Hiram’s Tomb in North Chester

A 30 min. hike in from Maynard Hill Rd


Smith’s Tomb

Contributed by Grace Oppenheimer

the family. His idea, he was afraid, would make tongues wag and people would think he was insane. The doctor assured him that this was not a hair-brained idear” and peo ple would not think him insane What a load it took off Uncle Hiram’s mind that summer skilled workmen from the neighboring city, opened up the dark in terior of the boulder. Residents in the neighborhood as well as outsiders from the city came to watch the progress, bringing gasket lunches and enjoying a day’s outing

It took two years to complete the 7 ft. 2 in.

long and 4 ft. 5 in. tall opening. The old sister died the following year but was not buried until her brother’s death. For four years the granite boulder stood empty

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Much controversy has gone on in the past few years about the Hiram Smith tomb.

how it came to be, and what type of a man would care to be buried in a granite boulder in a rather isolated spot

Hiram Smith, son of Joab and Elisabeth.

was born September 2. 1795. He never married. He was a farmer who spent his whole life in the township of Chester. When he was about five years old, his mother took him to a funeral. It had rained and the grave was filled with water. Buckets were used to bail out the water, leaving a muddy hole which the casket was sunk into. It left a definite mark on Hiram and as he matured it continued to bother him.

One day as Dr. Thaddeus DeWolfe was making his rounds, he saw Hiram beside the road and invited him to ride with him. As they traveled over the country roads the old Doctor realized something was bothering Uncle Hiram (as most folks called him).

and, with a little encouragement, Hiram un loaded his problem to his friend, ending with “No, doctor, I don’t want to be buried in the earth and I don’t mean to be and,

what’s more, I won’t be.” He continued on to tell of the granite boulder in his pasture large enough to hold “Issy,” his sister (Isabel Toogood), and himself, the last of

it was nearly midnight. It wasn’t fit for man or beast to go out but a man was dying

Three yokes of oxen, eight men, and the doctor, shoveling, shouting, and cheering, encouraged each other. They arrived in the early morning hours at Uncle Hiram’s. He was sinking but would not give up until his old friend, the doctor, arrived. Some people think that Hiram Smith was encased in granite so the devil couldn’t get at him, but this is false as his last words to the old doc tor were, “I’m going up to meet the bridegroom. I’m going to be dressed all in white for the marriage.” This was not a man afraid of the devil, but one whose faith in God’s promise was firmly established. Un cle Hiram’s body was put in the earth before its final resting place in the granite tomb.

One night after a very heavy snowfall and with the wind blowing a gale, the doctor had sat down to relax, and commented

“God have mercy on any one exposed to the fury of this storm”, After the rest of the family had retired, he sat for awhile with his book. When the latch of the outer door rattled, the doctor thought it was only the wind, but no, the inner door was opening

Four men, covered with snow from head to foot, long whiskers, like icicles, hanging on their breasts. “It is Uncle Hiram. doctor.”

They had started out about 5:00 o’clock and

The tomb is located off the Maynard Hill road. The path, marked by paint and strips of fluorescent ribbons, is easy to follow. The pasture has long since grown up and, where once cattle grazed, lumbermen have re moved trees of great size

The source of information I used, with some direct quotes, was a paper written by Sarah DeWolfe Gamwell, daughter of Doc tor Thaddeus De Wolfe. She had such a close relationship with Hiram Smith and his family, that I feel it is far more accurate than most of the stories people have con jured up. She wrote this story a few years after Hiram Smith’s death.

According to further information we have received, there are only two such known tombs in the United States.

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