Monadnock Moments No. 35: Samuel Jones' Leg
Samuel Jones, Jr. was born in Hillsborough, New Hampshire in 1777. His family was among the first to settle in that town in the 1770s. Samuel and several of his brothers and sisters eventually settled in Washington, New Hampshire in about 1800 when Washington was still a part of Cheshire County. It was in Washington that Samuel was involved in an accident for which he is still remembered.
In early July of 1804, when Samuel was twenty-six years of age, he was assisting in the moving of a building in Washington. During the job Samuel’s leg became caught between the building and a fence against which the building became lodged. His leg was so severely injured that it was amputated on July 7, 1804.
Apparently there was a belief at the time which indicated that if a severed limb was properly arranged and aligned, there would be less pain in the remaining portion of the limb. Consequently, Samuel prepared his leg properly and had it buried in the town cemetery. He erected a gravestone upon the cemetery lot that read: “Capt. Samuel Jones’ leg which was amputated July 7, 1804.”
Samuel survived the amputation and later moved to Boston and then to Rhode Island, where the rest of him is buried. But his peculiar gravestone, and his leg, remains in the Washington cemetery to this day.