Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Hannah Cotton, Derry, New Hampshire

 This ledger style tombstone was photographed at the Forest Hill Cemetery in Derry, New Hampshire.

wife of
and daughter of
Joseph & Sally
of Deerfield, NH
April 15, 1838
aged 44 years
Let me go for songs seraphic
Now seem calling from the sky:
Tis the welcome of the angels
Which e'en now are hov'ring nigh
Let me go, they wait to bear me
To the mansions of the blest;
Where the spirit worn and weary
Finds at last its long sought rest.

This is a wonderful early Victorian era stone, with the finger pointing up to the angel in flight.  The carvings are very deeply engraved, and have survived being face up in the New Hampshire weather.  

I had trouble deciphering the epitaph on this tombstone, so I Googled the first line.  One of the search results was from Google Book Search.  The book is The Christian Pioneer, a Monthly Magazine,  London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., edited by J. F. Winks, Volume II, 1848.  This poem by William Baxter was found on page 30.  I have pasted the poem below:

Another book which came up in the search results was A Manual of American Literature, by John Seely Hart, page 369. "Rev. William Baxter, 1820 -------, of New Lisbon, Ohio, has published some poems of great merit.  Mr. Baxter was born in Leeds, England, and emigrated with his parents to the United States in the year 1828.  He received his education at Bethany College, Virginia, graduating in 1845.  After leaving College he engaged in the ministry.  He preached one year in Pittsburgh, Pa., three years in Port Gibson, Miss., seven years at Woodville, Miss., next at Baton Rouge, La, then at Fayetteville, Ark., at which place he also occupied the position of President of Arkansas College.  The college was broken up and destroyed in the war. In 1863 he came to Cincinnati, and remained there between two and three years, preaching and engaged in literary labors.... His hymn called Let Me Go has found its way into at least a dozen hymn-books and collections of sacred music."

Copyright 2013, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. It is increasingly amazing what a Google Book Search can do. I like the fact that the final verse is on the tombstone. We have Baxters in our family tree -- probably from England, also.

  2. What a beautiful headstone - the carvings are amazing. I'll bet it cost a pretty penny, considering the size and detail. I love the poem. Good job in tracking the whole poem down. It's just too bad that the stone cracked right through.