52 Prompts in 52 Weeks #2 – Tombstone Tuesday – Susanna (Belles) Williams

This prompt is for Tombstone Tuesday and is exactly what it sounds like. I’ll be sharing a family tombstone with you. The tombstone below is for Susanna (Bellesfield or Bellesfelt or Belles) Williams[1] who was my 4th great-grandmother. Her marker is a beautiful gray color and has what is called, in the monument business, a half round shape. I can discern no decorative carving on the marker at the top.

Photo added to Find A Grave by louise floria

Here’s how the line goes back from me:

Jodi Lynn Strait, who is daughter of
William C. Strait, Jr. (+Martha Westra), who is son of
…….Beatrice Irene Repsher (+William C. Strait, Sr.) who was daughter of
………George Arthur Repsher (+Anna M. Karthaeuser) who was son of
…………John Joseph Repsher (+Caroline Bonser) who was son of
……………Suzanna Williams (+Jacob H. Repsher) who was daughter of
………………Suzanna Belles (or Bellesfelt or Bellesfield) (+Joseph Williams)

Susanna’s tombstone is located at a rural church called St. John’s which is an Evangelical Congregational Church. I believe this church was also known as Custard’s Church. The church is still active today and the cemetery seems to be well-maintained based on the pictures found at Find A Grave.

The churchyard itself is located on North Easton Belmont Pike in Bartonsville in Monroe County in eastern Pennsylvania just south of current Interstate Route 80. It north of the intersection of N. Easton Belmont Pike and Custard Road. You can see grave markers on both sides of North Easton Belmont Pike which runs through the cemetery from north to south. The GPS coordinates for the churchyard are: 40.99242, -75.28489. Google Maps has a nice view of the cemetery (clicking on the image below will bring it up in a new window and it is easier to see): 

Source: Google Maps

Zooming out on Google Maps a bit gives you a good feel for where the cemetery is in location to current Route 80 (again, clicking on the image below will bring it up in a new window and it is easier to see) and the town of Bartonsville:

Source: Google Maps

As you can see from the Find A Grave picture, the tombstone was broken at some point and now has two metal braces holding the stone together and upright. The wording is a bit hard to read but I can make out the following:

Susanna
wife of
Joseph F. Williams
Born
May 9, 1808
Died
Aug. 18, 1869
61 yrs, 3 mths,
& 9 days

There is some sort of saying at the bottom of the tombstone that is not possible to make out from the picture alone. Besides the lettering being slightly filled in by mold/lichen growth, the bottom of the saying is obscured by grass and leaves. I am curious if seeing the stone in person would help with reading the saying or if age/weathering has done it in. I would also like to see where her husband Joseph’s marker [2] is in relation to Susanna’s marker. Find A Grave is a treasure for pictures of tombstones within a cemetery but not so much for the physical locations in the cemetery itself. Perhaps some exploration of this cemetery on my next research trip?

I like that someone, possibly a family member or the church itself, took the time to fix the tombstone. So many times, broken tombstones are left to the elements, vandalized, or just removed when a cemetery is moved for a dam or reservoir. I like that the lettering on it is still fairly legible given its age of almost 150 years, assuming it was placed in 1869. I like that Susanna’s birth and death dates are consistent with the years, months and days also on the stone.

And that’s this Tuesday’s prompt… Glad to have Susanna’s tombstone in the family collection.


[1] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “St. John’s Cemetery,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 03 April 2017), entry for Susanna Williams, memorial #93923843.
[2] Tipton, Jim, compiler, “St. John’s Cemetery,” digital image, Find A Grave (http://www.findagrave.com : accessed 03 April 2017), entry for Joseph Williams, memorial #93923929.

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