----- ............Cemetery Walk: An afternoon of discovery! Every stone has a story. And they are waiting to be told........... -----

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Talk20 Slides 6-10

Slide 6: White Bronze
The Monumental Bronze Company of Bridgeport, CT produced cast zinc grave markers, sold as "White Bronze" from 1874 to 1914. 

The company opened 3 subsidiaries, with the first in Detroit in 1881 which operated until about 1885. Having operated for such a short time I was excited to find one marked with this location. 

After the closing of the Detroit operation, two more subsidiaries opened in 1886, one in Chicago and one in Des Moines, Iowa. American Bronze operated in Chicago for twenty-three years, until it closed in 1909. Western White Bronze Company in Des Moines operated for twenty-two years, and closed in 1908. This is the most common one found locally. Many markers do not indicate a location. 

They appear across the landscape as a blue gray color and most are in remarkable condition.

White bronze, Monumental Bronze Company

Slide 7: Symbolism
Many religious and secular symbols and emblems have adorned tombstones through the ages, possibly to symbolize or convey a belief of death and the hereafter and other aspects of life.

Boat: a boat, as shown here with a body, represents a voyage or the crossing over.

Lamb: usually mark the grave of a child, symbolizing innocence.

Hand with broken link: depicts the hand or presence of God, the broken link symbolizes loss.

Symbolism, boat on headstone

Slide 8: Epitaphs
·        Many headstones contain more than names and dates. Epitaphs quoting poems or scripture are often seen, especially on the older graves.

·        This one for Nathan Grigsby from Harper County includes his dying protest of the Democratic party. The other side of his stone also notes his brother Aaron married Sarah, the sister of Abraham Lincoln.

·        Charlie Troy’s headstone in McPherson County contains the poem "My Child". I found it in "The Home Book of Verse, American and English, 1580 - 1918." Part of it reads:  I know his face is hid under the coffin lid, closed are his eyes, cold is his forehead fair, my hand that marble felt, o're it in prayer I knelt, yet my heart whispers that he is not there.

Nathan Grigsby, Epitaph on headstones

Nathan Grigsby
Extra photo for blog post... not included in slide

Slide 9: Cause of Death
Another interesting find on headstones is a cause of death.

Henry Morrison died of bullet wounds he received at the battle of the rio grand river during the Spanish American war. Gypsum Cemetery.

Harry Morgan died in the discharge of duty… he was a passenger conductor shot on the train. Wildmead Cemetery.

Charles Powelson died while bathing. Lyons Cemetery.

John Ellwood was killed by lightening. Windom Cemetery.

Samuel McMurry was killed by Indians on the Cimmaron. Fairview Elmer Cemetery.

I didn’t include a photo in my slide but there is a stone in Memorial Park (now called Penwell Gable) that says “I told you I was sick”

Cause of Death, White Bronze, Zinc

Slide 10: Ceramic Photographs
I love finding photographs on headstones.

As a photographer I was excited to find in my research a document titled: The Photographic News; A weekly record of the progress of photography, dated July 31, 1874, in which it reported "that a custom gaining ground is that of placing photographic portraits of deceased persons upon their gravestones, a direction in which enamel photographs might be employed with great advantage."

Today I see a lot of laser engraved images of not only people, but homesteads.

Ceramic Photographs

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