The Amiable American Stranger

I went to the Farmers’ Market yesterday morning which was full of its usual hustle and bustle. Unusually though, the bells from the nearby church were tolling throughout my whole time there. I don’t know whether it was the bells or whether it was the sun shining down into the church yard, but I decided to take a wander through the cemetery before catching my bus.

Graveyard
The graves in St Cuthbert’s cemetery all seem to date from the 1700s – 1800s, and some are in states of better repair than others. Some of the stones are completely illegible now due to time, weather, and sometimes, vandalism. One of the stones that I came across was extraordinarily clear and it greatly intrigued me. For me, it was like the fragment of a story; a greatly abbreviated narrative of a character in a historical romance.

This is the marker:

Amiable American Stranger

In case it doesn’t show up clearly on your browser, here’s the transcript:

IN MEMORY OF
RUFUS WOODWARD
BORN AT TORRINGFORD, CONNECTICUT
16th JULY 1793
GRADUATED AT YALE COLLEGE, 1816
VISITED EUROPE TO PURSUE HIS STUDIES
AND RESTORE HIS HEALTH, 1823
DIED AT EDINBURGH, 24TH NOV 1823
HIS FRIENDS HERE
WHO CHEERED HIS LAST HOURS
AND COMMITTED HIS REMAINS
TO THIS GRAVE
KNEW, AND RECOGNIZED, HIM AS
THE AMIABLE AMERICAN STRANGER

I don’t know what it is exactly, but I find this really moving, and it makes me want to know more.  What a wonderful epitaph, though: “The Amiable American Stranger”.

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September 9, 2007. Inspiration.

6 Comments

  1. Only The Good - Celtic Knot « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] I took this photo at the weekend in the same cemetery as I found The Amiable American Stranger.  I spotted it just as I was leaving, climbing the steps back up onto Prince’s Street, which […]

  2. Celticangel replied:

    I remember that cemetery. I sat in the park near there one Sunday morning and listened to the bells before going to explore the inscriptions on the stones.

  3. amypalko replied:

    It really is a fascinating place, isn’t it Celticangel! I could have quite easily spent longer there but the kids were beginning to agitate. I walk past it most Saturdays though so maybe I’ll pop in again soon.

  4. fotokew replied:

    how cool is that! There are actually serveral neat stories around here circling around family feuds, murder and infidelity. My county is nicknamed Bloody Kemper. We are going to a meeting at that grave yard this weekend and I hope to talk to several of the old timers.

  5. amypalko replied:

    I have to admit, Fotokew, I am so intrigued! I’ve never heard of the practice of burying someone backwards. I wonder what she did to deserve that!? I do hope your going to blog about your weekend!

  6. Happy Halloween! « Lives Less Ordinary replied:

    […] Lives Less Ordinary To create, to experiment, to inspire « Only The Good – Hay Bales Happy Halloween! October 31st, 2007 To get everyone in the mood for this evening, here are some atmospheric photos from the graveyard in Edinburgh that I’ve mentioned before. […]

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