People die but their graves live on to tell the tale of their life. And Little Merrit’s grave also has an interesting story to tell.

Merrit Beardsley, lived in Oxford, New York, with his family in the 18th century. He was just 8 years old when he died of a fever. His father then built an unusual grave for him.

Little Merritt’s Tomb/Facebook

These were his last words. And what else could William and Sarah Beardsley do other than honouring their son’s final wish?

They built a beautiful tomb for Merrit that had a little window through which the morning sun could shine and their son won’t have to be in darkness.

Little Merrit’s Tomb/Facebook

But then, over the century this memorial was vandalised, and little Merrit’s window to the outside world was left broken. 

b”Source: Little Merritt’s Tomb/Faceb”

The story was lost in the pages of history and came to our notice only in 2013, when a young school student Stefan Foster got fascinated by Merrit’s story and started restoring the tomb as a part of his project.

Little Merritt’s Tomb/Facebook

Foster told Buzzfeed how he developed an interest in finding forgotten sites:

My family first mentioned the story of Little Merrit’s Tomb when I was 8 or 9. Growing up, my grandma would take me in the car with her on ‘mystery trips’ to old ancestral sites and cemeteries around the county. Since then, I’ve carried an interest in finding forgotten sites along lesser-taken drives.

One of his coworkers, Reigel told NewYorkUpstate that as soon as he saw the badly tattered grave site, he started fundraising for its renovation project.

Little Merritt’s Tomb/Facebook

Stefan also penned down a book, Pining for the Past: Little Merrit’s Tomb and the Beardsley Cemetery about the grave and sold several hundred copies just to raise money for the stone work, plantings, and historical markers. 

The book is now sold out but can be seen at the Oxford Public Library as well as the Guernsey Public Library in Norwich, New York.

The book reads: “Merrit, this one’s for you. Bask in the essence of light shining in through your window and forever rest in peace.”


And this is how the site looks now.

Foster feels happy about how the entire project has been a rewarding experience for him. Visitors leave toys, flowers, and gifts for Little Merrit at the site.  

The story of the boy might have been forgotten by the world but the grave is still there and the tiny coffin can be seen through the window.