R.I.P. Ann Diggs Graeme – May 29, 1765
Excerpted from The Most Learned Woman in America by Anne Ousterhout:
Emotionally exhausted and physically weakened from the relentless pregnancies and deaths [of her children] and her own illnesses, Ann Graeme had long anticipated and been preparing for death. As early as 1752, she had planned her funeral. She had woven her own burial linen, to save her family “trouble,” and upon it she had written, “The Lord hath mercifully guided me by his Council, and I humbly hope through the merits of my Dear Redeemer will Raise me up to Glory. This is the Hour the joyful Hour I have waited for and long wished for to be dissolved and to be with Christ which is best of all” and she hoped not to “be Disappointed of my Humble Hopes.” Her family and acquaintances firmly believed that God would grant her wish.
Ann Graeme had sent Elizabeth off to England without a word to detain her, despite a premonition of her own approaching death, because this was the way she wanted it. She knew that if Elizabeth had been there praying for her recovery, it would have been difficult for her to let go of life and die. Her daughter’s love would have held her, but she believed that she was going to a better life and did not wish to be detained.
Elizabeth, who was in travelling in England did not learn of her mother’s passing until a letter reached her on July 15, nearly seven weeks after the fact. The Willing Commonplace Book, written by Elizabeth between 1787 and 1788 and held as part of the Graeme Park collection, contains the following:
Lines engraved on the Tomb Stone of Mrs. Graeme and Mrs. Stedman [this would be Elizabeth’s sister, Ann Graeme Stedman] in Christs Church yard by their Sorrowfull Survivor Eliza Graeme 1766
Forgive great God this one last Filial tear!
Permit my Sorrows on a theme so near!
This Earth Born Strain indulge with mourn the Blest
And doubly mourns because thy were the Best
Tho Truth Remonstrates Self Love will prevail,
And Warp the Beam in Natures feeble Scale
A God incarnate Wept over Lazarus Dead;
The Power Divine Re-called the Spirit fled;
A poor frail being mourns a Mother gone!
The Tomb [tears?] closed before a Sisters flown!
Each was a _______, A ______ and a Friend,
She hopes to Join when Lifes Sharp Conflicts End
I do not know whether or not this stone was ever created and laid. Ann’s current stone reads simply:
Mrs Ann Graeme
Died 1765 Aged 65
Dr. Thomas Graeme
Died 1772 Aged 84