Tag Archives: California

Interesting & Unusual

Paul G. Lind (legal name Ebbighausen) died 29 March 2005 and is commemorated with a Scrabble board in Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery, Portland, Oregon. A fanatical Scrabble player, this game contains two blank tiles: the “b” in football, and the 2nd “l” in loveable.


The gravestone for Penney is inscribed with the American sign language symbol for ‘I love you’. Pennies are frequently left atop the gravestone.

Hand sign

Andrew Heron had 4 wives who died in 1803, 1812, 1832, the last seems to have finally outlived him. He died in 1848.

notl_st marks_DSCN3623

Resembles walking into the sea.


From my rotting body, flowers shall grow and I am in them and that is eternity. ~Edvard Munch

This sculpture could be related to an old tradition of attaching a bell to the wrist of the dead to prevent people from being buried whilst still alive. A string was tied on the wrist of the corpse which was attached to a bell above ground while a sentry sat in the cemetery overnight.

colma ca
Colma, California



Cemetery now under water


Gravestone memorializing the owner of the clothespin factory in Montpelier, Vermont.


Father Time & The Weeping Virgin

There are several versions of this sculpture containing different components which have been related to mythology, Judaism and Christianity; yet it is ultimately a Masonic carving. It symbolizes that time, patience and perseverance will accomplish all things. The most common symbols are Father Time, a Virgin, a broken column, an urn, a sprig of acacia, and a book, all of which rest on the top level of three steps.

gravely speaking_lakeview cemetery cleveland
Lakeview Cemetery, Cleveland,OH, USA
gravely speaking_cavehill cemetery lousiville
Cavehill Cemetery, Louisville, KY, USA

Father Time is most often depicted as an old man with long hair and beard, and a pair of wings. A scythe and hourglass are symbols associated with him. The scythe represents the Divine harvest and the hourglass denotes that the sands of time bring us closer to death. As the scythe cuts the harvest, so life is ended by Father Time. He stands behind a virgin (or young woman) attempting to untangle the ringlets of her hair. It symbolizes that with time and perseverance all things can be accomplished.

flickr_evergreen_santa cruz
Evergreen Cemetery, Santa Cruz, CA, USA

The mythological Goddess Rhea is represented by a virgin or weeping woman who grieves over the loss of a loved one. Symbols differ in sculptures, the most common being an urn in her left hand and a sprig of acacia in her right hand. Acacia is an evergreen and represents the immortality of the soul. The urn is a symbol of death and was used to collect tears of the mourners. It is often shown resting on a book symbolic of the Book of Life where names of the righteous were recorded to ensure entry into Heaven.

Binghamton, NY, USA
Binghamton, NY, USA

Other representations show the virgin holding a scroll which is a symbol of life. She can also be found holding a chisel or a mallet. She stands before a sundered column symbolic of a life cut short. (A column or pillar was often used by the Hebrews to symbolize rulers or nobles.)


In Freemasonry, a summary of the sculpture relates the following.

  • The broken column denotes the untimely death of Grand Master Hiram Abiff.
  • The beautiful Virgin, weeping, denotes the unfinished Temple.
  • The book open before her, displays that his virtues are on perpetual record.
  • The sprig of acacia in her right hand, represents the timely discovery of his body.
  • The urn in her left, that his ashes were there safely deposited to perpetuate the remembrance of so distinguished a character.
  • Father Time standing behind her unfolding the ringlets of her hair denotes that time, patience and perseverance will accomplish all things.
Masonic temple, Mendocina, CA, USA
Masonic temple, Mendocina, CA, USA

Image Sources 






California Missions

It is in my bucket list to visit every one of the 21 Missions spread along the California coastline from Solano north of San Francisco to San Diego. The Missions are individually beautiful and serene, a photographer’s dream. They are each listed as California Registered Historic Landmarks.

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission, Carmel-by-the-Sea

Founded in 1770, the mission was once the headquarters of all California missions, and is a National Historic Landmark.

This is one of the most beautiful places in the world, peaceful and serene. Colourful plants grow in every corner of the garden, and the abundant blooms of a wisteria cascade from the interior wall. Inside the courtyard, a central stone fountain is surrounded with adobe buildings and a bell tower. The adjacent cemetery, Campo Santos Cemetery, is very small and does not contain many gravestones although there are several statues of the Virgin Mary. One stone is inscribed ‘Old Gabriel aged 151 years’. Other small statues are inset into the walls.

San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission
San Carlos Borromeo de Carmelo Mission - St. Benedict
St. Benedict

Mission San Diego De Alcala, San Diego

Established in 1769 and known as the Mother of the Missions it is built around courtyards leading into and around the church. Whitewashed adobe walls and red slate roofs contrast perfectly with green foliage resulting in a crisp clean image. Statues of saints sprout out of the vegetation. A bell tower containing five bells is rung to announce every mass.

God builds his temple in the heart on the ruins of churches and religions. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Mission San Diego De Alcala
Mission San Diego De Alcala
Mission San Diego De Alcala
Mission San Diego De Alcala

Mission San Jose, Fremont

Mission San Jose was founded on June 11, 1797 by Father Fermin Francisco de Lasuen. A fully developed mission, and a self-sustaining village, it was occupied by local natives, a few soldiers, several artisans with families, and one or two priests.

The cemetery is small, and as the gravestones are very old the Mission has requested that visitors do not stray from the paths. Not all the Catholics in the region were Spanish. A few graves are inscribed with French names and a number of Irish. The mission has been pummeled by earthquakes.

Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose
Mission San Jose

Mission San Francisco Solano, Sonoma

Established on July 4, 1823 it was the 21st Mission in California. An original adobe church once stood in the courtyard. The Mission served the parish of Sonoma until 1881 when the building was sold. Only five rooms of the original Mission remain. The Mission was rebuilt after it was destroyed by the 1907 earthquake.

Mission San Francisco Solano
Mission San Francisco Solano

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, San Luis Obispo

Founded in 1772, it is the only mission with an L shaped church. It stands in its original location in a valley known as the Valley of the Bears.

Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa
Mission San Luis Obispo de Tolosa

Mission San Rafael, Arcangel, San Rafael

The original Mission was burned to the ground in 1870.  A Parish church was built in 1919 and in 1949 a replica of the original 1817 Mission was built.

Mission San Rafael Arcangel
Mission San Rafael Arcangel

Mission Santa Clara de Asis, Santa Clara

The 1771 Mission is located in the centre of the Santa Clara College campus. It houses the original bells from Spain and is a beautifully maintained, working church. The grounds merge into the university campus and are meticulously manicured.

Mission Santa Clara de Asis
Mission Santa Clara de Asis

Mission San Luis, Rey de Francia, Oceanside

Located on a hill overlooking Oceanside it was founded in 1798. It is the largest of the Missions and was the most prosperous.

Mission San Luis, Rey de Francia
Mission San Luis, Rey de Francia

Mission San Antonio de Padua, Jolon
This Mission is located in Jolon in Monterey County and was founded in 1771. It is famous for its campanario and archway bells.

As a white candle in a holy place
So is the beauty of an aged face. Joseph Campbell

San Diego de Presidia 
The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church. Tertullian

Monterey Presidio, Monterey
As one small candle may light a thousand, so the light here kindled hath shone unto many. William Bradford

Santa Ysabel, San Diego
Into the earth I go down, go down,
Noting but earth will I be seeing, will I be seeing,
I sink down into the old river-bed, down into the interior. Yuman saying

El Campo Santo

El Campo Santo Cemetery, San Diego Old Town, CA, USA

A small cemetery of rogues, thieves and unknown persons tucked away in the Old Town on San Diego Avenue is well worth a visit. The oldest and most fragile gravestones are protected by white picket fences. 477 bodies are buried there, and tales of ghostly apparitions have been reported.

The old adobe walled Roman Catholic El Campo Santo Cemetery was established in 1849. Until 1880 it was the burial place for many members of the Old Town’s founding families as well as for a few gamblers and bandits who passed through the town.

Antonio Garra, a chief who led an uprising of the San Luis Rey Indians, was executed at El Campo Santo in front of the open grave he had been forced to dig for himself.

John Stiles
San Diego_Stiles
Sacred to the memory of John Stiles/who came to his death/
from a bullet/from a revolver/It was one of the old fashioned/kind and brass mounted/& such is the Kingdom of Heaven

Jesus 1879
San Diego_Jesus
Died December 1879/Aged 25 years/Excerpt from the Book of the Dead/’December 15, 1879, I have given/Ecclesiatical burial to Jesus Indian/25 years, who died of a blow without/receiving Sacraments. They told me/that he was completely drunk, and/thus I command him to be buried near/the gate of the cemetery’/(signed) Juan Pujol, Priest.

Bill Marshall
Bill Marshall/is not here,/but on the other side/of the wall
San diego_Marshall

Bill Marshall was an American man, a renegade sailor from Providence, Rhode Island who had deserted from a whaling ship in San Diego in 1844. He married the daughter of a local Indian chieftain and lived with the Indians. He took an active part in the Garra Indian uprising in 1851.

Bill and the Indian Juan Verduga were captured and brought back to San Diego to be promptly tried by court martial. They were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The Indian acknowledged his guilt but Marshall insisted he was innocent.

At 2 o’clock in the afternoon of December 13, 1851, a scaffold was erected on the Thomas Whaley property near the old Catholic cemetery, El Camp Santo . The men were placed on a wagon and the ropes adjusted about their necks. The wagon moved on leaving them to strangle to death.

The funeral of Anita Gillis (click on the photo for a larger image)
San diego_Gillis