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Archive for July 24th, 2010

Looking through my photographs from Old Hudson Township Burying Ground, I found tombstones for classmates.  You may recall that the graveyard adjoins the campus of Western Reserve Academy.

If you look carefully, you can read the words “Our Classmate” above Jacob Harshman’s name.  As far as I can see, he died in 1861.

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Tunis V. Wilson died in 1849, less than a year after he graduated with the Class of 1848. The tombstone doesn’t tell you why he was buried by his alma mater. In the 19th century it was much more common for young men and women who completed advanced education to remain at those institutions as instructors after completing their studies. Maybe that is why he sleeps so close to the Academy.

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Finally, we have the detailed stones for Flavel Loomis, native of New York state.  Loomis died while enrolled at the school at the age of 22, and, his gravestone informs us, his classmates buried him and provided his memorial.

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We don’t live in a culture where dying while in school or within a year or two of completing school is a common occurrence. Yet, before the days of our advanced medical technology, it happened frequently. It is striking how different the world of a hundred or so years ago was.

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