The Vergon Tree

This memorial stone marks the grave of Frederick Peter Vergon (1829-1919). Located in Oak Grove Cemetery, Delaware, Ohio, it is ten feet tall and ten feet wide and is carved from Indiana limestone. Due to the intricacy and detail of the carving it is believed to have taken several years to create.

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Within the leaves of the majestic Chestnut tree are birds, a bird nest containing eggs, an owl, lizards, and a frog located in the roots. Unfortunately, vandals have damaged many of the small sculptures.find a grave65418587_1407765421

Vergon was born in France in 1829. His parents emigrated to the USA and settled in Delaware County, Ohio, where his father purchased farm land which became Greenwood Farm. From a ravine, Frederick made Greenwood Lake which he stocked with bass. He created an amusement park surrounded by imported deciduous and evergreen trees. His interest in horticulture expanded into a vineyard and a 50 acre apple orchard.

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The Rosary  

Prayer beads are common in many cultures for example, in Buddhism, they are known as Malas. The Rosary which is specific to Roman Catholicism is devoted to Mary the Blessed Virgin and Mother of Jesus Christ.

Catholics believe the Rosary is a remedy against severe trials, temptations and the hardships of life, and that the Rosary is one of the great weapons given to believers in their battle against evil. They are almost always found on Catholic gravestones as a symbol of devotion to Mary and constant prayer for the deceased person.

The Rosary is comprised of a set of beads to recall events in the life of Jesus and Mary. They are arranged in five sets of ten (decade) and each decade is separated from the next by a larger bead. The two ends of the rosary are joined by a small string holding a crucifix, two large beads, and three small beads, 59 beads in total.

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The Joyful Mysteries

  1. The Annunciation: Mary learns that she has been chosen to be the mother of Jesus.
  2. The Visitation: Mary visits Elizabeth, who tells her that she will always be remembered.
  3. The Nativity: Jesus is born in a stable in Bethlehem.
  4. The Presentation: Mary and Joseph take the infant Jesus to the Temple to present him to God.
  5. The Finding of Jesus in the Temple: Jesus is found in the Temple discussing his faith with the teachers.

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The Sorrowful Mysteries

  1. The Agony in the Garden:Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane on the night before he dies.
  2. The Scourging at the Pillar: Jesus is lashed with whips.
  3. The Crowning With Thorns: Jesus is mocked and crowned with thorns.
  4. The Carrying of the Cross: Jesus carries the cross that will be used to crucify him.
  5. The Crucifixion: Jesus is nailed to the cross and dies.

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The Glorious Mysteries

  1. The Resurrection: God the Father raises Jesus from the dead.
  2. The Ascension: Jesus returns to his Father in heaven.
  3. The Coming of the Holy Spirit: The Holy Spirit comes to bring new life to the disciples.
  4. The Assumption of Mary: At the end of her life on earth, Mary is taken body and soul into heaven.
  5. The Coronation of Mary: Mary is crowned as Queen of Heaven and Earth.

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The Luminous Mysteries were introduced by Pope John Paul II in 2002.

  1. The Baptism of Jesus in the River Jordan: God proclaims that Jesus is his beloved Son.
  2. The Wedding Feast at Cana: At Mary’s request, Jesus performs his first miracle turning water into wine.
  3. The Proclamation of the Kingdom of God: Jesus calls all to conversion and service to the Kingdom.
  4. The Transfiguration of Jesus: Jesus is revealed in glory to Peter, James, and John.
  5. The Institution of the Eucharist: Jesus offers his Body and Blood at the Last Supper.

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The Rope Maker

Samuel Gilmore was a rope maker who owned property on the south side of the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh. His large rope-making factory and retail outlet were located on the north side of Gilmore Street (later renamed Gilmore Place). He also owned a mansion house called Lochrin Lodge whose entrance was on the north side of Home Street adjacent to the factory.

His burial place is in St. Cuthbert’s cemetery, Edinburgh, and his gravestone features many examples of iconography.

  • The headstone is capped with a winged effigy which represents the deceased soul in flight.
  • Skulls on each side of the stone symbolize death, mortality, penitence, and sin.
  • The Masonic compass and set square is a symbol used to represent the Order of Freemasons who view God as the architect and builder of the universe hence the use of these tools. The perfect right angle of the square indicates justice and truth, and the compass, capable of drawing a perfect circle, represents the all-embracing love of God.
  • The arches on each side of the stone denote an entrance to Heaven or a passageway to eternal life.
  • The drape drawn back represents the veil of death.

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Although the inscription has all but disappeared due to weather erosion, the original details are recorded on the clipping below. (#616 Obelisk refers to the square base with inscription next to Samuel’s grave.)

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MacArthur Piper

In Kilmuir graveyard on the Isle of Skye in Scotland there is a large gravestone lying flat on the ground, almost as if the scribe had walked away in the midst of engraving the epitaph. The inscription reads: ‘Here lie the remains of Charles MacKarter whose fame as an honest man and remarkable piper will survive this generation for his manners were easy and regular as his music and the the melody of his fingers will’

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This is the burial location of Charles MacArthur, the last hereditary piper to the Clan Chief MacDonald who resided in Duntulm Castle. It is believed that the stone was commissioned by Charles’ son, Donald, and when the son drowned in the Minch while returning with a boat load of cattle from Uist, the mason stopped work in the knowledge that he was unlikely to be paid. There is no record of what the full dedication would have said. (Alternatively, if the mason was a perfectionist the realization that he had made a mistake in engraving ‘the the’ could have been reason to abandon his work.)

There is a memorial to the famous MacArthur pipers situated beside Duntulm Castle. The dedication tablet states: “This cairn is to commemorate the MACARTHURS hereditary pipers to the MACDONALDS of the Isles. During the 18th century their school of piping stood at nearby Peingown’. A Gaelic inscription translates as, The world will end but love and music endureth.

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Note: Historically, a piper always marched in front of the army when going to battle to signal tactical movements to the troops.  Bagpipes were commonly used throughout the centuries during Clan battles, fights against the English, and during two World Wars to lead the men ‘over the top’ of the trenches and into battle. Unarmed pipers were an easy target for the enemy and the death rate among pipers was extremely high.

Monument Conundrum

THE LOCATION
The east wall, Greyfriars’ Churchyard, Edinburgh, Scotland. The name ‘Greyfriars’ comes from the color of the habit worn by the Franciscan monks who established the sacred ground in the 15th century.

THE LANDSCAPE
The churchyard consists of four courtyards: lower, upper, southern and western. The graveyard has a wide south slope and a narrow north slope. A significant change in the ground level (the largest slope ratio is up to 10%) required a retaining wall to be built to support the soil on the upper level of the graveyard.

THE MONUMENTS
This post makes reference to three neighbouring monuments on the east wall from north to south; Alexander Bethune, Sir Robert Dennestoun, and Alexander Miller.

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The dedication on the monument to Sir Robert Dennestoun translated from Latin reads; Behold, the world possesseth nothing permanent. Sir Robert Dennestoun lies under this tomb. He was formerly the King’s ambassador; and for thirty years, conservator of the Scottish privileges in Holland. He was also sent to, and behaved with glory, among English and Spaniards; true to his country; counsellor to his Prince; and, being full of days, having lived 78 years, he now liveth in the heavens.

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HISTORICAL PHOTOGRAPHS FROM THE 19TH CENTURY
The photographs circa 1848 are from the photography studio of Hill and Adamson. David Octavius Hill was a famous painter who partnered with Robert Adamson to create Scotland’s first photographic studio where they produced calotype negatives.

The Dennestoun monument consists of a stone inscription marker flanked by Corinthian columns surmounted by a tablet containing arms terminating with a horse’s head in a broken pediment.

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1848 Greyfriars_kirkyard

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Note that a fence on the left side of the images is mounted atop a retaining wall.

CURRENT STATUS 
The fence and retaining wall no longer exist. An altar base has appeared on both the Dennestoun and Miller monuments.

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CONUNDRUM 

  • When the retaining wall was built were large amounts of soil dumped, raising the level and concealing the altar base of the monuments on the higher level?
  • When the fence and wall were removed was the soil excavated to reveal the altar bases?

That seems likely when comparing the images below; the current status shows the Dennestoun and Miller monuments (middle and right) are at the same relative level as they were in the 1840s.

However…

  • The Bethune monument is not sitting at the same height relative to the other monuments.
  • The retaining wall and fence as seen in the image below are on the left side of the Bethune monument, in contradiction to other historical images that show the wall and fence to the left of the Dennestoun monument.

…Within this famed, haunted graveyard perhaps everything is fluid…rising, sinking, changing position?