Monday, August 8, 2011

Experience and Amos, young lovers

The gravestone shared by Experience Robberts (d. 1812) and Amos Vanlone (d. 1813) is badly weathered, its front surface flaking away. Some day (soon?) this gravestone will be illegible, but today we can still read most of it.

Miss Experience
died Oct. 23, 1812
aged 19
           Mr Amos
died Augt 24, 1813
aged 22

Look closely at the carvings. You can still see a willow and urn with clover vines on either side. Lovely!

The epitaph is challenging. I can read a bit of the first line, none of the second, but most of the final two lines:

[U? Reu?]nited as by wed[ding] ...
These lovers h[ad] not plighted hands
When death caus[ed] them to part

They share a gravestone, so when I first read the inscription, I thought Miss Robberts (Roberts) and Mr. Vanlone (VanLoon) were married, perhaps newlyweds. The epitaph tells us they were not yet married. These lovers had not plighted hands.

This excerpt from a wedding hymn written by John Berridge (b. 1716, d. 1793) illustrates the use of the phrase “plighted hands”:

O Lord, we ask thy presence here
To make a wedding guest.

Upon the bridal pair look down,
Who now have plighted hands,
Their union with thy favor crown,
And bless the nuptial bands.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. How clever of you....
    How do you find all your information for these fascinating epitaphs and where they originate from ?

    I expect this young couple were betrothed to one another. I have seen engaged couples interred together, but always thought it was a more modern thing.

  2. Hehe... Sometimes I find the epitaphs with a simple Google search, but I love Google Books most of all. So many old poetry volumes and such--great sources!

    I agree that they were most likely betrothed. There is a sad story behind this one that we will likely never know.

  3. What a lovely long-ago love story you've discovered! Amazing that the epitaph and carvings have survived for almost 200 years.


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