William H Burgess 1856
H Rebecca Crowell Burgess 1917


north side (front)
Master of
Ship Challenger
died at sea Dec. 11, 1856,
aged 27 yrs. 9 mo's.
& 16 days.
Temporarily buried
at Valpariso
S.A., Dec. 14.
His remains were
conveyed to their
present resting place
May 3, 1857.

(The following verse was composed
by his widow Rebecca.)

Thou art gone - in vain I seek thee
Thou hast passed from earth away
And the brooding wing of sorrow
Lies darkly o'er my way.
For I miss thy gentle presence
Thy guiding hand I miss,
Thy pleasant, social converse
Thy beaming truthful face.

Oh! I have loved too fondly
And a gracious Father's hand
Hath removed my cherished idol
To a brighter better land.
But this last hope is left me
To cheer my stricken heart,
In that blest world to meet thee
And never, never part.

east side
(The following verse was composed by Miss Smith
who was a close friend of widow Rebecca.
It was put on the monument at the same time
as Rebecca's verse on the north side.
It can be read as a continuation
of the verse on the north side.)

Rest, loved one, rest!
Not mid the crested foam
Of thy loved ocean home
Thy grave may be
Not where thou sunk to rest
On the calm Pacific's breast
Far out to sea
Nor where thou first were laid
Beneath the palm trees shade
Thy final bed
Where Tropic birds and flowers
Made bright the sunny bowers
Above thy head
But in this hallowed soil
Rest thou from earthly toil
New England's son
Near to her childhood home
Who joyed with thee to roam
Thy chosen one
She who thy perils shared
Nor winds, nor tempests feared
When by thy side
Thy faithful, trusting wife
Dearer to thee than life
Thy youthful bride
Who pillowed thy loved head
And smoothed thy dying bed
Alone, alone,
And when thy spirit fled
Thy last request obeyed
And took thee home.
Thy Parents here shall come
To mourn their only son,
Their early dead.
Thy sisters flowers shall strew
Bright with the morning dew
Above thy head.
Then, rest beloved one,
Neath this monumental stone
Til in yon Heaven
With robes of shining light
In Jesus' blood made white
Our sins forgiven
We meet to part no more
Our toils and trials oer
At Jusus feet.
Our pledge to thee is given
At God's right hand in Heaven
"Again to meet."

west side
Wife of
William H. Burgess
Died June 13, 1917
Aged 82 yr's. 11 mo's.
& 9 days.

(The following verse was composed after Rebecca died
by her close friend, Miss Swift.)

And friends, dear friends, when it
shall be,
That this last breath is gone from me
And round my bier ye come to weep
Let one most loving of you all,
Say "Not a tear must o'er her fall
He giveth His beloved sleep."

Captain Burgess died while at sea in the Pacific Ocean. He knew he was dying and asked that his body be returned to Cape Cod. His wife Rebecca who was with him arranged for his body to be returned. On her voyage back to New York, she demonstrated to the captain her prowess in navigating by correctly calculating the position of the steamship. Rebecca arrived home in January 1857. Her husband's remains arrived in Boston in April 1857. Rebecca purchased the large obelisk grave marker in Boston in 1857 for the sum of $157.

The photo, inscriptions and background information were supplied by Beth and Jerry Ellis in August 2009. They made rubbings of the long, difficult to read epitaphs which they then transcribed. The combined epitaphs are thought to be longer than on any other grave marker on Cape Cod.

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