|Photo taken by Leslie Nutbrown in 2014. Used with permission.|
No, it isn't a trick of the light or your eyes, this headstone was upsidedown when it was photographed in 2014. But even that is better than the condition of the stone now, which is missing!
Frank Denison Bean was a younger brother of my great-grandmother, Eva Maude Bean. I found information about his headstone on interment.net a few years ago and was anxious to visit this small churchyard to take photos and pay my respects. As far as we know, no other Beans are buried here.
What we discovered when we arrived at this cemetery in September was very sad and a little shocking; a cemetery in poor condition, barely maintained, small piles of broken stones and a fresh-looking can of Budweiser atop one of the monuments.
And we did not find Frank's stone, although the pieces of it may have been in one of the piles. We also failed to find two of the stones for which there were photo requests on Find-A-Grave and the two that we did find were in very poor condition. It was heartbreaking.
We know almost nothing about little Frank Bean. There was no civil registration in Quebec when he was born in 1876 and his parents were members of a Free Will Baptist church, so he was not baptized. He appears in the 1881 census, taken eight months before his death, and there is a church record of his burial but those are the only documents of his life that I have found so far or that I am likely to find.
The little church here was Anglican when it closed, but Frank's burial record from the same Baptist congregation where his parents were later baptized, does indicate that he was buried "here" which implies to me that this church may have housed the Baptist congregation in 1876. More research is required to confirm that, obviously, but if it is the case, I feel better about Frank being buried here alone; at least his family would have been able to visit him when they came to worship. I'm also even more curious about the location of their farm and its proximity to the church and cemetery but I do have some leads on figuring that out.
Additionally, my mother and I are trying to find out if the broken stones can be repaired and if there is any way to better protect the churchyard from trespassers.
In the meantime, I am very grateful to Mr. Nutbrown who, along with his wife, cataloged this cemetery in 2005, took this photo of the headstone in 2014, was willing to share it with me and for me to share it with you. I have to say that after finding no stone at all in 2018, I was very surprised to see the stone in such good condition (except for being separated from its base) in 2014.
The only difficulty was reading the epitaph, but with the help of the "Random Acts of Genealogical Kindness - RAOGK USA" group on Facebook, I think we have deciphered that as well. It seems to say:
We've laid him here, the little boy
God lent to us, our pride and joy
Within that heavenly land so fair,
Then shall we meet and know him there.
And even if those aren't the exact words, the sentiment is clear; that this family of faith found comfort in the belief that they would find their little Frank again in Heaven and that they would all know each other no matter how much time had passed.