Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday - Emily Williams Biddle


About a month ago, I wrote a Wednesday's Child post on the "Lost Biddle Children" where I recounted finding the Biddle family plot in St. Thomas' Episcopal Church Cemetery in Pennsylvania. My narrative in the earlier post makes it sound as though I miraculously happened across the plot, which isn't quite how it came about that I was there looking for it.

The family group I'm discussing here are the following individuals:
  • Jonathan Williams Biddle (1821-1856)
  • Emily Skinner Meigs Biddle (1824-1905)
  • Children:
    • Christine Williams Biddle Cadwalader (1847-1900)
    • Charles Meigs Biddle (1849-1853)
    • Williams Biddle (1850-1852)
    • Mary Biddle (1851-1851)
    • Thomas Biddle (1853-1914)
    • Emily Williams Biddle (1855-1931)
According to Find A Grave, Jonathan Williams Biddle is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery in Philadelphia. So I didn't question that he was there, and assumed that the remainder of Jonathan's family would be buried in Laurel Hill as well. So I was actually a little surprised to discover while researching Emily Williams Biddle, that his family was buried in St. Thomas' cemetery.

I probably wouldn't have given much thought to Emily Williams Biddle except I recently found out that the family had a house in Lenox, Mass., a place several other ancestors have called home over the years.

I came across an article from the Springfield Weekly Republican (Springfield, Mass.), dated Thursday, February 18, 1932, which covers the contents of her will. Emily was the last surviving member of the above family group, survived by six nephews, the sons of her sister Christine Biddle Cadwalader. Among the bequests covered in the article, is:

"To St. Thomas's church, Whitemarsh, Pa., is left $2,000, the interest to be used 'to care for the lot where my father and mother and their unmarried children lie buried. And I wish my body to be buried alongside that of my brother, Thomas Biddle with a stone similar to that now over his grave to mark my grave.'"[1]

The lot contains individual headstones for Emily Meigs Biddle, and each of her children, Charles, Williams, Mary, Thomas, and Emily. What it doesn't contain is an individual headstone for Jonathan. There is a large horizontal slab listing Jonathan, Emily, and each of their five children buried in the plot.

So, I really have no idea which cemetery Emily's father, Jonathan, is buried in, and I admit I haven't spent much time looking yet. Another mystery to track down with this family.


[1] "Lenox Coachman is Bequeathed Life Interest in $45,000 Fund," Springfield Weekly Republican, 18 February 1932. Online. Genealogybank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed 3 May 2011).

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