Photos: A serious mystery returns to its rightful place

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Cindy Gagnon, a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, uses epoxy to repair a cracked headstone May 25 at Emery Hill Cemetery in Fairfield.

Cindy Gagnon, curator of cemeteries and member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, is introduced May 25 at Emery Hill Cemetery in Fairfield.

Cindy Gagnon, right, works with Joyce Wyand to raise a headstone before placing it on its base May 25 while working at Emery Hill Cemetery in Fairfield. Gagnon used epoxy to repair a crack in the stone before it was sealed and put back in place. The stone belongs to David Pearson, who died in 1799. Gagnon does headstone restoration work in his spare time, and over the summer did some detective work to determine that a damaged headstone stored at the Bates Fairfield Museum actually belonged to a tomb in China.

Josh Ross, right, and Shawn Reed of China’s Department of Public Works carry Margaret Ayer’s headstone to her grave on Tuesday at China Village Cemetery in China. The headstone was discovered in storage and in pieces at the LC Bates Museum in Fairfield and it is still unclear when the stone was removed from Ayer’s grave and why it ended up in the museum.

Josh Ross, right, and Shawn Reed of the China Public Works Department spread crushed base and sand around Margaret Ayer’s headstone after she returned to Ayer’s grave in China Village Cemetery on Tuesday. The headstone was discovered in a warehouse at the LC Bates Museum in Fairfield. It is still unclear how or when the headstone made its way from the grave to the museum.

The China Village Cemetery is shown on Thursday. This is where Margaret Ayer, who died in 1865, is buried.

Lisa Lambert, right, says a few words in honor of the life of Margaret Ayer on Tuesday after Lambert placed a rose at Ayer’s grave in China Village Cemetery. In the photo on the left, Joyce Wyand, Jeanne Marquis and Cindy Gagnon. Wyand and Gagnon are cemetery curators and members of the Daughters of the American Revolution, Marquis is a Chinese selector, and Lambert is also interested in cemetery preservation. The headstone of Ayer, who died in 1865, was at some point removed from the grave for unknown reasons and ended up in the LC Bates Museum in Fairfield.

Cindy Gagnon, center, joins Lisa Lambert on Tuesday as Lambert places a rose on Margaret Ayer’s headstone at China Village Cemetery. On the right, Joyce Wyand, who, like Gagnon, is a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution. The women were at the cemetery to put the headstone back on Ayer’s grave. For unknown reasons, the headstone was apparently removed from the site and was eventually discovered in pieces at the LC Bates Museum in Fairfield. Ayer died in 1865. Lambert was friends with Gagnon and Wyand and, like them, was interested in the preservation of cemeteries.

A rose was placed at Margaret Ayer’s grave in China Village Cemetery in China on Tuesday.

China Village Cemetery in China, shown on Thursday, is the final resting place of Margaret Ayer, who died in 1865. Ayer’s damaged headstone had been in storage for years at the LC Bates Museum in Fairfield. It’s a mystery as to how he arrived at the museum, but Cindy Gagnon led an effort to find Ayer’s burial site and put the headstone back in its place. It was laid at Ayer’s grave on Tuesday.


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