These are not words you expect on a gravestone. Even supposed to be seems unusual.
BORN A SLAVE
July 26, 1866
SUPPOSED TO BE
73 YS OLD
An annotated reading of the cemetery’s inscriptions published in The “Old Northwest” Genealogical Quarterly, Volume 10 (1907) provides more detail. Only one problem: That reading does not agree with this gravestone!
Rice—Philip, d. June 4, 1874, æ. 75 y. Died from gunshot wounds received from men whom he knew were guilty of robbery. He was born a slave in Virginia, was made free in 1851; resided in Blendon Tp. with Wm. P. Needles, whose wife’s father owned and made free this negro. After 1870 he resided on his own land alone in a cabin 3½ miles west from New Albany, in Blendon. His murderers left the State, a reward of $1,000 being offered by the citizens for their conviction.
Blendon Central Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio