Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Art of Making a Willow Weep

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA  (note the two leaning obelisks)

For this blog, I wanted to add more pictures of weeping willows that I have gathered since the first Weeping Willow blog entry I did almost 4 months ago.

Weeping willows really were the most popular symbol in early to mid-19th century cemeteries.  Besides the obvious symbol of mourning that they represented...a tree that weeps right along with the human mourners...the willow also was a symbol of rebirth.  Rebirth, life after death, a point to all the sorrow that death brought to 19th-century society---these were important concepts to people then.  And a weeping willow branch can be pushed into wet ground, and it will soon root and grow and prosper.  I think of the giant weeping willow that was on the property that my parents bought when I was seven, where I grew up in Madisonville, PA.  Dad cut down the willow when I was in my teens because he was tired of raking the millions of leaves it shed every fall.  But he kept one branch and pushed it into the ground in the back corner of the property, where it always is moist and spongy.  That willow branch is more than 20 feet tall now.  I think that is why 19th-century society used the willow so freely on the tombstones of their loved ones...the rejuvenating qualities of the willow brought them comfort.  Perhaps their loved ones would find rejuvenation in the afterlife.

So here are some of my favorite examples of weeping willows.  Many are accompanied by urns or obelisks (a tall shaft with a pyramid on the top---think Washington Monument in DC). These were traditional funeral symbols in the 1800's.  Some have broken flowers at their base, some are attended by human mourners in flowing clothes, some have books next to them.  And my absolute favorites are hand-carved, without the use of steam-powered tools.  Someday I am going to find out who carved these figures on the slabs of slate that have weathered to a mottled golden brown. (The last four pictures here) To me, this is truly art.

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (leaning obelisk)

Daleville Cemetery, Daleville, PA

East Swamp Mennonite Cemetery, Quakertown, PA (a monument, angel, roses and columns)

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA (angels and mourning figure)

Trumbauersville UCC, Trumbauersville, PA (monument & mourning figure)

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Immanuel Leidy's Cemetery, Souderton, PA

Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

St. Peter's Union Cemetery, Hilltown, PA (lamb)

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA (monument & broken rose)

Evergreen Cemetery, Gettsyburg, PA (monument)

Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA (OMG! monument & mourning figure)

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (monument)

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (monument)

Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

Trumbauersville UCC, Trumbauersville, PA (monument)
Neshaminy Presbyterian, Warrington, PA (church---20th century)

South Montrose Cemetery, South Montrose, PA (monument w/ eternal flame at top)

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (obelisk)

Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA (obelisk & columns)

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA (monument, flowers, star at top)

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA (obelisk, books)

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA (obelisk & books)

Old Brooklyn Cemetery, Brooklyn, PA

Old Brooklyn Cemetery, Brooklyn, PA

Old Brooklyn Cemetery, Brooklyn, PA

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

South Montrose Cemetery, South Montrose, PA

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA

St. John's Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Ridge Valley, PA

St. Peter's Union Cemetery, Hilltown, PA (flowers)

St. Peter's Tohickon UCC Cemetery, Keelersville, PA

Trumbauersville UCC, Trumbauersville, PA (books)

Darling Cemetery, Honesdale, PA (urn)

Darling Cemetery, Honesdale, PA (urn)

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA (urn)

Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA (urn)

Old Honesdale Cemetery, Honesdale, PA (urn)

Prompton Cemetery, Prompton, PA (urn w/heart)

South Montrose Cemetery, South Montrose, PA (urn)

Sterling Cemetery, Sterling, PA (urn)


Welsh Hill Cemetery, Clifford, PA

Wentz's UCC Cemetery, Worcester, PA


Trumbauersville UCC, Trumbauersville, PA (monument, mourning figure)

Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA (monument)

Prompton Cemetery, Prompton, PA (broken bud and rose)

Sterling Cemetery, Sterling, PA (urn)

Zion Cemetery, Newfoundland, PA (urn w/2 hearts)

Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA (urn & bird)

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA (urn)
Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA (urn)

Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA (urn)

Marcy Pioneer Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA (monument)

Marcy Pioneer Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA (hand carved--urn with Masons' symbol)

Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA (urn)

Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA (urn)

Montrose Cemetery, Montrose, PA

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