Today I was asked for help finding the original location of two old tombstones which were found at Barton Stone in Ipswich. An earlier operator of the business thought these were worth keeping and put them away.

The Joshuah Woodman grave is in the Byfield Parish Burial Ground

Bill Boyington created the wonderful site FindaGrave with photos and inscriptions from tombstones, many of which are in Essex County. Using his site, it didn’t take long to match the old tombstones with the replacement stones, one in Rowley and the other nearby in Byfield. Shown below are the stones that were brought to me beside photos of the replacement stones. Click on the thumbnails to see the full size photos and links to the graves on

The Old Rowley Burial Ground has the graves of Hannah Payson and her father the Rev. Eduard Payson

The first stone is that of Joshuah Woodman Jr  who died in 1706 at 35 years of age, Byfield Parish cemetery. His father was the first male child born in Newbury. Read more about Joshuah Woodman Jr.

Joshuah Woodman Jr., died 1706, 35 years of age
Joshua Woodman’s replacement tombstone
at the cemetery in Byfield MA

The second stone was for Hannah Payson, daughter of Rev. Mr. Eduard Payson, who died in 1725 at age 27 years. This grave is located in the Rowley cemetery. Eduard Payson was the fourth minister of the church in Rowley, and his name is included in the tricentennial marker in front of the cemetery (photo of marker at the top of this page).

Hannah Payson, Daughter of Rev. Mr. Edward Payson, 1720, Age 27 Years
Hannah Payson’s replacement tombstone at the cemetery in Rowley MA

Colonial gravestones are seen today as valued expressions of art that define the professionals who carved them. The stones for John Woodman and Hannah Payson may well be the work of John Hartshorn or the Mullicken family, all from Haverhill, MA.  Laurel Gabel suggests that the Hannah Payson was carved by Ezekiel Leighton and the Joshuah Woodman Jr. stone by John Hartshorn(e), adding that they appear fairly typical of these two carvers. Both of the stones are now very fragile and would not survive exposure to the weather. I contacted the historical commissions and cemetery departments in Byfield and Rowley and restored them to their rightful location.

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