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Eliza Wharton


Source: Myths And Legends Of Our Own Land

Under the name of Eliza Wharton for a brief time lived a woman whose name
was said to be Elizabeth Whitman. Little is known of her, and it is
thought that she had gone among strangers to conceal disgrace. She died
without telling her story. In 1788 she arrived at the Bell Tavern,
Danvers, in company with a man, who, after seeing her properly bestowed,
drove away and never returned. A graceful, beautiful, well-bred woman,
with face overcast by a tender melancholy, she kept indoors with her
books, her sewing, and a guitar, avoiding the gossip of the idle. She
said that her husband was absent on a journey, and a letter addressed to
Mrs. Eliza Wharton was to be seen on her table when she received
callers. Once a stranger paused at her door and read the name thereon. As
he passed on the woman groaned, I am undone! One good woman, seeing her
need of care and defiant of village prattling, took her to her home, and
there, after giving birth to a dead child, she passed away. Among her
effects were letters full of pathetic appeal, and some verses, closing

O thou for whose dear sake I bear
A doom so dreadful, so severe,
May happy fates thy footsteps guide
And o'er thy peaceful home preside.
Nor let Eliza's early tomb
Infect thee with its baleful gloom.

A stone was raised above her grave, by whom it is not known, and this
inscription was engraved thereon: This humble stone, in memory of
Elizabeth Whitman, is inscribed by her weeping friends, to whom she
endeared herself by uncommon tenderness and affection. Endowed with
superior genius and acquirements, she was still more endeared by humility
and benevolence. Let candor throw a veil over her frailties, for great
was her charity for others. She sustained the last painful scene far from
every friend, and exhibited an example of calm resignation. Her departure
was on the 25th of July, 1788, in the thirty-seventh year of her age, and
the tears of strangers watered her grave.

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