Gravestone of Sarah Burr


Gravestone of Sarah Burr


This is the headstone of Sarah Burr, who died in 1723 at the age of 16. Her father Peter Burr died a year after her, and his headstone is nearly identical, standing in the Old Burying Ground near the Museum’s driveway. Symbols used in headstones like Sarah’s had specific meanings: the skull meant death triumphant, while the side panels symbolized the continuation of life. The style of this headstone matches that of well-known carver Nathaniel Emmes (1690 - 1750), the most popular gravestone maker in Boston during the first half of the 18th century. Stonecutters often trained as cabinet makers, potters, or shipbuilders – using the same designs in different materials. Emmes learned the trade from his neighbor William Mumford, and in turn, taught his sons Henry and Josua.


Nathaniel Emms




Fairfield Museum and History Center