The Puzzle Tombstone which marks the graves
of Henrietta and Susanna Bean in Rushes Cemetery, near Crosshill, Wellesley
Rushes Cemetery is a community burial ground; the earliest recorded burial
is 1848. It was originally begun by a group of local Methodists.
Samuel Bean was first a teacher, then a doctor and later a pastor in the
Evangelical Association. While practising the medical profession, he lived
in Linwood, Ontario, and it was during this period that he erected the puzzle
stone. He later married for a third time, lived in New York and Iowa and
was lost at sea off the coast of Cuba in 1904. He was clearly a brilliant
man with a searching mind who found pleasure in conundrums similar to that
found on this gravestone.
Henrietta and Susanna Bean were the first two wives of Samuel Bean. Henrietta
Fury was born in Philadelphia in 1842 and married Samuel Bean there early
in 1865. She died 27 September 1865, after seven months of marriage. Her
funeral card was a puzzle similar to the pictured stone, with 19 letters
across and 19 down. The reader started with the middle letter and read outward
in a spiral. The card read:
In memoriam Henriettah Furry Bean born in Penn. married
in Philadelphia to Samuel Bean, M.D. and went with him to Canada leaving
all her friends behind - Died in Linwood the 27th of Sep. 1865 after an illness
of 11 weeks, aged 23 years, 2 months and 17 days, she was a model wife, 1
of 1000 - much regretted by her sorrowing husband and all who knew her -
Lived a godly life for 5 years and died happy in the Lord - Peace be to her
ashes - So mote it be. 1
Samuel Bean's second wife was Susanna Clegg, who had been born
between Wellesley and Crosshill in 1840. She and Samuel had a daughter, also
named Susanna, before he was bereaved a second time on 27 April 1967.
The two wives are buried side by side. Their husband prepared a cryptogram,
similar although not identical to that on Henrietta's funeral card. It was
15 letters across, and 15 down and carved on a white marble stone. The reader
must solve the puzzle by reading in a zig-zag fashion. It says (with several
In memoriam Henrietta, Ist wife of S. Bean, M.D. who
died 27th Sep. 1865, aged 23 years, 2 months and 17 days and Susanna his
2nd wife who died 27th April, 1867, aged 26 years, 10 months and 15 days,
2 better wives 1 man never had, they were gifts from God but are now in Heaven.
May God help me so to meet them there. Reader! meet us in heaven.
The inscription was first decoded by cemetery caretaker John Hammond in 1947.
The Victorian stone has weathered badly. Wellesley Township and the Wellesley
Historical Society were responsible for the duplication of the unusual marker,
this time in durable gray granite. The letters are picked out in black, so
that anyone wishing to study and solve the puzzle may do so with ease. The
duplicate was erected in 1982.
(Those wishing further information on the puzzle tombstone
should consult Kathryn Hansuld Lamb's article in the Waterloo Historical
Society's annual volume for 1982 and its sequel in 1983, from which this
material was taken.)
Same original stone, another time when the
lichen was more prominent.
"One can deduce from the monument remaining, that he was a
man with a taste for youthful brides who didn't live too long, and that moments
of sorrow left him calm enough to compose cryptograms." Philomena Rutherford,
"When Henrietta died in 1865", according to the Waterloo Chronicle, "whe
had been married for little more than seven months, almost three of which
she was ill."
Further information about this family and the "puzzle stone" is to be
found in Volumes 70-1982 and 71-1983 of The Waterloo Historical Society Papers