Sea Stories in Stone
William Dawes (1798-1854) - Maple Grove, Bath
The Sailor's Grave
Decorated with a ribbon identifying his as "The Sailor's Grave," William Dawes' stone concludes:
Here in this lovely bed
a son of the ocean rests his head
long hath he done his duty well
____ ____ with the stormy [swell?] ....
Four days before his death from "gravel", or kidney stones, at age 55, Dawes prepared his Last Will and Testament, which was filed at the Lincoln County Courthouse.
Know all men by these present that I, William Dawes of Bath, County of Lincoln and the State of Maine, Mariner, being weak in body but of a sound disposing mind and memory do make and pubish this my Last Will and Testament. First I give and bequeath to my most faithful friend, Isabella S. Duston, wife of Jesse Duston of Bath, all my real estate situated on the Western Avenue in Bath with the house thereon standing, after paying off all my just debts meaning doctor bills and all charges against my last sickness and funeral expenses...
He also appointed Jesse Duston, a former sea captain and the Keeper of the Bath Alms House, as executor of his will. He "signed" the document with his mark. Later, when his property was inventoried, it was valued at $500.
Seaman Dawes' marker stands near the graves of Jesse and Isabella Duston and their family. Cemetery Records indicate that Dawes and Capt. Duston co-owned the plot.
Research failed to locate Seaman Dawes family in Maine and suggests that he may have retired from the sea to remain with his captain, and his captain's lady.
Sources: Gravemarker; MMM Captain's Index; US Census 1850; probate records
NEXT: Benjamin Fenley (1826-1854)
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