OXFORD – When traveling Chenango County highways and back roads, stumbling across a cast iron blue and gold historical markers isn't such an unusual occurrence – but discovering a new one is.
A group of local history enthusiasts led by an aspiring writer banded together early on to keep alive the now familiar story of Little Merrit's Tomb, tucked away in a once overgrown and forgotten rural cemetery on Hoben Road in the rolling hills of Oxford.
“Little Merrit's Tomb was built for Merrit Beardlsey who died at age 8 in 1865,” said Stefan Foster, the young author who organized a restoration effort of the site known as the Miller Cemetery. “Legend has it, he was afraid of the dark so his father promised him a window in his grave to let the light in.”
The father – a farmer – kept the promise he made to his dying son and erected a one of a kind tomb made of Oxford blue stone complete with a window to let eternal light flood into young Merrit's resting place.
According to Foster, from that point forward, Merrit's tomb was frequently visited by both locals and travelers from afar because of its peculiar story and its place in locale lore.