Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Be Still, My Heart

South Gibson Cemetery, South Gibson, PA



In honor of St. Valentine's Day, this week's blog will feature the use of the heart symbol on cemetery tombstones.  This is one symbol that I do not need to spend much time explaining, as it is a symbol that has transcended time and means much the same thing today as it did 150 years ago.

The early to mid-19th century tombstones that featured a heart carved into the stone meant it to stand for devotion to the deceased, or as a symbol for God's love.  Then later in the 19th century and into the early 20th century, I have noticed a heart-shaped granite stone that appears frequently in cemeteries in eastern Pennsylvania, all very similar.  They were mostly used for children at this time.

My guess is these were available through mail-order catalogs and were shipped via railroad from the companies that sold them.  Around the turn of the 20th century, gravestones were sold by retailers such as Sears & Roebuck and Montgomery Ward.  People could also order from stone-cutting companies such as the Vermont Marble Company, either directly from the company or through its traveling sales agents.  It was also common for people to order a stock design ''blank" from a large stone-cutting company, and then a local stone carver would carve the name, dates and epitaph for the family of the deceased.  Because these heart shape stones are so similar and yet located in different parts of the state, I really believe they must have been a stock item from a catalog company like Sears.  But I have yet to come across a catalog to prove it.

Today, heart-shaped stones of granite are still popular, and now are bigger and can be grey, pink, or even shiny black with laser etchings.  Even some of the ones I have shown below are from the mid-20th century, though they look older than that.  The essence of the heart, it seems, will endure long after the body has decayed. 

Fabulous Tree, Lamb, Obelisk, and Heart underneath the name, Forks Cemetery, Stockertown, PA

Jerusalem Evan. Lutheran Cemetery, Sellersville, PA

Morrisville Cemetery, Morrisville, PA

St. John Evangelist Roman Catholic Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

St. John Evangelist Roman Catholic Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Name is in a Heart inside the Wreath, St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA

Name is in a Heart inside the Wreath, St. Paul's Lutheran Blue Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA


Trumbauersville UCC Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA

Trumbauersville UCC Cemetery, Trumbauersville, PA

Heart and a Flame, Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA


Immanuel Leidy's Cemetery, Souderton, PA

Indian Creek Christ Reformed Cemetery, Indian Valley, PA

This is the type of stone I see over and over again.  This one for twins, Madisonville Union Cemetery, Madisonville, PA


East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

Grace UCC Cemetery, Tannersville, PA

Grace UCC Cemetery, Tannersville, PA

Neola Methodist Cemetery, Neola, PA

Holy Ghost Greek Catholic Cemetery, Jessup, PA

Northwood Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Mt. Sharon Cemetery, Springfield, PA


St. Mark's Lutheran Cemetery, Appenzell, PA

St. Mark's Lutheran Cemetery, Appenzell, PA

 
Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Deep Run Mennonite West Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

Deep Run Mennonite West Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

Deep Run Mennonite West Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

Deep Run Mennonite West Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

Deep Run Mennonite West Cemetery, Bedminster, PA


Doylestown Mennonite Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Indian Orchard Cemetery, Indian Orchard, PA

Old Brooklyn Cemetery, Brooklyn, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Quakertown, PA

St. Peter's Union Cemetery, Hilltown, PA

Doylestown Mennonite Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

Pleasant Hill Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, PA

St. John's Lutheran Cemetery, Quakertown, PA


Milwaukee Cemetery, Milwaukee, PA

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