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Thursday, May 11, 2006

Stone Suffers From Plaque Buildup

When Esther Duncan sees a problem, she fixes it. Even if the problem is carved into the 19th-century gravestone of someone she's not related to.

Duncan, a rural Mellott [Indiana] resident and member of the Lewis and Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, gathered other area residents and officials Wednesday to call attention to the changes. Plaques on two sides of the grave marker have updated two historical details from the original etchings on the marker itself.

One of those is the removal of the middle initial "E" from the name of William Bratton, a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition from start to finish, 1804-1806.

"I've had descendants tell me he never used the 'E' and to take it off. It might have been used initially to differentiate him from all the other Brattons (in the cemetery)," Duncan said. [Link]
Duncan also updated the date of death of Bratton's wife, from "Nov. 19, 1875" to "Feb. 13, 1875." It was determined that "the marker couldn't take re-etching," so new plaques were added instead.

Duncan's next project will be to chisel historically authentic smallpox scars onto the face of George Washington at Mount Rushmore.

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