Joseph Alexander Tombstone, Bethany Cemetery

This skillfully cut stone from 1824 is, so far, the only tombstone of its era Father Pitt has seen that is signed by the stonecutter: “J. Sumny sculpturemingo.”

We suspect that “Mingo” (a name often used for local Indians) is the name of a settlement, now vanished; and that “sculpture” is the stonecutter’s incorrect expansion of the often-seen abbreviation “sculp.” after an artist’s name, which stands for the Latin “sculpsit.” We also suspect that this is not the only tombstone by J. Sumny in the cemetery; several others look like his work.

Note the curious curved square cut to the right of the number 32. Father Pitt’s guess is that this is a correction: the stonecutter may have incorrectly cut “aged 32d years.”

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