Benjamin Carroll

Mystery of How a Baby's Gravestone From 1793 Turned Up in NYC Man's Garage Takes Unusual Turn

The headstone was traced to a cemetery in Connecticut, but somehow turned up in Brooklyn

What to Know

  • A centuries-old gravestone mysteriously emerged inside a Brooklyn man's garage
  • It appeared to be dated Sept. 30, 1793, and bears the name of a baby who lived just 52 days
  • The headstone has been traced back to a cemetery in Ashford, Connecticut, but how it got to NYC remains unknown

It was a discovery that sent a chill down Richard Schilling's spine. But now, his questions may have answers. 

The mystery of a gravestone dated 1793 that somehow turned up in Schilling's Brooklyn garage has taken an unusual, answer-revealing turn.  

A woman from Nyack has come forward, saying she once owned and threw parties featuring the headstone. 

"We used that tombstone as the head of our dining table," Noel Vreeland-Carter said. 

Hidden in a Brooklyn garage was a piece of history -- a well-preserved headstone from 1793. Checkey Beckford reports.

That gravestone appeared to be dated Sept. 30, 1793, and bears the name of a baby who lived just 52 days: Lucas, son of Enoch Pond and Peggy Pond. The headstone was traced to Babcock Cemetery in Ashford, Connecticut. 

Schilling found the centuries-old tombstone while he was cleaning out his garage. He said his family has owned the Borough Park home for nearly 100 years and they've had tenants come and go. 

"This is not supposed to be here,'" he said. "It’s such a creepy thing to keep as a Souvenir why would anybody want this?"

But when the story first was reported by News 4 last week, Vreeland-Carter said she recognized it was the same tombstone she once owned. 

"It just was some weird esoteric that appealed to us," she said.

The tombstone was easily recognizable because of who it identified. In 1980, Vreeland-Carter wrote a book called "This Band of Spirits," which featured the name of Lucas Pond, the name of the baby carved into the tombstone.  

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The real Lucas Pond, however, was just over a month old when he was buried in the Connecticut cemetery, where officials have no idea how the headstone made its way all the way to the Big Apple. 

Vreeland-Carter said she has a theory. 

"Some dealer that I sold it to sold it to someone else," she said, while explaining there was a market for odd items in the '60s and '70s. In fact, she acquired the headstone from a dealer in Manhattan after she traded in a human skull. 

"We used to speculate that it must have been stolen," she said.

Schilling plans to give it back to the town of Ashford in the coming weeks, and put the matter to rest. 

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