A grave of a girl who did not quite live to eleven years old. The Nixon family was prominent in the congregation of Old St. Luke’s, and this is one of the more elaborate memorials in the churchyard. The epitaph, which takes up both sections of the base of the headstone, seems to be original, not one of those circulating funerary poems we usually find on graves of the late 1800s: an Internet search finds the poem mentioned only in connection with this particular monument—transcribed in a text tour of the burial ground by Mr. Charles Nixon, and now here.
Her form is missing from its place,
And will not come for calling;
God only calleth back his own,
Why should our tears be falling?
The echo of the childish notes,
Have ceased their happy ringing.
We cannot catch a sound that floats,
From where she now is singing.
The tombstone claims that Jane was “the first white child born in Chartiers Valley.” It also remembers Thomas Nixon, presumably her husband, who earned no such distinction. He would have been born in about 1767, and we presume he was an immigrant to the Chartiers Valley.
Old St. Luke’s Church in the little village of Woodville (an unincorporated part of Scott Township) was founded in 1765. It was stuck in the middle of the Whiskey Rebellion, which divided the congregation, one of whose members was General John Neville, a tax collector who barely escaped with his life. (Woodville Plantation, the house to which he escaped, is still standing nearby.)
The current building dates from 1852. In the burying ground surrounding the little stone church are some very old graves, including some Revolutionary War veterans and “the first white child born in the Chartiers Valley.” The oldest stones were native shale, which is a very poor material for gravestones; but some of the obliterated inscriptions have been duplicated in plaques beside the stones.