Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Monday, July 8, 2013

Shield Them From Further Harm

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA 
Base of a monument of a cairn with a cross atop it.  Ivy surrounds the shield. 
My favorite part?  The small hand to the left of the shield holding the calla lily. 

Shields adorn more 19th century tombstones than you would think, mainly as a more decorative way to display the information about the deceased.  It's more formal and more aesthetically pleasing to carve the name and dates of birth and death on a shield than just on the flat slab of marble or granite. 

Shields also...well, they SHIELD.  They protect the deceased from any further harm, sheltering them behind a piece of weaponry that had been used for more than two thousand years.  According to http://www.myarmoury.com/feature_shield.html, shields were used by everyone in ancient times, from peasants to soldiers.  And a shield was actually more important than a sword:  consider that the Roman historian Cornelius Tacitus wrote, "To lose one's shield is the basest of crimes." 

A shield on a tombstone can signify military service as well, or it can be the base for a crest of a family name or a fraternal organization (the Knights of Pythias, most notably; see my blog entry for more information on them.  http://callmetaphy.blogspot.com/2012/01/and-to-all-good-knight.html)

The use of a shield on a 19th century tombstone could also just be a signature of, or the whimsy of, the stone carver.  Sometimes symbols don't necessarily have deeper meanings, but just look great.  Thanks for reading, and you can contact me at tschane2@verizon.net.


Carversville Cemetery, Carversville, PA

Chestnut Hill Church Cemetery, Coopersburg, PA

Clinton Center Baptist Cemetery, Clinton, PA

Dalton Shoemaker Cemetery, Dalton, PA

Forty Fort Cemetery, Forty Fort, PA


Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Glen Dyberry Cemetery, Honesdale, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA
What is the opening and the little door at the top?  So glad you asked.  This cemetery (and others in this part of PA) once had photographs of the deceased placed in this opening, and the little door closed over it.  They probably had glass over the photograph as well.  In this cemetery in Slatington, I counted more than 60 tombstones with this memorial method.  And yes, I opened every single door, but nothing remains, except minute scraps of what was the photograph and about 60 very happy wasp families.

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA
A more fancy version of the memorial photograph, with a decorative metal insert that still remains. 
No photograph, unfortunately, just another wasp family.

Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA

Hillcrest Cemetery, Roslyn, PA

Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA 
A more whimsical carving of a shield, a la Salvador Dali.

Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA

Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA
Detail of monument to Capt. Charles H. Flagg, Union Army, killed at Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. 
Note how the shield is on its side, denoting Flagg's demise.


Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
No, I cannot figure out what the banner across the shield says, can you? Possibly "Woodward"?

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Maple Grove Cemetery, Pleasant Mount, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Milford Cemetery, Milford, PA

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Old Brick Reformed Church Cemetery, Freehold, NJ

St. Paul's UCC Indianland Cemetery, Cherryville, PA

Stone Church Cemetery, Stone Church, PA

Stone Church Cemetery, Stone Church, PA

Tennent Presbyterian Cemetery, Tennent, NJ

Thompson Cemetery, Thompson, PA

Trinity Great Swamp UCC Cemetery, Spinnerstown, PA

Tunkhannock Cemetery, Tunkhannock, PA

Willow View Cemetery, Clifford, PA

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ
I nearly broke my ankle, running towards this one, I was so excited. 
The chain is carved out of marble, as is all of this, and it's STILL INTACT.  Love it.

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA 
There was more to this monument, as you look at the bottom, I believe this was a "bed tombstone" or "grave cradle," with marble "bed rails" on the sides, and then probably a "footboard" of some sort.  There may also have been a statue on the ground underneath the shield at one point.

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
This column is broken on purpose, demonstrating a life cut short.

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Zion's Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, PA

Zion's Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, PA

Zion's Stone Church Cemetery, New Ringgold, PA
You can see the remains of the place for the memorial photograph over the shield,
and the screw holes where the cover used to be attached.

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
Two shields, one at the base of the "headboard" and one on the "footboard."

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA
Shields on all four sides.

West Long Branch United Methodist Cemetery, West Long Branch, NJ

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Hays Cemetery, Easton, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Laurel Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

St. Mary's Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

St. Mary's Cemetery, Doylestown, PA

Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Hickory Grove Cemetery, Waverly, PA
Frances Holgate was a state president of the Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic,
the ladies auxiliary of the military fraternity of union veterans.

Hillcrest Cemetery, Roslyn, PA
So sad.  So young.

 
St. Peter's Episcopal Cemetery, Perth Amboy, NJ

Hazleton Cemetery, Hazleton, PA

Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

Woodlands Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Raubsville Cemetery, Raubsville, PA
Union and grave markers for the veterans of the Civil War have a shield carved into it.

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA
The Grand Army of the Republic monument in the veterans' section.

 

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