For a presentation in April at the Timberland Regional Library Friends and Boards Forum, I will be talking about doing genealogical research in the field. Literally. This gravestone rubbing is one that I made back in 1988 when my dad and I drove from Massachusetts to Vermont on an ancestor hunt. We knew the cemetery was on the “Old Niles Farm,” which, of course, no longer exists, but undaunted, we headed out to the small rural community of Halifax, Vermont. After a few false starts, and asking directions along the way, we parked the car alongside a promising-looking field in the general vicinity of our destination. It was summer–hot and muggy–and as we caught sight of the cemetery, the mosquitoes caught us. Swarms of them! We reversed our steps, drove back into the village and bought mosquito repellent, then tried again.
The cemetery consisted of about a dozen stones, in varying degrees of decay, fallen over and forgotten among the weeds, but sheltered under the trees.
This rubbing, made that day, is of Sarah (Frink) Niles, my 5th great-grandmother: “Late Consort of David Niles, who died in the revolutionary service, at White Plains in 1776.”
As important to me as this find was, more important was the occasion to experience it with my dad. He was gone from us six short years later, and I cherish the memory of that adventure with him.
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