Tag Archives: Chicago

The Mythical Sphinx

The sphinx is a mythical creature with the head of a human and the body of a lion, protector of the dead, it is historically connected to the pyramid, the ultimate in tombs.

There are two types of sphinx; most famously the Egyptian sphinx modeled after the Great Sphinx at Giza which represents a male. The head is dressed with a neme, the striped headcloth worn by pharaohs in ancient Egypt.

Occasionally a false beard is displayed. As beards were associated with the gods, Pharaohs wore false beards for ceremonies to express their importance and divine ranking.

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In March 1865 Cambridge, Massachusetts, Dr. Jacob Bigelow proposed that the Mount Auburn Cemetery commission “a public monument in memory of the heroes who have fallen in the present war for the preservation of the Union.” When the trustees postponed making a decision he commissioned the Irish-born sculptor, Martin Milmore, to create a Sphinx to be cut from a single block of Hallowell granite, 15 feet long and about 8 feet high.

The Sphinx was chosen as it represented the strength of a lion and the beauty and benevolence of a woman. The inscription was composed by Dr. Bigelow “American Union Preserved; African Slavery Destroyed; By the Uprising of a Great People; By the Blood of Fallen Heroes.”

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The Brunswig tomb in Metairie Cemetery, New Orleans, Louisiana was built to commemorate Lucien Napoleon Brunswig’s wife, Annie Mercer Brunswig and their son Lucien Mercer Brunswig (1882-1892) who died within a month of each other. His testament instructed his family to bury him inside the tomb with his wife and child. Brunswig is also interred with his two daughters, Henrietta Rosalie Brunswig (1879-1963), and Annie Brunswig Wellborn (1881-1982) and her husband.

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Source: http://www.lacarmina.com/blog/2015/04/metairie-cemetery-tombs-pyramid-statues/

In Greek tradition, the sphinx was in the form of a female who was often bare-breasted and is therefore associated with maternal love.

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Many neo-Egyptian designs in modern cemeteries feature the Greek variety which is often portrayed with the wings of a bird.

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Creative Commons License, Joachim S. Müller. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/74743437@N00/8695400390

Within the Hildburghausen Cemetery in Germany a winged Sphinx sits atop the headstone belonging to the 19th century Egyptologist, Doctor Friedrich Carl Ludwig Sickler.

A pyramid marks the Schoenhofen Tomb in the Graceland Cemetery, Chicago. The entry door with a snake coiled on the handle is flanked by a sphinx and an angel. It is the final resting place of Peter Schoenhofen, a Chicago brewer.

The Drake Mausoleum contains members of the family and extended relatives. Originally at Laurel Hill Cemetery it was moved to West Laurel Hill, Philadelphia where it is guarded by a winged Sphinx at each corner of the roof. Thomas Drake Martinez Cardeza and his mother Mrs. Charlotte Drake Martinez Cardeza were surviving passengers of the Titanic shipwreck in 1912. Charlotte was a rich philanthropist who donated millions of dollars to the poor.

female winged_Drake Mausoleum
Source: https://www.mausoleums.com/portfolio/drake-mausoleum/
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Death of a Child

The death of a child is always tragic, an unfulfilled life reduced to a name and two dates on a stone. Sadder still, is a headstone with no details of the departed.

babies 1877

baby boy found rockport quarry
Camden Graveyard. Camden, Maine, USA

Sleeping and waiting

baby found in river

Here lyes dust of

baby girl delaware river

In May 1977, a garbage bag containing the decomposed body of an infant girl was found in the Walnut Creek arm of the Delaware River. The baby, only a few weeks old, was never identified and was buried in Oskaloosa’s Pleasant View Cemetery, where it remained mostly forgotten and without a stone marker. The grave marker for the unidentified baby girl was donated by Hutton Monuments of Topeka.

negro boy

He died at the Marion County Poor Farm/Asylum in central Kansas, USA. The asylum offered a home for the indigent, those unable to live independently, and unwed pregnant girls who lived there until they gave birth. The children were then put up for adoption.

Oak Woods Cemetery Chicago Chicago Orphan Asylum

A cholera epidemic in 1847 orphaned many children who were then billeted at the Oak Woods Cemetery Orphan Asylum in Chicago. The relentless epidemic eventually led to their deaths.

Loved and lost awhile

unusual  headstone

On 8 January 1872, the horribly mutilated body of a 16 year old girl named Angeline Moore was found. She was bound to servitude with Mrs. Thompson. Although the cause of death was never determined, Mrs. Thompson and her daughter with charged with murder.

How charming all, how much she was ador’d alive; now dead, how much’s her loss deplor’d       

peter the wild boy 1785

A boy living wild in the woods in northern Germany was discovered by a party of hunters in 1725. He had been living in the forest, eating plant life and walking on all fours. He was brought to Great Britain in 1726 where he was lived until his death. He is buried in the graveyard attached to St Mary’s Church, Northchurch, Hertfordshire

The farewell words were spoken, no time to say goodbye
You were gone before we knew it
And only God knows why.  1979

unknown dead
Livonia Cemetery, Indiana. Source: http://malformalady.tumblr.com/post/34798191232/tombstone-siting-area-of-the-unkown-dead-resulting

Epidemics of cholera in 1832, 1848, and 1873 were the second leading cause of death in the mid 19th century. Rapid population growth and a lack of sanitary water, caused diarrhea and vomiting that lead to dehydration almost immediately and death in less than a day.

unknown skeleton

Here lies best of men whose life is at an end
The best of husbands & ye truest friend
Who rests, I hope, as I do hope to be
Happy with him to all Eternity

Willoughby cemetery

During the Christmas period of 1933, a stranger appeared in the town of Willoughby, Ohio. On December 24th, she threw herself in front of a train at the Second Street railroad crossing and was killed. With no identification on her person, her identity remained unknown until 1993 when she was discovered to be Josephine “Sophie” Klimczak, a native to Pennsylvania. In 2004, a plinth with her name was donated by Kotecki Monuments of Cleveland. The inscription reads: “In Memory of the Girl in Blue killed by train December 24, 1933. Unknown but not forgotten.