William G. Bruce's Grave – Mont Vernon, New Hampshire - Atlas Obscura

Mont Vernon, New Hampshire

William G. Bruce's Grave

A man killed in a hunting accident is eternally guarded by a granite hound tombstone. 

The grave of a man who was accidentally killed in a hunting mishap is watched over in perpetuity by a nearby granite guard dog.In an old cemetery in the small town of Mont Vernon, New Hampshire lays a granite guard dog in a state of never ending vigil and mourning over his master taken too soon from this Earth.

The headstone of William G. Bruce provides the short narrative of his tragic ending. He was “accidentally shot while hunting” on October 27, 1883.The Daland Memorial Library in downtown Mont Vernon and just a tombstones throw from the Greenlawn Cemetery houses a book published by the Mont Vernon Historical Society titled, Lives Once Lived Here: Burial Grounds and Monuments of Mont Vernon, N.H. It contains one complete chapter on the history of tombstones of William G. Bruce, Historical Society member, Frieda C. Day (Now deceased)  is credited with writing this chapter.

William G. Bruce’s family had deep roots in the Town of Mont Vernon and Bruce was a respected man in town who made a living as a mechanic and had served in the New Hampshire State legislature as well several stints as a town selectman. He was an avid hunter and suffered a grave wound while hunting alone in 1883. He died the same day of his accident, but not before his wife Augusta Whittemore Bruce was rushed to his deathbed. William Bruce was industrious and frugal and left his wife a substantial sum of money. Augusta Bruce used some of this inherited wealth to commission noted Peterborough, New Hampshire monument maker Peter Brennan to craft a fitting memorial for her departed husband.

In the book Lives Once Lived Here, the chapter titled: Stone Guardian of a Hunter’s Grave has a facsimile of a ledger page that reveals Mrs. Bruce paid $35.00 each for the two headstones for her and her husband and $145.00 for the granite dog, who has, since the late 1800’s, remained faithfully by his master’s side in perpetual vigilance as his stone guardian in the afterlife.

Know Before You Go

The Mont Vernon Cemetery is on the left side of Main St. just north of the Mont Vernon General Store.Take Cemetery Road on the left follow a short distance and enter into the cemetery by the open gate on the right. Follow the car tracks in the grass to a sharp right turn. About three quarters of the way down the row of old maple trees, on the left side of the road you'll find the faithful pooch resting on top of a square granite stone just behind the headstone of William G. Bruce.

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