Graveyard

Graveyard
Cedar Hill Cemetery, Philadelphia, PA

Monday, July 22, 2013

It Could Have Been Called "West Connecticut"


Stoddartville Cemetery, Stoddartville, PA

A few weeks ago, my boneyard buddy Poppa Schane and I were in Susquehanna County, hunting cemeteries that we haven’t yet discovered.  We found West Lenox Baptist Cemetery in West Lenox, PA, in Susquehanna County, and it was a small cemetery across from the church, with maybe two hundred burials.  Even though it was small, it contained three zinc monuments.  These monuments were made by the Monumental Bronze Company, located in Bridgeport, CT.  The company made zinc memorials from about 1875 to 1912, and sold them through a network of salesmen throughout the country.  For a more in-depth history, please see my blog called “Heavy Metal Memories”:  http://callmetaphy.blogspot.com/2011/09/heavy-metal-memories.html

 

Most late-Victorian cemeteries have at least one zinc marker in them, but my father remarked that we had found many cemeteries in the northernmost counties in Pennsylvania that had at least three zincs; and some had as many as ten.  Most of Susquehanna, northern Lackawanna and Wyoming Counties are rural as well and not overly populated.  Even cemeteries in nearby Scranton and Wilkes Barre---cities that were major urban industrial centers at the time that Monumental Bronze Company was in business---have only a handful of zinc monuments in them.  So why do those northern counties have such a disproportionate number of markers of zinc? 

 

Well, as I mentioned, the Monumental Bronze Company sold its wares through a network of salesmen, who had catalogues to show to prospective buyers.  And in many cemeteries where zincs are plentiful, a simple reading of the names usually illuminates the relationships between the deceased, and one can suppose a salesman used family connections to make his commission.  But that doesn’t fully explain why zincs are so proliferate in northern Pennsylvania.  A look at a map could help:

 

Bridgeport, CT, is to the southeast of the northern counties of Pennsylvania, with New York in between.  And for more than 150 years, that part of Pennsylvania was a bone of contention between two groups of colonists.  In the 1600’s, King Charles II seemed to make a bookkeeping error and granted the territory that we know as northern Pennsylvania to both William Penn and to the originators of the colony of Connecticut.  These overlapping land claims resulted in the Pennamite-Yankee Wars as both colonies fought for control of the Wyoming Valley and the northern branch of the Susquehanna River.  Both parties also purchased the same lands from the Native Americans in the mid-1700’s (perhaps the Indians had the same bad accountant as King Charles??), but the Connecticut “Yankees” sent settlers to the territory first in 1754. The Pennamites (Pennsylvanians) followed soon after, and armed conflict broke out in 1769-70.  King George III confirmed Connecticut’s claim in 1771, but the Pennamites refused to accept this, and conflict broke out again in 1775.  Only a handful of the fighting settlers actually died in these two “wars,” but the territorial dispute continued.

 

In 1782, the Continental Congress overturned the ruling of the king they had just bested and instead, confirmed the Pennsylvania claim to the land.  Another conflict erupted then when Pennsylvania tried to oust the Connecticut settlers, but Connecticut and Vermont men came into the territory to support the Yankee settlers, resulting in another stalemate.  Finally, in 1799, through laws passed by the Pennsylvania Legislature, the lands became part of Pennsylvania, but the Yankee settlers from Connecticut became Pennsylvanians with legal claims to the lands they had settled.

 

Many of the families that settled in the northern counties of Pennsylvania in the late 1700s and 1800s emigrated from Connecticut, and it would stand to reason that they would maintain their ties with family left behind in that state.  Perhaps when the Monumental Bronze Company needed a sales force, they started locally and then those salesmen spread the word west to their kin in northern Pennsylvania.  That is my theory about why the northern Pennsylvania counties have so many zinc monuments in small rural cemeteries.  Regardless of the reason, enjoy some photographs of the wonderful zinc monuments that have stood the test of time.  Contact me at tschane2@verizon.net, thanks.


West Lenox Baptist Cemetery, West Lenox, PA


West Lenox Baptist Cemetery, West Lenox, PA

East Bangor Cemetery, East Bangor, PA

Doylestown Cemetery, Doylestown, PA


Tennent Presbyterian Cemetery, Tennent, NJ

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

My boneyard buddy himself, Evergreen Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

Jefferson Presbyterian Cemetery, Jeffersonville, PA

Mauch Chunk Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Newark, NJ

Effort Cemetery, Effort, PA

Lemon Cemetery, Lemon, PA
Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA


Zinc monuments don't erode from weather, but they are very heavy and usually need to be placed on a foundation of rocks, bricks or concrete.  When they are placed directly on the ground, like this one, they can sink.  This monument has at least 2 feet of it underground. 

Thompson Cemetery, Thompson, PA


Dunmore Cemetery, Dunmore, PA

Flicksville UCC Cemetery, Flicksville, PA

Gnaden Huetten Cemetery, Lehighton, PA

Greenwood Cemetery, Howertown, PA

Hollenback Cemetery, Wilkes Barre, PA


Hollisterville Cemetery, Hollisterville, PA


Mount Moriah Cemetery, Kimble, PA


Newfoundland Moravian Cemetery, Newfoundland, PA

St. Mark's Lutheran Cemetery, Appenzell, PA

St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Cemetery, Lafayette Hill, PA

Stoddartville Cemetery, Stoddartville, 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.