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Tuesday, 11 September 2012

May Peabody Osborne - Dig the grave and let me lie



Taphophilia is a passion for and enjoyment of cemeteries. The singular term is a taphophile.


Memorial to May Peabody Osborne, All Saints Church, Bisham, Berkshire.


"In Memory of May Peabody Osborne beloved wife of Charles Glidden Osborne.  April 14th 1936.
Under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie, glad did I live and gladly die.  And I laid me down with a will.
This be the verse you grave for me, here he lies where he longed to be.  Home is the sailor from sea and the hunter home from the hill."





May Peabody Osborne was born May Henderson Peabody on 28th April 1891 at Evanston, Cook County, Illinois, USA to Francis Stuyvesant Peabody and May Henderson.   May first married Addison H Stillwell on 2nd January 1914 at St James Episcopal Church, Chicago, Cook County, Illinois, USA.  They were to divorce 1922.

On 1st September 1923 May married her second husband Charles Glidden Osborne and sailed with him and her children from her first marriage,  May Henderson Stillwell, Elizabeth Allison Stillwell and Frances Peabody Stillwell, on the Leviathan to England in the October of 1923.  In 1928 May and Charles had their only child together, Mahmea Enid Lolita Osborne.

May Peabody Obsborne died on 14th April 1936 in Marlow, Buckinghamshire aged just 44 years old.

It was the verse on May's gravestone that caught my eye first.  The line, 'under the wide and starry sky, dig the grave and let me lie', struck a cord with me.

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16 comments:

  1. It seems a strange verse for someone comparatively young to have on their stone. Odd too to hear of someone moving from the states to England.

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    1. Usually emigration went the other way around. Seems starnge see swapped the USA for a sleepy Berkshire village.

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    2. True; but there a back story for why grandparents moved from the States to the UK.

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  2. Nice verse, she died a long way from home.

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    1. She did. It is a beautiful verse, especially the first two lines.

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  3. I am not sure I like this verse, but I suppose it reflects this family's belief of a better life in heaven than on earth.

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    1. What is is about the verse you don't like? I'm not sure if I really believe in heaven, which is an odd statement. I am in no way religious, but I would like to think there is something after this.

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  4. I hope the sky is still wide and starry where she lies.

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    1. It is. She rests in a beautiful small village churchyard on the banks of the river Thames.

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  5. Nah, there's nowt after this. This is all there is, all there ever was, and all there ever will be. Well ... in my opinion, at any rate.

    My don't some of the names of her offspring roll off the tongue. It is a smidge confusing with all the maiden names being buffetted around and strung along from one generation to the next. But that name 'Maiimea Enid Lotita' - what a little ripper!

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    1. Not one for understated names, where they. I have to admit the tradition of using maiden and surnames as middle names does make research a little easier.

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  6. Interesting verse, I agree. I'm impressed with how much you were able to find out about this woman --- very interesting!

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    1. Thank you, both for visiting my blog and your lovely comment.

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  7. The vese is from "Requiem" by Robert Louis Stevenson, a significant choice as May was the daughter of F.S. Peabody, US coal millionaire and collector of Stevenson MS. When he dies in 1922, May must have inherited the Stevenson collection, whoch passed on to her husband and was sold at Sotheby's in 1949.

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment and the wonderful information.

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  8. Thank you for this surprise ; I haven't seen this Marker for easily 45 years.
    May Peabody Osborne is my grandmother and died when my mother was only 6 years old.
    Wow; this brings back memories

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