Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Tombstone Tuesday ~ Oliver Fletcher, Esquire, died 1771, Chelmsford, Massachusetts

This tombstone was photographed at the Forefather's Burial Ground in Chelmsford, Massachusetts

Memento Mori
Oliver Fletcher Esqr
departed this Life
Novr 30 1771
In the 63d year of his Age
and his remains
are here interred

This tombstone was interesting because of the three dimensional skull carved above the epitaph.  Last week I photographed the tombstone of Lt. Benoni Perham in the same cemetery for the same reason.  However, these were the only two tombstones with three dimensional carvings like this.  The others are all traditional, two dimensional carvings.  According to Find A Grave, this tombstone was made by carver William Park.  Park was a Scottish stonecarver who was famous in Middlesex County for first carving death's heads, which evolved into carving cherubs as time passed. 

side view of the skull's head detail

Oliver Fletcher, son of William Fletcher and his wife, Mary, was born 10 September 1708 in Chelmsford, and died 30 November 1771 in Chelmsford.  He married my 2nd cousin, nine generations removed, Grace Weld, in Roxbury on 13 November 1766.  She was the daughter of Joseph Weld and Elizabeth Chamberlain. Her grandfather was Joseph Weld (1650 - 1712), my 9th great grand uncle, son of John Weld (1623 - 1691) and Margaret Bowen, my 10th great grandparents. 

Oliver Fletcher was a lawyer and school teacher in Chelmsford.  He graduated Harvard College in 1735.  He held many town positions (town clerk, selectman, assessor) and acted as legal counsel for individuals in court at Cambridge or Concord (he signed documents, wills, depositions, etc.). 

His obituary appeared in the Boston Gazette Monday, 9 December 1771:
"Died at Chelmsford the first Instant, Oliver Fletcher, Esq;  He had his education at Harvard College: took his Degrees in 1735 & 1738, has been many years a Justice of the Peace for the County of Middlesex and Quorum Unus:  He was Councellor in the Law, and, for some years a Member of the House of Representatives, in all which he sustained a good Character and Reputation.  He has left a sorrowful Wife & a young Daughter; and his Death is lamented by his Friends and Acquaintances, and is a publick Loss." 


Heather Wilkinson Rojo, "Tombstone Tuesday ~  Oliver Fletcher, Esquire, died 1771, Chelmsford, Massachusetts", Nutfield Genealogy, posted September 27, 2016,  (http://nutfieldgenealogy.blogspot.com/2016/09/tombstone-tuesday-oliver-fletcher.html: accessed [access date]).

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