Mystery Tombstone

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Tobago Mystery Tombstone

“…She was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it, except by her kind indulgences to him…”

That inscription on a tombstone in the village of Plymouth has perplexed people for well over a century. 

The tombstone is that of Betty Scott, who around 1781 married a sailor, Alexander Stivens.

Betty Scott became pregnant and died in childbirth on November 25, 1783. Her father, a significant member of the island’s community, was heartbroken at the death of his favorite daughter.

He buried his daughter in a corner of his sizable garden, and erected a large tombstone on her grave bearing the above inscription.
The historical record may reveal the circumstrances that caused Betty Scott's father to write the enigmatic words.

It is said that the Anglican Church in Scarborough possesses an old register of baptisms, marriages and deaths (1781 – 1817).

On page two, reference is made to three mulatto children of Alexander Stivens: one son by the name of Alexander, and two daughters, Sally and Mary.
The inscription and the stories behind it are still a favorite topic all over Tobago. Once the tombstone is brought up, be prepared to hear the many theories behind the inscription.

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