Tombstone Hearthstone Discovered in Ontario

Ah…, another tombstone that was used as a hearthstone. I’m afraid that the practice has been more common than you would think. I’m sure that the headstone of one of my great grandparents was used for just that. The stone was there during the 1930s, and not there in 1988. A gentleman who lived next door to the cemetery told me that numerous stones had been taken by residents over the years, to be used as home furnishings of one kind or another. Following is an excerpt from an article printed in the Expositor, a newspaper for the Brantford, Ontario area.

Comfort Sage

A tombstone found by Ingersoll homeowners who were recently renovating their fireplace is that of a pioneer with connections to Brant and Oxford counties, who was also a veteran of the War of 1812.

The pristine limestone grave marker of Comfort Sage, who died on April 5, 1887, at the age of 90 years and 10 months, was found by Russell and Heidi Watson. The couple had turned over a large rectangular hearthstone in their home only to discover that it was actually a tombstone.

A brief obituary for Comfort Sage that appeared in the Sweaburg column of the April 13, 1887, edition of the Woodstock Sentinel-Review stated that he was “an old respected and well known resident” who was one of the early settlers.

He “always took an active part in the notable events of Canadian interest. He was on duty at Queenston when Gen. Brock fell and was in the engagement which followed. When the war ended, he received an honourable discharge. He also took part in the MacKenzie rebellion,” the obituary read.

Sage was born at Bloomfield, N. Y in 1796 and emigrated with family to the area that, decades later, would become Brant County. He would have been a teenager during the War of 1812.

How the tombstone ended up being used as a hearthstone in the Watsons’ home remains a mystery and is deserving of some research into the history of the home itself and its former owners.

Read the full article.

Author: Leland Meitzler

Leland K. Meitzler founded Heritage Quest in 1985, and has worked as Managing Editor of both Heritage Quest Magazine and The Genealogical Helper. He currently operates Family Roots Publishing Company (www.FamilyRootsPublishing.com), writes daily at GenealogyBlog.com, writes the weekly Genealogy Newsline, conducts the annual Salt Lake Christmas Tour to the Family History Library, and speaks nationally, having given over 2000 lectures since 1983.

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