Monday, February 20, 2012

Phebe’s roses

Carved in marble, roses grow forever on the weathered tablet tombstone that marks the grave of Phebe Eleonor Williams (d. 1844).

Wife of
Sept. 2, 1844;
Aged 32 Y’s.

Downturned as though weeping, Phebe’s roses grow beneath elaborately swagged drapery. Roses are normally understood to represent love and beauty; drapery, mourning.

The epitaph is only partly visible.

Praise ye the Lord that I’m freed from all [care]
Serve ye [the Lord that my bliss you] may share

The epitaph was written by Mary Stanley Bunce Shindler (b. 1810, d. 1883), an American poet who would have been a contemporary of Phebe Williams. The words can be found online at as part of the third verse of the hymn “Passiveness.”

Reading the complete third verse of the hymn gives deeper meaning to Phebe’s roses.

Plant ye a rose that may bloom o’er my bed,
When I am gone, when I am gone;
Breath not a sigh for the blest early dead,
When I am gone, I am gone.

Praise ye the Lord that I’m free from all care.
Serve ye the Lord that my bliss you may share,
Look on high and believe I am there,
When I am gone, I am gone.

Fancher Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio


  1. Wow, how beautiful and thorough research into the epitaph! That's really neat Amy!

  2. Another great post! I always enjoy stopping by!


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