It seems weird to talk about a grave as a “destination” because, in order to have a grave, someone had to have been buried there. What makes this grave different is that the story is unusual and the final wishes are sweet.
8-year-old Merrit Beardsley died on December 15, 1865 and his last wish was to not be buried underground because he was afraid of the dark. His parents, William and Sarah Beardsley, honored his wish by burying him with a window. Over the years between aging and visitors, the tomb had to undergo some minor construction. Some young Oxford, NY residents banded together to fix up the small boy’s tomb.
New York Upstate spoke to the two men about the condition of the tomb before they refurbished it.
“When I first saw the tomb, it was a mess. It was dirty, defaced, pitted and a wreck. The glass window had been shattered. In fact, many years ago the grave had been vandalized and a local youth reached in and stole Merrit’s skull and scattered his bones around the grounds. It was sad. The vandal actually had the boy’s skull in his bedroom. Eventually, he was discovered by the authorities, the skull was recovered and it and the boy’s bones were re-interred in the tomb out of reach of other bad people. Norwich Glass Company provided the Plexiglas at the opening so it would never be broken again.”
How terrible is that? Thankfully the tomb is currently in much better condition and even has its own historical marker. You can find the tomb to pay your own respects at “Little Merrit’s Tomb” inside Beardsley Cemetary on Hoben Road about 5 miles out of Oxford, N.Y., in Chenango County.