The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Friday, January 4, 2013

More Memorable Memorials

Here are a few more tales behind some beautifully carved tombstones that I have come across in my taphophile travels.  

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

This large memorial (at least 12 feet tall) features white marble with pink granite columns, four draped urns, and a statue of a woman being guided by an angel under a cross.  The Maull family name is an old one in Philadelphia and Delaware with strong connections to the Delaware River and mariner pursuits.  James Maull Sr., who is buried in this plot, was born in 1794 and made his living as a sailmaker, as did his father before him.  His grandfather, also named James Maull, was a Delaware River pilot who guided ships past the river’s mouth and into the ports of Philadelphia while avoiding the dangerous shoals and shallows.  Many members of the Maull family were river pilots, sail makers or shipwrights, and made their fortunes on the Delaware River.  Our James Maull died in 1857, but he left his family well off, as his widow Sarah Heidel Maull was worth $45,000 in the 1860 census (no small sum then).  Her one son was a merchant, and one daughter married Benjamin Lehman Langstroth, a Germantown dealer in wholesale liquor and wine.  In 1860, Langstroth and his wife Margaret Maull lived with her mother, and Langstroth was worth a mere $113,000.  Sarah Heidel Maull’s other son John attended the University of Pennsylvania’s law school before passing the Bar, and his classmate Charles Rogers Kay, also a lawyer, married his sister, Salome Troubat Maull.  Salome and Charles Kay are also buried here, along with two of their sons, James Maull Kay (who died at age 37) and John Rogers Kay (who died at age 36).  

Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery, Warrington, PA
In the late 1700s and early 1800s, Bucks County, Pennsylvania saw the influx of many Scots-Irish Presbyterians.  Most notably was William Tennent, the pastor of Neshaminy Presbyterian Church and the founder of the Log College, the small school that trained many of the evangelical preachers who spread the religious message of the Second Great Awakening.  This religious movement claimed that all souls could be saved through revival meetings, and these "praise-the-Lord" gatherings took place throughout the infant United States, especially in the northern and mid-Atlantic states.  

Hugh Long (1773-1845) and his wife Mary McNair (1778-1854) were descendants of Scottish immigrants.  The thistle carving on their tombstone is a national symbol of Scotland.  The Long family owned about 400 acres on the banks of the Neshaminy Creek in Warwick Township, Bucks County.  Hugh’s father was Hugh Long Sr., and had been a 1st Lieutenant in the Bucks County Battalion of the Flying Camp during the Revolutionary War.  He died of camp fever when his son Hugh was only 5.  Hugh Long Jr. and his wife Mary had five children, including sons Mahlon and Charles, who became teachers and the founders of the Tennent School.  This log building was located in what is now the Neshaminy Presbyterian Cemetery.  It was established in honor of Rev. William Tennent, and the Long brothers educated boys and young men in the school for 20 years.

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA
This monument reminds me of a child’s precariously stacked blocks, but it’s lasted more than 140 years, so I guess it is securely balanced.  The sarcophagus (no, that is not a bathtub) has cherub faces and wings carved at the corners, and the angel on the top used to have a hand pointing to heaven.  Samuel Yohe (1805-1880) descended from one of the first Caucasian families to settle in Easton.  Adam Yohe operated one of the first taverns on the town square.  Samuel’s father John owned property on the square as well (possibly the same tract) and bequeathed it to Samuel upon his death.  Samuel opened a general store in 1827, one month after his marriage to Maria Heller (1805-1862).

Maria’s father Jacob (who fought in the Revolutionary War) bequeathed a mill on the Bushkill Creek to his son-in-law, and Samuel Yohe worked hard and made great improvements to it.  In 1836, Samuel served as Northampton County Prothonotary, and in 1839, he became an Associate Judge.  In 1848, he was elected County Treasurer.  He also served on the Easton town council, and commanded a private militia company known as the Washington Grays.  When many of the young men of that company left to serve in the Mexican War, Samuel recruited another militia company called the National Guards.   These militia served as the local peace-keeping forces.  In 1843, Yohe’s Washington Grays were called out to quell the Lehigh Canal boatmen’s strike.  The strike, which had been going on for several weeks, ceased when the militia showed up.  

Easton is situated at the “Forks of the Delaware,” where the Lehigh River flows into the Delaware River.  Flooding was and is common in the low areas of the city, and in 1841, a freshet devastated the area.  Yohe suffered serious losses at his saw mill, totaling more than $6,000.  A few years later in 1850, he lost his general store property in a sheriff’s sale.  But he rebuilt his mill business, and when the Civil War broke out, Yohe was elected colonel of PA 1st Regiment, Co. C, a three-month regiment.  They were sent to Maryland to guard access to the White House.  Yohe never saw any major combat, but he arrested Southern sympathizer John Merryman, who was held without trial by Union forces without regard to habeas corpus.  The US Supreme Court under Chief Justice Roger Taney declared this action illegal and ordered the release of Merryman, but Abraham Lincoln defied the ruling and suspended habeas corpus throughout the Civil War.

In 1862, Samuel’s wife Maria died.  This monument in Easton Cemetery is his memorial to her.  In 1863, Yohe was appointed Provost Marshall for the 11th district of Pennsylvania and was responsible for enforcing the draft during the Civil War.  In 1864, he married a woman named Caroline from Philadelphia, and in 1866 they moved there and lived on North Broad Street (where the “new money” people lived).  In 1868, Yohe’s mill and distillery in Easton burned, and he entered  into the banking and brokerage business with an Easton partner, E.A. Depew.  However, Yohe remained living in Philadelphia, where he died in 1880.  

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

Samuel Able (1821-1865) was a son of Jacob Able, who partnered with four other men, including Hopewell Hepburn, in the 1830s in Easton to manufacture cut nails under the name Stewart and Co.  In 1836, they changed their product to wire nails (the kind we know today), and their mill became the largest of its kind in the mid-19th century United States.  They manufactured other kinds of wire products, from hair-thread-size wire to chunky bridge cables, and at the company’s height, they employed 200 people.  The company operated until 1876.  

Jacob Able’s son Samuel was working as a clerk in Easton (for his father’s company?) in 1847 when he married Martha Valeria Roseberry (1825-1903), granddaughter of Revolutionary War soldier John Roseberry of New Jersey.  They named their first son Hopewell Hepburn Able, who died in 1857 at age 9.  Samuel Able became a coal merchant by 1860 and died at the end of the Civil War.   

The widowed Martha, who preferred to use her middle name Valeria, continued to live in Easton with her children, Samuel Valerius Able and Nettie Able.  Valeria’s brother Charles Roseberry was a doctor in Easton and lived next door, and perhaps he served as a surrogate father for young Samuel V. Able, who was only 4 when his father had died.  Samuel V. Able attended Lafayette College in Easton and also became a doctor.  He eventually moved to New York City in the late 1880’s. 

I was interested in learning more about Hopewell Hepburn, one of Jacob Able’s business partners and the name-inspiration for Samuel Able's son:  Hepburn was born about 1800 in Northumberland Co., PA, and died in Philadelphia in 1863.  His mother’s maiden name was Hopewell.  He attended Lafayette College in Easton and became an attorney in Easton in 1822.  He was appointed a judge in Northampton County, and served as a trustee of Lafayette College from 1837-1846.  In 1845, Hepburn was appointed President Judge in Pittsburgh, and he moved there with his family.  He had married Caroline Cauffman, the daughter of a Philadelphia lawyer, and they had six children, including Lawrence Cauffman Hepburn, who practiced law with his father in Pittsburgh after his father resigned his position in 1851 due to politics.  (Hepburn was a Democrat and the Whigs had recently gained power in the state.)  Hopewell also served as president of the Allegheny Bank for three years, but then his health began to fail.  His family moved to Philadelphia, and he died there in 1863.  He and his wife are buried in the Woodlands Cemetery. (And now I have to go back to the Woodlands Cemetery to see if I can find them!)

Greenwood Cemetery, Howertown, PA

This is one of 7 substantially sized and ornate zinc monuments in the Greenwood Cemetery of Howertown, northeast of Allentown.  The cemetery is not that large, and yet there are also many zinc plot markers and small individual zinc markers located around the large family monuments.  Usually that means someone in the area, probably in the family, was a salesman for the Monumental Bronze Company, the manufacturer of zinc memorials from Bridgeport, CT.  They were in business from about 1875 to 1920, and they sold their products through regional contract salespeople.  Through my research, I believe that Laury Laubach, a member of a local family that is also represented with several of the zinc monuments in this cemetery, might have been the salesman for the Monumental Bronze Company, as he also worked for the New Jersey Zinc Company in nearby Palmerton, PA.  It seems logical, but remains to be proven.

But back to the Levan family:  Daniel J. Levan (1862-1896) was the son of Daniel Levan and Elizabeth Deily.  Elizabeth Deily’s father was a cobbler who raised his family in the house that once belonged to George Taylor, a signer of the Declaration of Independence from Easton.  Daniel Levan’s family settled in an area that was known as Siegfried’s Bridge, located west of Howertown, and the Levan's ran a paper mill.  Daniel Levan Sr. was one of the founders of St. John’s Lutheran and Reformed Church, which is across the road from Greenwood Cemetery.  

Daniel J. Levan spent his entire life in Northampton County and was educated in the common schools.  He mostly likely attended the Levan Schoolhouse in Siegfried’s Bridge, which was first a log house built in 1793, but was a rebuilt brick building by the time Daniel most likely attended.  He married Mary Leh, who was related to Henry Leh, the founder of  the H. Leh & Co. department store that operated in Allentown and other locations from 1850 to 1996.  

Daniel and Mary were only married for 15 years when he died in 1896.  Daniel had owned a 70-acre farm plus a grist mill that had a new improved roller system much admired by his neighbors.  (In Siegfried’s Bridge in the 1870’s, Thomas Leh and and J.A. Laubach also ran mills there, taking their water power from the Hokendauqua Creek.) 

This zinc monument has a beautiful urn at the top, draped in rose garlands.  Daniel was only 34 when he died, while Mary Leh Levan lived at least into her 60's.  She is not buried here with Daniel; perhaps she remarried, as she too was only 34 when she was widowed.

That’s all for now.  Thanks for reading!

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