Henry Wilson

(Originally visited 28 April 1998.)

Henry Wilson

The winter of ’98 was one of the mildest in my experience in New England. Still, this Tuesday afternoon in late April was sweetened by my absence from the office. I’d been visiting a client in Randolph, Massachusetts, and was driving home via back roads. Spring days should not be spent on interstate highways.

The plan was to stop in Natick and, since I knew the name of the cemetery Henry Wilson was buried, I’d just find the grave and then continue home. Since walking though old cemeteries is my leisure activity of choice on Spring afternoons I parked the car and began walking among the gentle hills dotted with gravestones.

I spent no short amount of time wandering and couldn’t find his grave. I tried the oldest section of the cemetery, but he wasn’t there. I tried the highest point, but he wasn’t there. I tried largest monuments, but he wasn’t there either. Since this was during the work day for normal folk, I looked for the cemetery office and couldn’t even find that. Discouraged, I drove the few blocks back to the town center to get help.

School was just letting out and the town green hosted several clumps of adolescents enjoying the Spring sun. I knew better than to ask any of them about Vice President Wilson. Instead I went to the fount of all information good and true: The Post Office!

All three of the postal workers on duty got involved. They didn’t know exactly where he was buried, but they did tell me that there was another cemetery just beyond the one where I had been. They also recommended finding Henry Wilson’s home which was a little further out of town. One of them was heading that way and offered to drive me. I politely declined.

I found the home of the “Natick Cobbler”, as he was known, without much trouble. But there was no one about. It was a little one or two, room shack which appeared derelict. Not even a historical marker which might note where he was buried. So, I headed back to the other cemeteries.

There is a modern cemetery adjacent to the older one where I had been looking and there were men working there. I immediately asked and was rewarded with precise directions. I had walked past Henry Wilson’s grave at least twice without noticing. The large stone on the left with the carving of the cavalry hat is not his. That’s his son’s grave. The medium sized stone in the middle is his wife’s. The man I was searching for is buried under the little marker on the right with the planter at the foot. The only words engraved on the stone are “Henry Wilson”.

Henry Wilson

About Bartholomew Barker

Bartholomew Barker is one of the organizers of Living Poetry, a collection of poets and poetry lovers in the Triangle region of North Carolina. Born and raised in Ohio, studied in Chicago, he worked in Connecticut for nearly twenty years before moving to Hillsborough where he makes money as a computer programmer to fund his poetry habit.
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