Tombstone Tuesday–Ruth Headington

Ruth Headington, Liber Cemetery, Jay County, Indiana.

This is the tombstone of Ruth Headington, located in Liber Cemetery, Wayne Township, Jay County, Indiana. The tombstone is inscribed RUTH, Consort of Nicholas Headington, Died Dec 1, 1865, Aged 71 Ys, 4 Ms, 25 Ds. She is buried next to her husband Nicholas and their son Washington Headington is buried on the other side of Nicholas. Her date of birth would be 6 Jul 1794, as calculated from her tombstone.

I occasionally see the term consort on a tombstone. According to the Miriam Webster Dictionary it means spouse.

Ruth (Phillips) Headington is my 5th great-grandmother. She married Nicholas Headington in Baltimore, Maryland on 22 September 1813. [1]

The following are some biographical sketches that mention Ruth (Phillips) Headington.

“…The mother of our subject [Colonel John W. Headington] was a woman of remarkable strength of mind, and moral courage. She was a member of the Methodist Episcopal church, and possessed all the Christian virtues in an eminent degree, and her pure Christian life left a lasting impression on her family…” [2]

Sketch prepared by Col. J.W. Headington about his father Nicholas Headington, unknown source:

“…His good wife, who had shared the hardships and joys of a pioneer life with him, died in 1865. She desired to live to see the great war of the Rebellion closed and the sons she had given to aid the government in its suppression return to their homes. She lived to see the former, but died before her sons both got home.”                                                          

Another biographical sketch about Ruth’s son, John Wesley Headington:

“…His mother was Ruth Headington, nee Phillips, and is remembered by her son as a Christian of the purest type, from her girlhood to the day of her death, and one of the best women ever called ‘mother.’

“His maternal ancestors were also Marylanders, and his mother came with her widowed mother (her father, James Phillips, having died in Maryland), to Ohio in 1820.” [3]

That last sentence got my attention. I have read this biography several times but never noticed that it mentioned that Ruth’s widowed mother came with the family to Ohio.

Family history says that Ruth’s mother was Catherine (Frizzell) Phillips. I took a chance and looked on Find a Grave for a Catherine Phillips that died in Ohio after 1823. I got lucky, thanks to those that submit photos and information to Find a I found a memorial on the website and it looks very promising as Ruth’s mother.

The grave marker reads, Catherine Frizzell Phillips, wife of J. Phillips, died 26 July 1840, age 72 years, 7 months and 5 days. Her date of birth would be 21 December 1767. She is buried in Berlin Church Cemetery, Knox County, Ohio. [4] There is even a photograph of her tombstone on their website. Thank you Find A Grave! There are quite a few Phillips buried in Berlin Church Cemetery and two Headingtons.


[1] Transcription of Baltimore County Marriages Licenses, January 1800-December 1816, on-line database, US GenWeb Baltimore County Site, Rootsweb/, ( : accessed 23 September 2012).

[2] Biographical and Historical Record of Jay and Blackford Counties, Indiana, (Chicago, Illinois: The Lewis Publishing Company, 1887), 437.

[3] Will Cumback and J.B. Maynard, editors, Men of Progress. Indiana, (Indianapolis, Indiana: Hugh J. McGrath & William Stoddard, Publishers, 1899), 142.

[4] Memorial No. 39059921, Catherine Frizzell Phillips, Find A ( : accessed 30 September 2012).




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