Jerusha – Message from the Grave ?


Like many before me, I fell in love with the Wayside Inn in Sudbury, the minute I stepped through the front door… immediately transported back in time to simple elegance and charm. 

A native of the United Kingdom, I felt a deep affinity with this Inn and surrounding area… the mighty old oaks, rambling stone walls… plush green meadows reminded me of my british roots.  There is a peace and tranquility which descends on the soul as you walk around the inn… it is easy to understand why it was so central to the lives of the folks who lived there and in nearby villages…

My friend Ken and I began a love affair with the inn over the last three years… each time learning more and more about the Innkeepers who had loved this place and kept it in the hearts of all.  We were particularly curious about Jerusha…. She was the eldest daughter of Adam How 1763 – 1840.  Born in 1797 and known as the Belle of Sudbury, Jerusha was an accomplished pianist, painter, and resided in rooms above the now current Old Kitchen for most of her 44 years. Jerusha refused all local suitors, instead falling in love with an Englishman, who subsequently sailed home to arrange the marriage.  He never returned and the sadness she felt can be felt when reading her journal (dated 1838… four years before her death) which we found online in the Goodnow Library archives in Sudbury.


We discovered she was buried in Wadsworth Cemetary in Sudbury and one Fall afternoon decided to visit and pay our respects.  Her tomb is very visible and elaborate, and as you can see from the picture above, head and shoulders above the other grave stones.  Further research told us that she had requested a monument over her grave of white marble at a cost of not less than 800 dollars and not more than 1000 dollars, which in today’s terms puts it well over $60,000 – a remarkable amount to spend on a grave.  

Grave Stone of Jerusha Howe

On closer inspection, we noticed the Rose Bush… one of the roses has been cut and is falling to the ground, upside down… to the right are two smaller flowers….

We were very intrigued, sensing her sadness over the fact her fiancé never returned…Did the upside Rose mean ‘unrequited love’…. ?  We have researched this – and there are several explanations, one being that it symbolizes a “no to love”…The two other small flowers on the right… perhaps symbolic of “I will never forget you”…. One gets the sense she died of a broken heart… a hopeless romantic myself, I would love to find out more about the young Englishman who captured her heart and never returned… what happened to him… did his ship meet perilous waters… or did he simply have a change of heart… ? We believe Jerusha wanted to be found in death… and give her lost love one last message…

About jacqui hawk

Jacqui Hawk is a nationally collected and award winning artist living in Dunstable MA. Her work has been featured in solo, invitational juried state and national exhibitions and represented in private and corporate collections in the US, Europe and Asia. Her abstract work is represented at 100 Market Street Gallery, Portsmouth NH.
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