BANGOR, Maine — Someone robbed a small graveyard in Bradford years ago and took the memorial marker for an infant girl who died on Oct. 3, 1850.
The 161-year-old gravestone for Alzada A. Fifield, daughter of Isaac E. and Mary C. Fifield, had sat for years with two other stolen grave markers in a Penobscot County Sheriff’s Department evidence room, but recently was returned to the girl’s hometown.
“I discovered that her parents were still living here at the time she died and we assumed she was buried here,” Muriel S. Parker, a member of the Bradford Heritage Museum and Historical Society, said Friday. “Carlene Oakes has looked up her death record and found that the gravestone came from the Bradford Corner Cemetery.”
Alzada was only 7 months old when death came calling.
“Adieu sweet babe. Thy pains are over, we soon shall meet to part no more,” an inscription on the bottom of her gravestone states.
Sometime after her gravestone was stolen, it ended up in the evidence room with another headstone and a family marker with the name Dean on it.
Sheriff Glenn Ross asked in October 2010 for the public’s help in returning the three stolen burial markers to their rightful owners and has been successful in returning two of them.
All three stones were taken during separate thefts, but investigators were not able to determine where they came from, which is why they sat in the evidence room for years, Ross said.
The burial marker for Sarah E. Munson, who died in 1872, was stolen from the Lakeview Cemetery in Hampden and returned last December, shortly after Ross made his plea for help.
The granite Dean family marker, which is stone with a rounded top and a concrete base, does not have any dates or names listed on it, making it harder to determine where it was stolen from, Ross said.
“We’ll probably never know where that one came from,” he said.
Research by a number of people and history buffs led investigators to Alzada’s family in Bradford and Munson’s family in Hampden, the sheriff said.
The mystery was solved for those two stolen burial markers “thanks to the people who did the research, including the Bangor Daily News, and put us onto right path,” Ross said.
According to the U.S. Census taken in September 1850, the Fifield family lived in Bradford and Alzada had two older brothers, Allen, 3, and Charles, 2. The census taker for some reason listed the baby girl’s name as Clara and her age as 6 months. She died the next month, her memorial marker indicates.
Isaac Fifield, her father, was a carriage-maker who owned land valued at $1,500, the census document states. He was born in Dexter on Feb. 16, 1824, and died in Bangor on April 28, 1902, according to familytreemaker.genealogy.com.
He married Mary McLaughlin on Jan. 14, 1844, in Charleston, and was listed as a widower in the 1900 census, when he was age 77.
Both of Alzada’s parents are buried at Mount Hope Cemetery in Bangor.
Ross said when he and the sheriff’s department staff started working on returning the stolen burial markers, they really didn’t expect to find much, but were surprised by the outpouring of help.
“It had a better outcome than I expected,” he said. “We’re just glad that the two are back to where they belong.”