Friday, September 30, 2011

Urn and two willows

A while back, I wrote a post about the urn and willow motif that is so popular on 19th-century gravestones. The post included several examples from among some of my favorites. Here is another—one of my new favorites—from an enthusiastic carver with an attention to detail.

In Memory of
Hastings who
died Aug. 3
1844 Aged 30
years 2 mo. &
11 days.

By the way, I marked this gravesite (and others that day) with RestingSpot. Have you tried it yet?

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Epitaph: Let roses bloom and willows wave

The marker at the grave of James Jameson (d. 1845) was once broken into three large pieces. It has been repaired and now stands intact in Galena Cemetery.

Despite the interesting symbolic carvings (two small books, swagged drapery, laurel leaves), it was the epitaph that caught my attention. Isn’t the final line beautiful?

who died Saturday
June 21, 1845
Aged 26 Years
6 Mo & 12

T’is done, James has breath’d his last
Early the shades of death he past
He’s gone and left his frends [sic] to mourn
And he to them cannot return.

Blest be the memory o’er his Grave
Let roses bloom and willows wave.

The epitaph is taken from the poem “On the Decease of Mrs. E. B. W——” by Thomas Kennedy (b. 1776, d. 1832), an American merchant, lawyer, and poet.

’Tis done, Eliza breathes her last,
Her troubles and her trials past,
The hours of sorrow now are o’er,
And pain shall ne’er assail her more.
In life most dear—in death how great,
Calm and resign’d she met her fate;
Sweetly her spirit sunk to rest,
To wake among the truly blest.

At such a scene ev’n seraphs sing,
O death! where is thy cruel sting?
Thy sting O death ! is left behind,
And pierces deep each feeling mind.
Love and affection sadly mourn,
And friendship sighs o’er her death urn,
And many a tear is fondly shed,
For her who dwells among the dead.

Among the dead; no, no, on high,
Among the souls who never die,
She takes her place ; and oh ! if there,
She ever feels an earthly care,
’Tis for the sake of the lov’d few,
To whom she scarce could bid adieu,
To whom her fond regard was given,
As dear to her almost as Heaven.

Blest be her mem’ry, o’er her grave
Let roses bloom and willows wave—

There oft shall silent footsteps tread,
And haunt the spot where rests her head.
And tears of sweet remembrance flow
In all the luxury of woe;
'Tis done, Eliza breathes her last,
Her troubles o’er, her trials past.

  • The gravestone gives the day of the week that Mr. Jameson died.
  • The stone carver signed his initials, D. C. C., but I have not identified him. Not yet anyhow.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Daniel H. Carpenter

The marker at the grave of Daniel H. Carpenter (d. 1812) is one of the oldest in Galena Cemetery.

A skinny willow (on the crude side) hangs over a small but lovely burial urn. Two button-sized flowers complete the design.

Son of
Mr James & Mrs Elizabeth
Died Augt 21ſt 1812
aged 5 Months.

As falls the bud cut down before its bloom
So ſleeps this infant in his early tomb.

This infant’s early tomb is next to his father’s. Their markers are so close, they nearly touch.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

“mary weeks dyed”

The oldest gravestone I have stumbled upon in this part of Ohio is that for Mary Weeks (d. 1811). The sandstone is mottled and weathered, but the inscription is legible.

No frills, unless you consider cursive writing a frill, but do I see an attempt at a willow carving at the top?

Click to enlarge

mary weeks dyed
augt 11, aged 59
years, 1811,

According to online sources (Ancestry, FindAGrave, and so on), Mary was married to Daniel Weeks, a Revolutionary War veteran also buried in Galena Cemetery.

I found no stone for Daniel, but there is an unexplained 1776 star marker next to Mary’s gravestone. For Daniel?

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mother knows best

A gravestone that declares the cause of death is rare, at least in the cemeteries I visit. The stone that marks the grave of John P. Winship (d. 1846) is one of those rare ones—and it even tells us who decided what to inscribe.

sone of
was killed by
a horse
Nov, 24, 1846:
aged 9 years
7 mo, & 10 d’s

words selected by his Mother.
God’s will be done.

Enough said.

Galena Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Lily

The marker at the grave of Lucina Clark (d. 1876) shows a beautifully carved lily, held by a pointing hand.

The lily is most often understood to represent innocence and purity; the pointing hand, a reference to Heaven. The small shell above the hand-and-lily carving is symbolic of resurrection and pilgrimage. Together these symbols declare that Lucina Clark has traveled to her rightful place in Heaven.

N.S. Clark,
June 20, 1876
In the 27 year of her age

There is an epitaph as well, but the weathering on the stone has made the tiny letters impossible to read—in this light at any rate.

In place of an epitaph, I offer a William Blake (b. 1757, d. 1827) poem, “The Lily.”

This is for you, Mrs. Clark:

The modest Rose puts forth a thorn,
The humble sheep a threat’ning horn:
While the Lily white shall in love delight,
Nor a thorn nor a threat stain her beauty bright.

Westfield Methodist Episcopal Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Friday, September 23, 2011

Epitaph: ...and rested at noon

When I read the name on the gravestone, Salma Hyde (d. 1833), I guessed that Salma was a woman. The epitaph reveals the true gender: Salma was a man.

Memory of
who departed this life
August 5th 1831: Aged 33
years 1 month & 4 days

Weep not that so soon he has gone to be blest,
He gave to his God the first hours and the best;
[C]an the labourer cease from his labour to soon.
He wrought all the morning and [rested at noon.]

The epitaph is from the poem “On a Similar Occasion” by Rev. Cornelius Neale (b. 1789, d. 1823). Neale wrote the poem to console his mother when his brother, Benjamin Neale, died as a young man.

Oh, weep not for him, ’tis unkindness to weep;
The weary weak body hath fallen asleep;
No more of fatigue or endurance it knows;—
Oh, weep not, oh, break not the gentle repose.

He sleeps,—oh, how kindly on Jesus’s breast!
Never more the sick dreamings shall trouble his rest;
And her lips, that would healing and comfort restore,
Shall burn his cold lips and cold cheeks never more.

Weep not that so soon he is gone to be blest;
He gave to his God the first hours and the best:
Can the labourer cease from his labour too soon?
He wrought all the morning, and rested at noon.

Short, short was the circuit his sun journey’d through,
But the air was unruffled, the heaven was blue;
And the clouds, the thick clouds, that hung round him at night,
Only caught, and more richly reflected his light.

We gather the flower when full in its bloom,
While brightest in colour and best in perfume:
And the victim was given to God in old time,
Without spot, without blemish, a male in his prime.

Then weep not.—Ah me, as I say it, I weep;
The wound is too cutting, the sorrow too deep:
Weep on, it is nature will have it, weep on;
We speak of his graces;—those graces are gone.

Dear mother! I turn to each birth-day of thine;
What sorrowful chances have mark’d thy decline!
The winds blow sad music, the yellow leaves fall,
And winter comes gloomily, wrapt in a pall.

Yet murmur not, murmur not; His the decree,
Who is better, far better, than ten sons to thee:
Though writhing and smarting, yet welcome the rod,
Though in doubt and in darkness, oh, lean on thy God.

Cheshire Cemetery, Townhouse Section, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The somber man

Walking from the entrance of Stark Cemetery, a rural cemetery in northern Delaware County, Ohio, I approached the tall sandstone marker for Sarah Stockwell (d. 1846) from behind. I was taking my time in the cemetery, walking among the old gravestones, stopping to read an epitaph or to admire a carving.

Then I turned and saw the business side of the Stockwell marker. Impressive!

The carving shows a somber man leaning on a pedestal that supports a draped urn. On either side are trumpet-bearing angels floating above the clouds. Everyone carries a book, quite likely meant to represent the Bible.

The inscription is presented on a scroll that hangs from the center post of several over which drapery is swaged.

Click to enlarge. Daddy Longlegs too!

wife of
died Jan’16
aged 25 years
5 mo’ & 1 da’.

The gravestone has an epitaph as well:

Go home dear friends dry up your tears,
I must lay here til Christ appears,
Then burst the bands with sweet surprise,
And in my saviour’s image rise.

One final treat: The stone is signed by the carver, D. Stockwell. A relative of Sarah’s husband?

Stark Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Martha Emma Boal

The small gravestone in Darby Township Cemetery for Martha Emma Boal (d. 1855) is as white today as it was in 1855, thanks to a recent restoration.

As a messenger of God, the dove in the carving carries away a rosebud—a symbol for the young life lost. But it is the whiteness of the stone, not necessarily an intentional symbol, that seems so perfect: purity, innocence.

Daughter of
J.F. & L. BOAL
Oct. 5, 1854,
Aged 1 year
8 mo. & 13 d’s.

Someday I’ll return and scrape away (carefully!) the dirt and debris at the bottom of the stone so I can read the epitaph.

Darby Township Cemetery, Madison County, Ohio

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A modern willow

Normally I photograph older gravestones, often from the mid-19th century. Willow carvings, with and without urns, were hugely popular during that time. Then last week I stumbled upon a modern gravestone with a modern willow.

Being partial to willow carvings, I love it!

What is perhaps most interesting about this monument is that apparently both Robert and Barbara are still living.

Cheshire Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Monday, September 19, 2011

On board the barque Emily

The stone for Paul Stark (d. 1852) in Stark Cemetery is probably a cenotaph. Although it is possible that his body rests here, I suspect he is buried in Mexico or at sea off the coast of Mexico.

In memory of
Son of
Paul & Catharine
June 22, 1852
at Sanblas Mexico
on board the Barque
Emily bound from
Panama to Sanfrancisco
In the 36 Year
of his age.

Not having done much sailing ship research, at first I thought the name of the ship was Barque Emily. No. The ship was the Emily and barque describes the type of vessel:

By the end of the eighteenth century, however, the term barque (sometimes, particularly in the USA, spelled bark) came to refer to any vessel with a particular type of sail-plan. This comprises three (or more) masts, fore-and-aft sails on the aftermost mast and square sails on all other masts. Barques were the workhorse of the Golden Age of Sail in the mid 19th century as they attained passages that nearly matched full rigged ships but could operate with smaller crews. (Wikipedia.)

A bit of research on the ship’s 1852 voyage from Panama reveals a likely cause of death for Paul Stark: starvation.

According to The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Volume 23, published in 1853, “many sad tales of suffering may be told of ships leaving Panama without a proper knowledge of the best route to be pursued. As a case in point may be mentioned that of ‘the barque Emily, of London, which sailed from Panama for San Francisco, March 7th, 1852, and after being out ninety-five days, put into San Bias [sic] with 19 of the passengers dead from starvation. The remaining passengers were then transferred to the Archibald Gracie, and were sixty-five days more on their passage to San Francisco, during which 18 more of these unfortunate people died.’”

Stark Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Revolutionary War veteran

Obil Beach is a Revolutionary War veteran. His gravestone has an open Bible carving, but a Revolutionary War plaque covers most of it. From a gravestone preservation point of view, I would have preferred to see the plaque mounted on a stake beside the stone.

Many gravestones in this cemetery have had restoration work—did something go wrong with this one? Dark, light, lighter?

Oct. 5, 1846.
aged 88

From Year-Book of the Ohio Society of the Sons of the America Revolution, (1898) we learn a bit more detail from an entry for his grandson, Dr. John Noble Beach:

Erected by his descendants
Darby Township Cemetery, Madison County, Ohio

Friday, September 16, 2011

James Huff’s willow and urn

The sandstone tablet marker at the grave of James Huff (d. 1834) has weathered significantly. It almost looks as though it is melting. Someday soon the inscription may be impossible to read, but so far, the carving of the willow and urn is holding up better—only just.

And what a fine carving it is! Look how some willow branches fall behind the urn, some fall in front, giving the carving an interesting depth.

died Sept. 24, 1834;
aged 46 years.

Burnside Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Epitaph: Triumphant in thy closing eye

Walking through Sunbury Memorial Park on a sunny afternoon, I spied a gravestone with an interesting epitaph and it was signed by the carver. Great find, right?

Not exactly. That’s all I could find of the broken gravestone: Epitaph, carver’s name. No inscription. No willows or urns. No hands or flowers.

No reason to pass it by. After all, I may run into this epitaph or this carver another day in another graveyard.

Triumphant in thy closing eye
The hope of glory shone
Joy breathed in thy expiring sigh
To think the race was run.

The epitaph is taken from a funeral dirge in The Widow of Nain by Thomas Dale (b. 1797, d. 1870), an Anglican clergyman and poet:

Dear as thou wert, and justly dear,
We will not weep for thee;
One thought shall check the starting tear,
It is—that thou art free.
And thus shall Faith’s consoling power
The tears of love restrain;
Oh! who that saw thy parting hour,
Could wish thee here again!

Triumphant in thy closing eye
The hope of glory shone,
Joy breathed in thine expiring sigh,
To think the fight was won.
Gently the passing spirit fled,
Sustained by grave divine:
Oh! may such grace on me be shed,
And make my end like thine!

The stone is signed by B. Glaze from Newark, Ohio. This may be Benjamin Glaze, who lived in Licking County, Ohio during the 1850 Federal census, but who had moved to Iowa by 1870.

The 1870 Federal census lists him as a Marble Agent.
The 1885 Iowa census lists him as a Retired Sto[ne carver? mason?].

Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Artie May Cross

Count me among those who love white bronze grave markers, although I prefer to call them what they are: zinc. The color is beautiful and—best of all—they are as easy to read today as they were when they were made.

Many zinc monuments are large and impressive, but quite a few are small and modest. Many of the smaller markers, like this one for Artie May Cross (d. 1863), are for children.

daughter of
H. L. & H. E. CROSS,
born      —      died
MAY 12, 1861  JAN. 4, 1863.

“she has taken
her flight,
to the regions
of light.”

Artie May’s parents, Henry and Harriet (Doty) Cross, are buried nearby.

Ashley Union Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Unsigned artwork

The bush alongside the grave of Obediah Taylor (d. 1839) is threatening to overtake the gravestone, a lovely example of the urn-and-willow motif. And are those stars, or maybe florets?

Memory of
who Died
March 2nd 1834:
In the 39 year
of his age.

It is unfortunate that so many gravestone carvers did not sign their work. Beautiful!

Blue Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, September 11, 2011


The gravestone for Eliza Jane Bens (d. 1841) features a large, asymmetrical willow tree, its weeping branches so long that they touch the ground.

died May 9, 1841,
aged 22 years 2 months
& 19 days.

Go home my friends dry up your tears
I must lie here til Christ appears
Who you may hope will me restore
unto my friends to p______ more

On November 14, 1838, Henry Bentz and Eliza J. Twitchell were married in Delaware County, Ohio.

On November 11, 1841, Henry Bentz and Amanda S. Twitchell were married in Delaware County, Ohio.

Sisters? Would not be unusual for the time period.

Prospect Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio

Silent Sunday: Leanings

Ashley Union Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Next time you need a loaf of bread...

The old sandstone marker at the grave of Jacob Foust (d. 1841) tells us in words and in symbol—oak leaves—that Foust led a long life.

In memory of
died April 22, 1841,
in the 86 year of his

Wondering whether one of my go-to accounts of early Delaware County would shed some light on Mr. Foust’s life, I turned to History of Delaware County and Ohio.

Bingo! The following passage helped to bring Jacob Foust back to life, if only in my mind’s eye.

Jacob Foust, with a large family, came to what is now Ohio from Pennsylvania as early as 1799. Upon his arrival at the Ohio River, he found it so swollen by rains that he was forced to camp until it subsided. Crossing near Wheeling and plunging into the forest, he started in the direction Zanesville, at which place he arrived after countless trials, and quarter his family in a blacksmith shop. In a short time, he moved to Ross County, where he remained until the spring of 1807, when he came up to the forks of the Whetstone,1 and squatted on land belonging to the Campbell heirs. He immediately put up a cabin, and then set to work clearing his land, gaining material assistance from his four stalwart sons. The first season, they cleared some five or six acres and planted it with corn. Everything grew finely, and there promised to be a large yield, but the squirrels and racoons which had gotten such a high appreciation of corn from the destruction of the crop of Nathaniel Wyatt, came down in great numbers and destroyed the entire growth. All his family are now dead.

The passage goes on to relate what is a touching story of a husband’s devotion to his wife.

The following story, illustrative of pioneer life, was told by Foust to Judge Powell many years ago. Soon after he had settled and raised his cabin, his wife was taken with a sever attach of chills and fever, and from that cause, she became dyspeptic. They had an abundance of corn-bread in the house, but this, she said, did not agree with her. She told her husband that what she needed was some wheat bread. Foust knew that there was no flour within fifty or sixty miles, but from devotion to his wife, he determined to overcome all obstacles, and get the desired article. He took a bag of wheat on his back, went to Zanesville2 to get it ground, and then brought it back to his wife.

Next time you need a loaf of bread, think of Jacob Foust.

From the archives. Read about my first visit to Mound Cemetery. My daughter and I visited last September, searching for the graves of early Ohio ancestors. 

1 The Whetstone River was later renamed. Today we know it as the Olentangy.
2 From the “forks of the Whetstone” in Delaware County, Ohio to Zanesville? About seventy miles on today’s roads.

Mound (or Foust) Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Friday, September 9, 2011

A small zinc marker

At first glance, I guessed the zinc marker was for a child because of its small size. Looking more closely, I realized it was placed for a woman, Caroline Amanda Buck (b. 1827, d. 1898). Because no husband was named on the gravestone, I wondered whether she was a spinster or a widow when she died.

FEBRUARY 12, 1827,
JULY 6, 1898.

Within a few minutes, coughs up hints that Ms. Buck was a widow, that her husband died during the Civil War. provides a probably marriage record: On April 15, 1847, Andrew M. Buck married Amanda Waters in Marion, Ohio.

Marriage record from

Ancestry provides Mr. Buck’s military record: He enlisted in the Union Army (as a musician) in October, 1861; he died of disease in Kentucky, February, 1862.

Military record from

Mrs. Buck, who evidently never remarried, lived as a widow for over thirty years. Federal Census records offer a glimpse—but only a glimpse—into her life. In 1870 she was head of the household, “keeping house,” and raising three daughters (17, 14, and 10 years old). In 1880, her daughters grown, Mrs. Buck, 52 years old, was living with her eldest daughter’s family.

Ashley Union Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Jane Steward

A classic urn-and-willow design draws your eye to the gravestone for Jane Steward (d. 1851).

Daughter of
Spencer &
Nancy Steward
Died Feb. 4th 1851.
Aged 15 yrs, 7 m,
& 16 ds.
They die in Jesus and are blessed
How calm their slumbers are
From sufferings and from sins
released. And fread from evry snare

The epitaph is from a hymn by Isaac Watts (b. 1674, d. 1748), a prolific hymn writer with 750 hymns to his credit—and an untold number of epitaphs.

Hear what the voice from heaven proclaims
For all the pious dead;
Sweet is the savour of their names,
And soft their sleeping bed.

They die in Jesus, and are blessed;
How calm their slumbers are!
From sufferings and from sins released,
And freed from every snare.

Far from this world of toil and strife,
They’re present with the Lord;
The labours of their mortal life
End in a large reward.

Census records show that sometime before 1860, the Steward family, a large family with many children, left their farm in Ohio to settle in Iowa.

Blue Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Clara Gast

The small marker at the grave of Clara Gast (d. 1873) has weathered a bit, making the inscription less crisp than it once was. It is worth a read, especially its personalized epitaph. Sweet, if not entirely original.

[daughter of]
D. & C. M. GAST
MAR. 14, 1873
9 mo. 29 D’s

Weep not she is at rest the
Lord has taken Clara home

Clara’s unique, casually draped gravestone is striking in its simplicity.

Prospect Cemetery, Marion County, Ohio
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