Bradford Burial Ground
The New Symmes Stone
In the Old Bradford Burying Ground
In 1921, the grave stone of Zechariah Symmes, first minister of the church, was found to be splintering. The suggestion was made that it be replaced. Some money was given at that time and later. In 1928, largely through the efforts of Mrs. H. Parker Williams, a sufficient amount was added to warrant proceeding with a restoration.
The plan to replace the original Latin marker was given up because of the expense. It was decided that something should be done for all five of the Symmes family who, according to the town records, were buried here. At the time the condition of the stones was as follows-
Zechariah’s stone was legible, but in danger of splitting. Thomas’ stone could not be found. Susannah’s stone (Zechariah’s wife) was in poor condition and broke off during the fall of 1928. There were two stones belonging to Elisabeth, Thomas’ first wife. Her head stone was only partly legible. Her foot stone bore her name and it was in good legible condition. The head stone of Hannah, Thomas’ second wife, was in poor shape legibly. At the side of this stone another stone. Rubbings showed that it too belonged to Hannah. Probably it was her foot stone, moved from its original place to this position. It seems to have nothing more than her name upon it and matched Elisabeth’s foot stone in some respects.
It was decided that the best plan was to place in the centre of the lot, to be marked off with four boundary markers, a slate stone to the memory of the five Symmes.
This was done at an expense of $120 by Elmer S. Atwood and Son. The work was completed in Dec. 1928.
The plan is to replace in the spring the stones of Zechariah and Susannah, upon their graves and a little behind where they originally stood. This will bring these markers behind the new stone.
That of Susannah stood eleven and a half inches in front of the new stone, its centre being about on a line with the eastern edge of the new stone.
The inscriptions on the stones of Zechariah and Thomas are recorded in Dr. Kingsbury’s Memorial History of Bradford.
The inscription on Susannah’s stone was weathered. Her name, wife of _ _ _ ariah Simes, died July 1681 age, was about all that could be read.
Elisabeth’s stone, Here lies buried what was mortal of Mrs. Elisabeth wife of Y Reverend Thomas Symmes who died April 6, 1714 Ae. Sue 38.
Hannah’s stone. Here lyes interred what was mortal of Mrs. Hanah Symmes who died Feb. VI 1718 or 19 Ae anno our Lord Her husband’s faith Asleep in Christ. There follows what seems to be a poem ending with something about the glorious throne.
A service to commemorate the work of Zechariah Symmes and Thoms Symmes was held on Dec. 27th, 1928 in the chapel. This was called a service for the dedication of the new stone. The date was the 246th birthday of the church.
George E. Cary
Our guess is that Thomas lies buried where what we call Hannah’s foot stone is now found.
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