Sunday, August 1, 2010

A sudden chance of mortality for life

This gravestone beside St Paul's Presbyterian Church on Albert Road in Devonport caught my eye because of the blankness of it. Philip Henry Ford was 16 when he tragically died, but the rest of his family are not here with him. The wording got to me too: "who suddenly chanced mortality for life."
Sad Accident.

Tins afternoon a painful feeling was created in town by the intelligence that a lad named Ford had shot himself at the North Shore. Phillip Ford, aged 16 years, son of Mr Ford, baker, Devenport, was going out to shoot about noon, accompanied by another lad named Green. They were proceeding towards Narrow Neck, when they started to run, in order to leap the fence which lay in their path; and in doing so he slipped and fell and the fowling piece which he carried being loaded, was accidentally discharged. The full charge of shot struck him on the head, near the ear, and inflicted a deadly wound. The lad Green at once gave the alarm and had his unfortunate companion carried home, but his injuries were so severe that he died almost immediately after removal. 

Waikato Times, 1 July 1884

This one, in the same area, is just sad. Inscription long gone, the stone obviously was broken at one point then reset. It's simply a testament to the weathering power of the elements when it comes to our memory, I guess. Fortunately Philip Ford's stone has withstood that test.


  1. Poor young fellow :-(

    In my trawlings of cemeteries it's amazing how many are accidents with guns and horses... sign of those times i guess.

    I love the wordings through the years...i found this one with in Christchurch with "exchanged mortality for life"

    and this one was "Changed mortality for life" on the headstone of a reverend in Christchurch also. His had a fantastic relief carving of his head

  2. Cheers for those, Sandy. Great knowing I'm not the only one with a fascination for taking photos of monuments to the dead around here! :-)

  3. OMG, I read an almost identical account last night of a young 18 yr old doing the same thing at Dunolly, shot in the neck when his rifle got caught in the wire fence he was climbing over, etc.
    So, so sad.

  4. Good heavens, Jayne. I probably shouldn't be surprised. Especially after what Sandy said about the number of accidents involving guns or horses.