24 November 2022

Unthanksgiving Day

 In honor of the Thanksgiving mythology (emphasis on the myth), the grave of Joc-O-Sot: The Walking Bear, a distinguished Sauk Chief, 1810-1844.

  • Portrait
    • "In June 1844, Joc-O-Sot was received in audience by Queen Victoria. Very much impressed by Joc-O-Sot, the queen commissioned a portrait of him by her royal lithographers, Day and Hague." - per Case Western biography 
  • Wikipedia for Joc-O-Sot 
  • The Cincinnati Enquirer 1844 clipping

05 November 2022

At home

A couple cozy, homey scenes.

From Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans:

You know she's wearing a cardigan because the pocket is sagging with the weight of whatever's in there. Lovely details.

Bottinelli matriarch

From Mt. Hope Cemetery in Vermont:

A couple going to bed for their eternal rest. "Set me as a seal upon thine heart for love is strong as death." - Song of Songs, 8:6.

31 October 2022

Happy death day to Hannah Emmons (Halloween bonus post)


Here lyes ye Body of Thomas
Emmons who Died May 24
1731 in ye 29th Year of His Age.

Alfo Here lyes ye Body of
Hannah Emmons Wife to Thos.
Emmons Who Died Octobr. 31
17[29 in ye 21st Year] of her Age

Bit of a bummer for Hannah to have died before her husband only to receive second billing on their gravestone and to be only named once while her husband is named twice in full! However, fantastic handwriting and fierce winged skulls.

01 October 2022

Gorey vibes

 Love this one -- it's well-preserved with crisp details and very striking. The simplicity and scale of the design makes it stand out even as a thumbnail, and it feels somehow more modern than its neighbors. It gives me Edward Gorey vibes -- and I'm not the only one!

The Memory
an officer in the late
Mafsa Line of the
Continental Army

obit 20th Augst.
Ano. AEt. 24.

To this fad fhrine who ere thou are draw near
Here lies the Friend moft lov'd, the Son moft dear
Who ne'er knew Joy, but Friendfhip might divide
Or gave his Father Grief but when he died.

22 September 2022

Happy autumn! (bonus post)

 Finally, autumn. Shorter days, the harvest, death -- the best time of year. I've got for you a memento mori -- a winged hourglass, this time -- crossed by a cross and a scythe.

From Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, LA, for William H. Preis. Died May 4, 1909, aged 57 years.

17 September 2022

Angels with attitude

 From Forest Hill Cemetery, New Derry, NH:

... a his-and-hers gravestone with two angels that seem unimpressed with visitors.


From the Masonic Cemetery in Chappell Hill, TX:

... a softer, happier -- dare I say dopier? -- angel.

From Pine Grove Cemetery in Brunswick, ME:

...I'm sure this is a look of quiet serenity but it gives me a side-eye vibe.


10 September 2022

Mexican-American War casualty

 From Pine Grove Cemetery, Brunswick, ME:

Moses Emery Merrill.
Capt. U.S.A. born Dec. 2, 1803: Graduated at West Point June 1826: Fell in battle, at Molino del Rey, in Mexico. Sept. 8, 1847. son of Roger & Sarah Merrill.

Reverent toward God, just and generous, a brave soldier, a true Man.
Peace to his ashes.

He did apparently leave behind at least one son, who has a short Wikipedia article about him summarizing, mainly, his Civil War service.

02 September 2022

Centenarian Obelisk

 150 years ago, Jacob G. Miller, soldier of 1812, died on Sept. 2 in the 100th year of his age. Good for him!

This detail is near the base of a fairly detailed obelisk that sports an urn set in a little portico space, an anchor, some nice zig-zags, and the drapery around the mid-section has a delicate, almost lacy profile compared to the usual heavy-looking drapery we see.

This marker also commemorates:

Mary Johnson,
Wife of Jacob G. Miller,
Died April 30, 1840,
Aged 80 years.

(And coincidentally, I'm drafting this post on April 30, 2022 - the 182nd anniversary of her death day.)

27 August 2022

Back to School Books


From Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans:

From Walnut Grove, Syracuse, New York:

From Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans:



From Gibson Chapel Rural Cemetery, Cortland, NY:


20 August 2022

Pops of color/colorful equines

 From South Onondaga Cemetery, Syracuse (-area), NY:

From Greenwood Cemetery, New Orleans, LA:

13 August 2022

Some religious stained glass

From Rome Cemetery, Rome, NY:

90% sure this is the Good Samaritan

The exterior:

Note the stained glass set into the dormers.

From Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, LA:

06 August 2022

Symbolism Maximalism

 Fancy obelisk time, from Riverview Cemetery in Baldwinsville, NY:

Overall, typical obelisk. Got the draped tip and a wreath around it...

Rather than being for one person or family, this obelisk honors members of the Mohegan Lodge No. 33 of the International Order of Odd Fellows, instituted 1846. If you zoom in on the first picture, you'll see long lists of names (even a couple running onto the curved bit of the base).

Appropriately, they went wild on including symbols on the different faces of this interstitial plinth.

  • Tent and crooks
  • the all-seeing eye
  • IOOF chain links

  • a smokey urn (lamp?) on a pedestal [officially: altar of incense]

  • fasces with scales - this one seems to be a combo of the IOOF sword balancing scales + bundle of sticks (not fasces)
  • bow with 3 arrows
  • clasped hands
  • mother and children

  • 3 chain links with axe
  • heart in hand
  • dove with olive branch
  • open book (a bible)


Learn about these symbols:


30 July 2022

Run-over Parentheses (and bonus typo)

From the Old South Burying Ground in Connecticut:

When the epitaph runs longer than the stone is wide... A consistent little stylistic touch on several stones to mark where a dangling line belonged to the previous.

In memory of Maj. Tubal Case. who died Jan. 7th 1822, in the 59th Year of his age. 

Come hither mortals turn ( thine eye, / Then go thy way prepare ( to die, / Consider then that die you ( must, / One day like me return to dust.

His name does indeed seem to have been Tubal. The first round of searching for "Major Tubal Case" is... decidedly gynecological. He pops up on some ancestry sites, though, and is listed among Continental Army soldiers in this History of Tolland County. (There are some other amazing names in there, too: Amaziah, Jabez, Eliphalet, Eleazer... Seems like there used to be a lot more male names starting with E in circulation back in the day.)

Mrs. Rube Brewfter wife of Mr. Jeffe Brewfter died Nov. 28th 1796 in ye 42d Year of her age.
All you that come with (little care / Tthat
[sic] walk away and ( leave me here / Oh dont forget that you [...]

And yes, a typo! An actually typo and not just unexpected spelling. 

Bummer -- chiseling in a whole unnecessary extra letter.

Mr. Elijah Wright died Dec. 23d 1802 in ye 73d Year of his age.  
I yield my body to the ( dust / My foul to God that gave ( it first / And at the refurrection ( day / My God will raif3 my [...]

Mrs. Temperance, wife of Mr. Elijah Wright, died April 2ed 1804 in ye 80th Year of her age. 
Great God I own the ( fentence juft / And nature muft decay. I yield my Body to the ( duft, / To dwell with fellow clay.

And from Forest Hill Cemetery in East Derry, New Hampshire,

Here lies the Body of Mrs. Mary Crifty [Cristy] (wife of Mr. Jeffe Crifty) who departed this Life Decr ye 24th 1776 Aged 79 years.

16 July 2022

Throwback symbol

 This poor stone had seen better days when I visited it, but all the vital areas are still in tact. From Oak Grove Cemetery in Americus, GA:

My Husband,
Died April 14th 1852
Aged 31Yr 5Mo 22Da
Of note to me is the winged hourglass motif hanging in there to the 1850s. Would it have seemed a little old-fashioned at this point? I've got a 1909 example in my collection, but usually they crop up more in the 18th century. (There could be a northern vs southern distinction, perhaps...? 1909 was in Louisiana; this one is in Georgia.)

09 July 2022

Blackout curtains, lost at sea - summer delights

 Tasseled drapery is a very common motif in a certain era, but this pair manages to feel particularly closed off in its arrangement. (Note, too, how wife Fannie's stone is more petite compared to husband Richard's.)

Front/north view:

Epitaphs (as transcribed in Cheetham, Donald, and Mark Cheetham. Pine Grove Cemetery, Bath Road, Brunswick, Maine, Cumberland County. Vol. 1, 2005. Richard's is pretty illegible to me.):

Fanny, we meet to part no more
and bud of them shall not fall to the grave
without your father.

But Fannie dear we'll meet again
for thy few sins have been forgiven
and thou hast gone with God to reign
an angel fair and bright in heaven.

Side view:

Rear/south view is very plain but offers more details. The couple died about a year apart, both pretty young:

Fannie E.
Wife of
R. L. McManus
Dec. 28, 1857.
Aged 18 yrs. 8 mos.

R. L. McManus
Dec. 7, 1858.
Aged 24 yrs, 10 mos, & 21 days

But look sharp! The obelisk to the far right from earlier in the family plot includes a "lost at sea" note (on the south face):

Richard McManus
Born April 1 1795,
Died Sept. 2 1875

Nathaniel McManus
Lost at sea 1832 AEt. 35

02 July 2022

Map for a passion

 The headstone of Richard Remy Dixon and family includes a unique feature: a little grid map labeled: "Algiers: The Heart of New Orleans."

Perhaps a NOLA native would be more attuned to the name, but I had to Google. Xavier University has a collection of his papers, including an autobiographical sketch.

Dixon was a veteran, historian, writer, and civil service worker born in New Orleans. He was an expert in Algiers history and served as Public Relations Director to the New Orleans Recreation Department, the Roosevelt Hotel, and the City of New Orleans.
They've got the history book on Algiers that he wrote digitized... and just for fun, a photo of Dixon in St. Patrick's day gear.

25 June 2022


 First post of summer! An epitaph poem that starts off with a call to the warm summer sun.

Warm summer sun shine kindly here.
Warm southern wind, blog softly here.
Green sod above, lie light, lie light.
Good night, dear heart, good night,
                                    good night.

Can a gravestone plagiarize? Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens' epitaph for daughter Susy who is buried in Elmira, NY. (Her stone apparently does give credit to the original!)

18 June 2022

Father's Day

 An armchair (for napping in):

Grapes are engraved on the chair arms!

  • Rock of Ages Facebook video/post - "After a hard day at work, Mr. Bettini would come home, sit in his favorite armchair, have a glass of his wife's homemade wine and relax. ..."


Related post: Sit back

14 June 2022

"I pledge allegiance to my flag..."

 Flag Day bonus post! Francis Bellamy, author of the pledge of allegiance, was a resident of Rome, NY, and his grave is well-advertised in Rome Cemetery. (Not particularly notable otherwise, other than being a pink granite for the flashy bit, though.)

"I pledge allegiance to my flag
and to the republic for which it stands
one nation indivisible,
with liberty and justice for all."

F. B.

11 June 2022

Imagine hand-setting circular text

 A two-fer headstone from Ticonderoga, NY, Streetroad Cemetery: husband and wife who died within a couple months of each other. Their marker is one slab, slightly scored down part of the center to divide the halves. What caught my eye was the circular way the man's name was written on the left, though the rest of the text is linear:

Nov. 11, 1856
AE. 48

Wife of
Sept. 18, 1856
AE. 46

04 June 2022

The Mystery of H.H.H. (Spoilers, research ahead)

 I have this one tagged for the name (very alliterative) and for possibly having a typo/contraction. Er, two typos? A typo and a creative spelling?:

Hedwig Hermoine [sic] Handshke [sic] 1889-1918

Let me tell you, just doing a simple search was useless, as two-thirds of her name appear in Harry Potter! Even trying to -"harry potter" from Google results did not help to completely eliminate fanfics, and Forest Hill doesn't list all their residents.

Once this post gets crawled, it'll be the only result for "hedwig hermoine handshke." I'm sure that will drive ever so much traffic here!

There are some few records for Handshke as a surname (as opposed to Handshake, which it resembles) -- and lo and behold, it looks like her name is spelled correctly!

Based on the birth year, it seems she was nicknamed(?) Hattie, but her mother is listed as "Hermoine" so... I mean, really, there can't be a another family out there with this set of names. Surely not!  (The 1930 census puts the name as Hermine or Hermene.)

Fortunately, my library offers HeritageQuest, so I was able to actually read the 1910 census record. Her family were German immigrants. Hattie and her sister worked as a "saleslady" in her father's bakery (educated guess -- he was the proprietor of a bakery, so...). 

They lived on Whitesboro St. in Utica Ward 9, Oneida, New York.


 I'm still stumped on finding an obituary, if she had one. That 1918 death date is tantalizing, of course -- she wasn't at all old and there was that little flu bug running around then... The 1920 census still has both her parents and sister living, however. (The father would die by the 1930 census, however and mother and remaining daughter had moved over to Yorkville. Both of them disappear from the 1940 census.)


Ah! I feel like I know so much and so little still.