Category Archives: USA

Bear Beard

In Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York City, you may be surprised to find an enormous bear sitting atop what appears to be a blank gravestone.

beard bear
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12451565/william-holbrook-beard

Jeffrey I. Richman, historian, discovered that a famous artist named William Holbrook Beard was buried within the cemetery in Section 115, and yet there was no marker identifying his grave within a 14’ x 27’of the Beard family plot.

In 2002 a ceremony took place to erect a memorial to the 19th-century painter of animal scenes. As his favourite subject was the bear, a Colorado sculptor, Dan Ostermiller agreed to donate a bronze sculpture of a bear reflecting the humour that Beard often used in his art.

find a grave2
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12451565/william-holbrook-beard

The front of the granite stone is blank reflecting that the exact place of Beard’s remains is unknown. The rear is engraved; William / Holbrook / Beard/ 1824-1900/ American Artist/ L’Ours (the bear) sculpture by Dan Ostermiller, Sc. / Gift of the artist 2002

William Holbrook Beard died on 20 February 1900 from apoplexy (hemorrhage or stroke) at age 75.

find a grave
Source: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/12451565/william-holbrook-beard
Advertisements

Spirit Houses

A graveyard at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Eklutna, Alaska is filled with burial sites in the form of large dollhouses. Russian Orthodox missionaries who lived in the area in the early 19th century lived side by side with Athabaskan natives.

The Athabascan burial practice began with placing a blanket over the grave to comfort the departed soul. Forty days later a spirit box was placed on top. The size of the box was determined by social status and was painted with tribal colours. Athabascans believed that that which is taken from the Earth must be allowed to return and therefore the spirit houses were not maintained and left to decay.

People who were members of the church also have their graves marked with the Orthodox Christian Cross. The upper horizontal bar represents the inscription over the head of Jesus. The Middle Bar is the board on which the Lord’s hands were nailed, and the slanting bar represents the footrest.

Drowning Tragedy

John & Jacobina Dotterweich who lived at old Hamburg Turnpike near Green Brook Farm were the parents of nine children. On 13 December 1874, five of the children went out to ride a sled and ventured on to a pond that was not completely frozen. When the ice broke the children were plunged into the water.

In an attempt to save their children the mother and father waded into the water up to their necks and attempted to save the children using a rope. The bodies of the children were pulled from the pond an hour later.

Between 800 and 1,000 people attended the funeral for Caroline aged 16, Augusta aged 14, Maggie age 13, John aged 11, Philip aged 9, and Barbara aged 6 at the Preakness Reformed Church Cemetery, Passaic County, New Jersey.

doterwich78883_f496

Drowning is not so pitiful
As the attempt to rise.
Three times, ’tis said, a sinking man
Comes up to face the skies,
And then declines forever
To that abhorred abode,
Where hope and he part company –
For he is grasped of God.
The Maker’s cordial visage,
However good to see,
Is shunned, we must admit it,
Like an adversity.
~Emily Dickinson~

R.I.P. Not!

The power of water and subsequent flooding can be catastrophic disturbing even the dead. Hurricanes with record breaking amounts of rain, and rising sea levels due to global warming cause subsidence especially in ‘spongy’ soil.

Lawton PA
Lawton, PA. Source: https://imgur.com/gallery/JHY5GxH

Charles Hunter, the Calcasieu Parish chief coroner investigator, Louisiana. “In a flood, the air pressure builds up in that vault and it will eventually break the seal,” he said. “When that happens, the lid just pops off. I’ve even seen the water pick up the entire vault, and they can weigh in excess of 3,000 pounds.”

nola
Rochester, VT after Hurricane Irene 2011. Source: https://www.nola.com/hurricane/2011/10/flooded_vermont_town_struggles.html

khqa

Springfield SC. Source: https://khqa.com/news/nation-world/caskets-rise-from-south-carolina-cemetery-after-widespread-flooding

cbs
New Orleans LA. Source: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/louisiana-flooding-caskets-calcasieu-parish/
youtube
Louisiana. Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGYkA7HgKCU
cs monitor
Louisiana. Source: https://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2016/0518/How-fast-is-New-Orleans-sinking-Faster-and-faster-says-new-study
ghost
Source: http://www.ghosthuntingtheories.com/2017/07/flooded-cemeteries-terrifying-finds.html

Dr. David Persse, the physician in charge of Houston’s Emergency Medical Services and Public Health Authority stated, “Embalming kills all pathogens in the body, and corpses buried before the practice would be so decomposed in diluted floodwater there would be no danger.”

The Boot Monument

An American Revolutionary War memorial to Major General Benedict Arnold donated by Civil War General John Watts DePeyster is located within Saratoga National Historical Park, New York. Although it commemorates Arnold’s service at the Battles of Saratoga in the Continental Army, his name is not recorded. Arnold’s name became synonymous with “traitor” soon after his betrayal and defection to the British in 1870. The monument therefore serves as a form of ‘damnatio memoriae’: a condemnation of memory where a person is removed from official accounts.

wikipedia arnold-boot

The monument is in the form of a gravestone with a sculpture consisting of the barrel of a cannon from which hangs an epaulette with two stars, a laurel and a boot. It is a symbol of Arnold’s wounded foot during the Battle of Quebec. Further wounds were received at the Battle of Ridgefield when his horse was shot out from under him and at Saratoga when a severe leg wound ended his career as a fighting soldier.

The inscription on the reverse of the gravestone reads,

Erected 1887 By
JOHN WATTS de PEYSTER
Brev: Maj: Gen: S.N.Y.
2nd V. Pres’t Saratoga Mon’t Ass’t’n:
In memory of
the “most brilliant soldier” of the
Continental Army
who was desperately wounded
on this spot the sally port of
BURGOYNES GREAT WESTERN REDOUBT
7th October, 1777
winning for his countrymen
the decisive battle of the
American Revolution
and for himself the rank of
Major General.

Boot monument -back

King’s Chapel Burying Ground

King’s Chapel Burying Ground on Tremont Street in Boston, Massachusetts, was dedicated in 1689 and is the oldest burying place in Boston proper. Although the cemetery is small it contains many stones going back to the 1600s. Burials ceased here in 1796.

Mark the perfect man and behold the uprights for the end of that man is peace. 1924

The cemetery is somewhat overshadowed by the church, adjacent buildings and several trees within the grounds. A bell made in England was hung in 1772 until it cracked in 1814 and was then recast by Paul Revere. It still rings before every service.

Two bronze plaques attached to the railing at the entrance of the cemetery identify some of the more famous people buried here. The burying ground was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

In the early 1800s, many of the gravestones were moved from their original position and placed in rows, so it is impossible to tell the exact location of some of the graves. In olden times a great deal of excitement was caused by a rumor that someone had been buried alive there, but the affair ended uneventfully when the doctor who had attended the deceased testified in the matter.

To him that overcometh and keepeth my work.
To the end will I give the morning star He that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God and God in him. 1900

Depictions in Marble and Stone

I am always awestruck by the astounding talent of artists and the intricacy of detail in statuary. Some of the most beautiful statues are found in the Cimitero Monumentale di Staglieno, an extensive cemetery located on a hillside in the district of Staglieno of Genoa, Italy. Covering an area of more than a square kilometre, it is one of the largest cemeteries in Europe and is famous for its monument sculpture.

1-Consigliere
The tomb of the Consigliere family is attended by a woman praying on her knees. The sculpture was created by Luigi Orengo who worked extensively with funerary sculpture, especially in the Cemetery of Staglieno where he created dozens of tombs and funeral graves. The mausoleum is decorated with laurel leaves representing the “evergreen” memory of the deceased, and a Greek cross with four arms equal in length which is the traditional symbol of Christian faith.

 

This sculptural group was created in bronze and Carrara marble by Mariano Benlliure. The sculpture represents the funeral procession of the famous bullfighter Joselito el Gallo. The body of the deceased is carved in marble to highlight the figure. At the head of the procession a woman carries a bronze miniature of the Virgin Macarena to whom the bullfighter was very devoted.
Cemetery of San Fernando, Seville, Spain

 

christ going to tomb
I can’t find any source information on this second representation of a funeral procession. It is recorded as ‘Christ going to the tomb’, but I have no confirmation of this data. Translation of the script reads; Proceeding towards the resurrection.
Cemetery Viersen, Germany

 

Cimitero Monumentale Di Milano
This statue depicts a WWI soldier ‘s grave. Luigi Fossati (31-1-1896 – 28-10-1918) who lost his life in the battle of Somme in the Montello hills of Italy. Translation of the dedication reads: Gloomy night enveloped the heroic soul of Luigi Fussati who experienced unspeakable torments under the red dust of the Montello.
Momma and brothers Giullo, Pietro, Giuseppe, Arialdo.
In everlasting memory.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy.

 

cypress lawn
This large monument is the burial site of lawyer LLoyd Tevis who was also a successful American business man who headed the Wells Fargo Banking and Pony Express lines for more than 20 years. The “Tevis Cup”, an equestrian endurance ride held annually which requires riders to make the 100 mile Pony Express journey from Tahoe to Auburn in one day is named for him.
Cypress Lawn Memorial Park, Colma, CA, USA.

 

desktop-1415303001
Charles-Joseph Pigeon (29 March 1838 – 18 March 1915) became famous due to his invention and manufacture in 1884 of the Pigeon lamp, a non-exploding gasoline lamp. He commissioned the family grave sculpture to hold up to 18 family members. The sculpture is a life-sized image of Pigeon holding a notebook and pencil in his hand. An angel overlooks the vignette of him as he lays beside his wife on a bed.
Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris, France

 

Montparnasse3This marble sculpture entitled “The separation of the couple” is not a funerary monument. Until 1965 it was situated in the garden of Luxembourg and was removed because it was considered obscene. I guess they thought the dead wouldn’t mind the obscenity.
Montparnasse Cemitiere, Paris, France

 

Schaub
Heinrich Schaub, born 5 May 1843, died 29 Jan 1909
Schaub commissioned Leipzig architect Emil Franz Hänsel to design a tomb which was sculpted by Otto Wutzler and August Rantz. The monument features fluted pillars and a bronze framed bronze door. A bronze sculpture of a youth kneels in front of a door  representing the eternal kingdom of the dead.
Südfriedhof Cemetery, Leipzig. Germany

 

Staglieno
The figure which rests upon the Burrano tomb was sculpted by Piero da Verona.
Staglieno Cemetery, Genoa, Italy