Grave & photos by David Anderson (Contributor #47176205)
Family biography found by Kathy B (Contributor #46953209)
(given by William Richard Cutter in his 1909 book, "Genealogical and Personal Memoirs", especially volume 4, p. 1608)
Following notes by JBrown (Contributor #48697180)
According to information from Cutter:
Issac was fourth of nine children. His family lived on a large homestead begun by his grandfather, 500 acres, "on Farm street, south side of Porkipog pond", all in Canton, MA. [NOTE: He most likely meant Ponkapoag Pond.]
Isaac married twice:
"Married 1st January 9, 1728, Hannah Puffer;
Married 2nd April 10, 1732 Mary Niles"
The birth and death information, taken from town and church records, is more precise that what's on the stone, but "off" a bit, though both will put him in the correct generation in his family tree:
"Isaac, born November 14, 1699 died Jul 2 1771"
Local historians of the past commented that stone dates in this vicinity were often "off" from the dates in church and town records, perhaps up to a few years, not enough to confuse generations with each other, but could lead to not finding matches between records and stones if people are unaware of this. People back then were not always in the habit of reminding each other to check official records before having stones expensively engraved, nor did they always keep their own personal records accurately.
In Isaac's case, the newish stone style tells us it is not his original marker. The older original may have been worn in the shallower parts of the engraving, so there was no death year left to copy on to the new stone. Isaac was of the Puritan era, so his original stone might have been like his parents', a smaller flat tablet, fancy curliques down the sides, with the curved top. The early Puritan carvers often designed stones to startle, so typically showed a "death's head angel" at the top, perhaps reflecting a view of God as unmerciful, given the unmerciful wilderness in which the Puritans lived.
More innocent, reposed, cupid-like angels came later, followed by weeping willows and funeral urns after that, as the wilderness environment tamed and views of God turned more hospitable. As cities built taller buildings, reached toward heaven tall obelisks like Isaac's current stone seemed needed, to tie the more rural-appearing cemetery in with the taller city downtowns perhaps viewable in the distance.
The four-sided obelisk now seen for Isaac was a style popular in the late 1800s, with room for multiple, newer, precise dates for a namesake's family on a different side. The newer dates show that both the survivors placing the order and the stone carver were both careful. The carver merely had less information to work with for Isaac.
from user NCDave: "He married 1) Mary Niles, 10 Apr 1732. He m. 2) at Stoughton, MA, 9 Jan 1728, Hannah Puffer, d/o James and Abigail Newton Puffer. She was b. 8 Nov 1709, Dorcester, MA. She d. 3 Jan 1731, Stoughton, MA."
Isaac Fenno / Born 1698 - Died July 2 / Aged 72 Years
Gravesite Details It is 'assumed' that he died in 1770 - despite a lack of the year being noted on the tombstone.