Saturday, December 31, 2011

Fragments: Joanna H. Winters

June 2011
The child-sized stone—a ledger stone or perhaps a table stone fallen from its legs—was never meant to stand erect. Its entire face is filled by inscription, epitaph, and finally, the carver’s signature, John Strickler. 

The gravestone for Joanna H. Winters (d. 1836) is easier to read without grasses and such growing between the fragments. Still, it is worth the effort to remember this child by reconstructing the sentiments on her gravestone.

October 2011

Sacred to the memory of
Infant daughter of Rev.
Thomas H. & Harriet
Winters who departed this
life Decr 8th, 1836 aged
6 months & 16 days.

Look carefully at the end of her name. At first glance, I thought the spelling was Joannah. Finally I noticed carved punctuation and decided it is meant to read Joanna H.

October 2011

Filling in the broken and hidden bits with the text from the hymn that is the source (“Death of a Child” by Joel Assac Knight), the epitaph reads,

Alas! How chang’d that lovely flow’r;
Which bloom’d and cheer’d my heart;
Fair fleeting comfort of an hour;
How soon we’re call’d to part.

From adverse blasts, and lowering storms
Her favoured soul he bore
And with yon bright angelic forms
She lives to die no more.

Why should I vex my heart or fret;
No more she’ll visit me
My soul will mount to her at last,
And there my child I’ll see.

I visited Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery twice this year, in June and in October. Neither time were my photos of this stone nearly as legible as the photo that Nancy Ann Mull Buchanan posted on in January. Thank you, Nancy, for permission to include your photograph here.

Photo by Nancy Ann Mull Buchanan, January 2011
Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Perry County, Ohio

Friday, December 30, 2011

A proud stone carver

Perhaps the first thing you notice about the large siltstone marker at the grave of Noah Ruffner (d. 1844) is that it tilts to the left—a lot.

Now compare Mr. Ruffner’s name to the stone carver’s. The carver’s name, John Strickler, is nearly larger than Mr. Ruffner’s!

In memory of
died June
17, 1844
Aged 32 yrs
4 mo. 20 ds.

The workmanship is outstanding. No wonder Mr. Strickler was proud.

Though perhaps the large signature is not about pride. After all, John Strickler is the same stone carver who once carved an advertisement on a gravestone. Maybe he is making sure his brand is recognized.

Note about tilt vs. lean. In October the Ohio Chapter of the Association for Gravestone Studies sponsored a gravestone conservation workshop led by Ta Mara Conde of Historic Gravestone Services (New Salem, MA). One of the tidbits I learned that day was that leaning is for gravestones that are off vertical front to back, face upward or face downward; tilting is for side to side.

Baptist Corners Cemetery, Fairfield County, Ohio

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Epitaph: Bright shining as the sun

The sandstone tablet marker at the grave of Joseph Pool (d. 1849) has appeared here before (here and here), but I have overlooked its epitaph—until now.

When we,v been there ten thousand years,
Bright shining as the sun,
We,v no less days to sing Gods praise,
Than when we first begun,
Recognize the verse? We know it today as a verse from the popular hymn “Amazing Grace,” written (mostly) by English poet and clergyman John Newton (b. 1725, d. 1807).

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

T’was Grace that taught...
my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear...
the hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares...
we have already come.
T’was Grace that brought us safe thus far...
and Grace will lead us home.

The Lord has promised good to me...
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be...
as long as life endures.

When we’ve been here ten thousand years...
bright shining as the sun.
We've no less days to sing God’s praise...
then when we’ve first begun.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me....
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now, I see.

There is more to the story of this epitaph: John Newton did not write it! It did not appear in print as a verse of “Amazing Grace” until Tom sang it in Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin, which was not published until 1852.

According to Jonathan Aitken writing in John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace (2007):
The four lines beginning “When we’ve been here ten thousand years” had been orally around in Afro-American worship for at least half a century, for they were from a verse in a hymn often sung in Virginia known as “Jerusalem, My Happy Home.” This verse was established as the new conclusion of “Amazing Grace” by Edwin Othello Excell (b. 1851, d. 1921).
An early manuscript of “Jerusalem, My Happy Home” is in the British Museum today. That manuscript dates to the late 16th or early 17th century.

Williamsville Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Sydner D. Richards

I found the name on this small gravestone difficult to read. S...That much is clear. Then what? Y...That is a Y, right? Sylvester? No, too few letters.

I gave up several times before I eventually found the answer on yielded birth record and death record extracts for Sydner D. Richards (d. 1883), the son of George Richards and Mary Commons Richards.

Of course it says Sydner! Amazing how easy a gravestone is to read when you already know what it says.

son of
G.[H.] & M.A.
Aug. 20, 1883
6 [Ms. &] 6 Ds.

The short epitaph, barely legible, is from Luke 18:16, Suffer little children to come to me.

I suspect a transcription error with the birth record. The death record indicates he was born in 1883, as does his gravestone. Aged 6 [Ms.]


Union Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Margaret’s prayer bench

At first it looks a bit like a small chair, but the monument that marks the grave of Margaret A. Newhouse may be meant to be a prayer bench or kneeler, topped with a heavy Bible.

Margaret is buried in Bokes Creek Cemetery near the graves of her husband, Adam Newhouse (b. 1834, d. 1910), and his second wife, Martha Cowgill Newhouse (b. 1842, d. 1893). Several grave sites (empty? unmarked?) separate them.

JUNE, 15, 1870
32 YS & 5 MS.


Last winter when there was a bit of snow on the ground, I took my first photos of Margaret’s gravestone, including the spine of the Bible on top.

Bokes Creek Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohiio

Monday, December 26, 2011

Grave images: Scroll

A scroll carved on a gravestone is often interpreted to represent Christian scriptures. Another popular interpretation is that the scroll represents life and the passage of time.

More often than not, the gravestone inscription is carved on the scroll, which may support the scroll-as-life interpretation.

The scroll began to appear on gravestones in the mid- to late-nineteenth century. Now and then you might notice one on a contemporary stone as well.

Robert Ferguson, Blue Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Jacob Colflesh, Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Adelia Grummon, East Liberty Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Elizabeth Harris, Oller Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Nelson Edmond Taylor, Blue Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Abigail M. Marks, Powell Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Elizabeth Ferguson, Blue Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Christmas birthday

Elizabeth Auzella (Voller) Mayer
December 25, 1886 – May 31, 1956

Elizabeth Voller wedding portrait, 1922

Happy birthday, Grandmother.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Brock’s angel

A popular post here on Gravestoned is “Angel of Grief,” posted last December. A few months ago, while visiting Ashley Union Cemetery, I spied another, smaller angel of grief at the grave of Brock Anthony Van Scyoc (b. 1987, d. 2006).

Brock Anthony
Van Scyoc
SEPT. 8, 1987
FEB. 23, 2006

Beloved Son


Only part of Brock’s angel is carved on his stone, but it is not so hard to imagine the entire angel collapsed in grief at his grave.

In comparison, here are the photos from last year’s “Angel of Grief” post:

Photo by Einar Einarsson Kvaran aka Carptrash 17:52, 7 August 2006 (UTC)


Brock Van Scyoc, Ashley Union Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
William and Emelyn Story, Protestant Cemetery, Rome, Italy
Nancy Faulk, Jerome Township Cemetery, Union County, Ohio

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Grave images: Broken bud

A broken bud is a symbol for a premature or untimely death—a life that has ended before it has bloomed.

Most often, the broken bud (most I have seen are roses) is found on the gravestone a child or young adult.


By the way, there is a particularly interesting example of a broken bud posted on Gravely Speaking, a blog by Douglas M. Rife.

Lorain M. Andrews, Mill Creek Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
Anna M. Keys, Maple Grove Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio
Sarah E. Day, Houck Cemetery, Knox County, Ohio
Ada Kennedy, Sunbury Memorial Park, Delaware County, Ohio
Rosa E. and Henrietta H. Adams, Glendale Cemetery, Morrow County, Ohio

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday’s child: Jean Alberta McClintock

A child angel stands watch at the grave of Jean Alberta McClintock (b. 1920, d. 1924), “Our Baby.” Is that a rag doll that she is holding? Flowers perhaps?


1920 — 1924

Young Jean’s death certificate identifies her parents, Albert and Edna (Schroeder) McClintock, and her dates of birth and death. It also states a cause of death from a rather uncommon disease, Encephalitis Lethargica, also known as “sleepy sickness” (not sleeping sickness).


An interesting 2004 health article from BBC News states,

Encephalitis Lethargica was a devastating illness that swept the world in the 1920’s. It attacked the brain, leaving victims like living statues, speechless and motionless. During the outbreak, nearly a million died, and millions more were left frozen inside their useless bodies, in institutions.

According to the U.S. Army Medical Department,

The first case of encephalitis lethargica in the United States on which any data are available occurred in the city of New York on September 4, 1918. ... The portal of entry into North America is not known. However, during the latter half of 1918 the disease spread rapidly throughout the United States, and by May, 1919, cases had been reported from 20 States, the largest numbers occurring in Illinois, New York, Louisiana, Virginia, and Ohio. During that time 255 cases were reported.

Did you read Awakenings by Oliver Sacks? That was Encephalitis Lethargica.

Union Cemetery, Franklin County, Ohio

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Young veteran

William Webster Beardsley (d. 1866) was a young Ohio man who evidently survived his service in the Civil War, only to die a year (minus a few days) after the final shot of the war was fired.

The William Beardsley gravestone is a simpler, smaller version of one we have seen before, the monument to James Vansant. Both gravestones, which are steps apart in Claibourne Cemetery, bear the same eagle-and-shield motif.

Son of J. G. & P.
a member of Co. H. 82 Reg. O.V.I.
Apr. 4, 1866,
25 Ys. & 2 Ds.

William’s parents are Job and Patience Beardsley. Patience, who died in 1870, is buried near her son.

Patience Beardslee  James Vansant
Claibourne Cemetery, Union County, Ohio

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Fragments: Mary Jane Case

Just inside the simple break in the split-rail fence that is the entrance to Liberty Church Cemetery there is a graveyard within the graveyard: Several rows of tablet stones lie face up on the ground. Are they orphan stones, separated from their graves?

The gravestone for Mary Jane Case (d. 1853) is one of these orphan stones, broken in two pieces. One of the roses carved on the gravestone is wilting and has drooped to touch the ground.

Dau. of S.W. &
Jan. 16, 1853
14 Y’s & [_______]
Remember youth as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me.

Mary Jane was listed as nine years old in the 1850 Federal Census. She was one of eight children of Seth W. and Mary Case.

By the way, the Philo Thomas household is listed two lines above the Seth W. Case household in the 1850 Federal Census. Their daughter Margaret, whose gravestone was featured here yesterday, has not yet been born.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Friday, December 16, 2011

From epitaph to hymn to epitaph

The marker at the grave of Margaret J. Thomas (d. 1877) is a draped pedestal topped by an open book. Considering this monument stands in a churchyard cemetery and bears references to Jesus on its face, surmising that the book is meant to be a Bible is not unreasonable.

he giveth his beloved sleep.
AUG. 8, 1877:
Aged 26 Yrs.
9 Ms. 8 Ds.
Asleep in Jesus, blessed sleep
From which none ever wakes to weep
A calm and undisturbed repost
Unbroken by the last of foes.

The epitaph is the first verse from the hymn “Asleep in Jesus, Blessed Sleep,” written by Margaret Mackay (b. 1802, d. 1887), a native of Scotland.

It is written that Mrs. Mackay once visited a chapel cemetery in Devonshire, England where she noticed a gravestone with the simple words “Sleeping in Jesus.” According to Nicholas Smith writing in Songs from the Hearts of Women (1903), “the expressive inscription and the impressive stillness of the scene gave birth to the hymn.”

Asleep in Jesus! Blessèd sleep,
From which none ever wakes to weep;
A calm and undisturbed repose,
Unbroken by the last of foes.

Asleep in Jesus! Oh, how sweet,
To be for such a slumber meet,
With holy confidence to sing
That death has lost his venomed sting!

Asleep in Jesus! Peaceful rest,
Whose waking is supremely blessed;
No fear, no woe, shall dim that hour
That manifests the Savior’s power.

Asleep in Jesus! Oh, for me
May such a blessèd refuge be!
Securely shall my ashes lie
And wait the summons from on high.

Asleep in Jesus! time nor space
Debars this precious “hiding place”;
On Indian plains or Lapland snows
Believers find the same respose.

Asleep in Jesus! Far from thee
Thy kindred and their graves may be;
But there is still a blessèd sleep,
From which none ever wakes to weep.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Epitaph: Thou’rt gone to the grave

A fallen, broken gravestone marks the graves of Lucy Wilson Cellar (d. 1847) and three of her infant children.

Wife of
Died June 2, 1847. Æ.39 Yrs.
their three Infant children

Jan. 20, 1843.
Aged 26 ds.

Oct. 16, 1846
[Aged _____]
Nov. 20, 1845
Æ.9 mo. & 8 d[s.]

Suffer little children
to come unto me and
forbid them not for of
such is the Kingdom
[of Heaven.]

But that is just the top piece of the stone. There is also an interesting epitaph that was originally at the bottom.

Thou’rt gone to the grave,
But ’twere wrong to deplore thee,
When God was thy ransom,
Thy guardian and guide,
He gave thee and took thee,
And soon will restore thee,
Where death has no sting,
Since the Saviour has died.

Bishop Reginald Heber
The epitaph was taken from a funeral hymn written by Reginald Heber (b. 1783, d. 1826) after the death of his first child. Here is the full version:

Thou art gone to the grave, but we will not deplore thee,
Though sorrows and darkness encompass the tomb;
The Savior has passed through its portal before thee,
And the lamp of His love is thy guide through the gloom.

Thou art gone to the grave, we no longer behold thee,
Nor tread the rough path of the world by thy side;
But the wide arms of mercy are spread to enfold thee,
And sinners may hope, since the Sinless has died.

Thou art gone to the grave, and, its mansion forsaking,
Perhaps thy tried spirit in doubt lingered long;
But the sunshine of Heaven beamed bright on thy waking,
And the song which thou heard’st was the seraphims’ song.

Thou art gone to the grave, but ’twere wrong to deplore thee,
When God was thy ransom, thy guardian, thy guide;
He gave thee, and took thee, and soon will restore thee,
Where death has no sting, since the Savior hath died.

Liberty Church Cemetery, Delaware County, Ohio
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