Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

024-0054 Charles Irving Thornton Tombstone

Charles Irving Thornton Tombstone
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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/17/1980

NRHP Listing Date 11/25/1980

NRHP Reference Number 80004186

The Charles Irving Thornton tombstone in the Thornton family cemetery at Oak Hill in Cumberland State Forest is the only tangible reminder of Charles Dickens’s visit to the Commonwealth during his tour of the United States in 1842. Already regarded as a major literary figure, the author, as a favor for a Thornton family friend, penned the stone’s lengthy and poignant inscription to commemorate the death of the Thornton infant in 1842. The inscription on the simple stone begins: “THIS IS THE GRAVE of a little Child whom God in his goodness called to a Bright Eternity when he was very young.” Only one other Dickens epitaph is known, that of his sister-in-law, making the Thornton inscription an especially interesting work of this towering literary figure and unique among his American writings.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: November 9, 2020