“Aunt Gram”: Elizabeth Norton Joyner Graham, 1749-1832

A few weeks ago, Sugar and I were at the Robertville Baptist graveyard. I was side-tracked by other photo-taking opportunities, and didn’t know who Aunt Graham was.

I’d heard him chatter about Aunt Graham before, but never made the cerebral connection. Well, that, plus I wasn’t listening with both ears.

Today’s outing was devoted to Aunt Graham. I reminded Sugar that there was a vine that had to be cut away from her little tombstone. He gathered gloves and cutting utensils.

When we got there, I wanted to take better photos of the marker for Robert E. Sweat. I’m working on a completely unrelated line that has absolutely nothing to do with Aunt Graham, even though they are buried almost side by side.

Aunt Graham’s marker is the little one that is two away from Robert E. Sweat.

I spend a lot of time taking and editing photos right in the field. Mostly because I don’t have a lot of memory on the iPhone, so I can post and delete, but I also like to get those photos out into the big world as soon as possible. Otherwise, I just don’t get things done. I’m posting to Facebook or messaging or blogging right in the cemetery. It seems important. Sugar, in the meantime, is twitching. “What are you doing? What are you doing?” Seriously? I’ve been doing this for the almost two years that I’ve owned an iPhone. This is my modus operandi. I can’t be rushed. I’m CONCENTRATING, for the love of all that is holy. I’m not looking for a damn Pokemon.


“I have a precious Saviour to trust in.”

I had finally grasped that Aunt Graham was the sister of Mrs. George Mosse, one Dorothy “Phoebe” Norton. They were the daughters of Jonathan Norton, and I’ve written a bit about how he donated land on St. Helena for the Chapel of Ease.

Now I’m ready to step over and concentrate on Aunt Gram.

Sugar pointed out that she doesn’t have a mini-headstone. No, her stone was actually broken off near the base, and some wise preservation-minded person dug down in front of the base and fitted the stone snug against it. Sugar pulled the vines and said there were words that went down into the dirt.

I had not a clue what he meant. That is, until I saw that the inscription ended mid-sentence.

We weren’t sure what to do, but we decided that it was okay if we wiggled it out, deciphered it, and re-seated it. You would probably have decided the same thing had you been there.

Sugar had a diggy tool in the car, and he fetched it to help in the replacing part.

After a bit of a wiggle, the stone lifted out clean.

He supported it while I snapped a photo. But I couldn’t read the last line because that’s where the break had occurred.

We decided to fit the stone in place, and it sat upright like a puzzle piece that had been waiting to be put home. And then the inscription was complete.

The glare was fierce on the screen of the iPhone. I couldn’t be sure that the photo was positioned properly.



To the Memory


Mrs. Elizabeth Graham

Who died 23d Oct. 1832

Aged 83 years 2 months

and 12 days.

She had been an

exemplary member of the

Baptist Church 30 Years

and was distinguished for

her Piety and Benevolence.

Afterward, I found a birthdate calculator. You take the person’s date of death and the age at death, and plug those facts into the equation.

Aunt Graham was born on August 11, 1749.

There’s an online story that says she secured a pass and rode into a British camp where her brother was being held and had become ill. She rode out with him and saved his life.  He would have been a Norton. True story or not? Internet, I ask you.

Supposedly, she was married to Rev. William Eastwick Graham who was the rector at what is now known as Sheldon Church. If this is true, she would have been at that area when the church was burned by the British. I really need to know the answers.

Her sister Dorothy Phoebe Norton Mosse relocated with husband George Mosse from  Savannah to Robertville, South Carolina, about 1807. Aunt Gram would have been a widow by then, so possibly she lived with them. The location of the Mosse plantation and graves is unknown, and maybe if we knew more about Aunt Gram during this time, we could know more about the Mosses.

Aunt Gram is reported to be the first burial in this churchyard. Good-night, Auntie, we’re thinking of you.

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