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Sunday, October 31, 2010

Unusual Stones

Recently while on a lunch break, I discovered these two tombstones in the cemetery at Shelbyville.
The one has a row of books and a table supporting the books. While we've all seen books as part of the stone they are mostly single books placed on top.
Was the gentleman a reader of some reputation or was he a librarian. With the letters after his name the latter is correct.
The other one, while the bottom logs are common, the top log is a piece a petrified wood that was atached and carved as part of the overall stone.
These two stones (and the one behind the log, which is a daughter) all go together in this family plot.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Two interesting Markers

Here are a couple of interesting stones I saw while wandering around a cemetery during my lunch break.
While I have seen a book on a tombstone before they are mostly single books (open or closed). This gentleman was either a tremendous reader or a librarian to have his stone carved this way.
The other one is most unusual, it is the books guys wife. Her "stone" is a piece of petrified wood, carved and stacked on stone logs. Quite odd and interesting.
Speaking of books, the next blog will show what can be done with the tree tombstone, including books and an arm.

Friday, August 6, 2010


While riding my bicycle today I stopped by this cemetery that I've passed many times but never went in. It's a large cemetery, but I went to the older section. While most of the stones are not unusual or richly carved (there is one Memorial Stone to a sailor who died on the USS Indianapolis) I ran across this monument.
After taking these pictures (yes, I always take my camera, you just never know) there were many questions that ran through my mind, among them:
What ever happened to her young man?
Why would they pick winter to elope?
Did her parents disapprove of him that much?
Why didn't she go to the McCray cabin? It wasn't that far away.
Why is her name not noted? In 1833 there were not that many people in the area, surly the McCray family knew who she was.
Could there have been a wooden marker at one time? Did it simply rot away and those who erected this stone couldn't have found her name as early records were missing?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bronze Monuments

Some of my favorite monuments are the metal, known as Bronze or sometimes White Bronze (even though they are blue). Here in Indiana they seem to have been made by two companies: Detroit Bronze Company and the Chicago White Bronze Company.

While not rare they are by no means numerous. I have found that if there is one in a cemetery there will at least be one more. A cemetery in Plainville is simply loaded with them, most cemeteries don't have any.
While most of them are of the same style, just exchanging one decoration for another, I ran into one in Lynnville that was different.
The top two pictures show this unusual monument, it has what I would call an open-air chapel with a praying cherub within it. It should be noted that this was not a child's grave. I thought it very unusual. There are several in this cemetery including one with a statue on top, which again seems to be rare around here.
The third picture was taken in Plainview. This was one of several of this type in that cemetery along with the normal bronze monuments. It gives you a ready made place to plant flowers on the grave.
I must add that in some cemeteries I have scared up snakes, deers and other four legged animals, but this cemetery is the first I have ever had to watch my step because of cactus plants. It seems because this hill is open, hot and sandy that the cactus that is native to Indiana didn't know there was one did you?) grow in huge amounts in this cemetery. It had to be a day I wore my sandals.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Unintentional Placement

While a cemetery is not normally a place to have a chuckle or two, but.........................

Every now and then you run into something that makes you go "WHAT?" This past weekend we went to the wife's' family reunion down in Southern Indiana. While on the way she mentioned that we had to stop by a cemetery (she has kin buried there) so she could show me this tombstone.

We have been there several times leaving flowers, but neither of us had every noticed this pair of stones next to each other.

Never mind that the stones behind it are for a family named "Christmas" (I'm still wondering where that came from or how it came to be).

I'm going to have to file this under "Unintentional Placement" or "Unfortunant Placement"

Friday, June 11, 2010


While returning home from the campground the other day the wife and I decided to do a bit a cemetery visiting. One of the ones we stopped at is called a "Pioneer Cemetery".

I noticed the stone above I we entered, but ignored it and went to othe other end to start looking. As I was looking at the stones I noticed one that had a square recess as where a picture might have once been. As I looked closer I noticed a hole drilled above the recess where something might have been. As I looked it over the light bulb lite with what we used to call a BFO (Blinding Flash of the Obvious), I looked over at the other stone and noticed how they matched.

Walking over to this one, I reached out and moved the stone cover, there was the recess (by the way it moved real easy and smooth). Of course the picture was missing, it was too much to hope that it remained

I have seen many stones with places cut into them for pictures now long gone but this is the first I've run across with its' own cover. (By the way the nice looking hand belongs to the wife).

Has anybody else seen this type, this is the first of this type I have seen and am wondering how common they might be.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Old Milan Cemetery

For a few years I've driven by this cemetery, the Old Milan Cemetery (think the movie "Hoosiers"), but have been unable to stop, mostly because there is no place to park a car. The cemetery is divided into three sections. The section this stone is in, jump over a small creek and your in a newer section, while across the road on a little hill is another section, which I never noticed until I went by on my bicycle.
This past weekend I was camping near there and decided to ride my bicycle the 12 miles to the cemetery. At least then I would have a place to park as I could just carry the bicycle into the cemetery.
The stone pictured has always interested me as I drove by because of the carvings, at last I got a chance to get up close to it and look at it carefully.
It is the stone of two sisters, Almyra (20) and Minerva (22) who died within 4 hours of each other. What the cause was I don't know, perhaps typhoid, cholera or any number of causes.
What attracted me to the stone to start with is the carvings. Look at the lady on the left, her right arm (holding a cup/bowl), if you look close, the lower arm is not connected with the rest of the carving. It is one of the best carvings I have ever seen in this area. It looks like it was done recently and not 172 years ago.
Not only is the carving good but the lettering is readable all the way to the bottom where the carver signed his name (he was from Lawrenceburg IN). As I sat there looking at the stone I wondered how long it would have taken him to carve this piece of artwork, who decided what was to be on the stone (picture) and how much it cost.
There's also a lot of symbolism within the caring. I have to assume the lady on the right is the mother of the two girls. We have the urn, the tomb, and either two cherubs or the girls themselves ascending into heaven.
The grave just to the left of this one is another family member, while his stone is not as elaborate it is also well preserved.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Let me introduce you to what may be Rush County's' most famous grave (the other being Wendell Willkie)

Lova Cline was born in 1902, the only child of George and Mary. She was born an invalid, unable to even sit up by herself. Her father, who was a bridge builder, built this dollhouse for her. One of the things that strike some people odd is that there is no door, only windows.

This was because Lova could only look at it from either her chair or her bed.The furniture that was inside the house was also built by her father. When Lova died in 1908 she was buried in a cemetery on the west side of town and the dollhouse placed near her grave.

When her mother died in 1945 she was buried in East Hill Cemetery. Lovas father wanted to ear down the dollhouse but was talked out of doing so. The townspeople got together and moved Lova and her dollhouse to where her mother was buried and placed her next to her mother.

The next year her father died and was buried next to Lova , she is buried between her parents. A family friend was charged with taking care of the dollhouse (which weighs 400 pounds and stands 5 feet tall). Once a year she would clean it out and fix it up, this has since been passed on to her daughter.

As so often happens, in 1973 thieves broke into the dollhouse and stole all the original furniture and dolls. These were replace, but in 1979 the same thing happened again.

The siding, roof and toys you see are not the originals. The toys of course were replaced and after the last break in, the house was removed and aluminum siding and a metal roof was put on it.

The cemetery is the East Hill Cemetery on US 52 just east of Arlington, IN. It sits in the middle section towards the back, you can't miss it. If your ever in the area, stop by and say Hi to Lova.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

There are times I envy those people, when searching for their kinfolk tell me, "Found most of the older ones all in the same cemetery" I wish. For 3 years I searched for one of my GGG Grandmothers grave. I knew the county (Franklin, IN), I knew the road (Blue Creek) I just couldn't find it. After a long search I found it at last. Look at the tree line to the right going down the hill.

This is a closer view of the end of the treeline. Between the briers, poison ivy, snakes, ticks, chiggers and such, looks like fun times ahead. Once I made it through what you see and over a two foot wall, mission accomplished.

This is Sophrna Herndon Robeson. One of my GGG Grandmothers. 11 Aug 1813 - 9 Feb 1855.
Left behind a husband and 4 children, the youngest at 5 years. Her husband married the next year and had 4 more kids. She is buried on an obscure corner of the farm and the only grave at that location.
If you look at the 1st picture again and imagine a large hill to your left, the rest of the family is buried up there on what is now a dead end road.
I'm happy to say that somebody at the county level decided that all the small cemeteries needed to be marked and mowed. She now has a clean spot and a nice sign: ROBESON CEMETERY.
Of course sometimes they are so easy to find in a strange cemetery that it almost borders on the paranormal. I was looking for a GG Grandfather buried in Mexico, IN. The wife and I arrived at the cemetery (rather large) and not knowing where to start I decide to start at the back in the oldest part. I took the first road back, came to a "T" and asked the wife should I go left or right. She then asked me to tell her the name again. I said "Joseph Ellis". She said "Look straight in front of you" There he was along with his wife, his daughter and her husband. I guess he wanted to be found.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It Had to Happen

While sorting through some family pictures to scan them I ran across this one. The first thing that went through my mind was the opening line from an old Jim Croce song "You knew that it was bound to happen, just a matter of time".

I found the home cemetery of a lot of the family down in the hills and hollers of Kentucky, at a little town called Raywick. Back in the old days you couldn't of swung a dead cat without hitting one of your kinfolk and there are still a few down there, they own and run the bar and grill just across the street from the church.

I'm sure that if you've done enough family research this has happened to you. You're strolling along taking notes and pictures when all of a sudden you are face-to-face with your own name on a tombstone. I don know about you, but my first reaction was "My Goodness, will you look at that!" (or words close to those).

This is a fair sized Catholic cemetery where most of the family that died down there are buried, for the record, his wife is in the Methodist cemetery about a mile away. Since she wasn't Catholic she had to go elsewhere. His parents are just to the left and just past them are two empty spots, where I think my GGG Grandfather and his wife are.

This gentleman is my Great Grand Uncle, that he has the same name that I do was pretty neat, however the neater thing is: his birthday is Nov 22, 1851, mine is May 22, 1951, just under 100 years apart.

He died at the age of 72 of a heart attack on a wagon load of corn, I've decided when I get 72 I'm going to stay away from farm wagons and corn.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

In keeping with the May theme "Cause of Death" here are some that I found while roaming Indiana looking for kinfolk.
These are but 3 of about 20 stones in the Salem Indiana cemetery that bears mute testimony to the hazards of pioneer life. In this case it was the cholera epidemic of 1832/33 that swept through southern Indiana. The stones are all in one section of the cemetery and from what I can gather these are the burials that started the cemetery. The youngest stone left was that of a 10 year old boy.
Most that I have seen mention the military, in fact I had an uncle (by marriage) whose parents had engraved on their stone, their other sons name with the words "Died in France while serving his country, June 15, 1944". He was a medic with the 90th Div, and was buried over there.
I ran into another one today while looking for somebody else's kinfolk. It said "Killed in France 1918"

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I mentioned this stone in the last blog. Notice how well the picture is carved how deep the background is. Now, look at the writing. I think we either had two different people working on this stone or the carver cared more for the picture. If you look close you'll see where the carver split the last name between two lines.

Here's a stone I ran into while roaming through a cemetery, the carving is a bit different.

We all know that an anchor stands for either HOPE or a SAILOR (which I think we can rule out in this case). What would a broken anchor stand for. Broken hope? She died young (at 28 yo).

Broken hope of spending a long life together?

Any ideas?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The following story is true, only the names have been omitted.
In a cemetery in Dearborn County is a very unusual grave. If you look at the picture you will see one stone off to the right, behind it is a large empty area...only it's not empty. The area behind the stone is 14 cemetery plots beneath this ground is a special grave.
Some years ago a lady lived in the area and her favorite passion was her red Cadillac. In her will she stated that she wanted to be buried in her Cadillac when she died. She also stated that she wanted her husband to be buried with her when he died. He is still alive.
According to a former caretaker of this cemetery (I have known him for several years), this was done according to her wishes. For the record, she is not sitting behind the steering wheel, she is in a casket on the drivers side (it's a convertable). This was done with the aid of a custom built burial vault and a crane.
Now comes the legend: When you drive through the cemetery and approach this spot, if you honk your vehicle horn, there will be an answering honk. For the record: I tried this and received no honk.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

A couple of years ago while searching out some kin folk in a small cemetery, I found this stone.

This has got to be one of the busiest stone I have seen in a very long time when it comes to symbols.

While most stone have one or two carved on them this one seems to have about 5 different symbols. Besides the willow trees, you have the person in her grave, rising up to heaven, angels greeting her and an urn.

In this same grave yard was a stone that was so well carved (Jesus beckoning to a child) that it seemed almost lifelike (the carvings were raised). While the lettering on the same stone was so poorly planned that the last name was split between two lines.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I have passed this cemetery a few times but never had the time to stop. Today I did. This cemetery is located on the Madison-Hancock County line, it goes by the name Mendon Cemetery.
While wandering through, this was one of the last stones I saw. It is weathered enough that there is no name to be found. What struck me was that somebody had placed a small stuffed rabbit in the little girls' arms.
As weathered as the stone is I got to wondering how sharp and clear it must have been when first erected so long ago as this was located in the oldest section of the cemetery. I also wondered who took the time to place the stuffed toy in her arms.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

While the stone is not unusual, the story behind the stone is a legend in the area. This is in a cemetery near my house, the story goes:
In about 1888 there came to Carthage a stocky figure wearing fringed buckskin with long black hair reaching almost to his shoulders. This gentleman had just delivered a lecture at a town up the road and came here to repeat it. This gentleman's name was Ke-ki-o-Kah, better know to the locals as Blazing Star, he was a member of the Cheyenne tribe. (We had at the time several people who were a mix of Black and Cherokee living in the town) After the lecture he went back but decided he liked Carthage and the residents and returned, making this his headquarters for about three years. Any time he would run low on money he would leave and give his lecture in the surrounding towns. Seems for most of the time he would wear his plain buckskins but later added fancy bead work in several designs but he adopted ordinary cloths. He like to hunt and was considered and expert with either the rifle or shotgun. For a time he lived in one of the local hotels and later moved in with one of the local people. He died at the age of 32 from pneumonia on 2 Feb 1893, and was buried in Riverside Cemetery. A collection was taken up in order to provide him with a tombstone, he shares it with the owner of the plot a man named Weaver.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sorry that it's been a while, but life gets in the way sometimes.
This was taken at Park Cemetery in Greenfield. From what I can find out it (so far, still researching) this is how he looked during WW I. While you can see a lot a statue's this is one of the few I've seen that is the person buried there.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Found this stone while searching for kin folk. It was either carved by two people or the carver liked pictures better than carveing letters. Compared to the picture the words are crudly carved. He also split her last name. Poor planning skills?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Thought I would start out with the only cemetery I've ever been in that for some reason makes me uncomfortable. This is in rural Rush County down a gravel road with no houses, next to a creek and a swampy area.