We went to NH today to get out of the house while it was being exterminated (carpenter ants and pantry moths - yuck). I was still thinking of the IFN topic "The Dead" and came across an old graveyard.
These three stones caught my eye.
The first one is to "Dea. John Holt" Died in Greenfield. April 19, 1869 aged 69 yrs, 9 months, 10 days.
The second one is to "Phebe" Wife of Dea. John Holt, Died May 8, 1862, Aged 65 yrs
The third, and shortest one is to "Mary R" Wife of Dea. John Holt, Died August 24, 1868, Aged 45 years
I saw no Holt children buried near any of them.
I started making up stories - here is one of them.
Deacon Holt was a farmer and a faithful member of the church. He was married to his childhood sweetheart, Phebe. (John had been mature for his age in school, and always went after the slightly older girls)
Phebe and John didn't have any children, but were beloved members of the community, active members of the church and Grange society, she was involved with the Women's Institute and the Quilting Society. They aged together, got fat together, sat in church together, farmed together for over 30 years of wedded bliss. They never had children but had many nieces and nephews to spoil.
Phebe got sick in late April, 1862 with the ague (flu) and rapidly got worse. She appeared to rally in early May and because their hired help had decamped to fight in the Union Army, went outside to help with the early spring farm chores. By dinnertime that night she was feverish again, and it was all downhill from there. On May 8th, Phebe died in the arms of her portly husband. Secretly John Holt blamed it on President Lincoln.
John Holt had always been known as a "catch" in the area. He had land, a nice house which was well kept up by his wife, he wasn't bad looking and he bathed often - seeing as how he was a deacon in the church and a well respected member of the community. After a proper period of mourning, he gave in to the pressures of society and began to court Mary, a spinster of 39 and the daughter of a neighbor. Mary looked like a spinster, she had watery eyes, and had to squint to see past her own nose - but she was an able bodied woman and could help on the farm and in the house. John was secretly hoping that Mary would be able to take care of him in his old age.
They were married for over 5 years, and Mary had suited John very well. She was an excellent baker, always took first prize at the Grange shows, and had taken Phebe's place on the farm, in the Women's Institute and the Quilting society. She was a wonderful housekeeper and kept John well fed and happy in his home. Mary had come into her own after living with her brother, his wife and their 8 children before her marriage.
Sadly, Mary was working on the farm one day and stepped on an old nail that had fallen from their wagon. She washed the cut well, and kept off her foot for a day, but alas, the injury got worse and worse - red streaks started running up her leg. The Doctor was called and he decided that the leg would have to come off. Mary and John begged for a few days to see if she would get better and against his better judgement, the Dr. agreed. Two days later, John sent a frantic message to the Dr. asking for immediate help, but it was too late. Mary died in her husbands arms - delirious and raving.
John Holt was devastated at the loss of his second wife and began to fade away, he wouldn't eat and stopped going to church. 8 months after Mary died, he died quietly, in his own bedroom - in no one's arms.