Friday, November 21, 2008

Gravestones of Ruth Sprague & Grandma Moses

I opened the book I had ordered, Body Snatching by Suzanne M. Shultz, and the frontispiece was a photo of a child's gravestone in Old Maple Grove Cemetery in Hoosick Falls, New York, which indicts those who stole her body:

Ruth Sprague
dau. of Gibson & Elizabeth Sprague
died Jan. 11, 1846; aged
9 years 4 mo's & 3 days.
She was stolen from the grave
by Roderick H. Clow & dissect-
ed at Dr. P. M. Armstrong's office
in Hoosick N.Y. from which place
her mutilated remains were
obtained & deposited here.
"Her body dissected by fiendish Men
Her bones anatomised,
Her soul we trust has risen to God
Where few Physicians rise."

I searched in vain for a photo of Ruth Sprague's grave, but did find the e-mail address of a female descendant of Dr. Armstrong who had posted a message about wanting to repair the stone so the last line remains visible.

By coincidence, my friend Ellen Holloway grew up in Hoosick Falls! I just called her and she hadn't heard the Sprague story, but had told me that the town's most famous resident was Anna Mary Robertson, better known as Grandma Moses (1860-1961). She, too, is buried at Maple Grove.

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