This article from Listverse tells of one such tombstone. To this day, the riddle of the stone has not been truly solved, although there are many guess as to what it means. Maybe someone will figure it out for sure one daqy.
Photo credit: Angelo Bissessarsingh
In the town of Plymouth on the Caribbean island of Tobago is a tombstone belonging to a woman named Betty Stiven. The inscription reads:
“Within these walls are deposited the bodies of Mrs. Betty Stiven and her child. She was the beloved wife of Alex B Stiven to the end of his days will deplore her Death, which happened upon the 25th day of Nov. 1783 in the 23rd year of her age. What was remarkable of her, she was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it except by her kind indulgences to him.”
For centuries, the meaning of those words has been a mystery. While it’s very possible to become a father without realizing it, mothers go through a process that’s rather difficult to miss. Being someone’s wife without their knowing about it also has its challenges. As the sign next to it says, the inscription “baffles interpretation.”
One theory is that Betty was a slave and Alex Stiven was her owner. He impregnated her when she was 12, and then she got ill and was confined to her bed. During one of her bouts of unconsciousness, she gave birth to four children, one stillborn. Alex Stiven gave them to other slave women to raise, ordering them not to tell Betty. The wife situation is explained by how sex constituted a union at that time, without the requirement of a marriage ceremony.
We could consider another possibility. The engravers might not have meant the statements literally. If an older female figure made a difference in your life, you could say she was like a mother without her realizing how much she meant to you. The wife part is a little harder to figure out, admittedly. Either way, people continue to speculate, and Betty Stiven’s tombstone has become a popular tourist attraction, whoever she was.
Don't yu love a good mystery riddle to start the week?
Coffee out on the patio this morning.