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a pilgrimage of grace: Mount Auburn Cemetery

Today, almost eight years later, I finally visited Carolyn. My wife’s grandmother Carolyn Harmon Scott, née Carolyn Ayer Harmon, died in the year our oldest daughter was born, so she lived to see her first great-grandchild. Their first visit was when Cassandra was four days old—

— but within a year, as Carolyn was at the end of her life, Cassandra got to play among the oxygen tubing that ran about her bed. Carolyn died 27 December 2000, while we were living in Kentucky. Mount Auburn Cemetery is lovely, and it did not take long to find my way to the Nye – Scott plot, somewhere between Mary Baker Eddy and Oliver Wendell Holmes. The small, unassuming plot dates from 1859 when David Charles Nye bought it to bury his own son, Carolyn’s husband’s great-grandfather Charles Ruggles Nye (1831-59). The oldest marble stone, probably erected to the son Charles Ruggles Nye, is now illegible but a closely matching one still legibly marks David C. Nye himself, who died in 1870.

A granite stone (to the right, nearest the tree trunk) marks grandson Charles Henry Nye (1853-87), who also died as a young man. Other burials of Nye descendants and in-laws, surnamed White, Barrett and Buffum, are unmarked, but a single flat stone (off to the right in this picture) does mark Carolyn and her husband Joseph Robertson Scott (he was grandson of Charles Henry Nye). I had hoped there might be another stone explaining the relation of the mysterious Evans woman and child buried there in 1859 and 1862, but alas the setting, while beautiful, doesn’t provide answers to the questions I had marked six years ago when I created a pedigree chart based on the interment log from the plot file.

I am in Cambridge today to teach a class on pilgrimage (and other forms of medieval popular religious devotion). Shall I mention my own pilgrimage here? Why did I not make it sooner?

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