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A little more about that grave next to a highway

Brief by Central Staff

Mysterious grave – May 2000 – Colorado Central Magazine

Back in July of 1997, we wondered if anyone knew more about a fenced grave that sits a few yards south of the road between mileposts 44 and 45 on Colo. 114 west of Saguache. The tombstone reads:

DIED APRIL 19, 1883
AGED 51 Yrs 7 Ms 18 Dys
And the burden laid upon him
was more than he could bear

Bruce Varcoe, a former Toronto resident who now lives in Kent, Wash., encountered our Monk item earlier this year when he was searching the Internet for genealogical information about his ancestors.

Varcoe is descended from Godfrey Phipps Baker, 1822-83, who was postmaster of Ottawa. Godfrey’s sister, Anne Cole Baker, was married to an Arthur Lloyd Monk.

Was it the same Arthur Lloyd Monk? Varcoe’s research shows that this Monk was a major in the 22nd Regiment, and as he says, it’s “hardly conceivable that there were two Arthur Lloyd Monks in the same regiment.” Since Canada was part of the British Empire, military service would have put him in an HM (Her Majesty’s) unit.

The only discrepancy is in the birth dates. Subtracting 51 years, 7 months, and 18 days from the death date on the tombstone produces a birth date of Sept. 1, 1831.

The Monk that Varcoe found was born to John Benning Monk and Eliza Ann Fitzgerald near Ottawa in the Canadian province of Ontario on Sept. 16, 1830. That’s within a year of the tombstone date. The 19th century was less fastidious about vital statistics than we are now, so it appears almost certain that they’re the same man. His Lloyd middle name probably honored the Lloyd family who lived on the next farm at the time he was born.

Varcoe found that Arthur Lloyd Monk was listed in the 8th precinct of Saguache County in the 1880 census, along with two children. He was not listed in the 1870 census for Saguache County. His wife, Anne, who was 11 years older than him, died in 1874.

That may have been “the burden laid on him” that “was more than he could bear.” Then again, it may have been something else — when we learn more, we’ll pass it on.