Tuesday, January 6, 2015

TOMBSTONE TUESDAY–Unity Clark Durant–1762 to 1781

CLARK_Unity wife of Joshua DURANT_headstone_AshSwampCem_KeeneNH_cropped
Transcription of headstone: Unity, Consort of Mr. Joshua Durant
died 29 Nov 1781, aged 20
Unity Clark was the daughter of Deacon Simeon Clark & his wife Betsey “Betty” Hall.  She was the second daughter born to the couple.  She is my husband’s 1st cousin 5x removed.  Her headstone is one of the oldest ones I have a picture of.  I took this photograph myself during a visit to Keene, New Hampshire, with my husband, back in 2010.  This headstone and others back in Keene were the oldest I had ever seen and I found it fascinating to try to imagine the lives of these ancestors. 

Unity Clark was born 12 Jan 1762 in Keene, New Hampshire.  Here is a record of her birth.

New Hampshire, Births and Christenings Index, 1714-1904
Name:  Unity Clark
Birth Date:   12 Jan 1762         

Birth Place:   Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire    
Gender:   Female         
Father's Name:  Simeon Clark         
Mother's Name:  Betty         
FHL Film Number:   1000376

At the age of 18 years she married Joshua DURANT.  They were married on 19 May 1780 in Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire.  Here is a record of their marriage.

New Hampshire, Marriage Records Index, 1637-1947  
Name:  Unity Clark       
Marriage Date:  19 May 1780       
Event Type:  Marriage       
Marriage Place:  Keene, Cheshire, New Hampshire       
Gender: Female       
Spouse Name: Joshua Durant       
Spouse Gender:  Male       
FHL Film Number:  1000984

On 29 Nov 1781 Unity Clark Durant died, at the age of 19 years.  How sad to have died so young.  Here is a record of her death.

New Hampshire, Death and Disinterment Records, 1754-1947
Name:  Unity Durant       
Gender:  Female       
Birth Date:  abt 1761       
Death Date:  29 Nov 1781       
Death Place:  Keene, New Hampshire, USA       
Age at Death: 20

Unity and Joshua were only married for 1 year 6 months and 10 days before her death.  Joshua Durant lived to the age of 79 and went on to marry two more times.  He was a Revolutionary War soldier.

What was Unity’s cause of death?  I don’t know & have not found a record that reveals that information.  It could have been childbirth or any number of other illnesses or diseases.
I’d like this young lady to know that 234 years after her death, she is remembered
You can visit her memorial on findagrave.com.  Memorial #19071723.

There are a couple of excellent books published about this area of New Hampshire.

History of Cheshire & Sullivan counties NH by Hurd_title page1.  History of Cheshire & Sullivan Counties, New Hampshire, D. Hamilton Hurd (1886)
This book may be viewed on Ancestry.com or at Archive.org

History of the Town of Keene New Hampshire_Title Page 
2. A History of the Town of Keene from 1732 to 1874, by S. G. Griffin, M.A. (1904)
This book may be viewed at Archive.com or you may download it from the Keene Public Library

Both of these publications are excellent references for the study of that area of New Hampshire.

BOOKS-WHY WE STILL NEED THEM-Which ones are in your library?
HISTORICAL & FAMILY HISTORY SOCIETIES - Great Resources for your research

If you think you might be related, even remotely, to anyone mentioned in any post on this blog, please contact me!
Happy hunting,
Michigan Girl

Copyright © 2010-2015   Diane Gould Hall


  1. My guess, based on how early in her marriage her death occured is that her death is related to childbirth. She may have had either a still or live birth that was not properly cleaned up after and may have died as a result of infection. Have you checked the vital records at that time to see if there were any Durant babies born or died around that time? Another cause could have been an epidemic. If you notice a lot of other people dying within a few weeks of her, or find information about an epidemic in a local history, that can be a good clue. Very nice headstone, but such a tragic death!

    1. Miriam. I completely agree that the most probable cause would be child birth. I have not checked the records for a Durant baby born or stillborn, so thank you for that suggestion. My husband's side of the family is fun to research. I love the NH and Mass records. The Hall family were prominent members of early life in Keene, NH. Thanks for you comment and thanks for stopping by.

  2. P.S. I see your info comes from an index. If you consult the actual record, it may list the actual cause of death.

    1. Thanks. I'll see if I can view the actual record on family search. If not, I will make a note to look for it when it am at the FHL in June.


I look forward to reading your comments. If you have any connection to the people mentioned in this blog, please let me know. I write about mine and my husband's ancestors and would welcome new information or meeting a new cousin or two. Thanks for visiting and come back soon.