Is This New Bedford Cemetery Statue Watching You?
If you grew up around the Rural Cemetery in New Bedford and passed through a time or two, there's a chance you've seen this statue, and as the legend goes, a chance he's seen you, too.
Edward Zettick lived in New Bedford during the Civil War. He was a well-known tailor, a two-time whale voyager, and former Navy man within the New Bedford community. His grave is a testimonial to that wealth; it is a full-size cement version of his 1900's self.
The most information available on this headstone can be found in the Rural Cemetery's National Register of the Historic Places Registration form with the National Park Service.
An unusual later monument is the full-size, remarkably detailed likeness of Edward Zettick, born in New Bedford in 1858 but otherwise obscure. His father, John J.P. Zettick, was in New Bedford by 1856 working as a mariner and rigger and later as a painter; he is buried here with his wife Sarah and two of their young children. The detail on Edward Zettick's pink-granite likeness is intricate, down to the pattern on his topcoat and pants and the braid on his hat - page 28, NR
But this isn't a history lesson about a dapper cement man. The reason we even know about this statue to begin with is because of an old myth that he was watching you.
If you've been to the Rural Cemetery before, you may be familiar with its 19th-century eerie vibes, but the thought of someone actually watching you makes it extra spooky. For some reason, the legend that had built up around the statue claimed he was Mr. Brown, wealthy New Bedford suit maker. Mr. Brown spends his afterlife, high above his family plot, cautiously watching everyone who goes by. If you turn around fast enough, you'll catch him looking at straight at you.
There's not a lot more known about Zettick or why he wanted to memorialize himself with a life-size granite statue, but he sure knew how to make a lasting impression all these years later.