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    Re: Interesting way of numbering years, early 18th century
    From: Frank Reed
    Date: 2023 Sep 17, 21:36 -0700

    It took me a couple of days to locate this photo I took six years ago. It's a gravestone in the "Old Commons Burial Ground" (*) in Little Compton, Rhode Island. As you can see, it displays the same "slash date" system showing 1717/8 for a date in February of that year. This date style was common on grave makers even in small town New England. And it's very "small town" today... a remote corner of the state of Rhode Island. It's just 10 miles from where I live "as the crow flies" [another name for great circle distance ;) ] but 29 miles by road.

    And "style" is what it was. This was probably an expensive grave marker when it was carved in 1718. It's fine work with the latest "angel's head" decoration at the top. It was clearly good working stone that has lasted in excellent condition for over 300 years. This rather cumbersome accounting "language", writing a year with a slash in it, must have been counted as "high class" in 1717/8.

    Note that the date of death, February 20, would have been a Julian calendar date or, as they're sometimes called, an O.S. or Old Style date. This would matter to his astrological charts, but not much else. A few death and birth dates of famous people in the USA have been affected by the calendar changes including George Washington (incomplete details here but lots of corrections in the comments). 

    Frank Reed

    * The Old Commons Burial Ground has a few famous graves including that of Elizabeth Pabodie, sometimes listed as the first European born in New England. She was not the first in the English colonies in America, and not the first in New England --if "born in harbor" aboard the Mayflower counts. Some Mayflower descendants still worry about such things! One of Elizabeth's descendants is supposedly Edward Snowden, which just goes to show how valuable that Mayflower blood is... I guess. :/


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