Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - More From The Bean Cemetery

Today we are going to examine the third stone in the Bean Cemetery, located on Pott's Creek, near Waiteville, Monroe County, West Virginia.

Let's recap those first two stones, and individuals. To date we have discussed two known burials, William Bean and his wife, Rachel Wiseman Bean.

None of the stones original to the cemetery have legible markings [except for one that has a distinctive Old English style letter "C"]. And so, as we peruse each stone that marks a grave, we will discuss those individuals known, and "thought" to have been buried in the small family cemetery.

As you will recall from previous posts, the cemetery sits across the little one-lane road from the Bean homestead near Waiteville. It sits in what is now a forested area, but was once the edge of the large fields surrounding the homestead, and at the edge of the woods on a small knoll. Today the cemetery is over grown with thick trees and scrub brush. The remnants of the old fence are still visible, if one but takes the time to look for it. Small rocks and stones are all that's left of the markers that once dotted the little hillside where lies the family BEAN.

Today, we will discuss the daughter of William and Rachel, Nancy Bean.

Nancy was the second born of thirteen children to William and Rachel. Born in March of 1815, she was born while the family still lived along Dropping Lick, between present day Zenith and Union, in Monroe County. Here, William once owned a considerable amount of property, along with his in-laws, the Wiseman's.

Little is known about this daughter, except that she never married, and never had children.

We can speculate all we want concerning Nancy, but there is no written record to tell us if she was healthy, intelligent or lovely to behold. Plain, or simple. Wise or short, or tall, or anything!

What we do know is that in 1856, at the age of 41 Nancy contracted a fever. And it was on 11 October that she died. Her death record states only that the cause of death was "fever", and her age was 41 years and 7 months. Her parents listed as "W & R BEEN". Her death was reported by her father.

It is simply presumed that she was buried here, since she lived directly across the road from this cemetery. And she may have, in fact, been the very first burial on this property. Her mother, Rachel, following her in death a scant month later on November 7th, of "paralysis".

To my knowledge, no photograph exists of William, Rachel, or Nancy. And so we must look at those Bean women who live today, and hope we catch a slight glimpse of what perhaps Rachel, and Nancy, may have looked like.

The stone we look at today is chiseled, perhaps by hand, and appears to be square cut. It's base, and what is just below the surface of the ground appears to be much larger than what is above, and is eroded by time and weather. It is not granite, as one first assumes when gazing upon it, but is limestone, which fully explains the weathering.

While the ground here is somewhat elevated, it is quite boggy, and this, too, may help to explain the sinking of the stones here, as well as some of the erosion.

One can only imagine the dear daughter placed lovingly in the grave by her parents, who were in their sixties by this time. The sad little family gathering that must have accompanied her burial. The brothers and sisters, not yet torn apart by the great Civil War which was to come, and rend the family assunder. The tears that must have fallen on that sad, sad day!

While Nancy has been gone more than 160 years, she is not forgotten, although we know so little about her. And we celebrate her life in this post.

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