From the book : A collection of American Epitaphs and Inscriptions with occasional notes, pentade 1, volume 1. By Rev. Timothy Alden. S. Marks Printer, New York, 1814 (second edition); articles 121-128, p. 124-132.
121. Note. - Anthony Thacher, brother to rev. Peter Thacher of Sarum, came from England to Massachussetts, in 1635. He brought his wife and nine children to this country. In attempting to go from Ipswich bay to Marblehead, with his family, the vessel, on board of which they all were, was cast away on an island, which lies about a mile east of the south-eastern extremity of Cape Ann, which has ever since been calles Thacher's island. His nine chlidren perished in the waves, and he, with great difficulty, saved his own life by clinging to a spar. Having reached the shore, he was waiting on the beach in a very melancholy frame of mind, lamenting the loss of his family, when, providentially, he discovered his wife in the sud. He happily rescued her from a watery grave. She was apparently dead, but presently recovered, and afterwards, they having made a stand in Marblehead, had two sons previously to 1640, Judah and John, the former of w hom settled in Connecticut.
Anthony Thacher left Marblehead, and for some time, lived in Marshfield, whence he removed to Yarmouth, about the year, 1664. He bought a place in this town, on which he and his posterity lived for about 140 years, and which was then sold to the late captain John Custis. He deceased when, probably, about eighty years of age, and was buried on his own land, near the marsh, and not far from a button pear tree, which remains to this day. His character was respectable, his descendants have been numerous, many of whom have been men of distinction, and it is a little singular that no monumental stone has been erected to his memory.
It may here be remarked, that rev. Thomas Thacher, son of rev. Peter Thacher of Sarum, the first minister of the Old South, in Boston, was wonderfully preserved from the shipwreck, which proved so fatal to the children of Anthony Thacher. He was to have accompanied his uncle by water; but, in the language of doctor Cotton Mather, “He had such a strong and sad impression upon his mind about the issue of the voyage, that he, with another, must needs go the journey by land, and so he escaped perishing with some of his pious and precious friends by sea.” This was an ancestor of the late rev. Peter Thacher, D. D. of Boston, and of many distinguished divines and civilians.
122. In memory of the honourable John Thacher, esq. who departed this life, 8 May, 1713, in the 75 year of his age; and in memory of Lydia Thacher, his wife, who died, 2 August, 1744, in the 84 year of her age.
Note. - Colonel John Thacher, son of Anthony Thacher, was, in his day, much esteemed and honoured. He officiated as an assistant in the government of Plymouth Colony, and many years as a counsellor in that of Massachusetts, after the incorporation of the ancient Plymouth Colony with the commonwealth of Massachusetts. He was buried under arms, and the gravestones erected to his memory, the first with an inscription ever used in Yarmouth, were brought from England.
The late colonel Thomas Thacher, of Yarmouth, having some years since furnished the author of this work with a genealogical list of the descendants of colonel John Thacher, it will, no doubt, be gratifying to some of the present generation to see the following abstract in this Collection.
Colonel John Thacher married, about the year, 1664, his first wife, Rebecca Winslow, at Marshfield. By her he had eight children; Peter Thacher, esq. whose wife was Thankful Sturges; deacon Josiah Thacher, whose wife was Mary Hedge; Rebecca, whose first husband was James Sturge, and second, Ebenezer Lewis; honourable John Thacher, esq. whose wife was Desire Dimmock, of Barnstable; Bethiah, whose husband was ___ Paine; Elizabeth, whose husband was Moses Hatch, of Falmouth; Hannah and Mary. By his second wife, Lydia Gorham of Barnstable, he had these eleven children; Lydia, whose husband was Joseph Freeman, of Harwich; Desire, whose husband was Josiah Crocker, of Barnstable; Hannah, whose husband was Nathaniel Otis; Merey, whose husband was James Harris, of Saybrook, in Connecticut; Judah Thacher, esq. whose wife was Sarah Crosby; Mary Anna, whose husband was John Lothrop, of Falmouth; colonel Joseph Thacher, whose wife was Ruth Hawes; Benjamin Thacher, whose wife was Hannah Lombard, of Barnstable; Mary, whose husband was colonel Shobael Gorham of Barnstable, and Thomas Thacher, whose wife was Thankful Baxter.
123. Colonel Joseph Thacher, who departed this life, 17 June, 1763, in the 64 year of his age.
All you, that pass by, pray think on me,
Think I was once in the world, like thee;
But now lie mouldering in the dust,
In hopes to rise among the just.
Note. - This gentleman was a son of colonel John Thacher, of whom an account is given in the foregoing article. His widow, mrs. Ruth Thacher, died, 3 May, 1772, at the age of 63.
Colonel Thacher was a popular character, and through his influence, principally, a company of forty, thirteen of which were Indians, was raised, all except six or eight, in Yarmouth, his native town, to go on the Cape Breton expedition, in 1745. A condition of their embarking in this bold enterprise was, that mr. Thacher should be their captain. It is remarkable that, of the Indians, three only lived to return, two having been killed by the enemy, and eight, probably in consequence of a mode of living, to which they had not been accustomed, dying of disease; and that the rest of the company, though exposed to great hardships, were providentially all spared to see their native place again, and to participate with their fellow-countrymen in the joy, which pervaded the land, on the reduction of the strongest fortress in America.
The following anecdote, as given to the author of this work by mr. David Matthews, one of Thacher's company, who is still living, (1815) exibits the unfeeling disposition of the American savage. Through the treacherous conduct of a certain Frenchman, a party of twenty provincial soldiers had been ambuscated, nineteen of which were killed. The Frenchman was taken, and at first was given up to the Indians, to be destroyed by them as they might see proper. Isaac Peck, a blood-thirsty Indian, began immediately to sharpen his knife, and thingking it too good for the traitor to die at once, said he was going to begin with his fingers, and would cut of one joint first, then another, and so on, till he had separated all his bones from head to foot. He would probably have executed his purpose, had not the criminal been rescued from his hands.
One of Thacher's Indians, hired by colonel Vaughan for a bottle of brandy, was the first of the provincials, who entered the grand battery at Louisburgh. He crawled in at an embrasure and opened the gate, which Vaughan immediately entered, the enemy having withdrawn from this battery, though at the time this circumstance was not known.
124. In memory of deacon Josiah Thacher, who died, 19 Jan. 1809, in his 69 year.
Look down upon this sacred spot and see
What death can do to you as well as me.
Sweet bosom friend, your falling sand is nigh;
Children, prepare, 'tis God that calls on high.
Neighbours and friends alike must be the same,
Prepare for death in time, for God doth reign.
125. In memory of mrs. Desire Thacher, wife of deacon Josiah Thacher, who died, 27 February, 1788, in the 52 year of her age; also, in memory of mrs. Mary Thacher, his last wife, and formerly widow of deacon Josiah Hedge. She died, 15 January, 1811, aged __ years.
126. In memory of mr. John Thacher, who died, 12 August, 1799, aged 59 years.
Why sould we fear the hour of death,
Since life is but a span?
By lengthening out our feeble breath,
We're more involv'd in sin.
Here I resign my mortal frame,
Submissively to God,
In hopes to meet a heavenly train
In my Redeemer's blood.
127. A monumental stone consecrated to the memory of the honourable David Thacher, esquire, who, having served his generation in many important publick stations with honour and fidelity, died, 9 november, 1801, aetatis 72. By a constant practice of the social virtues he rendered himself greatly beloved and respected in the various walks of domestick life. Reader, wouldest thou be honoured in life and lamented in death, go and do likewise. Also,
Erected to the memory of mrs. Abigail Thacher, widow of the honourable David Thacher, esquire, who died 25 April, 1803 aetat. 76. She was justly esteemed as a christian and a friend.
Note. - This epitaph was composed by the honourable Isaiah Green, esq. The Honourable mr. Thacher was the second son of Judah Thacher, esq. the grandson of colonel John Thacher, and the great-grandson of Anthony Thacher, the ancestor of many families in Yarmouth, Barnstable, Wareham, and other parts of Massachusetts, and also in Connecticut. He inherited and lived on the place of his fathers. He was a representative for thirty, and senator for several, years, at the general court of Massachusetts, and was often employed on committees, where maturity of judgment and experience, gained by a careful attention to the interests of the commonwealth, were particularly required. This gentleman was distinguised by talents of the solid, judicious, and useful, rather than of the brilliant and showy kind. He held, during a great part of his life, various offices in town and county. He was one of the committee of safety, in time of the revolutionary war, and, for fifteen years, was one of the judges of the court of common pleas for the county of Barnstable. He was also a member of the conventions for forming and adopting the state and federal constitutions.
Mrs. Thacher was a daughter of doctor John Russell, of Barnstable, a descendant from the rev. mr. Russell, of Hadley, in whose cellar, according to family tradition, both Goffe and Whalley, two of the regicides, were, for several years, concealed. Her mother was Mehetabel, Lothrop, and only daughter of John Lothrop, esq. of Barnstable, and a descendant from the rev. John Lothrop, one of the venerable puritanick fathers of New-England, who, like many other worthies, was persecuted by the bigotted archibishop Laud, and who came to this country in 1634.
Although judge Thacher had a number of children, none of them lived to maturity of years, except one, who is the present David Thacher, esq. of Dartmouth.
128. Sacred to the momory of mrs. Sarah Thacher, the amiable consort of David Thacher, jun. esq. who died, 21 July, 1793, in the 23 year of her age.
While weeping friends bend o'er the silent tomb,
Recount her virtues, and her loss deplore;
Faith's piercing eye darts through the dreary gloom,
And hails her blest, where tears shall flow no more.
Note. - Mrs. Thacher was the second daugther of the late captain Joshua Gray. She left one son, Lothrop Russell Thacher, who is now a merchant in Boston. After her decease her surviving husband married miss Eunice Weld Noble, a daughter of the late rev. Oliver Noble, of Newcastle, in New Hamshire.