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At Rest Far From Home

David Robertson (1772-1847)

David McLeod (1830-1851)

On the side of the Old Parish Cemetery that faces the railroad tracks, under the shade of a large tree, two gravestones stand facing the outer edge of the graveyard. The stones belong to two immigrants, one from Scotland, the other from Canada, who met their deaths in South Dedham, far from home.

David Robertson was born sometime in 1772. He was a native of Dumfries, Scotland. He made his way to South Dedham where he worked in the tannery. On November 2, 1847, Robertson died; the cause of death was listed as “mortification.” In medical terms, mortification refers to the death of one part of the body; it is more commonly, and technically, described as gangrene or necrosis. Robertson was 75 years old.

David McLeod was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. After his arrival in the village of South Dedham, he worked as a papermaker, probably at the Ellis Paper Mill. On November 17, 1851, some kind of accident occurred. According to death records, McLeod was “killed by machinery in the mill.” He was 21.

Standing adjacent to one another, the gravestones of these men, most likely erected by friends and colleagues, are both beautifully carved with weeping willows, a 19th century depiction of mourning. The engraving on each is still as crisp as the day it was etched into stone.

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