The following was sent to us some years back. It has been neither confirmed nor denied. Anyone with more details, please send them on. We have confirmed the Wilmington Trail Club gives tours of the "ticking tomb"...
- She named me a printed 1880 source for the legend, which I will have soon, and I will send you more details when I get them. Best of all, she confirmed that the "ticking tombstone" is inscribed "R.C."!!!!!! Nothing else is legible, but Ms. Overdevest told me their records mention 1726 (R.C.'s birth???).
- You may wish to add the following somewhere, probably an extra that gets linked to from your R.C., Point Mark'd West, and Wedge entries:
- Inside the White Clay Creek Preserve there is a tombstone located in the cemetary adjoining the London Tract Baptist Meeting House, inscribed "R.C." Local legend has it that he indeed swallowed a Mason & Dixon chronometer, and that you can still hear the clock ticking. Park officials will be glad to talk about R.C. and Mason & Dixon. Several line markers are along the southern edge of the Preserve. Adjacent is Delaware's White Clay Creek State Park. Park officials there will be glad to direct you to the Point Mark'd West and tell you stories of the Wedge.
- The "ticking tombstone" is inscribed "R.C."!!!!!!
other versions of the story can be found here and here.
An actual published work Up The Black Staircase has the full story and is searable on amazon!
and here is another amazing tale of Mason and Dixon. Obviously these folk-tales were a big source for Pynchon because much of their dynamic is in these stories.