Graves · Trinidad and Tobago

Grave of “a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it”

November 25, 1785
Trinidad and Tobago
Betty Stiven dies at 23 years old, leaving a grave with an inscription that has puzzled many for centuries

The inscription reads:

“Beneath these walls are deposited the body of Mrs. Betty Stiven and her child. She was the beloved wife of Alex B Stiven. To the end of his days will deplore her death, which happened upon the 25th November 1783 in the 23rd year of her age. What was remarkable of her, she was a mother without knowing it, and a wife without letting her husband know it except by her kind indulgence to him.”

The meaning of this epitaph has garnered many theories, from the possibility Betty had been unconscious during labor and thus had become “a mother without knowing it,” while another suggests she had gotten a man drunk enough to marry her without him remembering and she continued her matrimonial duties and “kind indulgence” without her husband’s knowledge of their union. None of the theories have yet to be validated, and the mystery of the epitaph continues to bring visitors to the grave.

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