Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tombstone Tuesday-William O'Neil Perkins

I was wandering around the Old City Cemetery near Downtown Franklin one evening, when I came across this gravestone. I don't know who William O'Neil Perkins was, but I thought this was one of the coolest gravestones I've ever seen.

It also has a wonderful inscription. One that any family historian or genealogist would love to come across. Not only are the usual dates of birth and death indicated, but the place of birth and death are listed (both Franklin, TN), and his parent's names.

I found the details on this gravestone fascinating, and became very curious about William Perkins. This was not an inexpensive stone to create. Possibly William was wealthy. I also wondered why a standing tree without limbs? Was William a craftsman, farmer, or logger? Would these occupations generate enough money to commission a gravestone like this?

So I decided to do a quick look up of the census from Franklin, Williamson County, Tennessee. The 1870 census states his occupation as "Speaker of the House of Rep[resentatives]." Wow. Okay, so I looked up the 1880 census and William's occupation is listed as "Magistrate."

It seems William O'Neil Perkins did very well for himself and was a man of some clout during his time. So that at least answered the question about his income/wealth. However, it still doesn't answer why a gravestone sculpted into a tree. For that I will probably have to do more digging.

Meanwhile, I thought you might get a kick out of a pretty neat gravestone!

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