Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Ira Salisbury

The sandstone marker for Ira Salisbury is decorated with an urn-and-willow carving. Nothing out of the ordinary, although it is in great shape.

But its epitaph is one I have not seen before. Read it and you will understand why I think of this the “rainbow gravestone.”

IN Memory Of
Ira Son Of Emness,
And Elizabeth Sali
sbury. Died. June 6
AD 1845, Aged 8 Years.
8 Mo

O what is life tis like the bow
That glisten in the sky
We love to see its colors glow
But while we look they die
Life fails as soon to day tis hear
To morrow it may disappear

The epitaph is from a poem by English poet Jane Taylor (b. 1783, d. 1824), who is perhaps most famous for having written the verse we know today as “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”

Here is the “rainbow” poem as it appeared in Meditations for the Sick by Jonathan Cole, published by James Munroe and Company in 1837:

Chester Baptist Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

“Familiar all his life with a timbered country”

What caught my eye on the marker at the grave of Enoch George (d. 1893) was his age when he died: He lived to be nearly 95 years old.

That’s a long life, no matter when you were born.

JAN. 1, 1799
AUG. 27, 1893
94 Y. 7M. 26D.

The 1880 Federal Census for Harmony Township, Morrow County, Ohio, includes a household headed by 81-year-old Enoch George, a Welsh-born farmer. Though he is marked as Married, the only other person listed in the household is 84-year-old Daniel Burns.

The 1860 Federal Census and the 1870 Federal Census suggest that Enoch’s wife was named Jane. In fact, revealed the image of an 1825 marriage record for Enoch George and Jane Evans.

History of Morrow County and Ohio, published in Chicago by O.L. Baskin & Co. in 1880, alludes to Enoch George’s good health into his eighties:

In 1837, Enoch George, who had gone back to Chester after selling his farm in the southeast corner of the township, to Mr. Salisbury, returned and bought eighty acres near Burns’ Corners. Here he stayed but a short time, when he sold out, and, leaving his family there, he went to Iowa to work for a home. Familiar all his life with a timbered country, the rough fashion of the prairie winds discouraged his idea of emigration, and he bought 100 acres where he now lives, able at the age of eighty-one to build fence and do all but the hardest work about the farm.

Chester Baptist Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Monday, February 27, 2012

Epitaph: Gently, my Saviour, let me down

The marker at the grave of Conrad Long (d. 1847) has two matching willows and a delicately carved planter.

The long epitaph is still legible, “typos” and all.

Aug. 10, AD. 1847
Aged 59 years
& 11 mo.
Gently my Savour, let me down,
  To slumber in the arms of death;
I rest my soul on Thee along,
  E’en till my last expiring brath.

And now the storm of life is o’er,
  And I have entered endless rest,
Where I shall live to sin no more,
  And bless Thy name for ever blest.

When from the dust of death I rise,
  To take my mansion in the skies;
E’en then shall this be all my plea,
  Jesus hath lived and died for me.

The epitaph is from a hymn written by Rev. Rowland Hill (b. 1744, d. 1833), founder and pastor of the Surrey Chapel in London.

According to The Life of Rowland Hill, A.M. by Edwin Sidney (1835), the hymn “was written by Mr. Hill for the comfort of a dying member of his Surrey chapel congregation, who received it a few hours before death.”

Chester Baptist Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Photo tip: Avoid the ‘zoid

It took a while, but eventually I noticed that in many of my photos, rectangular gravestones were looking a bit trapezoidal.


Was it my camera? Did I need a better lens? A bigger lens? A better camera? (Confession: I use the camera on my phone to take cemetery photos.)

No, it was my knees.

I (mostly) corrected the problem of “converging verticals” simply by bending my knees and getting down to the level of the gravestone so that I did not tilt the camera up or down (forward or backward).

To illustrate the difference, I took two photos of the same gravestone: Standing (left) and kneeling (right).


See the difference? I prefer the kneeling photos, don’t you?

James Baker, Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio
Alford Butters, Jr., Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Thursday, February 23, 2012

“The night was dark and the path obscure”

Jonas Vining (d. 1844), a farmer, was an early settler in Morrow County, Ohio. He is buried beneath a weathered sandstone marker in Butter Cemetery.

In Memory of
who departed this life, May 25,
in the 76. year of his age.

Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord
From henceforth yea saith the Spirit
That they may rest from their labors
And their works do follow them

History of Morrow County, Ohio by Abraham J. Baughman and Robert Franklin Bartlett (1911) includes this tale of a unique danger that Jonas Vining encountered while returning home from a “shopping trip” to nearby Delaware County:

The following was related by Jonas Vining, one of the settlers of Bennington township: He had gone to the Sunbury Mills, and, being obliged to wait until late at night for his bag of flour, resolved to start for home, though the night was dark and the path obscure. It was a chilly night late in autumn, and the wind sighed mournfully through the branches of the trees, and the sudden rustling of leaves and weird creaking of the trees kept the traveler on the anxious lookout for signs of danger. The wolves began uttering their discordant notes, and, to add to the unpleasant situation, heavy thunder was heard in the distance. Mr. Vining drew his “great coat” closely about him, and urged his horse on as fast as could be safely done through the deep woods. Finally a startling wail, ending with a peculiar, heavy tone, was heard above the rustling leaves and sighing winds, and he new that he was followed by a panther. He heard it bounding lightly over the leaves to “leeward,” endeavoring to ascertain by scent the nature of the game it was in pursuit of. It appeared several times, but only for an instant, as it flitted through the glades of the forest. It finally veered off into the wilderness, and its screams were lost in the sounds of the gathering storm. When his jaded horse carried him into the clearing at home, which he reached in safety, it was almost daybreak.

Butter Cemetery has also been known as Fargo North Cemetery and as Vining Cemetery.

Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday’s child: Jane Huff

The angel on the gravestone for Jane Huff (d. 1853) has lost its head.

Daughter of
O. & C. HUFF,
AUG. 10 1853,
& 10 DS.

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


The marker at the grave of Margaret Borden (d. 1838) is simply carved. It appears that someone, most likely not a master stone carver, carved the inscription on a gravestone “blank.”

No willows, urns, or hands. No decorative border.

wife of wm. borden
born may 26the 1808 and died
sept 9the., 1838,. aged 30 years 3
months and 14 days
in full hopes of a blessd immortalety

Houck Cemetery, Knox County, Ohio

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

Sunday, February 19, 2012

“...drowned in the waters of the Big Walnut”

The gravestone for Eleazer Copeland (d. 1834), featured here yesterday, is interesting in its own right. Mix in the circumstances of Copeland’s death, and you have quite a story.

In researching Copeland’s daughter Eunice, I discovered this 1880 description of Copeland’s death:

Dr. Eleazar Copeland was a man who, upon his advent into the township, began to use all his energy and resources for the promotion of its best interest, and was connected with nearly all the pioneer industries. He was drowned in the waters of the Big Walnut, under the following circumstances: He was part owner of a saw-mill situated on that stream, and, during a continuance of low water, there had accumulated a great many logs about the mill. A sudden and heavy rain having raised the water in the creek, the logs were floated off, and began going down stream in the current. His wife, noticing this fact, suggested that her husband, who was an excellent swimmer, should enter the water and tray and save them. The doctor leaped in for the purpose of gaining the other side, but when about in the middle, he was seized with cramps, and after a vain effort to reach the bank, sank under the turbulent waters, and was drowned. This occurred on Wednesday, and although people gathered from every direction to search for his body, it was not found until the following Sunday, and then under circumstances which were very peculiar. It was understood throughout the section that a thorough search was to be made on that day, and a great crowd had gathered for that purpose. John Roberts and his brother-in-law, Mr. Smith, had left the main party, who were exploring near where he went under, and began to search farther down stream, on the west bank. Having sat down nearly opposite the mouth of Spruce Run to take a rest, John Roberts’ attention was attracted by the hum of flies, and watching them closely, he saw them go in and out of a small hole which had been made by one of the search party in a sand-bar. He went down to the spot, and, after scraping away the sand, he discovered the body, face downward, completely covered with sand and driftwood. [1]

In the 1950s, the City of Columbus built a dam on Big Walnut Creek, creating Hoover Reservoir and supplying water to Columbus residents. Copeland Cemetery lies on the east bank of the reservoir.

Where is the site of the mill of which Copeland was part owner? Could it be under the waters of Hoover Reservoir?

Copeland Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

[1] An excerpt from History of Delaware County and Ohio by William Henry Perrin and O.L. Baskin & Co. (1880)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

A monitory gravestone

The siltstone tablet gravestone for Eleazer Copeland (d. 1834) is impressive. It is large with an abundance of interesting carvings. But what finally motivated me to feature this gravestone is not the stone, but Copeland’s cause of death, which I discovered while researching his daughter Eunice.

Today we take a look at the gravestone. Isn’t it a beauty?

died July 2, 1834;
aged 45 years.

So what do we have here?

Admonitory angel. An angel flies among the clouds, carrying scroll in one hand, a banner in the other: Be ye also ready. The scroll may represent the record of Copeland’s life.

All-seeing eye. Above the angel is the all-seeing eye surrounded by a sunburst, our first indication that Eleazer Copeland was a Freemason. The eye reminds every Mason that “the ways of man are before the eyes of the Lord, and He pondereth all his goings” (Prov. 5:21) and that “the eyes of the Lord are in every place, beholding the evil and the good” (Prov. 13:3).

Flaming urn. The urn is a popular gravestone symbol for the soul. The flaming urn represents the soul rising from the ashes of death. On many gravestones, the flames tend to be a bit subtle, maybe stylized. This stone has serious flames.

Square, compass, Bible. The square and compass on the open Bible—in particular, open to Amos, Chapter 7—has special meaning to Freemasons. It represents the Fellow Craft Degree, which references two specific verses, Amos 7:7 and Amos 7:8:

Thus he shewed me: and, behold, the Lord stood upon a wall made by a plumbline, with a plumbline in his hand.

And the LORD said unto me, Amos, what seest thou? And I said, A plumbline. Then said the Lord, Behold, I will set a plumbline in the midst of my people Israel: I will not again pass by them any more.

Anchor. To a Mason, an anchor is symbolic of the security of a man who puts his trust in God.

Other nice bits to notice include the swagged drapery and the columns that support an arch with keystone.

This is a richly decorated gravestone, but let’s not overlook the unusual epitaph:

Read wisdom here - this grave
Speaks volumes - let its monitory voice
Be heard.

Remember to check back tomorrow for the circumstances of Eleazer Copeland’s untimely death.

The text Freemasonry: its symbolism, religious nature, and law of perfection by Chalmers Izett Paton (1873), available on Google Books, offers a nineteenth-century explanation of important Freemasonry symbols.

Copeland Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, February 17, 2012

Big willow, small child

At the back of Copeland Cemetery stands a tablet gravestone with a carved willow that dominates the stone. It is a uniquely beautiful stone, and it marks the grave of a child, Eunice W. Copeland (d. 1830).

daughter of
Eleazer & Hannah Copeland
died July 13, 1830;
aged 1 year 8 months
& 11 days.

Ere sin could blight or sorrow fade,
Death came with friendly care;
The opening bud to heaven convey’d,
And bade it blossom there.

The epitaph is the short poem “Epitaph on an Infant” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (b. 1772, d. 1834).

Eunice is buried between her parents, Eleazer (d. 1834) and Hannah (d. 1866). Eleazer’s large gravestone (which will have its own post soon), is full of symbolic carvings. Hannah’s is simple in comparison.

Copeland Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Fanny Hibbard

The white marble marker for Fanny Hibbard (b. 1815, d. 1853) has fallen face up on the ground, making it easy to overlook unless you are right there. Few gravestones are nearby, which adds to the impression that this stone is either forgotten—or soon will be.

wife of
Nov. 26, 1853
Aged 38 ys. 7 m.
& 26 ds.

A reading of the worn epitaph, if possible, must wait for a warmer day, when I can take my time clipping grass and taking close-up photos.

The 1850 Federal Census entry for the Hibbard household shows Lucius (a carpenter), Fanny, and five children.

Census image from

History of Walworth County, Wisconsin by Albert Clayton Beckwith (Bowen, 1912) includes a biographical sketch of one of the Hibbard offspring, Elijah (5 years old in 1850). From it we learn a bit more about Lucius and Fanny:

Lucius Hibbard, father of the subject, was born in Bath, New Hampshire, May 29, 1802. He went to New York about 1831 and there married Fannie Harvey about 1832. She was born near Utica, New York, April 4, 1815, and her death occurred November 26, 1853 at Marengo, Ohio, to which place she and her husband had moved about 1840. Mr. Hibbard subsequently married Mary Ann Burnett, who died in 1874. He had preceeded her to the grave at Marengo on July 24, 1865.

I found no gravestone for Lucius Hibbard during my two visits to Butter Cemetery.

Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


The February, 2012 edition of the Graveyard Rabbits Carnival is asking,
“What is your favorite cemetery photograph. One where you are the photographer. Show us the photo!”
Here I am, just in the nick of time to sneak my favorite in on the final day.

Not an easy decision, but my longing for fair weather has tipped the scale in favor of “Prairie dock and gravestone,” taken in late summer at Bigelow Cemetery Prairie State Nature Preserve in Madison County, Ohio.

Runners up include “Gideon and the weathered stones,” “January,” and “Stone book, iron fence.”

Wednesday’s child: Knox infants

I came upon them from behind: five small, mossy gravestones standing shoulder to shoulder. I knew immediately what I would see when I walked to the front.

The gravestones are for five children, all from the same family. Not just children, infants.

None have first names.

Son of
J. & E. KNOX
Feb. [6?], 1847.

Son of
J. & E. KNOX
Oct. 4, 1850.

Dau. of
J. & E. KNOX
Jan. 16, 1855.

Son of
J. & E. KNOX
[Oct. 16, 1863]

Son of
J. & E. KNOX
[Mar. 1865]

The dates for the two unreadable markers are from Delaware County Burials published online by Delaware County Genealogical and Historical Societies.

Delaware County Burials also lists John Knox as the father of the five infants. John and Esther Knox can be found in census records for township throughout the period. At least one child, Alonzo, who was age 8 in 1860, lived a long life.

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

“My grave you see”

Evidently, there are two gravestones for Samuel Noe (d. 1831) in Morrow County, Ohio.

The one I photographed recently is in tiny Butter Cemetery. It is a sandstone tablet marker with a willow-and-urn motif.

Memory of
who died,
March 22nd 1831;
aged 23 years
and 10 months.
Weep not for me, my friends so dear;
I am not dead, but sleeping here;
My end you know, my grave you see;
Prepare yourselves, to follow me.
There is another marker for Samuel Noe in Marengo Cemetery—three miles away. The inscription on that marker, a photograph of which is posted on, is a bit different than the Butter Cemetery marker, but not where it counts: name, date of death, and age at death.

Son of
Died Mar. 22, 1831
23 Y. 10 M. 14D.

Where is Samuel Noe buried? My theory is that he is buried in Butter Cemetery under the sandstone marker (“my grave you see”) and that his name was inscribed later on a family marker in nearby Marengo Cemetery.

There is at least one other name on the Marengo Cemetery marker, but I cannot read it in the photo. Can you? Looks like a trip to Marengo Cemetery is in my future.

Butter Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Monday, February 13, 2012

Two weathered roses

The gravestones of siblings George W. Darrah (d. 1851) and Alice Darrah (d. 1851) are weathered and worn. Their rose carvings are no longer crisply defined; their short epitaphs are not legible.

A third stone is missing its top half—the half that presumably identified another young brother or sister. It is interesting to note that there is no date remaining on this gravestone. Unless the inscription was carved in an unusual order, it probably never had one.

A. & H.M.

Son of
Sept. 16, 1851
Aged 2 yrs.
5 mos. & 7 ds.

Daughter of
Sept. 28, 1851
Aged 1 yrs.
10 mos. & 1[?] ds.

An image of the 1850 Federal Census record for Berkshire Township (via shows Alexander, a painter, and Hester M. Hannah living with two children, Alice S. and George M.

No hints here about the identify of the third child, but a contributor added “Infant Dau of A Hannah” along with George and Alice.

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, February 11, 2012

“Born in Ireland”

The small, plain gravestone for James Murphy (b. 1789, d. 1863) has no symbolic carvings and no poetic epitaph. Still, it caught my eye from its sunny corner in Sunbury Memorial Park.

It may be plain, but the gravestone does have moss, algae, ivy (real, not carved), and what I think of as a genealogy bonus: country and date of birth.

MAR. 3, 1789
AUG. 29, 1863

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, February 10, 2012

Died “from the shot of a gun”

The tablet marker at the grave of James H. Baker (d. 1850) offers more information than the typical stone. From it we learn that young James was adopted—and that he died from a gunshot wound.

the adopted
Son of
Dec. 4, 1850
From the shot of a gun
Aged 15 Ys
9 Mos & [2?] da.
The golden bowl by death is broke,
The pitcher burst in twain,
The cistern-wheel has felt the stroke,
The pleasant child is slain.

As you can see, the epitaph is not entirely legible, but the few words that can be read help to identify the source (thank you, Google) and fill in the blanks.

The words are taken from an old funeral hymn (author unknown):

Wake up my muse, condole the lost
Of those that mourn this day;
Let tears distill on every face,
And every mourner pray.

The tyrant, Death came rushing in,
Last night his power did shew;
Out of this world this child did take,
Death laid its visage low.

No more the pleasant child is seen
To please its parent’s eye;
The tender plant, so fresh and green,
Is in eternity.

The golden bowl by death is broke,
The pitcher burst in twain,
The cistern-wheel has felt the stroke,
The pleasant child is slain.

The winding-sheet doth bind its limbs,
The coffin holds it fast,
To-day it’s seen by all its friends,
But this must be the last.

Until the Lord doth come to judge
The nations great and small,
And you and I before him stand,
And at his presence fall.

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Epitaph: She hath given up the ghost

A gothic tablet on a substantial base marks the grave of Han Carpenter (d. 1872). The stone bears an attractive carving of a bouquet of flowers.

AUG. 25, 1872:
36 Yrs. 2 Mo.

She hath given up the ghost, her sun
hath gone down while it was yet day.
Jer. 15. 9

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio
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