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Some Stories of those who Sleep in the Hallowed Spot.
If one could read the story of the lives of those who sleep in the forgotten graves in the old Burial Ground, what a stirring record it would be; for among those who lie beneath the locust trees and the elms are many brave men and fair women who passed through the days “which tried men’s souls;” when brother took arms against brother, and all the fair land from Virginia to Nova Scotia was distracted by the turmoil of civil war. There are those sleeping there who left homes of peace and plenty rather than live in a land which had rebelled against its king; others who were driven out by the persecution of their neighbours; others who like Evangeline came seeking one whose love was worth more than country, friends, or fortune. The story of one of these brave Loyalists women may be worth telling here. On Staten Island lived a maiden whose father had grown rich in building ships and sailing them. Sprung from an old English stock, R {illegible} Lawrence, when the government of his King was threatened, opened his coffers and spent his money freely for the cause of the Crown. He raised a squadron of cavalry, and for his zeal was made colonel. In the hands of the troopers was a handsome young fellow who won the heart of the Colonel’s daughter. To him, she plighted her troth in secret. When the peace came he with the disbanded troops came to what is now New Brunswick. Her father had gone to England to urge his claims for compensation for his losses in the war, claims which were handsomely acknowledged; but the daughter’s heart was with her soldier lover, and leaving all she followed him. Her search was not long, for a musty looking paper tells of their marriage in 1786. She sleeps in the eastern end of the Old Burying Ground, with her descendants around her. There are others buried near whose tombstone give us a glimpse of a life of rare interest.
Daniel James, born in 1745, died in 1817, quarter master of the Loyalists. Truly he was a man of great importance in his day. Capt. Peter Clemonts, who served his King for 50 years, and died at the age of 93, in 1883. Charles Earle, Surgeon, who died in 1814, aged 62. Gabriel Van Horn, whose life reached away back, to the early years of the last century. As one reads the short inscriptions which tell of their birth and death, the long period in years and the longer period in material progress, which have elapsed since they first moved upon the world’s stage, gives much food for thought.
A characteristic Loyalist record is that of the Hon. and Rev. Jonathan Odell. We have on this tablet the story of the Loyalist movement in a sentence. “He espoused the cause of the government with openness, with decisions and zealous warmth; hence he was persecuted and prosecuted, and in 1776, driven from his home.” He did not leave voluntarily.
He was driven away. Mr. Odell came from Burlington, New Jersey, and was first Provincial Secretary of New Brunswick. His tablet tells us he used to preach some times while he held his official position. We fear he has had few imitators {illegible} at respect. Nearly everyone in Fredericton has read the monument of Rev. Dr. Cook. He was the fist rector of Fredericton and was drowned while crossing the river in 1795. His son lies buried beside him, “who in his manly efforts and preserving struggles to preserve the life of his venerable parent in the moment of his drowning also perished.” In the same enclosure is a Tablet to Sarah Hailes, who “in the morning of life, in the bloom of beauty, in the full possession of health, was suddenly snatched in an instant to the silent dwellings of the dead.” She was only 19 years of age. She was wife of Harris William Hailes, whose remains rest nearby, but his companion in his tomb is not the girl wife who died before her first score of years had ended, but his second partner who survived him, and after four score years of age passed peacefully away. Mr. Hailes at one time administered the government of the Province.
A sad story is told by two from grave stones which stand side by side. One of them is to the memory of Rev. Frederick W. Miles, pastor of the Baptist Church and principal of the Seminary who died in 1842 at the early age of 37. The other is in memory of his wife who fell asleep five years before at the early age of 24. Perhaps of all the monuments there is none more sad, none that tells a story more full of faith and trust, none which speaks more of sins forgiven by those most sinned against, than that which reads, “Thomas H Cripps, aged 32 years, 1852. Hope lives beyond the tomb.” There are many who know why these strange words were carved upon the marble. And who shall dare to say they are not true? Who shall say that this prayer of an anguished heart, for it is a prayer through not in words of supplication, has not been heard by Him “who willeth not that any should perish.”
Other inscriptions will form the subject of another narrative.