name, there could be a possibility that I was related….which later was to be found out that I was not, as I had believed.
Since the SAR were dedicating a new headstone in the cemetery I was asked to stand as a possible family member. It was a big deal as the Local State Representative gave the speech dedicating it, and the local newspaper photographer and reporter were there as well. It felt really nice to be a part of this dedication even though I knew most likely I was not related to the town founder. the crowd that gathered was a relative small crowd only a dozen or so persons attending, but considering the size of the town it was probably a good representation of it’s citizens.
As the ceremony was wrapping up I noticed an elderly man sizing me up to say a word or two. I had known the man’s wife for over 30 years and knew him to say hello when about town. This particular day he came up to me and said “you know I may have something of interest for you”. This sparking my interests I started a conversation with him which led me up the hill from the ceremony to an old barn on his property. Once in he walked me over to a dusty corner and under a cloth which he pulled away was an old headstone that was about two hundred years old. My memory 10 years later doesn’t let me recall who exactly it was bur it was some sort child of the founder or maybe even a grandchild. Either the way the headstone had the founders last name on it. He said he was walking by the little cemetery one day and saw it knocked over, he decided to place it in his garage for safekeeping. A new headstone was eventually erected but he held on to the original. As we stood there looking at it he said to me “since you might be related why don’t you take this for your records” Now to be truthful I have been offered a few family heirlooms over the years but never an actual headstone…..to keep! The funny part is as I stood there looking it over…..I actually considered it!….ever the genealogist! LOL Eventually the more I pondered it the more I realized what was I going to do with this? And how could I explain this one to my wife!. Eventually I told him he should donate it to the local historical society and they would have better options for it than I would.
As the years have gone by and the many genealogy/historical society’s I have visiited I often bring up this story. To me the moral of the story is you just never know where and when you may find that elusive family record.
To end this story with a little reminder and humor is, if you are ever seriously offered a 200 year old headstone you might want to call your doctor for check up! Just saying…..