Benjamin Webb 1746

broken slate gravestone uncovered slate gravestone raised slate gravestone

Here Lies Buried the Body of
Pastor of the North Church
in the South Precinct
of Eastham
Died August 21, 1746
in Ye 27th Year
of His Ministry & 51st
Year of His Age.

The gravestone of Rev. Benjamin Webb was recorded by Josiah Paine of Harwich about 1875. The gravestone was not located in the 1905 survey or the 1976 survey. In 1914 Josiah Paine wrote that the Webb headstone was broken and the portion with the inscription had been gone for many years. He indicated the footstone was in place and in good condition.

In 2002 a slate gravestone broken off flush to the ground was found near the front of the cemetery about 3' west of Capt. Samuel Freeman (d1742) as shown in the top left photo. In August 2005 the broken slate was uncovered as shown in the top right photo. The sunken slate was raised as shown in the bottom photo. The last line of the inscription includes "of His Age."

The slate is 24" wide which is wider than any other slate gravestone in the cemetery. It extended about 24" below ground in its original position. This was a large, prominent gravestone. This most likely is the missing gravestone of Rev. Webb who was pastor of the Third Congregational Church on Bridge Road from 1720 to 1746.

A careful search uncovered over one thousand slate fragments (many very small) a few inches below ground near the stone. Fragments of inscription which were found are consistent with the Webb inscription but they do not offer conclusive proof that this is the Webb stone. No footstone has been found. The search continues.

The 1905 survey gave information about the Webb inscription taken from the Josiah Paine records but not a literal copy of the inscription. The above inscription is approximate. It includes the elements from the Paine records and it is consistent with the fragments found to date.

Headstone fragment cleaned with D/2 October 2008.

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