Guelph antique dealer solves the mystery of the 137-year-old tombstone
Published Saturday, March 1, 2014 6:18PM EST
An antique dealer in Guelph has solved the mystery of the 137-year-old tombstone.
Ray Mitchell of Dis-a-Ray Antiques recently purchased the grave marker, but didn’t know who it belonged to, or how it wound up in Guelph.
So he did some sleuthing.
“We did a rub and we got some of the words. [Then] we took the words to the computer, looked up the genealogy. So using two different technologies to come up with who it was,” says Mitchell.
The engravings are now gone, but the tombstone belongs to William John French, the son of Frederick and Elizabeth.
He died in 1878 at the age of two.
Mitchell says a woman discovered the tombstone in the wooded area near the Elora Cemetery, and brought it home.
When she moved a few months later, she contacted the antique dealer, asking if he was interested in purchasing the rare find.
He bought it for $50, but says he doesn’t plan on reselling the stone.
“It’s beautiful just for what it is,” says Mitchell. “But ultimately it marks the resting place of a little baby, so it's obviously got to go back from whence it came.”
Mitchell has been in touch with Wellington County Museum and even with French's distant relatives.
They plan to return the stone back to the cemetery before the end of the week.