The Burial of William Thomas Salmon


"In the midst of life we are in death"
Sacred to the Memory of
William Thomas Salmon
Member of the Royal College of Surgeons.
London, England.
Fell a victim to malignant Scarlet Fever
Contracted in the exercise of his profession.
Feby. 3, 1864.


"In the midst of life we are in death" a befitting epitaph, William succumbed to Malignant Scarlet Fever contracted while serving his patients. We often think of soldiers who have given their lives while in service as heroes; William Thomas Salmon was also a hero, who risked and lost his life helping those in need.

This epitaph is an excerpt of the memorial service outlined in The Book of Common Prayer: The Order For The Burial of the Dead an english variant of the antiphon Media vita in morte sumus. Written below is the portion of the service in which this epitaph appears.

Friends and relatives would congregate along graveside, as the deceased was being laid to rest these words were spoken or sung. Afterwards earth was casted upon the deceased, as the minister would continue reading the next section in The Order For The Burial of the Dead.

"MAN, that is born of a woman, hath but a short time to live, and is full of misery. He cometh up, and is cut down, like a flower; he fleeth as it were a shadow, and never continueth in one stay.

In the midst of life we are in death: of whom may we seek for succour, but of thee, O Lord, who for our sins art justly displeased?

Yet, O Lord God most holy, O Lord most mighty, O holy and most merciful Saviour, deliver us not into the bitter pains of eternal death.

Thou knowest, Lord, the secrets of our hearts; shut not thy merciful ears to our prayer; but spare us, Lord most holy, O God most mighty, O holy and merciful Saviour; thou most worthy Judge eternal, suffer us not, at our last hour, for any pains of death, to fall from thee."

William Thomas Salmon is interred at St. Johns Anglican Cemetery alongside his father Judge William Salmon. Based on it's characteristics and the material used I suspect his headstone was carved by Samuel Gardner.

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