There’s a story behind this for sure.
T. Francis Hackett, beloved husband, reaches his carved hand across the memorial to wife Araletta, for the hand of John M. Haggerty, beloved friend. Above them is the Hebrew word, ‘Mizpah’.
And what is ‘Mizpah’? Per Wikipedia, in category, ‘emotional bond’,
Mizpah is Hebrew for “watchtower.” As mentioned in the Bible, it marked an agreement between two men, with God as their witness.
Araletta C. Dingwell survived them both. Was it she who designed this 3-person memorial? She must have been the one who ensured that it was placed there in Riverside Cemetery to mark the resting place of these intertwined lives.
There is a long inscription on the stone–
SOMETIME WE’LL UNDERSTAND
WHY LIFE’S GOLDEN CHAIN IS BROKEN
AND NEVER CAN BE MENDED
TILL CHRIST SHALL CLASP THE CHAIN STILL CLOSER
WHEN WE MEET IN THE SWEET BYE AND BYE
THE BEAUTIFUL ISLE OF SOMEWHERE
NEVER TO PART AGAIN
The phrases, ‘Sweet Bye and Bye’ and ‘Beautiful Isle of Somewhere’ are Christian hymns, but rather adaptable to other religious concepts.
The phrase, ‘Life’s Golden Chain’ is echoed here-
Love is the golden chain that binds
The happy souls above
And he’s an heir of heaven that finds
His bosom glow with love
Why She Became a Spiritualist: twelve lectures delivered before the Minneapolis association of spiritualists
Abby Ann Judson, 1895
The decades after the Civil War were years of recovery from national trauma. Spiritualism gave some comfort to the countless souls who were bereaved in the War and after, with hope that their loved ones survived in a better place. The displacement of ordinary relationships brings loss, but also freedom to build new connections.
What kind of relationship does this gravestone memorialize? T. Francis Hackett died at age 22, when his wife Araletta was 25. John M. Haggerty would have been only 17 at the time. Did the two men love each other for the brief time they shared on earth? their carved hands reach not to Araletta, but across her name to each other. John Haggerty passed at age 55, leaving Araletta alone at 63, she lived to age 77.
And does it mean anything that she did not take the name of her ‘beloved husband’ on her memorial, or was she following the custom of using her maiden name there? Or was there another husband whose mark on her life was not important enough to carve in stone?
The 3 linked lives did not leave a mark on history, all there is to remember them is a gravestone and a mystery.