Simon and Deborah Newcomb

Simon Newcomb and his wife Deborah moved to Lebanon, New London Co., CT in 1713. The were married about 1687 in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, where they resided at the time. He was a farmer and landowner in Lebanon. Simon took the Freeman’s Oath at Lebanon and was elected highway surveyor in 1714.

The graves of Simon and Deborah, and those of all the Newcombs interred in the Old Cemetery (also known as Trumbull Cemetery), are but a few feet from the tomb of the Trumbull family, and in a westerly and southwesterly direction. This colonial cemetery also contains the graves of many of the founders of our nation, including Revolutionary War Governor Jonathan Trumbull and William Williams, signer of the Declaration of Independence.

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Old Cemetery (Trumbull Cemetery)

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Old Cemetery (Trumbull Cemetery)

Many of the tombstones were carved by Obadiah Wheeler of Lebanon, who was considered the greatest of the rural carvers in the area. There are 82 of his stones in this cemetery as well as stones by many other fine carvers, including John Huntington, Benjamin Collins, Lebbeus Kimball, the Manning family, and the old master John Hartshorne.

Wheeler’s early stones somewhat resemble those of John Hartshorne in being three-lobed on the top and in having framed faces and elongate straight noses. They have a series of elaborate curls beside the face rather than wings and usually some form of diamond or triangle border design. Later Wheeler stones take several different styles of wings which are sometimes very elaborate. Wheeler faces are characterized by slender, aristocratic noses, almond eyes, and a small smiling or frowning mouth. In later stones the eyes are closed or squinting in a rather beatific expression. Some of his most elaborate stones have faces in strong relief; finials are usually six- or eight-rayed rosettes. There is usually a horizontal row of designs below the face and above the legend consisting of a central heart or triangle and lateral stemmed rosettes and circles. Wheeler footstones are very distinctive, many of them large ellipses and others great circles with large six-rayed rosettes within. No Wheeler stone is later than 1749. His work is most abundant and varied in Lebanon and Norwichtown, but there are beautiful stones in Windham and Mansfield and isolated stones occur as far north as Union and Putnam and on the coast in the old Mystic Whitehall burying ground. Wheeler is often considered the greatest of all eastern Connecticut carvers. (From: Slater, James A. The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern Connecticut and the Men Who Made Them. Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of Arts & Sciences, vol. 21. Hamden, Connecticut: Archon Books, 1987.)

Simon and Deborah each have a headstone and a footstone. These are Simon Newcomb’s (1665 – 1743) stones:

Simon Newcomb Headstone

Simon Newcomb Headstone

Simon Newcomb Footstone

Simon Newcomb Footstone

And these are Deborah Newcomb’s (1664 – 1756):

Deborah Newcomb Headstone

Deborah Newcomb Headstone

Deborah Newcomb Footstone

Deborah Newcomb Footstone

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