Sunday, June 3, 2012


I always called them cherubs, but Wikipedia tells me that angelic winged babies like the ones on today’s gravestone are actually putti (plural of putto).

On the marker at the grave of Fergus Holderman (b. 1811, d. 1838), two putti festoon an urn that sits between two large willows. In artwork, putti are often nude. On this mid-nineteenth century gravestone, the babies are, not unsurprisingly, clothed.

Beautifully carved oak leaves, and laurel surround the inscription.

To the memory of
Born in Preble County, Ohio,
May 11th. A. D. 1811,
Died Feb. 8th. A. D. 1838;
Aged 26 years, 8 months
and 28 days.

In health and strength put not your trust
The strongest liver is but dust;
Repent in time make no delay;
For I in haste was called away.

Artists in Ohio, 1787-1900: A Biographical Dictionary (Kent University Press, 2000) identifies the carver of this stone as Bazillar Clevenger (b. 1811, d. 1848). He carved and signed many of the gravestones in Mound Hill Union Cemetery—including his own and that of his wife.

Mound Hill Union Cemetery, Preble County, Ohio

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