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Cleaning at the American Cemetery — John & Phoebe Payne

September 1, 2010

In the second week of August I returned to the American Cemetery in Natchitoches to clean the grave of John Payne and his wife, Phoebe Maria Fitzpatrick.  Both of them were Irish immigrants.  I believe they are the grandparents of my great-grandmother, Eliza Cornelia Payne.  A few things stand out to me about this grave:

She died fairly young.  There is no birth date given, but the birth year indicates she was either 28 or 29 at the time of her death.  As a result he outlived her by about 38 years.

The places of death are listed as Natchitoches Parish (him) and Grande Ecore, LA (her).  This marks four listings in a row for the deceased that do not mention the place of death as Natchitoches, LA (as opposed to Natchitoches Parish).  The sample size is very small and I’d have to look into it some more, but it makes me wonder about how Natchitoches was perceived at the time as a geographic region versus an incorporated city.

The grave after cleaning does not appear as clean and white as the J.H. Williams/Eliza Cornelia Payne grave.  There’s actually a bit of color/discoloration that appears.  This may be due to a couple of factors that come to mind.  One is that the composition of the stone could be different and affect the interaction with biological growth.  The other is that the stone may be many years older, which has given biological growth, dirt and pollution time to become more entrenched.  These are admittedly just guesses.

The inscription reads:

JOHN PAYNE
BORN – DUBLIN, IRELAND
DEC. 1, 1802
DIED – NATCHITOCHES PARISH
OCT. 1, 1877

PHOEBE MARIA FITZPATRICK
WIFE OF
JOHN PAYNE
BORN – DUBLIN, IRELAND 1810
DIED – GRAND ECORE, LA
JULY 13, 1839

PARENTS OF ONE CHILD
WILLIAM PAYNE

 

The first four photos were taken before cleaning began.  The next four photos were taken after the first round of treatment.  The last four were taken two months after cleaning.  The gravestone is much more legible now, and it appears that the cleaning solution has continued to kill off biological growth.  The dead growth has been washed away by subsequent rain.

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