Stones like this are reasonably common in parts of New England in many of the oldest burial grounds. The swirls along the border of the stone and the unique angel with rather large lips is typical of many stones carved in the Merrimac Valley at about this time. Several people have done extensive research on these old gravestones. In many cases, stones can be tied back to the original carvers who made them. One such stone carver was Jonathan Leighton. Though I can't be certain he carved this stone, the style is typical of other stones known to be his work.
The inscription reads:
Here Lies Buried
the body of
CAPt ABIEL FRYE
this Life March
in yo 54th
Abiel Frye, like his father, was a farmer in Andover. His land holdings were significantly smaller than his fathers, owing to the fact that the land of his father was essentially divided up among the four sons who survived him (a fifth son, John, also survived his father, but died a year later). This pattern of dividing land amongst siblings eventually means the parcels become smaller with each passing generation. To survive, it was at about this time that many descendants of original Andover settlers began to move to new areas as we will see with the children of Abiel.
Abiel was born July 5, 1703. He married Abagail Emery, daughter of Joseph Emery and Elizabeth Merrill on February 10, 1731/32. She was two years younger than Abiel, having been born November 5, 1705. The couple had six children:
Isaac Frye, born February 6, 1747/48, died November 3, 1791 (my line)
Abigail Frye, born February 18, 1732/33, died December 20, 1738
Abiel Frye, born November 8, 1734, died 1806
Simon Frye, born September 29, 1737, died October 1, 1822
Sarah Frye, born either in April of 1742 or May of 1743 (I have conflicting information)
Abigail Frye, born march 16, 1742/43, died December 21, 1810
Like most towns of the time, Andover had a local militia. Abiel was a Captain in the local militia and fought during the French and Indian Wars. He had resigned his position as Andover Treasurer in September of 1755 and entered the service as a cornettist (he played the cornet). He was Captain at the battle of Lake George, NY. All of this must have occurred early in the conflicts, given his death date in 1757. I have no records as to the reason or cause of his death.