Monday, August 29, 2011

Death by winter

The marker at the grave of Alven Kempton (d. 1840) is small but grabbed my attention with its unusual shape.

The center circle on top of the marker is carved with a lovely rosette. Stone lobes, each with its own simplistic “punched” rosette design, flank the central rosette.

But what really stands out is not the shape of the gravestone, but the inscribed cause of death of young Mr. Kempton.

son of J. & H. Kempton
Was killed by an icesickle
Dec. 29 1840:
Aged 19 yrs 8 mo & 27

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. Wow! Definately an unusual cause of death.

  2. It couldn't have been cheap to have that engraved. Makes you wonder why the family thought it necessary, important, worthwhile, whatever to put it on the gravestone.

  3. Good point, Wendy. Finding cause of death on a gravestone around here is unusual, so they certainly didn't do it because it was the normal thing to do.

  4. The gravestone carver spelled the first name wrong. His name was Alvin Kempton and his parents were John and Hannah (Bradford) Kempton. They were from Farmington, Maine. Family tradition sheds no definite information on how the accident happen - some say it was from falling ice from a cliff on the Big Walnut Creek and some say it was ice falling from a large tree.

  5. Thank you for sharing, Anonymous! I still think about this grave often--and I often wonder about the story behind it.


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