Contributor: Patricia Crandall

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The Sipperly family of Virginia were anxious to move into an old homestead they had acquired in upstate New York. The front of the house faced a little stream of water poetically called Plakapots Killitie by early Dutch Settlers. In back, ran the Hudson River.

When they arrived to claim their new home, a Husky lay possessively across the threshold. Assuming he was lost, or left by the previous owner, the family adopted him. The dog came and went regularly, being of no trouble at all. Etched into the wood panel of the upstairs mantelpiece in the large old-fashioned parlor, were the words; La Vita Comincia Domam.*

The Sipperlys were presently incorporating the original fireplace bricks to renovate the upstairs fireplace.

Ada Sipperly was shocked beyond belief when her husband, Tom, discovered the hearth had been the gravestone of Cornelius and Henrietta Yates’ daughter, Sarah, who died April 20, 1842, at the age of eleven. Ada pleaded with Tom to return the gravestone to the family burial plot located on a hill one-half mile beyond the house.

Tom looked pensively at the stone and decided he would use the slab for the new hearth.

Ada vehemently protested even to the point where she vowed she would not step foot into the room if her husband proceeded with the original plan.

Tom relented to his wife’s wishes and the fireplace was built using local granite for the hearth. The day after he returned the original gravestone, setting it in place in the wooded family plot, the Husky howled continuously and paced up and down the road. Just as suddenly, he disappeared…never to be seen or heard from again.

*Life Begins At Home

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