Thursday, March 31, 2011

Fragments: Margaret Faris

The handsome tablet marker, which surely stood undisturbed for well over 150 years, is on the ground, broken in pieces.

With help from and hints from online census and marriage records, we can fill in the missing bits with some confidence.

consort of
& dau of [Arthur & Ann]
Irwin, died Dec. 2, 1836:
in the 30 year of
her age.

There is more of interest on this gravestone: An epitaph is still intact and legible.

When nine years old, she sought the Lord.
Nor did she seek in vain:
According to his gracious word,
He pardon’d all her sin.   R.F.

R.F. = Robert Faris? I’d like to think so.

Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Osborn brothers

No intricate carvings. No symbolic lambs or doves. No epitaphs. Just plain, tablet gravestones with attractive script mark the graves of Lorenzo G.S.M. Osborn (b. 1842, d. 1846) and his brother Isaac D. Osborn (b. 1846, d. 1846).

The young brothers died within days of each other.

Lorenzo G.S.M.
Son of Leonard
& Sarah
Died May
21, 1846 Æ.
2 Y’s 7 M
18 d’s

Isaac D. Son
of Leonard
& Sarah
Osborn Died
May 26, 1846
Æ 2M. 29.

Census records for 1850 and 1860 show Leonard, Sarah, and their remaining family continuing to live in the area after the deaths of the young boys in 1846. By 1870, however, Leonard and Sarah had left Ohio and were living in Holland, New York.

Lorenzo and Isaac are the only Osborns buried at Williamsville.

Williamsville Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, March 28, 2011

Fragments: John C. Lowry

As recently as the summer of 2008, the marker at the grave of John C. Lowry (b. 1857, d. 1881) was standing tall in Thomas Cemetery. Most likely damaged by vandals, today the monument is in pieces.

SEP. 1, 1881.
24 YS. 1M. & 14 DS.

Thomas Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Little (zinc) lambs

Zinc markers, with their distinctive blue-gray color, dot the country cemeteries in Delaware County, Ohio.

On a recent walk through Shoup-Thompson Cemetery, I found three zinc markers, smaller than many I see, marking the graves of children. 

DIED JULY 6, 1880
8 MO’S 12 DAYS.

S. W. & V.
BORN MAY 1881,
DIED NOV. 1883.

J. A. & S.A. MAIZE,
AUG. 27, 1877,
DIED JULY 18, 1880.
Clyde Lee’s epitaph, on the back face of the marker, caught my eye.

I take little LEE,
And lay him on my
Protection he shall
find in me,
And be ever blest.

The epitaph, common enough on children’s gravestones, has been personalized by replacing “the little lamb” with “little Lee.”

What else is interesting here? The epitaph is in caps and lowercase. Lowercase! Take a look at your collection of zinc gravestone photos—I bet the inscriptions on nearly all are in all caps.

Shoup-Thompson Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Epitaph: With years oppressed

The grave of William S. Crumb (d. 1850) is marked by an ornate tablet marker with an epitaph that caught my eye. Oppressed? Harassed?

Wm. S. Crumb
April 15th 1850.
27 years 8 mo
& 12 days.

With years oppressed,
Dejected & Harassed
To thee Oh! God I pray
Oh! cast me not away.

The epitaph is from the first verse of a poem by Sir Robert Grant (b. 1779, d. 1838), a British lawyer, politician, and hymn writer. “Psalm LXXI” was first published in Grant’s posthumous Sacred Poems.

With years oppressed, with sorrows worn,
Dejected, harassed, sick, forlorn,
   To Thee, O God, I pray :
To Thee my withered hands arise,
To Thee I lift these failing eyes,
   O! cast me not away !

Thy mercy heard my infant prayer,
Thy love, with all a mother’s care,
   Sustained my childish days :
Thy goodness watched my ripening youth,
And formed my heart to love Thy truth,
   And filled my lips with praise.

O Savior ! has Thy grace declined ?
Can years affect th’ Eternal Mind ?
   Or time its love decay ?—
A thousand ages pass Thy sight,
And all their long and weary flight
   Is gone like yesterday.

Yes! broken, tuneless, still, O Lord,
This voice transported shall record
   Thy goodness tried so long ;
Till, sinking slow, with calm decay
Its feeble murmurs melt away
   Into a seraph’s song !

Williamsville Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, March 25, 2011

Who is remembering Lee Lauer?

When I came upon the grave of Lee Lauer (b. 1917, d. 1922), a wooden cross had fallen to the ground beside the gravestone, so I set it upright, giving it a solid shove back into the original spot.

The small cross was only slightly weathered, most likely placed at the child’s grave in the last year—maybe on the anniversary of his death.

How did this child die? Accident? Disease?

The front page of the Richwood Gazette on August 24, 1922 gives us an answer.

From, Richwood [Ohio] Gazette

But one question continues to nag: Who placed the cross? Who is remembering and honoring Lee Lauer?

Shoup-Thompson Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Wednesday’s child: “...with my Father I was left”

You can find the small tablet gravestone of Ira Hall (b. 1845, d. 1846) near the fence that separates Williamsville Cemetery from the growth of the surrounding suburb. (Until recently, the cemetery was nearly hidden from view by trees and other natural growth. Now there are new homes and new shops in place of fields and woods.)

Jason & Climena A.
died June 5, 1846
Æ 10 Mo’s 27 D’s

The epitaph is unique, personal—and somewhat difficult to read. Luckily, there is an 1948 transcription of the gravestone on to sanity-check my reading.

The last two words are not legible to me, but in 1948 they were thought to be fait? tree. Maybe fair tree?

When 6 Mo’s old with my Fa
ther I was left,
When 10 Mo’s old I sunk in death
My little spirit soared away,
To embrace my mother by
lifes  f___  ____

Climena A. Hall (d. 1845) is buried nearby. 

Williamsville Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Dove and lamb: Rua Violly Hoskins

The small white marker has a roof-line shape and a strongly symbolic carving.

Daut. of
Died Aug. 25, 1862,
Aged 1 year & 8 d.

The carving depicts a young girl, her left arm resting on a lamb, her right hand lifted, holding a dove. Many children’s gravestones bear a dove or a lamb. Less often do we see both symbols on the same gravestone.

The lamb is a widely accepted symbol for innocence; the dove, peace. A more strongly Christian interpretation, which I offer simply to explain the presence of dove and lamb, is that the lamb represents Jesus (Lamb of God), while the dove represents the Holy Spirit.

And maybe I’m in a Sunday-go-to-meetin’ frame of mind, but does the top of the gravestone remind you of a church?

Shoup-Thompson Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, March 18, 2011

Francis G. Thomas and an unfinished puzzle

The gravestone is broken, resting against what may be its original base, pieces from other markers alongside. An interesting picture, I thought.

Francis G.
son of
Cordelia E.
Nov. 28. 1878.
18ys. 8ms. & 1d.

What is missing? What about the father?

With that simple question, I jumped down another genealogical rabbit hole.

If Francis was 18 years old in 1878, he may have been born when the 1860 census was taken. A quick search for Cordelia Thomas on finds a good match.

Household of Cordelia Thomas, 1860 U.S. census, Liberty Township, Delaware County, Ohio, Taken on June 5.

The census record, showing Cordelia as head of household (no Mr. Thomas here), matches the gravestone in (1) location, (2) mother’s name, and (3) age and gender of the baby with no name.

After several more searches on some of my favorite genealogy-related sites, Francis Thomas’s father was still a puzzle. (I did find Cordelia’s death record on; she died in 1905, apparently never having remarried.)

I was about to set this puzzle aside when I tried a sloppy, vanilla Google search for Cordelia Thomas Delaware County Ohio—and found Mr. Thomas hiding in an 1880 book, History of Delaware County and Ohio.

From History of Delaware County and Ohio,
O.L. Baskin & Co., 1880

Mystery solved. Mr. Thomas is Mr. John Thomas.

Uh-oh. Something is wrong here.

If John Thomas died in June of 1858—two years before the 1860 census—he could not have been the father of Cordelia’s baby-without-a-name.

Guess I will set this puzzle aside for now after all. Something is wrong somewhere. It could be a minor error, or it could be that I have tried to force a puzzle piece into the wrong puzzle altogether.

It’s an interesting photo nonetheless.

Blogging badge catch-up: Thank you!

I have now been awarded genealogy blogging Badge Number Two without having taken proper care of business with Badge Number One. Bear with me while I tear myself away from gravestones long enough to thank a few folks and pass the awards on to others.

Ancestor Approved Award
Thank you to Missy at Fables and Endless Genealogies for honoring me (weeks ago) with the Ancestor Approved award. I confess that I have admired that award on other blogs with a twinge of envy. Now I am happy to be one of the approved.

The award, created in 2010 by Leslie Ann at Ancestor’s Live Here, comes with these rules:
(1) List ten things you have learned about any of your ancestors that has surprised, humbled, or enlightened you.
(2) Pass on the award to ten fellow bloggers who are “doing their ancestors proud.”

One Lovely Blog Award
Thank you to Steve at The Mad Genealogist for sending me the lovely One Lovely Blog Award.

One definitions for lovely from the online Merriam-Webster Dictionary is grand, swell. Steve, your blog is swell too.

The rules for this award are:
(1) Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person who granted the award and their blog link.
(2) Pass the award on to 15 other blogs that you have newly discovered.
(3) Remember to contact the bloggers to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

Instead of placing the required blog lists in this post, which soon will fall off the front page of Gravestoned, I have built permanent pages, listed in the sidebar, for each award.

Question: Does anyone know who originated the One Lovely Blog Award?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Robert Lee Andrews

Robert Lee Andrews (b. 1958, d. 1958) is buried in a small crypt in a shady corner of Oller Cemetery, his grave marked with a plastic cross, artificial flowers, and angelic garden statues. 

1958 – 1958
Robert Lee Andrews
Forever In Our

Oller Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wheel of (gravestone) fortune

An unplanned stop at Liberty Church Cemetery found me with an empty role of aluminum foil (my gravestone enhancer of choice). So reading the old stones was left to my aging eyes only.

One small stone—most likely a child—caught my eye with its strong symbolism: wilted flowers. This particular carving is unique among those I have seen in Delaware County.

But I could not read the name. Was it VOGL?

When I got home, I tried adjusting the exposure and shadows with iPhoto, but that did not help. So I enlarged the photo and stared at it, playing a graveyard version of Wheel of Fortune:

infant son of __emi__h__
Laura Gill__w____

Knowing that this cemetery is well documented on, I headed there first to search for last names beginning with Gill.

Bingo! Make that infant son of Jeremiah (Gillis). But there is no Laura listed. Nor is there an infant son with a name that fits.

Next stop, Delaware County Genealogical Society. The DCGS online cemetery records never let me down. There I found James Hoge Gilles, son of Jeremiah Gilles. (Date of death consistent with style and apparent age of gravestone.) But again, no Laura.

from Delaware County Genealogical Society online cemetery records

Census images from showed Jeremiah married to an Emeline in 1850. Emeline Gillis, buried in Liberty Church Cemetery, died in 1854.

Laura, where are you?

Eventually I found a probable Laura in Families of Ancient New Haven via She was born Laura Thompson and married Jeremiah Gillis in 1830. She died in 1831. I have not yet learned where she is buried.

from Families of Ancient New Haven, via

Rock solid evidence? Of course not, but at least it all fits the puzzle of the hard-to-read partial inscription on the wilted flowers marker. That is good enough for now.

Memory of
infant son of Jeremiah &
Laura Gillis who died_______
Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grave images: Six-pointed stars

The widely accepted symbolic meaning of a six-pointed star on a gravestone is creation. Or God. Or heavenly kingdom.
When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?
      —From The Tyger by William Blake
Stars were less common than other images on 19th-century gravestones here in central Ohio, but now and then I do come upon six-pointed stars, including on the gravestones for Timothy and Lucina Aldrich from my own family tree.

Lucina Aldrich, Mound (or Foust) Cemetery, Morrow County, OH
Timothy Aldrich, Mound (or Foust) Cemetery, Morrow County, OH
Mehetable Black, Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, OH
Rebecca Ranney, Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware County, OH

Friday, March 11, 2011

When blooming youth is snatch’d away

Samuel R. Benton (b. 1810, d. 1826) died at 16 years of age, no longer a boy but perhaps not quite a man. He is buried near his brother and sister in Cheshire Cemetery.

son of
Samuel & Minerva
died Dec 27 1826,
aged 16 years, 9 mo.
and 15 days

When blooming youth is snatch’d away
By death’s resistless hand
Our hearts the mournful tribute pay
Which pity must demand.

The epitaph is from the poem Death and Burial of a Young Person by Anne Steele (b. 1716, d. 1778), an English poet, Baptist preacher, and hymn writer. Sometimes the first line is changed to “When those we love are snatched away” or “When youth or age is snatched away.”

Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Note what looks like mower damage on the marker.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Silly reasons, genuine thanks

No noble motivations here. Nope. My reasons for starting to blog—for starting this blog—are on the silly side.

I like walking in cemeteries and daydreaming stories about the dead. It helps to have a halfway decent excuse to visit the graveyard. Gotta go. Gotta do it for The Blog.

I like taking photos, cropping photos, and placing photos on a page. Have been known to nudge a photo by just a wee bit so that it is just right—at least to my eye.

I like the Graveyard Rabbit badge. Had to have it.

Thank you
Thank you to everyone who voted for Gravestoned and who continue to visit. Thank you to Family Tree Magazine and the Family Tree 40 panel. We are honored to be one among the 2011 Family Tree 40.

Back to more serious business tomorrow in an attempt to live up to your confidence.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Barbary Hair

Barbary Hair (b. 1845, d. 1846) was the young daughter of John and Hannah Hair, both of whom are buried near Barbary in Oak Grove Cemetery.

In memory of
Barbary W.
Daughter of John &
Hannah Hair
who died Nov. 15,
Ages 1 year 7 mo
& 15 ds.

Suffer little children to
come unto me and forbid
them not for of such is
the kingdom of heaven.

Hair/Hare/Heir. Although the grave marker clearly reads Hair, John, Hannah, Barbary (as Barbara), and (sister) Amelia are found in a list of Delaware County burials as Heir. The family (John was a carpenter) is listed in the 1870 U.S. census as Hare.

Cemetery Interment Records, Delaware County Genealogical Society

1870 US Census image,

Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, March 7, 2011

Arthur R. Gardner: son, soldier, newlywed

His gravestone is small and simple: Arthur R. Gardner (b. 1900, d. 1929).

Online records reveal that Arthur, born April 23, 1900, was the son of Elmer and Mary Gardner. When he was 18, he left the family farm to fight in the Great War. (His draft card shows his middle name: Raymond.) On April 27, 1929, Arthur married Nora Eberhard.

Just months after the wedding, Arthur died. He was buried at Flint Cemetery in Franklin County, Ohio on October 19, 1929.

Draft card,
Indexes of marriage and death records,

What about Nora, Arthur’s young widow? With some help from, I found an image of her obituary. She remarried and lived to be 96. Nora and her husband, Lloyd Ballenger, owned and operated Reeb’s Restaurant in Columbus, Ohio for more than 50 years.

Flint Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Grave and the Rose

The Grave said to the Rose,
“What of the dews of dawn,
Love’s flower, what end is theirs?”
“And what of spirits flown,
The souls whereon doth close
The tomb’s mouth unawares?”
The Rose said to the Grave.

The Rose said, “In the shade
From the dawn’s tears is made
A perfume faint and strange,
Amber and honey sweet.”
“And all the spirits fleet
Do suffer a sky-change,
More strangely than the dew,
To God’s own angels new,”
The Grave said to the Rose.

—The Grave and the Rose by Victor Hugo

The roses: Hester Ann Black (Africa Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio), Barbary Hair (Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio), Sarah Gailey (Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio), Orminda Benton (with her brother Anton; Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio)

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Coffee, peaches, bread, flour

I found the yellowed newspaper clipping years ago in a box of my grandmother’s keepsakes. Yes, it is delicate. Yes, I keep it protected in an archival-quality sleeve—usually.

Recently I (carefully) slipped John Voller’s obituary out of its sleeve to photograph the grocery ad on the back of it.

Just a small view into day-to-day life in 1926, when Grandmother was a young, married woman who had just lost her father.
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