Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Dr. Phillip Godfrid Kast, Derry, NH

This tombstone was photographed at Forest Hill Cemetery, Derry, New Hampshire

Virtue & silence

He was a gentleman of extensive
aquaintance & his benevolence was no
less Confined.  His hospitality was without
Ostentation - In a word he was a benefactor
to mankind.  In his last sickness hi pain
was xtream which he endured with a 
truly philosophick spirit without y lest
repining almost beyond Example.  He has
Left an inconsolable widow and five Small
Children join'd by the multitude to 
the loss of a tender husband, an indulgent parent, & valuable friend
He departed this life Sept. 6th 17

[the rest of the year was left blank] 

A close up look at the symbols,
a coffin, a shoe, a book, three candles, etc. 

This unusual tombstone is different from most of the engravings at Forest Hill not only because of the odd symbols on top, but for the sentimental wording.  The slate stone was been encased in concrete for preservation by the Derry Masons in the 1920s.  The year of death was not carved into the epitaph, but Dr. Kast died in Londonderry in 1781 after a fall from his horse while visiting a patient.

Phillip Godfrid Kast, son of Dr. Phillip Godfried Kast of Germany and Jane Gowdy, was born about 1743 and died on 6 September 1781.  He was a member of the fraternal order of Masons, and a pharmacist at Salem, Massachusetts. He married Sarah McHard, daughter of Haverhill distiller James McHard,  on 22 January in Haverhill, Massachusetts.  She died 17 May 1835 in Hopkinton, New Hampshire.

For more information on Dr. Phillip Godfrid Kast, see a story by Richard Holmes, the former Derry Town Historian, at this link: http://www.derrynews.com/opinion/x1232766507/Rick-Holmes-A-Loyalists-grave

UPDATE - 9 January 2013

I posted a link to this blog post on Facebook, and several genealogists and historian friends left helpful comments there.  The best was from my friend and fellow member of the Londonderry Historical Society who sent me these three images from the book "Freemasonry, Its Symbolism, Religious Nature and Law of Perfection" by Chalmers Izett Paton, 1873.  Thanks, Penny!  You can find this book at www.archive.org

Three Candles

The Book

The Shoe

Copyright 2012, Heather Wilkinson Rojo


  1. The Masons have always been fascinating to me, and this is the first explanation of Masonic symbols I remember reading. Doesn't someone say that there are references to Masons in Mozart's Don Giovanni? Now I'm going to have to look up Masons on the internet...wikipedia and all the rest. Thanks for piquing my interest!

    1. Mariann, isn't it fascinating? I'd love to read that whole book about the symbolism. It reminds me of Dan Brown's "DaVinci Code".

    2. A reader on Facebook left a message with a link to this book at Amazon "Mozart and the Masons" http://www.amazon.com/Mozart-Masons-Crowned-Memorial-Lectures/dp/050055014X