While most gravestones only bear the name of the person buried beneath the marker, at least one large stone in Marietta's Mound Cemetery also tells who's not entombed there.
"Capt. Nathaniel Saltonstall, a Revolutionary War naval officer, wanted people to know he wasn't the Commodore Saltonstall who was considered a traitor during that war, so it was engraved on his tombstone," said Ernie Thode, manager of Local History and Genealogy at the Washington County Public Library in Marietta.
The inscription on the stone reads:
"In memory of Capt. Nathaniel Saltanstall (also spelled Saltonstall). Born in New London, Conn. A.D. 1727, Died A.D. 1807. Was 1st commandant, FortTrumble (Trumbull). During the Revolution he commanded the Warren Frigate and ship Putnam, but was not Commodore of the fleet burned at Penobscott(Penobscot)."
The reference is to a failed June 1779 American naval excursion against a small British fleet in Penobscot Bay, Maine, for which Commodore Dudley Saltonstallof Connecticut was blamed.
Dudley Saltonstall was later court-martialed and dismissed from military service for essentially abandoning the mission.
He is believed to have died somewhere in the West Indies.
"(Dudley) Saltonstall apparently abandoned a couple of American vessels in the bay, burned them and then took off," said Bill Reynolds, local historian with the Campus Martius and Ohio River museums.
"That's why Capt. Nathaniel Saltonstall didn't want to be, in any way, referred to in relation to Commodore Saltonstall," he said. "I would imagine at the time he often had to explain the difference. You just didn't give up your ship like that."
Reynolds said the extensive writing on Capt. Saltonstall's gravestone explains the issue.
But Thode noted that the current stone slab covering Capt. Saltonstall's final resting place in Mound Cemetery wasn't placed there until 1882, long after the naval officer's death, by a Dr. Hempstead of Hanging Rock, Ohio.
"Saltonstall was the maternal grandfather of Hempstead," Thode said, adding that Hempstead was apparently also concerned confusion over the names would taint the family's reputation.
Born in New London County, Conn., Nathaniel Saltonstall was a grandson of Connecticut Gov. Gurdon Saltonstall. In 1775 he became captain of an artillery company at New London and later commanded Fort Trumbull near that location.
Later Capt. Saltonstall became a naval officer where he commanded the ships Putnam and Warren. The Putnam was reportedly blown up during thePenobscot expedition where Capt. Nathaniel Saltonstall was serving under Commodore Dudley Saltonstall.
Capt. Saltonstall, his officers and crew escaped the destroyed vessel.
In later life Capt. Nathaniel Saltonstall came to Marietta, where he died at age 80. His wife, Lucretia Lattimore, who was born in 1737 and died in 1824, is also buried in Mound Cemetery, along with their two children, Polly and John.