Twelve moons had rolled by since the Gramps funeral. The blue-grass sod had already grown quite snugly over the year-old mound in the cemetery back of the white church on the hill. The rose-bush at the head of the mound had bloomed once and the June breeze had sprinkled its pink petals over the green carpet. A more or less expensive tombstone stood modestly at the head of the mound and silently announced to the passer-by what any tombstone is supposed to announce, namely that somebody sleeps beneath this mound. During the year many persons had stood with bared heads and read through tears this inscription: J.D. Gramps, Born April 21, 1856—Died June 13, 18—. “They rest from their labors; and their works do follow them.”
The Gramps premises began to show signs of decay. The fences were in need of repair and the hillside portions of the farm had been washed in gullies by the spring freshets. A large ash-heap surrounded by jimsonweed and burdock marked the sight of the once beautiful red barn. The front-yard gate had been torn from its hinges, and it lay upon the ground.
It was well known that Widow Gramps had received ten thousand dollars from an insurance company in New York City, but what she had done with the amount was only a matter of opinion. Along about this time it became known in the community that the Widow had leased the farm and was planning to go to a Western State as she said, for the sake of her health, which had been declining since the day of the Deacon’s funeral.
One day when Mrs. Gramps was in Dobbinsville making preparations for the trip West, she called at the People’s State Bank and presented a check drawn on a Western bank and signed by James Duncan. When the cashier had cashed her check and she had left the bank, he turned to his assistant and said, “Jim, do you know what Deacon Gramps’ name was?”
“J.D. Gramps,” responded the assistant.
“I know J.D. were his initials,” said the cashier, “but what does J.D. stand for?”
“Oh, I don’t remember,” answered the assistant. “I suppose we could find out by looking up some of his old papers that we still have in the vault.”
“Look up that old mortgage that Gramps had on the Widow Smith’s little farm,” ordered the cashier.
A ponderous file was pulled from a shelf in the vault and the two men began to search the musty and dusty old documents of bygone days. At last they found the mortgage. There they found the Deacon’s name written out in full—James Duncan Gramps. The cashier of the People’s State Bank had a curious twinkle in his eye as he looked at his assistant. “Jim, do you know, I have a suspicious feeling about this here Gramps proposition,” he remarked. The assistant looked astonished. He had supposed all this time that the cashier was interested in the Deacon’s full name from some official standpoint. The cashier went on: “Widow Gramps was just in here a few minutes ago and cashed a check drawn by a man by the name of James Duncan. I have a suspicion that Deacon Gramps is still living and that this James Duncan is no other than James Duncan Gramps, and he is checking out of a Western bank money which Mrs. Gramps received from the insurance company in New York.”