Occupations in the afterlife: 101

Posted on October 5, 2010 by

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So… “Eb”… did ya ever think you’d get a gig as a bookend in the afterlife? On top of that, did ya ever think you’d be a bookend for books about Confederate units? “Confederate”? Errr, probably not.

But seriously, I love New England headstone art. I picked this up at, of all places (I just didn’t imagine New England headstone art in Richmond, Virginia), the Library of Virginia bookstore about 4 1/2 years ago. Loved the way it looked, and thought it was incredibly unique. Yes… it is a casting from the actual headstone [see his headstone here] of Ebenezer Fiske (1692-1775). Eight months before his death, 85 year-old Ebenezer might have had some interesting things to say about the fracas on his farm… the site is now part of the Minuteman National Park in Lexington, Massachusetts.

One source found on the Web, provides some interesting details about his life…

Lieutenant Ebenezer Fiske, son of David Fiske… was born at Lexington, September 12, 1692. Married, December 4, 1718. Grace Harrington, of Watertown, daughter of Samuel and Grace (Livermore) Harrington… He married (second) Bethia Muzzy, who was born in 1700, and died November 19, 1774. he was a man of prominence in the militia, in which he bore the rank of lieutenant, and in town affairs. he held many offices of honor and trust. he was selectman ten years between 1739 and 1758. He resided on the highway to Concord a little more than a mile from the common on the easterly side of what is known as Fiske hill. it was at his house that Hayward of Acton [see note below] and a British soldier had the encounter on April 19, 1775, both being slain. He bequeathed with his other property a negro slave Pompey. Fiske died December 19, 1775.

See this link (courtesy of HMDb) to a marker identifying the site of Ebenezer’s house.

Nowadays, my Ebenezer is a silent observer over my shoulder, looking on from my bookcase and “guarding” books, including those that I wrote for the Virginia Regimental Histories Series. As eerie as it may seem to some, he’s a comforting sort of fellow, and I enjoy “his company.”

My humble tribute to one of the silent observers in my study.

* “At Fisks [sic] Hill, in Lexington, James Hayward of Acton was mortally wounded. A tablet there, and a monument at Acton, tell to all people the story of the part taken by the patriots of that town, whose footprints will never be effaced.

AT THIS WELL, APRIL 19, 1775,
JAMES HAYWARD, OF ACTON,
MET A BRITISH SOLDIER, WHO, RAISING HIS GUN,
SAID, “YOU ARE A DEAD MAN.”
“AND SO ARE YOU,” REPLIED HAYWARD.
BOTH FIRED: THE SOLDIER WAS INSTANTLY
KILLED, AND HAYWARD MORTALLY
WOUNDED.

He died on the following day.

While his life was ebbing away, he said to his father, “Hand me my powder-horn and bullet-pouch. I started with one pound of powder and forty balls. You see what I have left; I never did such a forenoon’s work before.”

The powder-horn, with the hole made by the bullet that caused his death, is safely kept in that town to-day; and the shoe-buckles on which are the stains of the blood of Captain Isaac Davis, and also his musket, are still held as precious memorials.

In October, 1851, a granite monument was erected to the memory of Acton’s soldiers, and under it repose the remains of the three brave men.”

** The item was formerly sold by a company called “Facsimilies“, which appears to have been merged into another company called DesignMasters. The item, “Lieutenant” appears to be no longer available.

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