1892 — Three Accidents: Churchyard, Inscription, and Notes
This is Kirkwall Cathedral’s churchyard, photographed at the town of Kirkwall, in the Orkney Islands of Scotland, in August 2013. The stone’s inscription was transcribed by hand when the camera wasn’t available.
The Transcribed Inscription
Erected by Margaret Graicie [Craicie?] in memory of her son James Graicie [Craicie?] who was killed by accident 19th June 1882, aged 35 years.
Also her son William, who was killed by accident at Colorado, America, 6th August 1880, aged 29 years.
Also her son John, who died by accident at Edinburgh 1st October 1892, aged 40 years.
And her daughter Ann who died at Galashiels 21st March 1896, aged 52 years.
Notes about Research & Invention
This inscription is unique in failing to mention a husband/father and stating that three adult sons died of unspecified kinds of accidents, including one in a rugged part of America. How intriguing. Erosion made it unclear how the surname was spelled. My best guess was that it was Graicie or Craicie. Research found no information about this family.
Travel and exploration by balloon were popular topics for magazines during the 1880s and 1890s. It was disappointing to not find any gravestones mentioning balloonists, but the nature of these three accidents had to be invented, so, thanks to fiction, Ms Graicie’s children all became balloonists.
This inscription was recorded on paper during a day spent reading stones at the Kirkwall Cathedral churchyard. The camera’s battery charger got lost somewhere between Aberdeen and Orkney so most of my time in Orkney was spent sans the benefits of a working camera.
Susan Marie Brown, © 2014