Friday, June 17, 2011

Winged face

Last Sunday I packed a lunch and set out for New Reading Cemetery in Perry County, Ohio in search of a gravestone symbol that is rare in Ohio: A winged soul effigy, also known as a winged face.

Along the way I stopped by two other old cemeteries, took a couple of wrong turns, and made a lemonade pit stop.

Eventually I reached New Reading. After a few minutes of searching I spied the winged face on the gravestone of Maria Eva Obermeier (b. 1763, d. 1823). The surprise? Or rather, surprises? First of all, this winged face is tiny. Two or three inches worth of tiny.

Second of all, the gravestone inscription is in German—a bit of a challenge for me. Google Translate has helped, but if anyone can translate the inscription more fully or correctly, I welcome your assistance.

Geweihet zum
Andenken von
Maria Eva Ge-
malin von
Peter Oberm[meier] und
[tochter von]
Christoph n [??] Dennig
geboren [??] A.D. 1763,
starb [16 trn?] Marz, A.D. 1823.
[Alter?] 59 Jahr 6 Monat [4?] Tage

Consecrated to
Memory of
Maria Eva Con-
sort of
Peter Oberm[meier] and
[daughter of]
Christoph & [??] Dennig
born [??] A.D. 1763,
died [16th?] March, A.D. 1823.
[Aged?] 59 Year 6 Month & [4?] Days

New Reading Cemetery, Perry County, Ohio


  1. Your German is correct :-) Just trying to figure out the last line: it looks like it begins "Sie hatte" = she had, but I can't tell what the rest says.

  2. Thank you, Sue! The last line is a mystery to me. After trying to read this stone, I realized how much our understanding of the language lets us 'read' words and letters that aren't 100% clear.

  3. Hi, I have really enjoyed perusing your blog!

    The inscription (you already have much of it) goes something like this:
    Geweihet zum
    Andenken von
    Maria Eva Ge-
    malin von
    Peter Obermeyer und
    [Tochter von]
    Christoph u. [Catharina] Hennig
    geboren den 30sten August AD. 1763
    starb den 6ten März AD. 1823
    Alter 59 Jahr [6] Monat u. [?] Tage
    Sie hatte [?] Söhne u. [?] Töchter

    That last line means, "She had [?] sons and [?] daughters". I think the numerals are just hidden behind a little grass. :-)

    (Also, I am only making a guess as to the second character in the parents' surname.)


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