Buried Alive

This story um… is from our Paine side of the family and it goes back to I believe around 1727, the year 1727. And we had a relative named William Winston and. . . he wasn’t a wealthy man, but he worked hard, but he was relatively poor. And he lived up in Northern Virginia and he met a woman who he fell deeply in love with. She was. . .she became his paramour. She was all he had hoped for in a mate and he decided this is going to be the woman that. . . I. . . I am going to marry, and her name was Sarah Dabney. And, so he started courting her as they did back in that day, and the courting process went on for quite a while. Um. . . long enough for him to save up a lot of the money that he had and he had made from work in order to buy her what was going to be one of the most beautiful rings that anyone in Northern Virginia had ever seen as an engagement ring. And. . .they were going to get married in mid spring, and it had been a terrible winter, and William Winston lived in a small, small house. You know back then it was probably a shack. But, the poor weather continued and it snowed and then the snow to rain and sleet for quite a while but he and Sarah went ahead and got married. I think it was. . . late. . . late April of 1727 if I am correct on the date, and word got out that she had this incredible engagement ring that he had gotten for her that was (you know) a sign of their betrothal. And, the word got out. . . and she fell sick with pneumonia and he thought um she became really really sick and. . . to the point to where the doctors pronounced her dead. And this was like a month. . . this was not long after they had been married. And he was devastated, he was totally traumatized. And he buried her . . . I guess he buried her in a somewhat shallow grave and the word had gotten out that his wife who had this beautiful ring. . . that this–this laborer who had married a woman and given her this just almost priceless wedding ring–that she had died.

And  three–I guess they would have been equivalent to highway men,robbers, grave robbers–after she had been buried, they dug her up, and because the ring fit so tightly on her finger that they couldn’t slide it off of her finger, and they cut her finger off! Well he was back in his home, and they dug her up in this dark and stormy night, and he’s (you know) probably sitting at his little table in his little shack with the candle flickering and the wind howling and the rain beating and the roof leaking and you know just crying into his hands. . . and there was a scratching at the door! And he’s– and he (you know) he’s just just sobbing and the scratching continued and it got louder and louder and louder and he finally realized somebody or something is scratching at my door! And he got up and he went to the door and he opened the door and there was Sarah and she hadn’t died, she had been buried alive! When they dug her up and cut the ring off of her finger it. . . it. . . it resuscitated her enough, along with the oxygen that she was able to breathe again. . . and that’s the story. And they lived happily ever after after that.