Sunday Dec 28th A very stormy day but all went to meeting
except Oakes A & self, came home at noon so few
there that Mr Whitwell thought best not to have one in the afternoon.
Mr Swains brother went with them Capt Johnathan Pratts wife
was buried this afternoon Have written to Miss Foss and
partly written a letter to Lucy Norris
The “stormy day” kept most folks home from church; it had snowed overnight and the snow had turned to rain. According to the family’s indefatigable weather man, Old Oliver, it “raind by spells all day but there was not more than ½ an inch fell.”
It was dreadful weather for a burial, but the frozen ground and cold precipitation didn’t prevent the funeral of Sophia Pratt, who had died the day before of consumption. Fifty-seven years old, she was the mother of four sons and the wife of Capt. Jonathan Pratt, a farmer and former member of the local militia. The Pratt family had been settled in Easton for several generations; their farm was not very far from the Gilmore spread in the southeastern section of town.
In common with any human community, the people of Easton had ceremonies for dealing with death. Protestant or Catholic, a dead person’s body was placed in a coffin and buried as soon as practicable, for reasons of hygiene, convenience and respect. As historian Drew Gilpin Faust explains: “Redemption and resurrection of the body were understood as physical, not just metaphysical realities, and therefore the body, even in death and dissolution, preserved ‘a surviving identity.’ […][T]he body and its place in the universe mandated attention even when life had fled; it required what always seemed to be called ‘decent’ burial, as well as rituals fitting for the dead.”*
As her coffin was lowered into a plot in Pine Grove Cemetery, Sophia Pratt would have received a fitting funeral.
*Drew Gilpin Faust, This Republic of Suffering, New York, 2008, p. 62