Skip to main content

Full text of "Markers"

See other formats




Edited by 
Richard E. Meyer & Gary L. Collison 

Markers XXV 

Annual Journal of 
the Association for 
Gravestone Studies 

Edited by 
Richard E. Meyer & Gary L. Collison 

Association for Gravestone Studies 
Greenfield, Massachusetts 

Copyright © 2008 by 

Association for Gravestone Studies 

278 Main Street, Suite 207 

Greenfield, Massachusetts 01301 

All rights reserved 
Printed in the United States of America 

ISBN: 1-878381-18-0 
ISSN: 0277-8726 
LCN: 81-642903 

The paper used in this publication meets the minimum requirements of 

American National Standard for Information Sciences - Permanence of 

Paper for Printed Library materials, ANSI Z39.48-1984. 

Cover Illustration: The Two Logos of AGS - On topi the Original, designed by 

Francis Duval from the Elisabeth Smith (1771) Marker in Williamstozvn, MA, 

and at bottom the Current Design, adopted in 1991. 



Obituary: Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 1 

Richard E. Meyer 

Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England: 8 

The Diary of Samuel Sewall 

Laurel K. Gabel 

Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers: The Origins and 44 

Classification of a Rare Type of Mortuary Artifact 

George Thomson 

Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 66 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 

"Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire 94 

(and Beyond) 

William Lowenthal 

The Year's Work in Cemetery and Gravemarker Studies: 121 

An International Bibliography 

Richard E. Meyer 

Contributors 139 

Index 141 

To the memory of Theodore Chase and Gary Collison, 

two editors who served Markers with great distinction, 

this 25th Anniversary Edition is gratefully dedicated. 




Richard E. Meyer, Editor 

Editor, Markers X-XX 
Western Oregon University 

Gary L. Collison, Editor 

Editor, Markers XXI-XXIV 

Venn State York 

Richard F. Veit Blanche M.G. Linden 

Associate Editor Independent Scholar 

Monmouth University 

Julie Rugg 

June Hadden Hobbs University of York (UK) 

Assistant Editor 
Gardner-Webb University 

David Charles Sloane 

University of Southern California 

Tom Malloy James A slater 

Assistant Editor University of Connecticut 

Mount Wachusett Community College 

David H.Watters 
Jessie Lie Farber Editor, Markers II-IV 

Editor, Markers I University of New Hampshire 

Richard Francaviglia Wilbur Zelinsky 

University of Texas at Arlington The Pennsylvania State University 

Laurel K. Gabel 

Independent Scholar 

With this edition, Markers celebrates its 25th year of publication. In 
her Introduction to the annual journal's inaugural issue, Jessie Lie Farber, 
its editor, recalled how the concept of such a publication arose during a 
1979 meeting of the Executive Board of the Association for Gravestone 
Studies: "An annual publication was needed, the Board agreed, to present 
the year's most interesting and significant papers dealing with gravestone 
studies. The title MARKERS was chosen as one that would identify the 


publication's subject without limiting the scope of its contents to any pe- 
riod or location." Today, hundreds of articles and thousands upon thou- 
sands of words later, it is gratifying indeed to see how successfully this 
mandate has been fulfilled. Within its pages have appeared works deal- 
ing with every aspect of gravemarker and cemetery studies, from exami- 
nations of the work of individual gravestone makers of the past to the 
cutting edges of technology in today's monument industry. 
Multidisciplinary and international in nature, the journal has attracted 
the efforts of scholars from across the academic spectrum, and over the 
years has come to be recognized as a leading authority in the field of 
material culture studies. 

And while a Silver Anniversary would normally be a time for great joy, 
such feelings are somewhat muted this year by the death of Gary Collison, 
who served as the editor of Markers through the last four full issues. Gary's 
impact upon the journal was enormous, and we are all in his debt for the 
love and effort he devoted to it. He had barely begun work upon the current 
edition when death came in September of 2007, and so it fell upon me - his 
immediate predecessor - to compete the editing and production of Markers 
XXV. We are listed as co-editors for this edition, but please ascribe any short- 
comings to me alone. As we look to the future, it is a pleasure to announce 
that the AGS Board of Trustees has appointed a new permanent editor for 
the journal, Dr. June Hadden Hobbs of Gardner-Webb University. Please 
direct any enquiries and/or submissions to her at 
or P.O. Box 1345, Boiling Springs, NC 28017-1345. 

Markers is currently indexed in the Bibliography of the History of Art, 
America: History and Life, Historical Abstracts, and the MLA International 
Bibliography. In the very new future it will also be found in the many other 
academic databases provided under the aegis of EBSCO Host. 

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the members of the 
journal's Editorial Advisory Board for their extraordinary service over 
the years: without their devoted efforts and sound counsel this publica- 
tion could not exist. On an even more personal note, I would like to ex- 
press my sincere gratitude to all of those, both within and without the 
Association for Gravestone Studies, and most especially my wife Lotte, 
for their kind and most needed support and understanding during this 
difficult period of transition. A special note of thanks is due to the family 
of Gary Collison - his wife Linda, his son Evan, and his daughter Megan 
- for the help they provided in making this issue possible. 

R.E.M. v 

Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 


Richard E. Meyer 

How do we weigh the value of a single individual's life ... What do we 
prize most highly? Is it what they said, what they wrote, the smiles they 
sent our way? Is it the model they presented, the encouragements they 
gave, the standards they set? Can we hold it in our hands, or merely in our 
memories? Gary Collison left us many things to treasure. Husband, fa- 
ther, grandfather, teacher, mentor, scholar, editor: to each of these roles, 
and to others as well, he gave the full measure of his love and effort. We 
shall miss him terribly. 

Several years ago, while engaged in the similarly sad task of writing an 
obituary for our friend and colleague Barbara Rotundo, I made the point 
that we who have made a passion of studying old (and new) gravestones 
and cemeteries often, even as we are fully appreciative of the work of 
others who share this passion, are unaware of their many other accom- 
plishments, some of them extraordinarily significant. It certainly bears 
repeating here. How many of you who are reading this, for instance, were 
aware that Gary Collison was once nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and 
it was not for anything he wrote about gravemarkers or cemeteries? But 
more on that in a moment. 

Gary came out of a background of American literature and letters. 
Having obtained his B.A. degree from Lehigh University, he went on to 
secure his M.A. from Bucknell University, where his thesis analyzed the 
Puritan literary tradition as reflected in the works of John Bunyan and 
Nathaniel Hawthorne, and ultimately his Ph.D (1979) from Pennsylvania 
State University. His doctoral dissertation consisted of a critical edition of 
the correspondence between two 19th Century Boston-area Unitarian 
ministers, Theodore Parker and Convers Francis, best remembered for 
their impact upon the American Transcendental and Abolitionist move- 
ments. Each of these movements would form the focus of much of Gary's 
scholarly inquiry over the coming years, and it should not go unnoticed 
that, even at this early point, he was mastering the critical skills of an 
editor which would prove so important at a later point in his career. 

Gary's scholarly publications began to appear shortly after receiving 
his doctorate, a number of them focusing on the American Transcendental 
movement, and in particular the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, whom 
he once referred to as "our Shakespeare and our Luther." [Please see the 

Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 

selective bibliography at the end of this obituary for examples of his work 
in this and other areas] Soon he was also producing a number of studies 
focusing upon Abolitionist figures and activities in the Boston and Con- 
cord areas, the latter culminating in the 1997 publication by Harvard 
University Press of his book, Shadrack Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen. 
A meticulously researched account of one black man's journey from sla- 
very in Virginia to freedom and citizenship in Canada, with a major focus 
on incidents surrounding Minkins' controversial sojourn in Massachu- 
setts, the book met with immediate critical acclaim and is, some ten years 
after its initial publication, considered an essential work in the study of 
African-American history. The Times Literary Supplement proclaimed it "a 
triumph of research and persistence," and Reviews in American History "a 
major contribution to the history of black resistance, unembroidered and 
free of romantic condescension." It was this work which garnered the 
Pulitzer Prize nomination and which also would earn it's author the pres- 
tigious Gustavus Myers Award as one of the outstanding American books 
published in 1997. 

Somewhere in all of this Gary discovered gravestones and old burial 
grounds. It began with the German- American Folk Art markers so preva- 
lent in his area of Pennsylvania, and while this interest would remain a 
powerful one for the rest of his life he soon came, like so many of us, to be 
fascinated by a number of other types of artifacts and sites within this 
general field of study. He would never publish a great deal of his research, 
but he did share much of it over the years in the form of paper presenta- 
tions at meetings of scholarly and professional organizations such as the 
Association for Gravestone Studies and the American Culture Associa- 
tion, covering topics as diverse and far-ranging as the markers erected for 
mid- Atlantic pioneer settlers, the work of an early 19 th Century folk grave- 
stone carver, and horse burials. He was the founder and chair of the Death 
in American Culture section of the Mid-Atlantic Popular/American Cul- 
ture Association, tirelessly encouraging the presentation of new research 
on all aspects of death in the American experience. A major effort left 
unfinished at his own untimely death, the result of many years of study 
and fieldwork and a true labor of love, was the book he had tentatively 
entitled Pennsylvania's Historic Cemeteries: A Brief History. [For a tantalizing 
glimpse of what this work promised, see Gary's six-page prospectus at , or just Google "Collison" + 
"Pennsylvania Cemeteries"] 

In the last analysis, however, I think it may safely be said that Gary's 

Richard E. Meyer 

greatest contribution to the field of gravestone studies - and his most 
enduring legacy - was his editorship of this annual journal, commencing 
with Markers XXI. Gary and I shared a somewhat special relationship 
with regard to this position insofar as I had been his immediate predeces- 
sor and continued as a member of his editorial advisory board, and we 
had many long and sometimes intense conversations about the journal in 
the years he served as editor. I can speak with certainty not only of the 
great love he had for this publication but of the enormous amount of time 
and effort he put into its annual publication. He shepherded the journal 

Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 

through a difficult process of size reduction owing to budgetary restraints 
without its suffering in quality, and he introduced a number of new fea- 
tures including an attractively redesigned back cover. 

Of major importance was the enormously thoroughgoing 20-year sub- 
ject index for the annual which he compiled and published in Markers XXI. 
As an editor, Gary was a perfectionist: he expected - and generally got - 
the very best of which his contributors were capable, and he was no less 
exacting in the standards he set for his own editorial functions. Though 
demanding, he was, as anyone who worked with him in this capacity will 
tell you, always strong and positive in his encouragement and sugges- 
tions, and his great enthusiasm and respect for the thoughts and interests 
of others were ever present elements in his dealings with them. The mem- 
bers of AGS, and indeed all who have an interest in this field of study, owe 
him a great debt of gratitude for the four (five if you count this one) splen- 
did issues of Markers he gave us. 

And, lest it be forgotten, we should keep in mind that throughout the 
years of these many great accomplishments, Gary was also performing 
with distinction as a Professor of English and American Studies at Penn- 
sylvania State University, York. Beloved of his students and most highly 
respected by his colleagues, he touched and influenced countless lives dur- 
ing his more than 30 years of service to that institution. Add to this his 
devotion to his family - especially his wife Linda, his son Evan, his daugh- 
ter Megan, and his grandsons Sawyer and Sage - and we begin to see a bit 
more fully the dimensions of this special individual who was taken from 
us all too soon. 

When news of Gary Collison's passing began to spread in the autumn 
of 2007, there followed almost immediately an outpouring of tributes to 
his memory, of which a small sampling is here presented. Joel Myerson, 
Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Distinguished Research Professor 
at the University of South Carolina and leading authority on American 
Transcendentalist authors, had this to say: "Gary was a true gentleman 
scholar... a diligent researcher who freely shared his findings. His knowl- 
edge of the field was superb, his dedication complete, his interests varied. 
He will be missed." From Joel M. Rodney, Chancellor of Penn State York, 
came these words: "Gary was a superb teacher who was truly loved by 
his students and colleagues alike.... the driving force behind the establish- 
ment of the American Studies major at Penn State York.... an unofficial 
mentor to his younger colleagues." Barry Rauhauser, Stauffer Curator at 
the Lancaster County (PA) Historical Society, remembered Gary as "A fel- 

Richard E. Meyer 

low transcendentalism my mentor, my friend," noting further "... I'm sure 
I could write a thousand words and none would capture how much he 
influenced my life." And on "The New England Anomaly Newsblog" 
there was posted the following by "Cranky Yankee": "I didn't know Gary, 
but I've been an AGS member for almost six years, and a faithful reader of 
Markers.... Thanks to AGS and special thanks to Gary Collison for helping 
me out far more than they could know." 

We are so fortunate that this gifted and humane man who enriched the 
scholarly world with his research and published efforts in American lit- 
erature and history also found the time to turn some of his talents to- 
wards the study of cemeteries and gravemarkers. Selfishly, we might 
have wished to have him all to ourselves, but at the same time it is un- 
doubtedly true that it is in large part these far-ranging interests which 
energized his intellect and made him the fascinating person he was. And 
if the stones really could speak, as we are so often fond of saying they can, I 
think they would join us in thanking him for the time he spent with us 
walking in their midst. 

Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 


"A Calendar of the Letters of Theodore Parker (Part One)." Studies in the American 
Renaissance (1979), pp. 159-229. 

"A Calendar of the Letters of Theodore Parker (Part Two)." Studies in the American 
Renaissance (1980), pp. 317-408. 

"The Boston Vigilance Committee: A Reconsideration." Historical journal of Massachu- 
setts 12:2 (1984), pp. 10-16. 

"Theodore Parker." In The Transcendentalists: A Review of Research and Criticism. Edited 
by Joel Myerson. New York: Modern Language Association of America, 1984, 
pp. 216-232. 

"Theodore Parker and the Unitarian Controversy in 1837." ESQ: A Journal of the 
American Renaissance 30:4 (1984), pp. 211-219. 

"Every Man a Scholar: Unitarians, Transcendentalists, and Biblical Criticism." In Religion 
and Philosophy in the United States of America. Edited by Peter Freese. 2 Vols. Essen, 
Germany: Verlag die Balu Eule, 1987, I, pp. 111-124. 

"Shadrack in Concord." Concord Saunterer 19:2 (1987), pp. 1-12. 

"Anti-Slavery, Blacks, and the Boston Elite: Notes on the Reverend Charles Lowell and 
the West Church." The New England Quarterly 61:3 (1988), pp. 419-429. 

"A True Toleration: Harvard Divinity School Students and Unitarianism, 1830-1859." In 
American Unitarianism, 1805-1865. Edited by Conrad Edick. Boston: Massachusetts 
Historical Society, 1989, pp. 209-237. 

"'This Flagitous Offense': Daniel Webster and the Shadrack Rescue Cases, 1851-1852." 
The New England Quarterly 68:4 (1995), pp. 609-625. 

Shadrack Minkins: From Fugitive Slave to Citizen. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University 
Press, 1997. 

"Toward Democratic Vistas: Theodore Parker, Friendship, and Transcendentalism." In 
Emersonian Circles: Essays in Honor of Joel Myerson. Edited by Wesley T. Mott and 
Robert E. Burkholder. Rochester, NY: University of Rochester Press, 1997, pp. 

"Emerson and Antislavery." In A Historical Guide to Ralph Waldo Emerson. Edited by Joel 
Myerson. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 179-210. 

"Who Claims Me?" In A Place at the Table: Struggles for Equality in America. Edited by 
Randy Foster, et al. Montgomery, AL: Teaching Tolerance, 2000, n.p. 

Richard E. Meyer 

"Remembering Man's Other Best Friend: U.S. Horse Graves and Memorials in Histori- 
cal Perspective." Markers XXII (2005), pp. 70-107. 

"Two Gravemarkers Made of Plate Glass." AGS Quarterly 30:2 (2006), p. 4. 


A more detailed obituary for Gary Collison, long-time AGS mem- 
ber and editor of Markers XXI-XXIV, will appear in the next issue of the 
journal he so lovingly edited. It will address primarily his distinguished 
academic career, but it seems appropriate here to take a few mo- 
ments to remember Gary the person, the one who touched so many of 
our lives and gave us so many fond memories to carry with us into the 

Perhaps the most endearing of Gary's many admirable qualities 
was his natural and totally unselfconscious ability to immediately make 
people feel comfortable in his presence. Certain physical attributes 
contributed to this - his youthful appearance (when I first met him, 
some 15 years ago, I thought he was a student!), the smile which lit up 
his face upon almost any occasion, the twinkle in his eyes - but more 
than anything, I feel, it emanated from his total lack of pretentiousness 
and self-centeredness. When Gary would speak to a room full of people, 
it seemed as if he was speaking to you alone, and in private conversa- 
tions he always managed to make you feel as if whatever it was you 
had to say was of the utmost importance to him. He genuinely liked 
people, and perhaps it was a simple as that. 

Gary was a superb editor, uncompromising in his standards of 
excellence but at the same time guided unfailingly by the principles of 
humanity which were so apparent to those of us who knew him - kind- 
ness, humility, good humor, enthusiasm for and appreciation of the 
ideas of others. When he left us on September 19, we lost far more 
than our journal editor: we lost a valued friend. But his smile, his warmth, 
his enthusiasm - these remain with us in memory, as important a part 
of his legacy as his scholarship and academic vision. 

Richard E. Meyer 

Salem, Oregon 

Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

Fig. 1. Photograph © 2008, Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. 

John Smibert, American (born in Scotland), 1688-1751. 

Judge Samuel Sewall, 1729. Oil on canvas. 76.2 x 63.5 cm. 

Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Bequest of William L. Barnard 

(by exchange), and Emily L. Ainsley Fund. 58.358. 


Laurel K. Gabel 

Reading the faded, fragile pages of a colonial diary confers an intimate, 
almost voyeuristic bond of kinship with its author. Diaries, journals, and 
other first person accounts invite us to another time and place and some- 
times into the more private joys, hopes, fears, and commanding religious 
beliefs that shaped the writer's daily thoughts and actions. 1 Mortality 
was one of the major themes in the private and public writings of early 
New Englanders and, although death was recorded with awesome fre- 
quency, the routine details of burial seem to have been too commonplace 
to merit much in-depth commentary in most chronicles. 

One of the most well known, important, and accessible New England 
diaries, kept over a fifty-five year period by prominent Boston merchant 
and judge Samuel Sewall (1652-1730), provides a notable exception (Fig. 
I). 2 Begun in December, 1673, when Sewell was twenty-one, and ending 
just before his death on January 1, 1729/30/ his diary mentions close to 
2,000 deaths and many hundreds of burials that he participated in or 
attended. This essay focuses upon Se wall's description of some of these 
burials and his own intimate familiarity with bereavement. [Unless oth- 
erwise noted, the narrative quotes that follow are from the published 
(1973) two-volume diary of Samuel Sewall edited by M. Halsey Thomas. 4 
Extant gravestones or family tombs exist for all but a few of the burials 
noted herein.] 

Sewall (age nine), his mother, and four siblings came to Newbury, Mas- 
sachusetts, in 1661/ Samuel studied under a local Newbury schoolmas- 
ter, the Rev. Thomas Parker, until being admitted at age fifteen to Harvard 
College. He graduated with two degrees in 1674. 6 Unlike many fellow 
classmates, he did not enter the ministry, following instead in the mercan- 
tile footsteps of his future father-in-law. In 1675, after a formal courtship 
and many prayerful consultations, Sewall married Hannah Hull, the 
daughter of wealthy Boston goldsmith and Massachusetts' Colonial mint 
master, John Hull. 7 Samuel and Hannah lived their entire married lives in 
the Hull family homestead on Boston's main street, now called Washing- 
ton Street and still in the heart of Boston's urban center. 8 Hannah bore 
fourteen children during the couple's more than forty years of marriage. 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

She died in 1717, and Samuel remarried twice more, his third wife surviv- 
ing him in 1730. 

Sewall's diary entries often provide the small details that help illumi- 
nate historical personalities, situations or events. October 17, 1688: "This 
day a great part of the Church is raised. 9 Mr. Cotton Mather [is] not there; 

Fig. 2. Nathanael Mather, 1688, Charter Street Burying Ground, 

Salem, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, 

American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF0762. 

Laurel K. Gabel 11 

he stays at Salem to close the eyes of his dying Brother Nathaniel [who] 
died this day about one aclock." 10 Young Rev. Nathaniel Mather, son of 
Harvard President Rev. Increase Mather and younger brother of the Rev. 
Cotton Mather, entered Harvard College at twelve, graduated in 1685 at 
age sixteen, and then "devoted himself so excessively to study that his 
frail body gave way before his was twenty." 11 Nathaniel's gravestone still 
stands in Salem's Charter Street Burying Ground (Fig. 2). His epitaph, 
perhaps written by his brother, honors his concentrated life: "An Aged 
person / that had seen but / Nineteen Winters / in the World." 12 

A few days later, Rev. Samuel Willard, minister of Sewall's South 
Church, 13 "was call'd out to [pray with] Isaac [Walker] who lay dying. 
[He] was taken [ill] but last Sabbath-day. [Walker died] about 3pm [the 
same day, and] Was buried [3 days later]. Deacon Eliot and I led the young 
widow and had scarfs and gloves. 14 [It] rained as we went to the grave." 
Coming away from the burying yard, mortality fresh in his thoughts, 
Sewall prays, "The Lord fit me, that my Grave may be a Sweetening [pu- 
rifying] place for my Sin-polluted body." 1? Isaac Walker's gravestone, 
probably erected within a few years of his death, offers a visual depiction 
of burial paralleling Sewall's verbal account (Fig. 3). Beneath the 
tympanum's winged skull a frieze features two of the enigmatic little na- 
ked figures called "death imps." The tiny figures are shown shouldering a 
lengthy drape or foliate swag - perhaps a pall. The Lamson shop in nearby 
Charlestown carved most of the 110 known "death imp" images on Bos- 
ton-area gravestones, 1671-1712, and may indeed have made the Isaac 
Walker marker, although lettering and stylistic inconsistencies also sug- 
gest comparison with the work of other local carvers. 16 

"... [It] rained as we went to the grave." 17 Even Sewall's almost daily 
weather reports provide insight into common funeral conventions. Some 
funerals may have been deferred due to severe weather but many others 
took place in heavy rain or snow, 1 * perhaps from necessity dictated by 
law. The Massachusetts Bay Colony's Acts of Resolve urged the avoidance 
of Sabbath day funerals, explaining that their solemnization "ofttimes 
occasions great profanation thereon, by servants and children gathering 
in the streets, and walking up and down, to and from the funerals, and is 
the means of many disorders and irregularities then committed." 19 Like- 
wise, "No person shall dig any grave or make any coffin on the Lord's Day 
without the approbation and allowance of two of the selectmen." 20 Excep- 
tions may have been made, but Sunday burials were unusual. 

Despite Nineteenth Century intervention aimed at reordering Boston's 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

burial spaces, the original burying grounds had not evolved in any such 
linear or preconceived pattern. 21 Most early graves, dug as needed, were 
rather haphazardly placed so as to avoid other sunken burials. Grazing 
rights for sheep and cattle were routinely dispensed to the highest bidder 
until the increasing number of headstones made such use impractical. The 
stone markers now crowding the oldest burial yards did not begin to 
appear in any numbers until late in the 1660s and early 1670s, and then 
only for those few who desired and could afford them. The earliest graves 
were left unidentified, or were marked by simple wooden stakes or rails. 
Sewall's diary entry for March 21, 1687, documents the early use of these 
impermanent markers. Commenting on the burial of old Father East, Sewall 
notes that he: "... was buried on Satterday, On's [on his] Rail 'twas said 
was 94 years old." 22 In the spring of 1702, Sewall, visiting Plymouth's old 
Burial Hill, mentions another weathered wooden rail marker for Thomas 
Walley. The old post had broken off and tumbled about, but Sewall was 
still able to make out the inscription, presumably a painted one, for Rev. 

Fig. 3. Isaac Walker, 1688, King's Chapel Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF1153. 

Laurel K. Gabel 13 

Walley, which indicated that he had "ended his Labour and [fallen] asleep 
in the Lord, [on] 21 March 1677," twenty-five years earlier. 23 

By 1700 there were several gravestone carvers working in and around 
Boston and permanent gravemarkers and bricked underground vault 
tombs were very much in evidence. Still, although it is difficult to accu- 
rately document, most scholars agree that fewer than half of all Boston 
burials were ever marked with a permanent gravestone. Memorialization 
in the form of a carved gravestone or tomb ledger gained acceptability 
only as the markers became more readily available, affordable, and vis- 
ible in the local graveyards. This did not begin to occur until the well into 
the 1660s-1670s. Typically, an early Puritan burial entailed a solemn, 
modest procession from the deceased's home to the gravesite. 24 Devoid of 
preaching and pageantry, and without the concept of hallowed ground, 
burial acknowledged the departed soul with a private prayer— but no 
funeral sermon — as the unsanctified remains were committed to the grave. 
This conscious austerity was gradually undermined as the arriving An- 
glicans and newly wealthy merchant class began to aspire to some of the 
pomp and ceremony long in abeyance for Puritan funerals. 

Although it took place much later (1736) in the less stridently dissent- 
ing atmosphere of a more Anglicized New England, The Boston News- 
Letter's description of the well-attended burial of Governor Jonathan 
Belcher's wife, Mary, offers a colorful account of a more elaborate funeral. 23 
The entire town, even the ships in the harbor, participated in this highly 
structured ritual. "All the bells in town were tolled; and during the time of 
the procession the half-minute guns begun, first at His Majesty's Castle 
William, which were followed by those on board His Majesty's ship Squir- 
rel and many other ships in the harbour, their colours being all day raised 
to the heighth as usual on such occasions. The streets through which the 
funeral passed, the tops of the houses and windows on both sides, were 
crowded with innumerable spectators." [Another time, Sewall says, people 
perched "on Fences and Trees, like Pigeons." 2 ' 1 ] The next Sunday "his 
Excellency's pew and the Pulpit" at the South Church "were put into 
mourning and richly adorned with escutcheons, and the Rev. Thomas 
Prince preached a sermon, which was printed ... with the customary 
black border and death's head." 27 Over 1,000 pairs of gloves were distrib- 
uted as an invitation to the funeral, or a memento of attendance. 28 

Simple or elaborate, funerals served as important social occasions. For 
some it meant the distribution of funereal gifts such as scarves, gloves, and 
the "Death's Heads Rings" or "Burying Rings" that goldsmiths advertised 

14 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

in early newspapers. 29 Sewall's large inventory of such mementos attests 
to the fact that he missed very few such civil gatherings. 30 Other Bostonians 
had similar collections; their diaries record quart-sized tankards full of 
mourning rings, and large inventories of gloves and scarves. 31 "When 
[Rev] Andrew Eliot, minister of the North [Second] Church in Boston, 
tallied his . . . thirty-two years worth of wedding and funeral mementos, 
he found that he had received two thousand nine hundred and forty pairs 
of funeral gloves ... in addition to [a sizeable mug full of mourning] rings 
and [an almost equal number of] scarves." 32 

Sewall's diary entries likewise show that military funerals were espe- 
cially colorful and well-attended regimental extravaganzas of public dis- 
play and ceremony. An elected member and Captain in Boston's oldest 
(1637), most prestigious militia, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery, Sewall 
seldom missed an opportunity to describe the martial theater of military 
burials. His diary describes many such scenes: 

February 3, 1686: "Mr. Henry Phillips is buried with Arms ... Capt. 
Hutchinson led the Souldiers ... Capt. Townsend and Capt. Hill each of 
them Trailed a Pike; were a bout 24 Files, 4 deep. Snow very deep, so in 
the New burial Place [Copp's Hill], 3 Paths[:] 2 for the 2 Files of Souldiers, 
middlemost for the Relations." 33 

May 17, 1687: "Brother and I ride to Newbury in the rainy Drisk 
["drizzly mist (OED)]; this day Capt. [Thomas] Hamilton buried with 
Capt. Nicholson's Redcoats and the 8 Companies[.]" There "was a funeral- 
Sermon preach'd by the ... Chaplain. Pulpit cover'd with black cloath 
upon which Scutcheons. Mr. Dudley, Stoughton and many others at the 
Common Prayer and Sermon. House very full, and yet the Souldiers 
went not in." 34 

February 4 lh , 1697/8: "Last night, about nine of the clock, Col. 
Shrimpton dyes of an Apoplexy" [at age fifty-five.] Samuel Shrimpton, 
one of the richest men in Boston, and a Lieutenant Colonel in the militia 
who served on the Governor's Council under Governor Andros, "was 
seen at his door last Sixth Day" [i.e., the previous Saturday]. Six days 
later, Sewall notes, "Col. Samuel Shrimpton was buried with Arms; Ten 
Companies [from Boston, as well as eight companies from Brookline]; ... 
No Horse [soldiers] nor Trumpet, but a Horse [that was] led— Mr. Dyers, 
the Colonel's [horse] would not endure the cloathing [i.e., the black 
funeral trappings]; [there was a] Mourning Coach also and Horses in 
Mourning [with] Scutcheon on their sides and Deaths heads on their 
foreheads. 35 Coach stood by the way here and there and mov'd solitarily. 
Mr. ...Hutchinson and Mr. Allen led the widow. Capt. Clark fired twelve 
great guns at the Sconce [Fort Hill, overlooking Boston Harbor, The 
guns] began as [we] march'd to New-burying place where the Corps was 

Laurel K. Gabel 15 

set in [with] the two [previous] wives. Very fair and large paths [through 
the snow] were shovel'd by great pains and cost, three in the Burying 
place, one direct to the Tomb, the other compassing by the sides in which 
the souldiers stood Drawn up." 36 

"Sabbath day, Aug. 20, [1676]: "We heard the amazing newes of 
sixty persons killed at Quinebeck [Kennebeck] by barbarous Indians, 
[one] of which [was] Capt. Lake...." Seven months later "Capt. [Thomas] 
Lake, the Remainder of his Corps, was honourably buried" with ceremony 
at Copp's Hill. 37 

The demise of one Major John Richards, aside from his eventual mili- 
tary burial, was also noteworthy for other reasons: his death was 
unexplainably sudden [the more ideal death being one preceded by a 
gradual fading, allowing time to prepare for the 'great change.'], and im- 
bued with misgiving enough to justify an autopsy. 38 As Sewall recounts, 
"In the Afternoon, all the Town is filled with the discourse of Major [John] 
Richards' death, which was extraordinarily suddain. [He] was abroad 
[meaning out and about] on the Sabbath, din'd very well on Monday, and 
after that[,] falling into an angry passion with his Servant Richard Frame, 
presently after fell[,] probably into a Fit of Apoplexy, and died." 39 Five 
days after Major Richard's death, Sewall records the awkward burial "in 
his Tomb in the North Burying Place [with] Companyes in Arms attend- 
ing the Funeral. Major General and Mr. Foster led the Widow. [The] Coffin 
was covered with Cloth. In the Tomb [they] were fain to nail a Board 
across the Coffins and then a board standing right up from that, bearing 
against the top of the Tomb, to prevent [the coffins] floating up and down. 
Sawing and fitting this board made some inconvenient Tarriance [at the 
gravesite]." 40 

On the night following Major Richard's sudden demise "he was 
opened." There was "no cause found of his death, [his] noble Parts being 
fair and sound." 41 While not routinely employed, post mortem exams 
were done when death was unexplained, seriously suspect, of a particu- 
larly violent or sudden nature — or whenever the opportunity for useful 
anatomical study presented itself. As a young man, Sewall had attended 
one such instructional dissection and remembered it well. "Spent the day 
from 9 in the M. with Mr. [Dr.] Brakenbury, Mr. Thompson, Butler, Hooper, 
Cragg [and] Pemberton, dissecting the middlemost of the Indian executed 
[for murder] the day before." He noted in his account of it that one doctor, 
"taking the [heart] in his hand, affirmed it to be the stomack." 42 Autopsies 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

were also performed when a birth anomaly raised the ever present suspi- 
cion of witchcraft and the supernatural: The Body of Rev. Cotton Mather's 
infant child was also "opened" when the baby, who was born "without a 
Postern for the voidance of Excrements," died a few days after birth. 43 The 
examinations mentioned here, and others known to have occurred, sug- 
gest that appropriate medical scrutiny was not forbidden or seen as par- 
ticularly objectionable. 44 

An entry for November 17, 1700, notes: "This day John Soames, the 
Quaker, dies. Was well this day sen-night [seven days ago; a week ago]." 45 
John Soames' gravestone was almost certainly carved by fellow Quaker 
and Sewall neighbor William Mumford (Fig. 4). Although the 1690 Acts of 
Toleration made it incumbent upon the colonies to accept those of other 
faiths, no ground was set aside for Quaker burials until 1709, and, in fact, 

Fig. 4. John Soames, Sr v 1700, Copp's Hill Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF1039. 

Laurel K. Gabel 17 

Quakers who wished to set apart the graves of the martyrs who had been 
executed for heresy in 1685 did so in the face of repeated refusals for per- 
mission to enclose the site. 46 

Nor was there a specific Jewish burying place in Boston until the 1730s. 
Boston had few Jews and no sizeable Jewish congregation until well into 
the Nineteenth Century. 47 Sewall's diary entry for February 4, 1704 records 
how the few non-Christian burials were likely to be handled in the early 
Eighteenth Century: "Joseph Frazon, the Jew, dyes at Mr. Major's... [and, 
the next day] . . . Stterday, is carried in Simson's coach to Bristow [Bristol, 
RI]; from thence by Water to Newport, where there is a Jews burying 
place." 4 - Newport in the early 1700s had a flourishing Jewish community, 
largely engaged in trade with Europe and the West Indies. There is no 
extant gravestone for Joseph Frazon. 

Recognizing funerals as civil rather than religious functions, Quakers, 
Baptists, Anglicans, and other non-Puritan Christians were buried in any 
one of Boston's community burying grounds, none of which were for- 
mally or legally affiliated with, or exclusively devoted to, a particular 
meeting house or church. Following the arrival of Governor Andros (and 
hence Anglicanism) in 1684, Anglican churches became the notable excep- 
tions. Many Anglicans chose to be interred in their own denominational 
burial grounds (Trinity, Boston, 1737), or in private crypts below the church 
nave (King's Chapel, 1688, and Christ Church, Boston, 1723). 

In addition to the personal and practical reflections on death, Sewall's 
diary occasionally calls forth a mental picture of a setting or event that 
speaks more than words. August 11, 1711: "Mr. Elizur Holyoke dies. [Sewall 
was one of the pall bearers at the funeral, three days later.] As [we] were 
passing along in Middle street; One of the Porters stoop'd to take up his 
Hat, by which means the Corps was lower'd so that the Head of the Coffin 
jounc'd upon the Ground; but was retriev'd. The widow was much 
disturb'd at it. Went to the South burying place [Granary] (See Fig. 5)." 49 
Then, as now, the final walk to eternity was imbued with special emotion 
for the bereaved. 

Many of Sewall's most detailed diary entries concern the deaths in his 
own family and so more completely blend the personal, practical, and 
philosophical aspects of mortality noted above. Samuel Sewall clearly 
cared about his children's lives, and their deaths influenced him deeply. 
The events he relates show the intensity of religious fervor invested in his 
hope for each child's recovery. Prayer is much more frequently and specifi- 
cally described as a curative, not simply palliative, focus of care. Of Samuel 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

and Hannah Sewall's fourteen children, seven died before their third birth- 
day. John, their first child (born April 2, 1677) "Dyed Sept. 11, 1678, and 
lyeth buried in the New burying place, on the South side of the grave of his 
great Grandfather, Mr. Robert Hull." 50 

The death and burial of two-week-old Henry, the Sewall's sixth child, 
born December 7, 1685, is also recorded in his father's diary. As the infant's 
condition worsened, Sewall gathered several ministers to add prayers, 
but "about four in the Morn" on December 21, 1685, "the faint and moan- 

Fig. 5. Elizur Holyoke, 1711, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF0589. 

Laurel K. Gabel 


ing noise of my child forces me up to pray for it." Toward morning the 
"child makes no noise save by a kind of snoaring as it breathed . . . ." Sewall 
had spent the night reading scriptures and praying with his wife and the 
attending nurse. Finally they "could hear little Breathing and so about 
Sun-rise, or a little after, he fell asleep, I hope in Jesus, and that a Mansion 
was ready for him in the Father's House." 51 

Sewall also describes some burial practices obscure to us. It is prob- 
ably not well-known, for instance, that midwives and attending women 
who cared for the mother and infant during and following delivery were 
often afforded the sad honor of carrying their tiny corpse to the grave. 52 
The infant Henry "Died in Nurse Hill's Lap" and it was Nurse Hill who 
washed and laid out the small body. 53 The household then prayed and 
fasted to invoke God's blessings in preparation for the burial two days 
later, after the regular Thursday evening Lecture. Henry's little chestnut 

• v f.Jnrf 

Fig. 6. Hull-Sewall Family Tomb, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF1005. 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

coffin 54 was carried to the tomb by Midwife Weeden and Nurse Hill, fol- 
lowed by a procession of the "Governor and Magistrates . . . Eight Minis- 
ters, and Several Persons of note" who attended as the body was set into 
the family tomb (Fig. 6), which, Sewall notes, was full of water. 55 Unless 
the mother had been "churched", that is, sufficiently recovered from child- 
birth to attend church services and offer thanks for her safe delivery, she 
did not customarily attend the burial of her infant. 

Six months after Henry's burial, Hull Sewall died just before his second 
birthday. 56 Named for his maternal forbearers, little Hull was buried in 
the coastal town of Newbury, Massachusetts, north of Boston, where he 
had been taken to live with his grandparents in hopes that the country air 

I O o 4 -~ ■■ f, 

die d a t Nevs b u i v ^ 

a horn At Rolron, 
& July the o 

Fig. 7. Hull Sewall, son of Samuel and Hannah (Hull) Sewall, 1686, 
Newbury, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Ralph Tucker. 

Laurel K. Gabel 21 

might cure him of the convulsions that eventually proved fatal. Years 
later, corresponding with Cotton Mather, Sewall recalled his son Hull: 
"Though I have buried ten Children, yet not every one of them [lies] in the 
[Granary] Tomb; Hull Sewall died, and was buried, at Newbury. Not with- 
standing, I had his name engraven on the Tomb-Stone with the Poet's 
verse." 57 The "poet's verse" that Sewall quotes in the letter is Ovid's Meta- 
morphoses, the translation a tender tribute to his son: "If not the sepulchral 
urn, the lettered stone will join us. If I can not touch you, bone to my bone, 
still I will touch you, name to name." 38 Ovid's quotation, however, does 
not appear on Hull's modest headstone in Newbury, which neighbor Wil- 
liam Mumford most likely carved (Fig. 7). Perhaps it was carved on the 
original top of the Hull/Sewall table tomb in the Granary, Boston, which 
was recarved in the 19 th Century and so is no longer extant. 

Despite death's prevalence and visibility in early Boston, its impact on 
young children was no less frightening. 59 Barely a year after Hull's death, 
six-month-old Stephen Sewall died, like Henry, in Nurse Hill's arms. 
Stephen's burial took place the next day. When pallbearers "Samuel Clark 
[who carried the head of the coffin] and Solomon Rainsford put him into 
the Tomb, . . . Solomon's foot, on a loose brick, slipt and he slide down the 
steps and let go [of] the Coffin, but the end Rested upon Johnny's stone[,] 
set there to show the Entrance [of the tomb], and Sam[uel] held his part 
steadily, so was only a little knock." 60 For eight-year-old Sam Junior and 
his two younger sisters it was all too much. They "cryed much coming 
home and at home, so that [we] could hardly quiet them. It seems they 
look'd into [the] Tomb and . . . saw a great Coffin there," that of their Grand- 
father Hull. 61 

In the 1690s, Samuel and Hannah dealt with the deaths of three more 
infants. Daughter Judith died in 1690 after six short weeks of life; in 1693, 
five-week-old Jane joined her siblings in the tomb. "A dead child is a sight 
no more surprising than a broken pitcher, or a blasted flower," Cotton 
Mather had preached, not long before. 62 Three years later, on December 21, 
1696, Sewall remarked on the snow and extreme cold gripping Boston, 
and on his efforts to have his own minister and others venture out to pray 
over another dangerously ill daughter. "This day I remove poor little Sa- 
rah into my Bed-chamber, where about the break of day, December 23, 
[1696], she gives up the ghost in Nurse Cro well's arms." 63 Born November 
21, 1694, Sarah had just turned two. And so on December 25 th , 1696, Sewall 
noted, "We bury our little daughter." In the chamber (where the child was 
laid out at home), each surviving child read a Bible verse. "I speak to each, 

22 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

as God helped, to our mutual comfort, I hope," Sewall noted. "I order'd 
Sam. [at sixteen, the oldest son] to read the 102 Psalm. 64 Elisa Cooke, Edw. 
Hutchinsin, John Baily, and Josia Willard bear my little daughter [from 
the house] to the Tomb." 65 The family's informal prayers before going to 
the grave appear to have been the only devotions associated with the 
burial. Puritans held that "the celebration of marriage and burial of the 
dead be not ecclesiastical actions appertaining to the ministry, but civil, so 
to be performed." 66 Even on that of all days they found no special reason 
for burial ritual or even ministerial presence: the Hulls and Sewalls, like 
most Puritans, did not keep Christmas. 

Another diary entry connected with preparations for little Sarah's 
burial describes how, earlier that day, Sewall had visited the family tomb 
in the Granary burying ground to "see in what order things were set." In 
the brick-lined crypt 67 Sewall could take comfort in the sight of Grandfa- 
ther Hull's coffin that had so frightened his children and view and 

converse with, the coffins of my dear Father Hull, Mother Hull, Cousin 
Quinsey, and my Six children: for the little posthumous [the unnamed 
stillborn son who was buried May 22, 1696 h8 ] was now took up and set in 
upon that that stands . . . one upon another[,] twice, on the bench at the end. 
My Mother [Hull] ly's on a lower bench, at the end, with her head to her 
Husband's head: and I order'd little Sarah to be set on her Grandmother's 
feet. T'was an awfull yet pleasing Treat; Having said, The Lord knows 
who shall be brought hither next, I came away. 69 [The Rev.] Mr. Willard 
prayed with us the night before [the burial]; I gave him a ring worth about 
20 s. 70 

Elsewhere, Sewall describes Judith's small coffin, one of those stacked on 
the bench: "On [Judith's] Coffin is the year 1690, made with little nails." 71 
Having survived the tenuous childhood years that had claimed six of 
her siblings, the next to be buried in the family tomb was the Sewall's 
nineteen-year-old daughter, Mary Sewall Gerrish, who died several days 
after the birth of her first child in 1710. When Sewall returned home to 
inform his wife, a most "doleful Cry was lifted up." 72 Mary's sister, Eliza- 
beth (Betty) Sewall Hirst, died about midnight on July 10/11, 1716, also "a 
very desirable Child not full Thirty five years old. She liv'd desir'd and 
died Lamented. The Lord fit me to follow, and help me to prepare my wife 
and Children for a dying hour." 73 Elizabeth's coffin was carried to the 
grave by six distinguished pall bearers led by her husband, Grove Hirst, 
then their children, two-by-two: Sam. (age 10) and Mary (12); Elizabeth (9) 
and Hannah (8); Jane (6), who was led by Experience. Then followed the 
Grandfathers, Elizabeth's siblings, cousins, and many other relatives from 

Laurel K. Gabel 23 

near and far. She was "Buried... a little before Sun-set." 74 

Mrs. Hannah Sewall, Samuel's wife of forty-one years, died the follow- 
ing year, 1717, at age 59. Sewall's entries record both his emotional loss 
and the more practical aspects of Hannah's funeral: "My dear wife is 
[disjembowelled and put in a Cere Cloth, the [October] Weather being 
more than ordinarily hot." 75 In a letter to Cotton Mather, just over a week 
after his wife's burial, Sewall writes: "These [lines] Are thankfully to ac- 
knowledge my Obligation to you on account of your Embalming my most 
Constant Lover, my most laborious Nurse." 76 Sewall's use of the term 
"embalming" might be taken as a metaphor for the verbal preservation 
that was part of Mather's sermon following Hannah's death. No direct 
evidence shows that Cotton Mather disemboweled or embalmed Hannah's 
body. But as one of the colonial ministers who also practiced medicine, he 
may have actually participated in the disemboweling. 77 Four years later 
Sewall established a permanent memorial to Hannah by setting up "my 
Connecticut stone post in Elm Pasture, in Remembrance of my loving Wife 
Mrs. Hannah Sewall." 78 The Connecticut brownstone was likely obtained 
from James Stanclift, the gravestone carver and quarry owner in 
Middletown, Connecticut. 79 

Sewall's penchant for the almost clinical details of a burial appears in 
an entry for August 17, 1724. By then, few of his children still lived in the 
parental home. Over half had died early in life; most surviving siblings 
had married and moved away. But the Sewall's unmarried eldest daugh- 
ter Hannah lived at home until she died at age forty-four. In late July of 
1724, a chronic suppurating leg abscess that had plagued her for years 
worsened, leaving her bed-ridden. By August, many visiting ministers — 
including her brother Rev. Joseph Sewall, newly elected President of 
Harvard College — prayed for her spiritual and physical well being. Her 
concerned father left a "Note at the Old [First Church] and South: 'Prayers 
are desired for Hannah Sewall as drawing Near her end.'" Hannah died on 
August 15 th - while her father was at Meeting. Coming home from prayers, 
he "found my Daughter laid out. ... I hope God has delivered her of all her 
Fears!," wrote Sewall. 80 

Later that afternoon, Sewall "put up this Note at Old South Church: 
Samuel Sewall desires Prayers, that the Death of his Eldest Daughter may 
be Sanctified to him, and to the Relatives.'" Hannah had earnestly "de- 
sired not to be emboweled," and the doctors thus urged that she be buried 
quickly. Until this could be accomplished, her body was put "into her 
Coffin in a good Cere Cloth, and bestowed [with] a Convenient quantity of 

24 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

Lime, whereby the noxious Humour flowing from her Legg, may be sup- 
pressed and absorbed." 81 The casements were left open for ventilation 
and Boston, the family servant, 82 vehement about not having Hannah's 
body placed in the cellar, sat watch during the hot, humid summer night. 
After a "great funeral," Hannah joined the growing number of Sewall 
family members in the Hull tomb (Fig. 8). 83 But the Sewalls were not yet 
done with Death — or Death with them. The next day, Samuel's fourteen- 
month old grandson John died at Brookline: "Matthew brings him in his 
Coffin to my house in the night, and is set in the best Room; a goodly 
Corpse." Little John was buried the next day, after which "Mr. Cooper 
pray'd at our return from the Grave. The good Lord Teach me what the 
meaning of this reiterated Stroke should be!" 84 

l\ JA \W"< 7L>t*&6*lJ*~r***7r1 — tl /0 

17 Vo sn <. Be **^7,/hJz&-»f**>-tt • *<&***• <*>'**% * ^ g Til T 

2t <?» L A ^^> — ^,0-, — ^ ' • - if, -7 ~~ 

J>^ y . g. T o ~*^~ u*m *&£*£& -- i£rJi~r 

ts r* ^ r *-%. f M' — ' — •■ — 2rr ~ " ~:~il£r 

-3 ^ 

Fig. 8. "Expended in the Funeral of Daughter Mrs. Hannah Sewall 

who died August 16, 1724." From Account Book of Samuel Sewall, 1670- 

1728. R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, New England 

Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, Massachusetts, Mss. 514. 

Laurel K. Gabel 25 

Over the years, Judge Sewall made periodic checks on the family tomb. 
In 1717 he writes: "I go into [the tomb] to view the order of things in it. 
Enlarge the number of steps by adding one more. Dug a hole in the north- 
East Corner and there buried the scattering bones and buried the pieces of 
Coffins." 85 Sewall's son Samuel, writing in 1737, names thirty-six known 
burials placed in the Hull/Sewall family tomb by that date. 86 Other tombs, 
later excavated during repairs, reportedly contained similar large num- 
bers of remains. 87 Many surviving box tombs and tabletop monuments in 
New England burying grounds guard the entrances to underground cham- 
bers that accommodated a surprisingly large number of interments. 

Given this more extensive use of family crypts, it not surprising that so 
few headstones exist for this period. Only a small percentage of burials 
may have been marked with a permanent gravestone: many, if not most, 
of the burials mentioned in Sewall's diary involve more costly under- 
ground tombs accommodating multiple interments. Individual names and 
death dates seldom appear on above-ground markers associated with 
these large family vaults and it is hard to make a complete assessment 
since their horizontally placed capstones are particularly vulnerable to 
the elements. Many have broken or eroded away; others have been re- 
placed or even recarved by later generations. Underground vaults were 
also not exclusively for family members alone: several generations of an 
extended family's remains might be mingled with those of friends, ser- 
vants, and neighbors - some temporarily, some for eternity. 

Another custom abundantly documented in this and other period dia- 
ries is the almost casual moving of bodies from place to place. It was also 
common to share a tomb with neighbors, unrelated friends, servants, and 
even strangers. Today's Freedom Trail visitors see a large freestanding 
puddingstone near Granary's Tremont Street fence: its bronze plate marks 
Samuel Adams' burial in the nearby Checkley family tomb. This example 
is consistent with observations found in Sewall's diary as well. On Sep- 
tember 18, 1690, he notes that "Mr. Willard's Edward dies of a Convulsion 
Fit" and "is buried [2 days later] at Roxbury in Mr. Eliot's tomb." 88 Also, 
"Mrs. Mary Nowell buried. [She] Was laid in Mr. Usher's Tomb," 89 and 
"This day was buried one Mr. Lock in Capt. Hamilton's tomb. It's thought 
he kill'd himself with Drink." 90 

Sewall was called again to "view the order of things" [in the family 
tomb] when "Mr. Willard, [Sewall's minister, who had originally been 
buried in the Hull/Sewall family tomb] was taken out yesterday and laid 
in the new Tomb built by the South Congregation." 91 Further entries note: 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

"Mr. White [is] buried. Was laid in Mr. Belcher's Tomb, the uppermost of 
the Wall in the South Burying Place;" 92 "Capt. Dwight dies on Friday 
night [and] Mrs. Dwight [his 6 th wife] [dies] today [just one week later];" 93 
"Col. Townsend, Samuel Lynde Esq., and I go in the Hackeny coach to 
Dedham to the funeral of Capt. Dwight and his wife. Gov. Dudley went in 
his Chariot." [The two coffins were taken to the gate of the house and 

Fig. 9. Captain William Greenough, 1693, Copp's Hill Burying 

Ground, Boston, Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber 

Collection, American Antiquarian Society, 

Worcester, Massachusetts, #1358. 

Laurel K. Gabel 27 

carried thence to the burying ground by twelve pall bearers. The coffins] 
"were put into Major Lusher's Tomb. It seems Mr. Adams also lyes in [the 
Lusher] Tomb, into which I have now again looked." 94 

Several entries document burials at sunset or at night, along with other 
funeral practices and customs seldom observed today. In 1687, Sewall 
describes a torch-lit procession and the bells that tolled for the 9 p.m. 
funeral of Lady Andros. 9S Mr. Taylor, a well known Boston merchant was 
"found hang'd in a loft over his counting house..." and was "buried in his 
ownTombe ... atnight[,] about 11 o ye clock...." 96 On another occasion, he 
notes: "Tuesday night, August 16, 1687. Elder [John] Wiswall dies, having 
liv'd, as is said, fourscore and six years." He was buried, two days later, 
"just ... before Sunset." 97 As well: "Mr. Loring's son, a student of the Col- 
lege, was buried that night . . ." 98 ; "At night went to the Funeral of Fr[ances] 
Homes's Son;" 99 "Sabbath, Augt. 6, 1693. Capt. Wm. Greenough died about 
4 this morn, buried about nine [o'clock the same] ... nigh (Fig. 9). Three 
Vollies past nine at night. There was bright moonshine." 100 

Most of the funerals that Sewall attended were close to home, but he 
and others often traveled to attend funerals in the towns surrounding 
Boston. Hearing of Elder Clap's death in October 1708, Sewall joined a 
group of Boston men who "ride in the Coach to Dorchester, to the Funeral 
of Elder Samuel Clap, who is much lamented. 101 He was the first man born 
in Dorchester, 74 years old." 102 The majority of burials took place within 
three days after death, but, then as now, many exceptions were necessi- 
tated by weather conditions, the need to gather distant relatives, compet- 
ing local events, or the elaborateness of the funeral procession. 

Throughout his life Sewall kept a detailed financial ledger or account 
book in which he recorded his financial dealings with individuals from all 
over New England. His financial records as well as his numerous diaries 
and letter books make direct references to a few known gravestone carv- 
ers. On one occasion, Sewall "Spent a pretty deal of time in the burying 
place to see to the Graver of the Tombstone." Disappointingly for us, he 
does not mention whose stone he is superintending, nor which "graver" is 
doing the work. 103 One possibility is the diarist's neighbor and friend 
William Mumford, the crafter of several Sewall family gravestones. Two 
years after Samuel Sewall's brother, John, died at Newbury, in the sum- 
mer of 1699, Sewall's account book lists payments made to gravestone 
carver William Mumford: "By a grave stone for brother John Sewall[,] 
formerly, LI. 5.9." (Fig. 10) The Mumford account also shows that the stone 
carver was paid for several other family stones, including those for Sewall's 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

"Dear Father and Mother," 104 and his married sisters Hannah Toppan (died 
1699, in York, Maine) and Mehetabel Moody (died 1702, in Newbury, Mas- 
sachusetts). 105 

Sewall paid the Dorchester carver James Foster for 696 feet of slate for 
"ye cellar floor;" made payments to James Stanclift and his agents of 
Middleton [Connecticut]; to "John Marshal of Braintree for a grave and 
monument;" to gravestone carvers James Gilchrist and Nathaniel Ems 
[Emmes] for a "Connecticut stone and carting and laying in the monu- 
ment..., L10-10-0;" and to Boston carver James Gilchrist "by work and 
materials of my tomb in the New Burying place in Boston, L37-16-6." This 
last entry is followed by Sewall's note: "James Gilchrist was drowned at 
the swinging Bridge, Aug. 28, 1722." 106 

Fig. 10. John Sewall, 1701, Newbury, MA. (Sewall payment to 

William Mumford for gravestone.) Photograph courtesy of Farber 

Collection, American Antiquarian Society 

Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF1004. 

Laurel K. Gabel 29 

A more heartfelt passage in Sewall's diary tells of the death of his friend 
Capt. Jacob Eliot, who died during the yellow fever epidemic of 1693. On 
August 16, "Capt. [and Deacon, Jacob] Eliot comes sick from Muddy-River 
[Brookline] ... and "Dyes about 2 at night" and "is buried" in the 'new 
burying place' the following day. 107 Sewall, a pall bearer at the funeral, 
continued to mourn the loss of his great friend, mentioning at the same 
time a humorous event that resulted from his original ignorance of his 
friend's death: 

'Tis a sudden and very sore Blow to the South Church, a Loss hardly 
repaired. On the Sabbath, Mr. Willard [the minister] being in [to the meeting 
house] before me, I did not [notice] Deacon Eliot's absence, and wondered 
I heard not his voice beginning the Ps[alms], and Capt. Frary waited when 
I should begin it. We shall hardly get another such a sweet singer as we 
have lost. He was one of the most Serviceable Men in Boston . . . , One of 
the best and most respectful Friends I had in the World. Lord awaken us. 
Scarce a Man was so universally known as He.... [He] Dyed in the 61 
year of 's Age. Was one of the first [to be] born in Boston. 108 

Deacon Eliot's gravestone (Fig. 11) is one of the ornate mermaid stones, 
perhaps the work of "J.N." or one of the other talented Boston carvers 
active in the late 1680s and early 1690s. 109 

Sewall, appointed by Gov. Phips to sit in judgment at the Salem witch 
trials, may have had the witchcraft executions in mind as he wrote in his 
diary: "Jan. 19, 1693/4. This day Mrs. Prout dies after sore conflicts of 
mind, [and] not without suspicion of Witchcraft." 110 Mental illness or 
aberrant behavior of any kind was often interpreted as the work of Satan 
or the result of unconfessed and unrepentant sin. Poor Elizabeth Prout 
was buried at Copp's Hill under a stone probably carved by her neighbor, 
William Mumford. In December, 1696, Sewall proposed a public day of 
fasting and prayerful penance for the sins of the witchcraft trials. He alone 
among the five judges also apologized publicly for his part in the trials. 
From that day forward Sewall habitually set aside the day annually, fast- 
ing and praying for forgiveness for his part in the wrongful death of the 
Salem "witches." 111 

There may be no better indication of how life and death were entwined 
in Samuel Sewall's Boston than the number of accidental deaths he records, 
especially the surprising number of drownings, which appear to account 
for the largest number of such fatalities. 112 More than forty accidental 
deaths mentioned in the diary involve children. On November 30,1696 he 
records: "Many [Harvard] Scholars go in the Afternoon to Scate on Fresh- 
pond; William Maxwell and John Eyre fall in and are drown'd. Just about 


Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

Candle-lighting the news of it is brought to Town, which affects persons 
exceedingly. Mr. Eyre the father cries out bitterly." Sewall adds that "Paul 
Miller, his 2 sons, and about 4 more [were] drowned last week." 113 In June 
of the following year, thirteen-year-old Richard, the son of the Sewall's 
minister, the Rev. Samuel Willard, dies: "He went to Cambridge and was 
admitted [to Harvard]; and then went into the River [for a swim] and was 
drowned with his Admission [slip fresh] in his Pocket. His father and 

Fig. 11 Deacon Jacob Eliott, 1693, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #1018. 

Laurel K. Gabel 


Mother mourn sorely." 114 On August, 1715: "This day Billy Gibs, the 
Minister's Son, is drown'd at Cambridge a little above the Bridge... was 
about eleven years old. [He] Was drown'd at young Floud, and not taken 
up till eleven at night, by Torches; one [of the searchers] accidentally trod 
on him; [he] could not Swim. Buried at Watertown [the] next day." 115 And 
then: "This day, March 15, [1694/5], young Tim° Clark, of about 14 years 
old, falls down into the hold of a ship... and dies, to the great sorrow of all 
that hear of it." 116 Typical of William Mumford's style, the winged skull 
and lush borders of young Timothy Clarke's gravestone (Fig. 12) mark his 
resting place in Boston's Granary Burying Ground. 

Fig. 12. Timothy Clarke, 1694/5, Granary Burying Ground, Boston, 

Massachusetts. Photograph courtesy of Farber Collection, American 

Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts, #HF0229. 

32 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

Although only a very small sampling of Samuel Sewall's many diary 
entries concerning death and burial have been highlighted here, his diary, 
and countless other less well-known personal narratives, provide insight 
into how Colonial New Englanders dealt with the final separation of body 
and soul — how they prepared for life's final event through prayer, how 
they mourned, and how they remembered their dead in private and in 
more public observances. The gravestones of this period remain as tan- 
gible evidence of this cultural process. 


My intent, when I first embarked on the "diary project," was to locate and read as many 
early New England diaries as possible and to report on the hidden references to gravestones 
and gravestone carvers, 1650-1850. How naive! The idea quickly evolved into one of the 
most addictive research projects that I've ever undertaken. The primary source materials, 
the diaries themselves, are often buried within manuscript collections and rare book 
holdings at widely scattered research libraries and small historical societies, which frequently 
have rather limited access. Only a small percentage of extant diaries have been transcribed 
or published, as has Samuel Sewall's, and many, scratched out in a now unfamiliar script 
using space saving codes and arbitrary abbreviations, are a challenge to read. Discovering 
and transcribing a long lost diary is more than enough reward. I've chosen the diary of 
Samuel Sewall to represent the 17 lh -Century diaries because it is probably the most readily 
available, widely studied, and complete early diary. For their considerable help along the 
way, special thanks to Gary Collison, Richard E. Meyer, the three unnamed Markers 
reviewers, Donna LaRue, Judith Lucey at New England Historic Genealogical Society, 
and the staff at the Massachusetts Historical Society, all of whom contributed substantively 
to my understanding of different aspects of Sewall's world. 

1 . For information about authors, locations, and dates of extant American diaries, see: 
Laura Arksey, Nancy Pries, and Marcia Reed, American Diaries: An Annotated 
Bibliography of Published American Diaries and Journals to 1980, 2 vols. (Detroit: Gale 
Research Co., 1983-85); Harriette Merrifield Forbes, New England Diaries, 1602- 
1800: A Descriptive Catalogue of Diaries, Orderly Books and Sea Journals (New York: 
Russell & Russell, 1923); Index to Personal Names in the National Union Catalogue of 
Manuscript Collections, 1959-1984 (NUCMC) (Alexandria, Virginia: Chadwyck-Healey, 
1988); William Matthews, American Diaries in Manuscript, 1580-1954: A Descriptive 
Bibliography (Athens, Georgia: University of Georgia Press, 1974); Joyce D. 
Goodfriend, The Published Diaries and Letters of American Women (Boston: G.K. Hall 
and Co., 1987); Cheryl Cline, Women's Diaries, Journals, and Letters: An Annotated 
Bibliography (New York: Garland Publications, 1989). The Periodical Source Index 
(PERSI) covers references from printed genealogical journals and newsletters since 

2. Sewall is perhaps best known today for his role as judge in the 1692 Salem witch 
trials, as well as his subsequent (1697) public repentance, and for his early anti-slavery 
tract, "The Selling of Joseph" (1700), the full text of which can be found in M. Halsey 
Thomas, ed., The Diary of Samuel Sewall, 1674-1729, 2 vols. (New York: Farrar, Straus 

Laurel K. Gabel 33 

and Giroux, 1973), 1117-1121, and at the Digital History web site: 

3. For a time before English calendar reform became official in 1752, both the old style 
(o.s.) and the new style (n.s.) dates were frequently recorded. The old style or Julian 
calendar began the new year on March 25th (Lady Day given as the date of Christ's 
conception); the new style or Gregorian calendar began the year on January 1st. 
When a death date fell within this confusing January 1st to March 25th time period, a 
date might be written as 1729/30, explained as 1729 old style, 1730 new style. 

4 . Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall, from the manuscript at the Massachusetts Historical 

5. Samuel Sewall, the son of Henry and Jane (Dummer) Sewall, was born at Bishop 
Stoke, Hampshire, England, March 28, 1652. The infant's father, Henry Sewall, had, 
after his second voyage to New England, settled himself at Newbury where he 
prepared to receive his growing family. Henry Sewall's wife, Jane, with five young 
children and two servants, arrived in Newbury in the summer of 1661, after an eight 
week voyage aboard the Prudent Mary. (Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall, xxiv- 
xxxiii.) For the most complete Sewall family genealogy, see Eben W. Graves, The 
Descendants of Henry Sewall (1576-1656) of Manchester and Coventry, England, and 
Newbury and Rowley, Massachusetts (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical 
Society's Newbury Street Press, 2007). Much has been written about Samuel Sewall 
and about different aspects of his life and diary. The two volume edition of the diary 
used for this paper (Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall), is an excellent starting point. 
Some additional resources include: Richard Francis, judge Sewall's Apology, A 
Biograpihy: The Salem Witch Trials and the Forming of an American Conscience (New 
York: Harper Collins, 2005); David D. Hall, "The Mental World of Samuel Sewall," in 
Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society,\980, 92021-92044; Mary Adams 
Hilmer, "The Other Diary of Samuel Sewall," Neiv England Quarterly 55:3 (1982), 
354-365; Judith S. Graham, Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Boston: 
Northeastern University Press, 2000); David S. Lovejoy, "Between Hell and Plum 
Island: Samuel Sewall and the Legacy of the Witches," New England Quarterly 70.3 
(1997), 355-367; Lawrence Rosen wald, "Sewall's Diary and the Margins of Puritan 
Literature" American Literature 58.3 (1986), 325-341; T. B. Strandness, Samuel Sewall: 
A Puritan Portrait (Michigan State University Press, 1967); Ola Elizabeth Winslow, 
Samuel Sewall of Boston (New York:The Macmillan Company, 1964); David H. Watters, 
"A Letter from Samuel Sewall to his Father." The New England Quarterly 58.4 (1985), 
598-601; Mel Yazawa, ed., The Diary and Life of Samuel Sewall (Boston: Bedford 
Books/St. Martin's Press, 1998). 

6. "Sewall earned his B.A. in 1671, served as a college fellow and tutor, and then 
received his "second degree" (M.A.) from Harvard in 1674.": Judith S. Graham, 

Puritan Family Life: The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Boston: Northeastern University 
Press, 2000), 18. 

7. One commentator notes, "Love and respect motivated Samuel Sewall to seek the 
hand of John Hull's only living child, but the union also brought him the enormous 
benefits of financial security and access to the Boston elite.": Graham, 24-26. 

34 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

8 . "The Diaries of John Hull, Mint-master and Treasurer of the Colony of Massachusetts 
Bay," Transactions and Collections of the American Antiquarian Society, Vol. 3 (Boston: 
American Antiquarian Society, 1857),108-316. A comprehensive investigation into 
the location of the Hull/Sewall house and other Hull properties in Boston appears in 
"Communication from Dr. Estes Howe, of Cambridge, in Regard to the Abode of 
John Hull and Samuel Sewall," Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second 
Series, Vol. 1 (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society 1884-1885), 312-326. 

9 . The church being raised in 1688 is King's Chapel, the first Anglican Church to be built 
in Boston. The new church's construction on the site of the Puritan founders' burial 
ground produced predictable anger and resentment from those who had crossed the 
Atlantic to realize an alternative vision of English Protestantism. Ill will had already 
been stirred by Royal Governor Andros' deliberate occupation of the Puritan meeting 
house for Anglican worship, which was precipitated in part by the fact that no Puritan 
would sell suitable land to the Anglicans for their church. Thomas, The Diary of 
Samuel Sewall, 1: 135-140; Peter T Mallery and Tim Imrie, New England Churches and 
Meetinghouses (Seacaucus, New Jersey: Chartwell Books, 1985), 69-71. 

10. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Oct. 17, 1688), 1:180-181. Rev. Cotton Mather 
was the most influential religious leader in Boston at the time. 

11. Ibid. (July 24, 1689), l:230n. For more about Cotton Mather and his political, social, 
and religious influence in early New England see: Diary of Cotton Mather, 1681-1708, 
Seventh Series, Vol. VII, VIII (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1911-1912); 

12. For more about Nathanael Mather's gravestone see: Richard E. Meyer, "'Death 
Possesses a Good Deal of Real Estate': References to Gravestones and Burial Grounds 
in Nathaniel Hawthorne's American Notebooks and Selected Fictional Works," Studies 
in the Literary Imagination, 39:1 (2006), 1-28. Cotton Mather's biography of his brother, 
Early Piety, Exemplified in the Life and Death of Mr. Nathanael Mather (London, 1689), 
was probably published at Sewall's expense. See: Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall 
(July 24, 1689), l:230n. Many years later, Cotton Mather "retired into the Burying 
place [in Salem], and att the Grave of my dear Younger Brother there, I could not but 
fall down on my knees before the Lord with praises to His Name for granting the Life 
of my dead Brother to be writt and spread and Read among His people and bee very 
serviceable ... ." Young Nathaniel, who had extraordinary command of mathematics, 
classics, theology and science, had, shortly before his death, compiled and published 
Almanacs for the years 1685-1686. See Barrett Wendell, Cotton Mather: A Biography 
by Barrett Wendell, New York: Barnes & Noble Books, 1993, 170; 
( php?name=MMD1442). 

13. Boston's Third Church or "Old South" Congregation was formed in 1669, after part of 
the congregation split away from First Church as a result of theological differences 
arising from baptismal provisions in the Halfway Covenant. In the winter of 1686, the 
newly arrived Royal Governor, Edmund Andros, took over the Old South meeting 
house for Anglican services, forcing the Puritan congregation to compromise many 
of their own worship services. The building of the King's Chapel on a portion of 
another long established Puritan landmark renewed simmering resentment. For more 

Laurel K. Gabel 35 

on the complicated history of Boston congregations and church buildings, see Donna 
LaRue, "A Walking Tour of Boston's Church History," The Colonial Churches of the 
Shawmut Peninsula, Vol. I (Boston: 1996), 19. 

14. Isaac Walker's young widow was Hannah (Frary) Walker (b. 31 Jan. 1655/56), the 
daughter of Theophilus Frary. She was married again on February 12, 1889/90, to 
widower Andrew Belcher. Thomas, Tlie Diary of Samuel Sewall (Jan. 1718), 2:879, fn5. 

15. Sevvall frequently refers to well known ritual practices surrounding death and burial: 
prayerful attendance at the death bed, prayers at home before going to the grave, the 
ordered procession to the burial ground according to family rank, age, gender, etc., 
male dignitaries who lead and support the widow in the funeral procession, and the 
giving of scarves, gloves, and/or rings to funeral participants and worthy friends. 
Sevvall also comes away from many burials with a fervent prayer that he will be 
prepared and found acceptable to God at the time of his own death. Thomas, The Diary 
of Samuel Sewall (Oct. 19-22, 1688), 1:181. 

16. For a discussion of "death imp" stones and their sources, see Laurel K. Gabel, "A 
Common Thread: Needlework Samplers and American Gravestones," Markers XIX 
(2002), 24-27; Ralph Tucker, "Heavenly Imps, Evil Demons, Little Men," Neiosletter of 
the Association for Gravestone Studies 3:3 (1979), 1-3. 

17. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Oct. 19-22, 1688), 1:181. 

18. Ibid. (Jan. 20, 23, 25, 1706), I: 540-541, for example. 

19. "Acts and Resolves of the Province of Massachusetts Bay, December 27, 1727": 
Justin Winsor, ed., The Memorial History of Boston, 1630-1880. Vol. 2 [of 4 Vols.] 
(Boston: Tichnor and Company, 1881), 470. 

20. "By Act of the General Court of the Province of Massachusetts, October 22, 1692, 
and May 12, 1701." Ibid., 2:469-470. 

21. The original placement of graves was without much ordered planning. "Nineteenth 
century interventions, like those of Secretary Hawes in Granary, were aimed at 
reordering these spaces to conform retroactively to the Victorian cemetery aesthetic 
displayed to such great effect at Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge": Donna LaRue, 
personal correspondence, Jan. 12, 2007. 

22. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (March 21, 1687), 1:135. Old Father East was 
perhaps the Francis East admitted as Freeman at Boston, April 17, 1637. See Boston 
Colonial Records, Vol. 1:195. 

23. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sezvall (April 4, 1702), 1:464. 

24. In early Boston there were three community burial grounds: Ancient, or Old Burying 
Ground, in use since 1630 (now known as King's Chapel Burying Ground); New, or 
New North, opened in 1659 (now Copp's Hill Burying Ground); and New, or South, 
opened in 1660 (now Granary Burying Ground). 

36 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

25. "The Rev. Dr. Sewall [Samuel Sewall's son, Joseph] made a very suitable prayer at his 
Excellency's house, just before the funeral. The coffin was covered with black velvet 
and richly adorned. The pall was supported by ...[six of the colony's highest-ranking 
men]. [A pall, mort-cloth, or bier-cloth, as it was sometimes called, was originally a 
heavy cloth drape supported as a canopy above the coffin. It might also be used to 
cover the resting coffin. Biers and palls were often kept at the meeting house for 
community use.] His Excellency with his children and family followed the corpse, all 
in deep mourning; next went the several relatives according to their respective 
degrees, who were followed by a great many of the principal gentlewomen in town; 
after whom went the gentlemen of His Majesty's Council; the reverend Ministers of 
this and the neighboring towns; the reverend President and Fellows of Harvard 
College; a great number of officers both of the civil and military order, with a multitude 
of other gentlemen. His excellency's coach[,] drawn by four horses[,] was covered 
with black cloth and adorned with escutcheons [bearing] the coats of arms both of his 
Excellency and of his deceased lady." Boston News-Letter (October 14, 1736), reprinted 
in Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 2: 474-475. For a graphic depiction of the 
marshaling of similar aristocratic or heraldic funerals see Theodore Chase and Laurel 
K. Gabel, Gravestone Chronicles II: More Eighteenth-Century New England Carvers and 
an Exploration of Gravestone Heraldica (Boston: New England Historic Genealogical 
Society, 1997), 502-504; 521. 

26. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (April 8, 1720), 2:945. 

27. Winsor, 2: 474-475; see Gordon E. Geddes, Welcome Joy: Death in Puritan New England 
(Ann Arbor, Michigan: UMI Research Press, 1981), 143-146. Funeral sermons were 
often given at the request of the family and, if printed, were done at the family's 
expense. In Puritan services, such sermons were delivered not at the burial itself, but 
at the next regular worship service. 

28. See William B. Weeden, Economic and Social History of New England, 1620-1789, 2 
Vols. (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1890), 2:538. George 
Francis Dow, The Arts & Crafts in New England, 1704-1775 (New York: DaCapo Press, 
1967), 183-184. An ad in the September 24, 1764, issue of the Boston Gazette describes 
another, more simple funeral for Mr. Ellis Callender, son of the Late Minister of 
Boston's Baptist Church, in which crape armbands and mourning bonnets (which 
could be rented for the day) replaced more elaborate and costly mourning attire. 
"There is thus Virtue in the 'Occonomy' and simplicity that 'breaks a Custom too long 
established and which has proved ruinous to many Families in this Community' ": 
Dow, 183-184. 

29. Although several sumptuary acts strove to prohibit the practice of distributing these 
remembrances to ministers, pall bearers, political dignitaries, family and close friends 
of the deceased, Sewall's diary entries document widespread non-compliance. 
Provincial laws directed against "the extraordinary expence at funerals" were repeatedly 
passed. The law appears to have been poorly regulated or enforced, however, and 
the practice continued well into the 18th century. See Dickran and Ann Tashjian, 
Memorials for Children of Change: The Art of Early New England Stonecarving 
(Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, 1974), 27-29. 

30. Sewall made an informal accounting of "some [of the funerals] I have been Bearer to" 
during the eight year period between 1697 and 1705. The list includes the names and 

Laurel K. Gabel 37 

dates of burial of thirty deceased, along with the gifts received: gloves 5; rings 13; 
scarves 26. "In less than fifty years, Sewall received fifty-seven mourning rings." 
See Robert Habenstein, et. al., The History of American Funeral Directing (Milwaukee: 
National Funeral Director's Association, 2001), 124. 

31. Alice Morse Earle, Customs and Fashions and Old Neio England, (New York: Charles 
Scribner's Sons, 1893), 376; Habenstein, 124. 

32. Earle, 376-377; Habenstein, 124. 

33. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Feb. 3, 1686), 1:95. 

34. Ibid. (Tuesday May 17, 1687), 1:140. Starting in 1686, when English officials arrived 
in Boston to enforce royal control following the revocation of the Massachusetts 
Bay Charter, there were many challenges to the old ways. Sewall makes special note 
of the fact that a funeral sermon was preached and that the service was based on the 
Anglican Book of Common Prayer, which along with the use of escutcheons, would 
have been eschewed by the Puritans, who found little spiritual reason for burial 
ceremony. Francis Nicholson, Captain of the Redcoat regiments, was almost certainly 
an Anglican since, at the time, Government officials were required to participate in 
Anglican services to prove that they were members of the King's Church. Nicholson 
later became Andros' Lt. Governor. See Nancy L. Rhoden, Revolutionary Anglicanism: 
The Colonial Church of England Clergy During the American Revolution (New York: 
1999), 10 -11, fn2; Linda Ayres, Harvard Divided (Cambridge: Harvard University 
Press, 1976), 147; Ola Elizabeth Winslow, Samuel Seioall of Boston (New York: The 
Macmillan Company, 1964), 79. 

35. Soon after the funeral the Shrimpton's estate billed the Boston painter-stainer and 
heraldic artist Thomas Child for a hatchment and badges. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel 
Sewall, 554, 22n. 

36. Ibid. (Fourth-day, Feb. 9, 1697/8), 1:387. 

37. Ibid. (March 13, 1677), 1:38, lOn. Capt. Lake's "mangled body" was not recovered 
until several months after his death at Arowsick Island, Maine. A fine plain headstone, 
lettered by an unidentified Boston-area carver, marks his grave. See The Daniel and 
Jessie Lie Farber Collection of Early American Gravestone Art, image # HF0671, 
American Antiquarian Society, Worcester, Massachusetts. The Farber Collection is 
also online at: [Hereafter noted as Farber 

38. Maj. John Richards, along with diarist Sewall, had recently been appointed as justices 
of the Superior Court. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (April 2, 1694), 1:318. 

39. Ibid. (April 2, 1694), 1:318. 

40. Ibid. (April 6, 1694), 1:318. 

41. Ibid. 

42. Ibid. (September 22, 1676), 1:22-23 and 23n. 

38 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

43. Anal atresia or imperforate anus, the absence of a normal anal opening, occurs in 
about 1 in 5,000 births. Its cause is unknown. Often accompanied by other less visible 
birth anomalies, the condition is routinely managed today through surgery. See 
(; Graham, 51-52. 

44. Six autopsies are recorded in New England between 1674 and 1678. See Francis 
Randolph Packard, The History of Medicine in the United States Philadelphia: 

45. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (November 16, 1700), 1:437. 

46. A Quaker burying ground was located behind the Quaker Meeting House that 
occupied the corner of present day Congress Street and Quaker Lane. Quaker burials 
from this location were moved to Lynn in July, 1826. See George A. Selleck, 
Quakers in Boston, 1656-1964 (Cambridge, Massachusetts: Thomas Todd Co., 1976), 
45, 86; Yazawa, 84-85. 

47. "As far back as 1735, nearly 100 years before there was even an organized Jewish 
community in the Boston area, Isaac Solomon and Michael Asher established a 
"Burying Ground ... fenced in to the 'Jewish Nation' in Boston. They contemplated a 
very small 'Jewish Nation' because the cemetery was no larger than 10' x 10'.": 
Steven Feldman, Genesis 2 Guide to Jewish Boston and New England (Cambridge, 
Massachusetts: Genesis 2, 1986); see also Abram Vossen Goodman, "Roots in 
America," Reprinted from the Menorah Journal (New York: The Menorah Association, 
194?), 21-22;; Lee 
M. Friedman, "Early Jewish Residents in Massachusetts," Publications of the American 
Jewish Historical Society (1915), 23:79-90. 

48. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Feb. 4, 1704), 1:497. 

49. Ibid. (Aug. 11, 1711), 2:667. 

50. Ibid. (Sept. 11, 1678), 1:46. 

51. Ibid. (Dec. 21-22, 1685), 1:89. 

52. A Salem, Massachusetts law (1697) ordered men to follow first for the funeral of a 
man, and if a female corpse, a woman to follow first. When a woman died in childbirth, 
the midwife and the other woman in attendance at the birth might be accorded honorary 
positions close to the coffin in the funeral procession. See Geddes, 134. 

53. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Dec. 22,1685), 1:89. 

54. The quality or type of coffin wood and its adornment was seen as an indication of the 
social position of the deceased. See Habenstein, 125. 

55. Letter-Book of Samuel Sewall, Collections of Massachusetts Historical Society, Sixth 
Series (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1888), 2:310. The Hull/Sewall 
tomb was built for John Hull, Esq. who died October 5, 1683. Samuel and Hannah 
Sewall's first-born son, John, had died in September, 1678, and was apparently buried 
in a grave marked by an upright slate headstone. Upon completion of the spacious 

Laurel K. Gabel 39 

family tomb, "His Coffin [was] taken up and Put in [the] Tomb." Sewall's later diary 
entry mentions "Johnny's stone," which eventually came to mark the entrance of the 
Hull/Sewall family tomb. See Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Seioall (July 26, 27, 1687), 

56. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Seioall (June 18, 1686), 117. 

57. Letter-Book of Samuel Sewall, 73-74; Samuel Sewall to Cotton Mather, October 29, 

58. Ovid, Metamorphoses, Book XI: 706: "Si non urna, tamen iunget nos littera: si non; 
ossibus ossa meis, at nomen nomine tangam." 

59. Deeply held religious beliefs fostered the punishing fear of separation from familiar 
loved ones, while hellfire's threat coaxed forth an anxious desire for salvation. See 
Peter Gregg Slater, Children in the New England Mind in Life and Death (Hamden, CT: 
The Shoe String Press, 1977) 

60. The reference to "Johnny's stone" is particularly interesting. Sewall is probably 
referring to a gravestone that marked the grave of his firstborn son, John (1677-1678), 
who "Dyed Sept. 11, 1678 and lyeth buried in the New burying place, on the South 
side of the grave of his great Grandfather, Mr. Robert Hull." The infant John apparently 
had had a headstone that was moved (see Note 55), along with his remains, into the 
new Hull family vault tomb [eventually the Hull/Sewall tomb], where it was being 
used to mark the underground entrance. This may suggest the fate of other early 
markers perhaps also placed within the newly built family tombs or used to mark the 
structures' entrances. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Seioall (July 27, 1687), 1:145. 

61. Ibid. (July 26, 27, 1687), 1:145. 

62. Cotton Mather, "Right Thoughts in Sad Hours, Representing the Comforts and the 
Duties of Good Men under all their Afflictions, And Particularly, That one, the Untimely 
Death of Children" (London: 1689), as quoted in Graham, 105. 

63. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Dec. 23, 1696), 1:363. Sewall's expression "give 
up the ghost," still familiar today, means literally to die. "Ghost" is an ancient Saxon 
word equivalent in meaning to soul or spirit. It is the translation of the Hebrew 
Nephesh and the Greek pneuma, both meaning breath, life, spirit. See Eaton's Bible 

64. Sewall's well chosen Psalm 102 begins, "Hear my prayer, O LORD, and let my cry 
come unto thee." The twenty-eighth and final verse offers more soothing words to 
comfort the assembled family: "The children of your servants will live in your 
presence; their descendants will be established before you." 

65. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Dec. 25, 1696), 1:364. 

66. Habenstein, 120, quoting Henry Ainsworth and Francis Johnson, "An Apologie or 
Defense of such true Christians as are commonly (but unjustly) called Brownists...." 
(Amsterdam: 1604). 

40 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

67. There are several general references to such "brick'd graves" in Sewall's diary and 
more than one reference in his account Leger to gravestone carvers Nathaniel Ems 
(Emmes) and James Gilchrist for masonry work done on the tomb. The diary of Jabez 
Fitch describes two such tombs abandoned and open to the curious in 1775: Proceedings 
of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second Series, Vol. 9 (1896); 58,60. 

68. Yazawa, 179-180. 

69. For a compelling look at some early tomb interiors, see the documentary photographs 
taken by John Spaulding, photographer for The Friends of the Office of Connecticut 
State Archeology. John may be contacted at: A brief description 
of tombs can also be found in Proceedings of the Massachusetts Historical Society, Second 
Series, Vol. 9 (1896), 58-60. 

70. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Dec. 25, 1696), 1:364. Sewall also presented 
rings to five others, but comments that he "Gave not one pair of Gloves save to the 

71. Ibid. (Sept. 23, 1690), 1:267 

72. Ibid. (Nov. 17, 1710), 2:645. 

73. Ibid. (July 10, 1716), 2:825, 1086-1087. 

74. Ibid. (July 13, 1716), 2:825. 

75. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Oct. 21, 1717), 2: 864; disemboweling was a 
simple form of embalming, a way to lessen the rapid deterioration of the body. 
Cerecloth is a fabric (usually linen) smeared or impregnated with hot wax, creosote, 
or some other glutinous preservative, and used for wrapping the dead body (think of 
it as an early version of oil-cloth). The shroud was gathered and tied at the feet. See 
Geddes, 117-118. 

76. Letter-Book of Samuel Sewall, 2 vols., Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
Sixth Series (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886-88), 73-75. 

77. See Patricia Watson, The Angelical Conjunction: The Preacher-Physicians of Colonial 
New England (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee Press, 1991), for Mather's and 
other minister's medical competence and familiarity with basic medical care. Thank 
you to Donna LaRue for making me aware of this source. 

78. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Sept. 16 1721), 2:982. Sewall purchased the five 
acre "elm pasture" in 1692, with an intent to develop the Beacon Hill land. The 
original pasture extended between present day Joy Street to just west of Walnut Street 
and probably fronted on the Common. See Annie Haven Thwing, The Crooked and 
Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston, 1630-1822 (Boston: New England Historical 
Genealogical Society CD, 2001.) 

79. "Samuel Sewall, His Leger," #24, R. Stanton Avery Special Collections Department, 
New England Historic Genealogical Society (Boston, Massachusetts.), Mss 514:122- 

Laurel K. Gabel 41 

80. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Aug. 2-15, 1724), 2:1019-1021 

81. Ibid. (Aug. 17, 1724), 2:1020-1021. 

82. Sewall's account of the death and burial of Boston, the Sewall's black servant, offers 
details about the less well known burial practices of the town's minority population: 
"Mr. Appleton... makes an excellent Discourse from [blank, and] prays for Boston. At 
half an hour after Six a-clock Negro Boston expires. Burying was appointed to be on 
the last day of the week; but the storm came on so violently, 'twas disappointed, and 
the second of the week next was set. I made a good Fire, set Chairs, and gave Sack" 
[sack: a generic term for a type of white wine imported from Spain and Canary 
Islands]. Ibid. (Feb. 14-17, 1729), 2:1065. Boston's obituary appeared in the New 
England Weekly Journal of February 24, 1729: "On the 14th died here a Negro 
Freeman named Boston in an advanced Age; and on the 17th, was very decently 
Buried. A long Train follow'd him to the Grave, it's said about 150 Blacks, and about 50 
Whites, several Magistrates, Ministers, Gentlemen, &c. He having borne the Character 
of a sober virtuous Liver, and of a very trusty honest and faithful Servant to all that 
employ'd him, and having acquir'd to himself the general Love and Esteem of his 
Neighbors by a Readiness to do any good Offices in his power for every one; his 
Funeral was attended with uncommon Respects and his Death much lamented." 

83. A list of expenses "Expended in the Funeral of Daughter Mrs. Hannah Sewall who 
died August 15, 1724, Aetatis 45," amounts to close to £500. Although her father and 
others referred to Hannah as "Mrs. Hannah Sewall," such a title does not refer to her 
marital status. In the Seventeenth Century "Mrs." was often used as a designation of 
respect, denoting some degree of social position, education, and/or wealth. "Samuel 
Sewall, His Leger," #24, Mss 514:177. 

84. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Aug. 19-21, 1724), 2:1021,1086. Little John 
Sewall was the son of Samuel Sewall, Jr., and his wife Rebeckah Dudley of Brookline. 

85. Ibid. (July 31, 1717), 2:695. 

86. "Samuel Sewall, Jr.'s Memoranda," Collections of the Massachusetts Historical Society, 
6th Series, Vol. 2; Letter Book of Samuel Sewall, 2 vols., Collections of the Massachusetts 
Historical Society, Sixth Series, (Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 1886-88), 

87. The Keayne tomb, for example, contained the remains of at least thirty-six bodies. See 
"The Two Hundred and Seventy-First Annual Record of the Ancient and Honorable 
Artillery Company of Massachusetts, 1908-1909," Sermon by Rev. Stephen H. Roblin, 
D.D. of Boston (Boston: Mudge Press, 1909), 73. 

88. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Sept. 18, 20, 1690), 1:266. 

89. Ibid. (Aug. 15, 1693), 1:312. 

90. Ibid. (Tuesday, Dec. 20, 1687), 1:155. 

91. Ibid. (July 31, 1712), 2:695. 

42 Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England 

92. Ibid. (Dec. 13,1721), 2:985. 

93. Ibid. (Feb. 6, 1718), 2:882. 

94. Ibid. (Feb. 7, 1718), 2:883. 

95. Ibid. (Feb. 10, 1687/8), 1:160. 

96. "Diary of Noadiah Russell," New England Historical Genealogical Society Register VII 
(Jan. 1853), 56. 

97. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Aug. 16, 19,1687), 1:146-147. See Farber 
Collection photo, #HF1246. 

98. Ibid. (Oct. 27, 1721), 2:984. Daniel Loring, Jr., son of Daniel Loring, the brewer. 

99. Ibid. (Oct. 29, 1721), 2:984. 

100. Ibid. (Aug. 6, 1693), 1:312. Practical as well as symbolic motives may have played a 
part in timing burials so late in the day that torches were required for visibility. The 
bustle of livestock, commerce and general street traffic would have been avoided 
and merchants and others would be more available to attend without loss of trade or 
valuable daylight working conditions. The restful darkness of the day's ending also 
paralleled that of the tomb's final dark silence. 

101. See Farber Collection, photo #HF0217 and #658. 

102. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Oct. 18, 1708), 1:605. 

103. Ibid. (May 4, 1687), 1:139. William Mumford, the as yet unidentified Old Stone Cutter, 
William Lamson, and perhaps Thomas Welch are among the known "gravers of 
tombstones" working in the Boston area at that date. 

104. See Farber Collection, photo #HF1003. 

105. William Mumford's account of August, 1701; October, 1701; October, 1703, in "Samuel 
Sewall, His Leger," #24, Mss 514. 

106. "Samuel Sewall, His Leger," #24, Mss 514. James Gilchrist's gravestone is in King's 
Chapel burying ground. 

107. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Aug. 12, 16, 17, 1693), 1:312. 

}08. Ibid. (Aug. 17, 1693), 1:312-313. 

109. Of the sixteen extant Boston-area gravestones with mermaid motifs (dated 1680- 
1720), most have been attributed to the carver known only by his initials, J.N., 
possibly the Boston silversmith John Noyes. However, based on lettering and other 
stylistic differences, the mermaid stones, which represent the pinnacle of sophisticated 
iconography for that time and place, appear to have been produced by more than one 

Laurel K. Gabel 43 

local carver. For a more complete discussion of the Boston mermaid stones, see 
David Watters, "The JN Carver," Markers II (1983), 115-131; David Watters, 'With 
Bodilie Eyes': Eschatological Themes in Puritan Literature and Gravestone Art, (Ann Arbor, 
MI: UMI Research Press, 1981), 98-104; and Gabel, "A Common Thread," 27-32. 

110. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Jan. 19, 1693/4), 1:317. Sewall begged God for 
forgiveness and asked that God "cease visiting his sins upon him, his family, and upon 
the land." See Lovejoy, 360; Geddes, 48-50. 

111. Donna LaRue, "Evidence in the Stones: Gravemarkers and Memorials for Those 
Involved in the 1692 Trials in Colonial New England," illustrated lecture, St. Peter's 
Church, Salem, Massachusetts, 1992; Douglas Linder, "An Account of Events in 

112. Geddes, 37. 

113. Thomas, The Diary of Samuel Sewall (Nov. 30 and Dec. 1, 1696), I: 360-361. 
lll.Ibid. (June 29, 1697), 1:375. 

115. Ibid. (Aug. 10, 1715), 2:796. Farber Collection, photo #1245. 

116. Ibid. (March 15, 1694/5), 1:328. 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 


LJ Anglo-Norman and medieval 
■ Post-Reformation 

Frontispiece: The distribution of pre- and post-medieval discoid 

gravemarkers in mainland Britain. The three Scottish discoids are at sites 

29, 30, and 31 (for site numbering designation see Appendix 1). 



George Thomson 

Introduction and Distribution 

From at least as early as the classical Roman period circular or oval- 
shaped sculptural artifacts, usually referred to as "discoid", have been 
utilized as gravemarkers by various European and American cultures. 
Most are Christian funerary memorials, although a few may be secular. 
They are usually in the form of a disk surmounting a short shaft, some- 
times decorated with iconographic imagery, including mortality sym- 
bols, flowers, circles, and more rarely human heads, animals, astronomical 
signs, arrows, interweaving, as well as many design that are anomalous. 
The post-medieval stones from the north of Spain and south-west France 
display predominantly Christian iconography, but trade symbols, per- 
sonal emblems, plants, and fleur-de-lis frequently occur. Commemorative 
or other text is often inscribed on one or both faces or, more rarely, on the 
edge of the head of the discoid. These distinctive memorials are particu- 

Fig. 1. Discoid gravemarker by "The Norwich Ovoid Carver," 1711, 
Groton, Connecticut. 

46 Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

larly common in some parts of Europe. This includes the Languedoc dis- 
trict of southern France, especially the Herault and the department of 
Aude, the Basque region of northern Spain (some of which are very large, 
reaching 1.7 meters [67 inches] in diameter), south-western France, Por- 
tugal, Bulgaria and north-western Ireland. 1 

Similar funerary artifacts are also found in parts of the United States, 
especially in south-eastern Connecticut, Illinois, North and South Caro- 
lina, Virginia, and in several variant and transitional forms in Arkansas, 
Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, New Jersey and Tennessee, some of which 
are relatively recent. 2 Although these can be termed "discoid" within an 
inclusive taxonomy, they are almost certainly unrelated historically to 
their old world counterparts. In the USA there are two basic discoid types. 
One form is found in several widely spread historic burial grounds in 
south-eastern Connecticut, especially at Groton and Norwichtown (Fig.l). 
These are attributed to "The Norwich Ovoid Carver", but it has been 
argued that they were the output of more than one individual. 3 An identi- 
cal gravemarker is located in Hardy, Pike County, Kentucky dated 1864, 
much later than the early 18th Century Connecticut stones. A second type 
comprises a simple disk head and rectangular shaft, occasionally with 
cross-like "shoulders" between the disk and shaft (Fig. 2). When the disk 
and shaft are not distinct, the form is best described as "necked". The early 
19th Century wooden headboards with disk head and shaft in Coston 
Cemetery, Onslow County, North Carolina are probably anthropomor- 
phic in inspiration. Headstones of this form date from the early 19th Cen- 
tury and most are later than 1850. Many of them are very small, 50 cms 
(19V2 inches) or less in height. Arguably these have quite different origins 
and may emanate from distinct local vernacular cultures and represent 
examples of regional folk art. The striking similarity between a discoid 
headstone in Cat Hill Cemetery, McCreary County, Kentucky, dated 1855, 
and a much earlier west Ulster discoid marker is, arguably, coincidental. 

Dating the early discoids is somewhat problematic, although it is be- 
lieved that the Languedoc memorials and many of the Spanish stones are 
from the Middle Ages, probably 9th to 12th Centuries, with some of a later 
date. 4 In Navarra, the Pyrenees Atlantique, and less commonly in other 
parts of northern Spain, there are similar gravestones of the 16th to the 
19th Centuries with modern "revivals" made since the 1970s encouraged 
by the Lauburu Association, Bayonne. 5 

Elsewhere in Europe, by far the greatest concentration of late 17th and 
18th Century discoid headstones is in north-western Ireland, in the coun- 

George Thomson 


ties of Cavan, Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Tyrone. The number of discoid 
headstones in western Ulster is exceeded only by those in parts of the 
Basque Region, especially in the Labourd region of France, and Portugal. 
Other than in Ireland, discoids appear sporadically and in very small 



HI $ JOB W;M ORRfeS H3 gfttf^B 
£mRtXD;TH \& 
; w/R^EMbIrI 


Fig. 2. Discoid gravemarker, 1816, Liberty, North Carolina. Photograph 
from the Farber Collection - courtesy, American Antiquarian Society. 

48 Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

numbers. Several medieval and early post-medieval discoid stones have 
been found in northern France, Germany, Belgium (Luxembourg), Nor- 
way, and Sweden. 6 The pre-Reformation Swedish discoid gravemarkers 
at Bosjokloster, Skane are probably late medieval. Some have simple Greek 
crosses and are similar in basic shape to some of the 18th Century Irish 
stones. These have been relocated and reused as gravestones between the 
17th and early 19th Centuries, a few with crudely cut inscriptions and 

There are relatively few discoid memorials in mainland Britain, those 
recorded numbering less than 100, and most of these are in England (see 
Frontispiece). 7 Of the pre-Reformation stelae (vertical stone monuments 
used for funerary or commemorative purposes), several are probably 
Anglo-Norman, as at Adel and Bakewell in central England, while others 
are likely to be medieval and include those at Ainstable and Dalston in the 
north-west, Kildale and Whitby Abbey in the north-east, East Bridgford, 
Grantham (now lost), and Hanslope in central England, and Helpston, 
Horley, Lydden, Lythe, and New Romney (with fragments elsewhere in 
Kent, totalling sixty six in that county) in the south-east of the country. 8 
The discoid stone at Darley Dale is generally considered to be Anglo- 
Norman, but the sculptural form suggests a medieval date. 9 There is an 
interesting broken Celtic cross shaft at Kirk Michael on the Isle of Man 
recut in discoid form and dated 1669. The Cornish wayside crosses, of 
which there are about 100 recorded, arguably belong to different group. 
Although some were later reused as funerary memorials, the original func- 
tion of these Cornish artifacts was not as gravemarkers. Most of them 
have a longer shaft than medieval discoid stelae and as such are perhaps 
closer to early high crosses. A stone found at Saughtree in the Scottish 
Borders and deposited in Hawick Museum has very recently been identi- 
fied and examined as a possible discoid marker (see Appendix II). From the 
post-medieval and early modern periods there are discoids at Barnsley, 
East Harlesey, Knaresborough, Over Silton, and Upleatham in the north- 
west, Glentham, Aston Cantlow, Langham, Upper Hambleton, Uppingham, 
and Wansford in central England, Buckden, Chartham, Fyfield, and 
Lingfield in the south east, and Lower Swell in the south-west. Others, 
arguably belonging to the same group of stelae, are at Durham, Bishopton 
(County Durham), and Ford (Northumbria) in the north-east of England. 

There is no common pattern in the use of design or inscription on the 
discoid gravestones of the 17th to early 19th Centuries in England. Very 
few feature mortality symbols, the exceptions being the questionably dis- 

George Thomson 49 

coid stones at Durham Cathedral. These post-Reformation discoid 
gravemarkers bear little resemblance, in detail, to either the stelae of the 
medieval period or the Irish headstones. The discoids in the USA also vary 
in inconography and inscription, as would be expected from their variant 
forms and geographical spread. 

The Origin of Discoid Markers 

The reasons why this particular form of artifact arose and was subse- 
quently used as a mortuary or other type of memorial have been debated 
extensively without any general agreement or conclusion. Perhaps this is 
not surprising, considering the diversity of the objects and their geographi- 
cal distribution. The heterogeneous creations of the discoid form were not 
the outcome of the same belief or philosophy. They did not originate in one 
specific area from which the idea spread. The classical discoid stelae and 
the medieval discoid markers of the Basque Region and Portugal may well 
have associations with sun worship, as suggested by their decoration, 
although this concept is not universally accepted. Conversely, the discoid 
19th Century head and footboards and some headstones in North Caro- 
lina, some of which even have facial features, must surely be anthropo- 
morphic, perhaps even totemic in concept. 10 There is no evidence that the 
North American headstones of this sort have their origins in either the 
Irish or Basque discoid markers. In many cultures, the circle is considered 
to be a powerful symbol, representing a multiplicity of ideas and beliefs. 
However, while we cannot dismiss these other explanations, it is probable 
that the overriding foundation of discoid markers lies in a simple appeal of 
the circular or oval form. The occurrence of several other head-and-shaft 
permutations as gravemarkers where the head is octagonal, heart-shaped, 
or of some another geometry suggests that the discoid form is only one 
expression of a particular artifact type, at least as funerary memorials in 
England and Scotland, and probably also in the USA. 

Equally problematical is the possibility that earlier medieval discoids 
were the inspiration for, or influence on, discoids of the modern period. 
The only known discoid stele from the middle ages in Ireland is on Devenish 
Island, County Fermanagh. Several hundred discoid headstones were made 
in western Ulster in the late 17th and 18th Centuries, bearing little resem- 
blance in detail to the earlier stones. Most of the medieval discoid stelae 
from several parts of England do not occur in the same places as the later 
markers. Even allowing for differential survival rates, if these early arti- 
facts had any connection with the later discoids, why did the discoid form 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

come back into favour, albeit as a rarity, in the late 17th Century, after a 
gap of 400 years? Similarly, the principal argument against the theory 
that the Celtic and other so-called "high" crosses, including those described 
below as "pre-discoid", are not the precursors of the discoid stele or marker 
is the paucity of examples from the intermediate period in areas where 
these early stelae and crosses are found. 

Problems of Definition/Categories 

The miscellany of discoid forms makes it difficult to produce an accu- 
rate and unambiguous definition of the artifact. For example, some au- 
thors consider the high cross to be discoid within a somewhat inclusive 
construct. 11 However, the high cross and related Celtic and other medieval 
carved monuments differ significantly in concept, having an underlying 
overall cruciform design, with the upper arm of the cross head almost 
invariably forming an extension of the cross shaft. Cross-type discoid 
markers, on the other hand, are based on a disk head (sometimes a ringed 
cross), with the shaft forming a disjunct element of the design (see Fig. 3). 
These differences in interpretation, and consequently in nomenclature, 
create considerable problems when attempts are made to determine the 
distribution of discoid stelae. Further problems of definition are encoun- 
tered when the discal part of the marker is ovoid, when the differential 

v z 

Fig. 3. The basic forms of a discoid marker (left) and High Cross (right). 

George Thomson 51 

proportion of "disk" to shaft is considerable, or when the top of the memo- 
rial is partially discoid or "necked". The occurrence of what are, probably, 
intermediate forms demonstrates the futility of trying to pigeonhole the 
discoid type of gravemarker. 

Nijssen subdivides round gravemarkers, or what he calls "circular 
monuments," into four groups, namely ring cross (Ringkreuz or croix-cercle), 
round cross (Radkreuz or rotiforme), discoid with cross (Scheibenkreuz or 
discoidale a croix), and discoid (Scheibendenkmal or discoidal). 12 To a great extent, 
the derivation of the form and the influence of historical precedent on the 
carver/mason determines the rationale and, consequently, the place of the 
discoid form in the overall complex of shapes and forms. It is clear from the 
considerable period throughout which discoid memorials were made, the 
multiplicity of cultures that made them, and the extensive geographical 
range of their occurrence that the creative impulses that influenced the 
design were diverse. Consequently, the following groupings are based 
solely on morphology and constitute a convenient descriptive framework 
within which discoid types and related markers can be placed. 

Pre-Discoid (excluding classical and before) 

These are stelae that are largely associated with Celtic cultures, al- 
though a few stretch into the early medieval period. They are early Chris- 
tian crosses, usually richly decorated with interlace designs. The slab is 
more or less shaped in the form of a shaft with a cross carved on the disk 
head, often irregular in outline. Arguably, these carved stones could more 
appropriately be referred to as cross slabs rather than discoid stelae. Ex- 
amples are those from Whithorn (Whithorn Museum in south-west Scot- 
land and National Museum of Scotland in Edinburgh), Glasserton (National 
Museum Scotland), the Braddon Wheel Cross (CE 900-1100), Isle of Man 
(11th Century), and the Llantwit crosses at Glamorgan (9th Century). 

Cross Types 

The ringed cross with shaft (Fig. 4: la) is found in significant numbers 
in north Fermanagh and south-west Tyrone in the west of Ulster, Ireland. 
The dates on these stones range from the late 17th to the early 18th Centu- 
ries. There is a remarkable assemblage in the graveyard at the Hullo Kirik, 
Vormsi in Estonia, and others at Marville and Sintheim in the north of 
France, Frelenberg, Gerlingen, Hochkirchen, Homburg, Lulsdorf, and 
Vochem in Germany, and Arel and Junglinster in Belgium. Sometimes the 
"counters" of the disk head are pierced (Fig. 4: lb). All of the Vormsi and 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

some of the Ulster gravestones are of this form. The discoid type in which 
the cross on the disk head is reduced to short projections (Fig. 4: lc) is 
characteristic of the discoid gravemarkers in central and southern 
Fermanagh, Monaghan, and Cavan in Ireland, where several hundred can 
be found, all from the 18th Century. In the French Basque region a few 
discoid markers have similar protrusions that may or may not represent 
a cross. 

51 [Z 

6c 6d 6e 6f 

Fig. 4. The basic forms of discoid gravemarkers and related artifacts. 

George Thomson 53 

Disk and Shaft 

The simple disk head with rectangular shaft is widespread and exhib- 
its a wide range of interpretations (Fig. 4: 2a-c), largely related to the pro- 
portion of the disk head to the shaft. Some English and Irish discoids have 
a very small disk and broad shaft, but in most the disk and shaft are of 
similar dimensions. Some very small gravemarkers with shaped shafts 
(Fig. 4: 2b) occur in western Ulster. This is the most common discoid type 
in the Basque lands of France and Spain as well as in Portugal. Some are 
early medieval in date while others are 17th and early 18th Century. In 
this area the shaft is usually tapered (Fig. 4: 2c). 

In addition to the regions mentioned above, the disk and shaft marker 
is found in Sweden (Bosjokloster), Belgium, and the United States, although 
most of the New World discoid headstones date from after the middle of 
the 19th Century. The Scottish discoid gravestones are of this type. 


The necked type of gravemarker is a form that is intermediate between 
a discoid form and rectangular graveslab (Fig. 4: 3). The disk head is not 
fully defined. Some of the early gravemarkers of this form are clearly an- 
thropomorphic in concept. Several such markers can be found in grave- 
yards from Arkansas and Missouri to New Jersey. 13 

Double Discoid 

The double discoid form is rare and is sometimes found with the disk 
heads modified (Fig. 4: 4). There is a good example at King's Cliffe in 
Northamptonshire in central England. 


These memorials are either horizontally oval, being wider than tall, 
and include the Connecticut discoids (Fig. 4: 5a), or vertically oval. Ex- 
amples of this latter type can be seen at Schley, North Carolina (circa 1800) 
and New Ipswich, New Hampshire (1807). A headstone of this form dated 
1638 was once located at Closeburn graveyard, Dumfriesshire, Scotland 
but is now missing (Figs. 4: 5b, 5a-b). These ovoid artefacts have no visible 
shaft above ground level. 

Other Related Forms 

There are several other marker forms that are not truly discoid but 
have a similar head-and-shaft structure. These include those with a modi- 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

fied disk head (Ford, Northumbria, Fig. 4: 6a), elliptical or "violin" shaped 
(Durham Cathedral and Bishopton, Fig. 4: 6b), octagonal (King's Cliffe, 
Northamptonshire, Fig. 4: 6c), heart shaped (Duns in Berwickshire, Fig. 4: 
6d), and with cross arms (Polwarth, Berwickshire, Fig. 4: 6e), and semi- 
circular (Lanark, Fig. 4: 6f). 

Victorian and Modern Forms 

The discoid form of headstone extended well into the 19th Century and 
beyond in the United States, and late examples appear as rather crude 
markers in the far south of France. A circular element recurs frequently in 
Victorian memorials, both in mainland Britain and Ireland, well into the 
20th Century, as well as in many later North American headstones. How- 
ever, many of these gravestones are not discoid in concept or design. 

Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

Only four pre- Victorian discoid gravemarkers have been identified in 
Scotland, all of which are late 17th Century headstones. They are all lo- 
cated in graveyards in the south of Scotland and appear to be isolated 
instances of the choice of this style of memorial, none being found in adja- 
cent sites. 

Figs 5a-b. Ovoid gravemarker (a - recto, b - verso), 
Closeburn, Dumfriesshire. 

George Thomson 




f iit?^'* 



■ ^^* 


Figs 6a-d. Discoid gravemarkers, Lennel, Berwickshire. 5a and b: 
number 1, recto and verso. 5c and d: number 2, recto and verso. 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

Two of the markers (Lennel 1 and Lennel 2) are at Lennel Old Church- 
yard, Berwickshire (National Grif Reference NT 857 411: Figs. 6a-d), in the 
southwest of the old section of the graveyard. Lennel 2 was formerly built 
into the wall of the ruined Pre-Reformation church and is now loose against 
the north-east wall alongside other 17th Century gravestones. Lennel 1 is 
cut from fine-grained red sandstone and Lennel 2 from coarse-grained 
beige sandstone. They comprise a circular head on triangular shaft with 
deeply cut mortality symbols on both recto and verso and incised inscrip- 
tions on the tops of the disk heads. Both have a facing skull in disk center 
on one side and an hourglass on the other. Lennel 2 additionally has 
crossbones at the top of the shaft. The badly degraded incised inscription 
on the Lennel 1 stone is in two lines of old roman capitals and reads: 

WHO DIE[D]... 1656 

The single line on Lennel 2 reads: 


Figs. 7a-b. Discoid gravemarker (a - recto; b - verso), 
Lanark, Lanarkshire. 

George Thomson 57 

with inter-character lozenges between the characters and open lozenge 
between 6 and 8. Lennel 1 has a raised double rim and Lennel 2 a raised 
single rim. 

A single discoid marker is located in St Kentigern's Old Churchyard, 
Lanark, Lanarkshire (National Grid Reference NS 887 433: Figs. 7a-b), in 
the center of the east section of the graveyard. It is a fine-grained red 
sandstone gravemarker of similar shape to those at Lennel. The disk head 
is "squared-off " near the junction with the shaft. It has a badly degraded 
incised inscription, with diagonal lines at the beginning and end on the 
side and recto of the disk head, but lacks mortality or other symbols. On 
the disk top, the two lines of deeply cut roman capitals with inter-charac- 
ter points between each word read: 


The two-line marginal inscription reads: 


The initials I.G are located in the center of the disk. 

The fourth Scottish discoid is at Walston Old Churchyard, Lanarkshire 
(National Grid Reference NT 058 457: Figs. 8a-b), to the north-east of the 
central section of the graveyard. It is carved from light red fine-grained 
sandstone. Unlike the other markers, the shaft is almost rectangular and 
this may have had a raised margin; otherwise the form is similar. A facing 
skull is cut on one side of the disk head with anomalous incised symbols 
that possibly represent bones, to each side of the skull. The two-line in- 
scription on the obverse is incised in roman capitals with inter-character 
points between letters and numerals and reads: 



The Scottish discoid markers from each of the three burial sites have 
little in common other than their discoid shape. The two stones from 
Lennel, although separated by twenty-eight years, have similar, but not 
identical mortality symbolism on recto and verso. This iconography is 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

superficially reminiscent of Ulster discoids, but the Irish headstones bear- 
ing this imagery are of a much later date and of a different discoid style. 
Furthermore, there is nothing unique in the use of these symbols at this 
time, and the suggestion by McCormick that their occurrence in Ireland 
indicates Scottish influence is hard to substantiate. 14 The skull, hourglass, 
and crossbones frequently appear on memorials throughout western Eu- 
rope from the late 16th until the early 18th Centuries and in eastern North 
America from the 17th to the 18th Centuries. Similar arguments for Scot- 
tish and Irish influences on the design of headstones in the USA are often, 
though not always, misplaced. 15 

An epigraphic study reveals nothing exceptional in the inscriptions. 
The incised roman lettering style is characteristic of the period, with the 
distinctive old style of 6 with long upper stroke, 5 having an extended up- 
curving terminal on the upper horizontal, and W formed of two Vs. The 
use of inter-character points and lozenges was also common at this time. 

The four Scottish discoid headstones represent rare examples of a me- 
morial type that is relatively uncommon in mainland Britain. They are 

Figs 8a-b. Discoid gravemarker (a - recto; b - verso), Walston, 

George Thomson 59 

small (mean diameter 39.9 centimeters) but relatively thick (mean 13.5 
centimeters), and it is possible that their small size made them vulnerable 
as an easily moved source of stone that could be used for other purposes. 
Even allowing for this, why this type of small memorial was not used 
more extensively is difficult to say, and their sporadic occurrence parallels 
a pattern of distribution across western mainland Europe. The occurrence 
of large numbers of discoids in the Basque Region, Portugal, Languedoc, 
western Ulster, and southern Connecticut is best explained by the promi- 
nence of distinctive local, though sometimes widespread, material cul- 
tures in the early medieval period and later in the Seventeenth and 
Eighteenth Centuries. 


I am indebted to Mike McNerney for pointing me in the direction of the 
Lennel headstones and for much information on discoid markers in the 
USA. I thank Robert White and the Hawick Museum for providing access 
to the Saughtree stone. This research was in part funded by the University 
of Cumbria. 

1 . P. Ucla, Atlas ties Stele Discoidales (Paris: published by the author, 1990); E. J. Peralta 
Labrador, "Las Estelas Discoideas Gigantes de Cantabria," in La Arqueologia de los 
Cdntabros, Actas Solve la Primera Reunion de la Edad del Hiero en Cantabria (1996), 313- 
341; E. Frankowski, Estelas Discoideas de la Peninsula Iberica (Madrid: Museo Nacional 
de Ciencias Narurales, 1920). A detailed paper on Irish discoid gravemarkers by the 
author is in press. 

2. M. J. McNerney and H. Meyer, Early Pioneer Gravestones of Pope County, Illinois 
(Carbondale, IL: American Kestrel Books, 1994), 1-39; M. R. Little, Sticks and Stones: 
Three Centuries of North Carolina Gravemarkers (Chapel Hill, NC: University of North 
Carolina Press, 1998), 6-7, 69-78; J. Slater, "The Colonial Burying Grounds of Eastern 
Connecticut and the Men Who Made Them," Memoirs of the Connecticut Academy of 
Arts and Sciences 21 (1987), 1-326; R.F. Veit, "John Solomon Teetzel and the Anglo- 
German Gravestone Carving Tradition of 18th Century Northwestern New Jersey," 
Markers XVII (2000), 124-162; McNerney, personal communication (work in progress). 

3 . G. Thomson, "Tombstone Lettering in Scotland and New England - An Appreciation 
of a Vernacular Culture," Mortality 11: 1 (2006), 1-30. 

4. Les Stele Discoidales: Archaeology en Languedoc, ed. J. Bousquet, (special number, 

5. J. Etcheverry et al., Les Steles Discoidales et I' Art Funeraire Basque: Hil Harriak (Bayonne: 
Lauburu/Elkarlanean, 2004). 

60 Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

6 . J. Nijssen, "Fehlen Scheibenkreuze Sowie Rad- und Ringkreuze Zwischen Ems und 
Seine?" in Signalisations de Sepultures et Stele Discoidales V'-X/X 1 ' Siecles, Actes des Journees 
de Carcassonne. (1990), 13-29; 220-221. 

7. J. Billingsley and D. Charlton, "The Old Stones of Adel Church." Northern Earth 79 
(1992), 24-25. 

8. H.T. Simpson, Archaeologia Adelensis (London: W. H. Allen, 1879); B. Stocker, 
"Medieval Gravemarkers in Kent," Church Monuments 1:2 (1986), 106-114. 

9. F. Burgess, English Churchyard Memorials (London: Lutterworth Press 1963). 

10. See McNerney and Meyer, Early Pioneer Gravestones. The traditional belief that some 
disk and shaft gravemarkers have an anthropomorphic basis is being reconsidered by 
some researchers (McNerney, personal communication). 

11. J. Nijssen, "Les Discoidales et Leurs Alternatives dans le Nord-ouest du Continent," 

in Hil Harriak, Actes du Colloque International sur la Stele Discoidales (Bayonne: Musee 
Basque, 1984), 347-360. 

12. Nijssen, Signalisations de Sepultures et Stele Disco'idales. 

13. McNerney, personal communication. 

14. F. McCormick, "A Group of Eighteenth-Century Clogher Headstones," Clogher Record, 
9:1 (1976), 5-16. 

15. Little, Sticks and Stones. 

16. M. Robson, "The Saughtree Crosses in Hawick Museum," Transactions of the Hawick 
Archaeological Society (1978), 34-39. 

George Thomson 



Sites Indicated on Frontispiece 

1 : Adel, West Yorkshire 

2: Bakewell, Derbyshire 

3: Brockhall, Northamptonshire 

4: East Bridgford, Nottinghamshire 

5: Grantham, Lincolnshire 

6: Hanslope, Buckinghamshire 

7: Helpston, Cambridgeshire 

8: Horley, Oxfordshire 

9: Kildale, North Yorkshire 

10: Lydden, Kent 

1 1 : New Romney, Kent 

12: Whitby North Yorkshire 

13: Darley Dale, Derbyshire 

14: Buckden, Cambridgeshire 

15: Chartham, Kent 

16: East Harlesey, North Yorkshire 

17: Fyfield, Essex 

18: Glentham, Lincolnshire 

19: King's Cliffe, Cambridgeshire 

20: Knaresborough, North Yorkshire 

21: Lower Swell, Gloucestershire 

22: Langham, Rutland 

23: Lingfield, Surrey 

24: Over Silton, North Yorkshire 

25: Upleatham, North Yorkshire 

26: Upper Hambleton, Rutland 

27: Uppingham, Rutland 

28: Wansford, Cambridgeshire 

29: Lennel, Berwickshire 

30: Walston, Lanarkshire 

31: Lanark, Lanarkshire 

32: Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire 

33: Ainstable, Cumbria 

34: Dalston, Cumbria 

35: Whalley Lancashire 

36 : Barnsley, Yorkshire 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 


The Saughtree stone (Figs. 9a-b) is cut from Carboniferous limestone and probably dates 
from between the 10th and 13th Centuries. English medieval discoid markers are usually 
small. The somewhat larger size of the Saughtree stone suggests an earlier rather than a 
later date. The disk head is almost perfectly circular with a diameter of 45.0 cms (17% 
inches) and an irregular thickness of 13.0-16.0 cms. (5-6V4 inches). The "neck", where the 
shaft would have been attached, is 22.0 cms (8% inches) in width. An identical rimmed 
Greek cross is carved on both sides. Both rim and cross arms are 4.0 cms (IV2 inches) 
wide. The provenance and possible original form of the Saughtree discoid marker is 
discussed at length by Robson. 16 He concludes that it was found about 1850 and had a shaft, 
making the artifact a total of "four feet" (1.22 m) in height. This shaft appears to have been 
separated from the head towards the end of the 19th Century and probably was used as 
building material in a wall. However, the Crosshall cross, standing over 3 m (10 feet) high, 
in the adjacent county of Berwickshire has an almost identical disk head. The Saughtree 
stone may have come from a similar disk-headed high cross rather than a discoid marker. 
This artifact demonstrates the difficulty in identifying incomplete artifacts of this sort. 

Figs. 9a-b. Medieval discoid marker (a - recto, b - verso), 
Saughtree, Roxburghshire. 

George Thomson 


List of Sites Mentioned in the Text 


Arel (Arlon), Luxembourg 
Junglinster, Luxembourg 


Adel, West Yorkshire 
Ainstable, Cumbria 
Bakewell, Derbyshire 
Barnsley, Yorkshire 
Bishopton, County Durham 
Brockhall, Northamptonshire 
Buckden, Cambridgeshire 
Chartham, Kent 
Darley Dale, Derbyshire 
Dalston, Cumbria 
Durham, County Durham 
East Bridgford, Nottinghamshire 
East Harlesey, North Yorkshire 
Ford, Northumbria 
Fyfield, Essex 
Glentham, Lincolnshire 
Grantham, Lincolnshire 
Hanslope, Milton Keynes 
Helpston, Cambridgeshire 
Horley, Surrey 
Kildale, North Yorkshire 
King's Cliffe, Northamptonshire 
Knaresborough, North Yorkshire 
Aston Cantlow, Warwickshire 
Langham, Rutland 
Lingfield, Sussex 
Lower Swell, Gloucestershire 
Lydden, Kent 

Lythe, North Yorkshire 
New Romney, Kent 
Over Silton, North Yorkshire 
Upleatham, North Yorkshire 
Upper Hambleton, Rutland 
Uppingham, Rutland 
Wansford, Northamptonshire 
Whitby, North Yorkshire 

Hullo, Vormsi 


Marville, Meuse 
Sintheim, Haut-Rhin 


Frelenberg, Schleswig-Holstein 
Gerlingen, Baden-Wiirttemberg 
Hochkirchen, North Rhine- Westphalia 
Homburg, North Rhine-Westphalia 
Liilsdorf, North Rhine-Westphalia 
Vochem, North Rhine-Westphalia 


Ballintemple, County Cavan 

Devenish Island, County Fermanagh 

Isle of Man 
Kirk Michael 


Closeburn, Dumfriesshire 


Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 

Duns, Berwickshire 
Glasserton, Wigtownshire 
Lanark, Lanarkshire 
Lennel, Berwickshire 
Polwarth, Berwickshire 
Saughtree, Roxburghshire 
Walston, Lanarkshire 
Whithorn, Wigtownshire 

United States 

Cat Hill, Kentucky 

Coston, North Carolina 

Hardy, Kentucky 

Groton, Connecticut 

New Ipswich, New Hampshire 

Norwichtown, Connecticut 

Schley, North Carolina 

Bosjokloster, Skane 


Llantwit, Glamorgan 

George Thomson 65 


Measurements of Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers 
All Dimensions in Centimeters (10 cms = about 4 inches) 

Lennel 1 Lennel 2 Lanark Walston 

disk diameter 39.0 41.5 43.0 36.0 

thickness 13.0-14.0 13.2 16.0 11.4 

height above ground 41.0 52.0 49.0 40.0 

height overall 64. 1 79.0' ? ? 

shaft length 24. 5 1 39. 5 1 12. 1 12. : 

shaftwidthmax 26.0 50.0 33.0 29.0 

shaft width min 20.0 23.0 24.0 28. 3 

outer rim width 6.5 6.5 
inner rim width 3.2 

letter height 4.0 9.4 4.0 4 -5.0 5 5.5 b -6.0 7 


2 above ground 

} at junction with disk head 

4 marginal 

5 top 


r date 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Fig. 1. Beth El Cemetery. The fence separates the Jewish cemetery 
from the rest of Elmwood Cemetery. 


Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


In the stillness of the cemetery, gravestones inventory and commemo- 
rate a community's dead and preserve its traditions and beliefs. With each 
letter of an inscription adding to a gravestone's cost, and its limited space, 
the details of personal and family life chiseled into a marker are not hap- 
hazard. The names of the deceased, their spouses, their children, their 
birth and death dates, and the occasional epitaphs, biblical texts, or fare- 
well phrases, are all memorials preserving the relationships of people to 
their families and their communities. This is one reason archaeologists, 
historians, anthropologists, folklorists, geographers, genealogists, and so- 
ciologists often rely on gravesites to reconstruct bygone customs and ideas 
of belonging. 1 

In a previous article in Markers, Foster and Hummel 2 described a para- 
digm (since expanded 3 ), for determining community demographics, gen- 
der biases, and kinship relationships from gravemarkers by analyzing 
the aggregated birth and mortality data on markers and what they say 
about the dead. In this essay, we use a similar paradigm to describe and 
analyze markers in Beth El Cemetery, the oldest Jewish burial ground in 

The first part of this article describes the early beginnings of Michigan's 
oldest Jewish congregation and its adoption of the new Reform movement 
in Judaism, which made the community less ritualistic and more egalitar- 
ian. The second part describes the congregation's cemetery and explains 
how its new philosophy affected the markers it erected in its cemetery and 
their inscriptions. The third part analyzes these inscriptions in terms of 
what they say about childhood mortality and patterns of gender and 
kinship structure. 

The Early Beth El Community 

Temple Beth El, the oldest Jewish congregation in Michigan, was estab- 
lished in Detroit in 1850 by 12 families. At that time there were 51 Ashkenazi 
(European) Jews (29 males and 22 females) in Detroit, mostly from Bavaria, 
Germany, out of a total population of 21,000 in the city and 50,000 in the 
whole country. 4 

68 Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Detroit was rarely the first place Jewish immigrants headed when 
they came to the United States. Most moved there after previously living 
in New York and Ohio. The main occupations of these first Jewish Detroiters 
were merchant (ten) and cigar maker (two). Other members of this com- 
munity included a peddler, blacksmith, grocer, doctor, and portrait painter. 
As was customary throughout the United States, these Jews organized a 
religious community called a minyan (prayer assembly) as soon as ten or 
more male adults could be brought together. Such minyanim (plural) also 
became the cultural heart of each Jewish community. In Detroit, the first 
minyan became the Beth El Society and then the Beth El Congregation. 

In 1851, Beth El filed articles of incorporation in Wayne Country. The 
articles said the Society had been created to provide a place of worship, a 
venue for teaching Jewish culture, and an organization for acquiring a 
burial ground for its members. 

Soon after its incorporation, Beth El's members debated whether to 
remain Orthodox or join Judaism's new Reform movement. Although not 
a deciding factor in the debate, the decision ultimately affected the kinds of 
markers it erected in its cemetery and the inscriptions on those markers. 

There are three main congregational divisions in Judaism. Orthodox 
Judaism emphasizes an adherence to the rituals of traditional rabbinic 
Judaism such as wearing a skull cap (yarmulke), strict observance of ko- 
sher dietary laws, separation of men and women during religious ser- 
vices, exclusive use of Hebrew in prayers, and continued recognition of the 
two hereditary priestly castes, the Kohanim (high priests) and their atten- 
dants, the Levites. Reform Judaism, the most liberal of the three denomi- 
nations, emerged in the 19 th Century. Although retaining an emphasis on 
learning and duty, it no longer mandated observance of ritualistic prac- 
tices or wearing religious paraphernalia. The third division of Judaism, 
Conservatism, took a middle road, taking different practices from each. 5 

Although originally Orthodox, the majority of the Beth El congrega- 
tion was becoming solidly middle-class and assimilationist. In 1861 they 
voted to join the Reform movement, which enabled its members to blend 
in and interact more easily in the non-Jewish community. Members of the 
congregation who preferred to follow the older traditions resigned and 
created a new congregation 6 while some of the members who continued to 
observe some of the older traditions remained. In 1899, under leadership 
of its new rabbi, it became aggressively egalitarian, discouraging signs of 
gender discrimination or individual distinction. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


Fig. 2. Variation in size and appearance of gravemarkers typical of 
Reform Jewish cemeteries. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

BQRtj U H SO '$0$ 


Fig. 3. Gravestone containing both Hebrew and 
English inscriptions. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


The Beth El Cemetery 

One Jewish tradition that continued to be observed in Reform Judaism 
was burial of Jewish dead only in Jewish cemeteries or in clearly sepa- 
rated sections of communal cemeteries. Accordingly, a year after it orga- 
nized, the Beth El Congregation purchased a half acre of land facing 
Champlain Street (now Lafayette) for a cemetery. The original Beth El Cem- 
etery stood alone, but is now located within Detroit's historic Elmwood 
Cemetery. As is common for Jewish burial grounds, Beth El Cemetery is 
separated from the rest of Elmwood by an enclosure (see Fig. 1). The cem- 
etery is still maintained by Temple Beth El, although no burials have oc- 
curred there since the 1960s. 7 

The Lafayette Beth El Cemetery contains 327 burials with 
gravemarkers. In contrast to Orthodox and Conservative Jewish cemeter- 
ies, where the markers tend to be relatively simple and similar, markers in 
Beth El are much more varied in size and appearance (see Fig. 2) and con- 
tain types commonly found in non-Jewish Victorian cemeteries 8 such as 
obelisks and urns. 

Most of the inscriptions on the markers at Beth El are in English, al- 
though 18 percent, the majority of them being the oldest in the cemetery, 
are in both Hebrew and English (see Fig. 3). The Hebrew part of the inscrip- 
tion (written right to left) typically contains the name and family of the 
deceased. The letters "pay" and "nun" at the top of this example are an 

i >m i 


i92 8 \ I 

oMRK*V *^* :, A rse^^v £v.- 

Fig. 4. Gravestone containing the Star of David, commonplace in 

Orthodox and Conservative stones but less so on stones in 

Reform Jewish cemeteries. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

abbreviation for "Po Nikaver/' meaning "here is buried." The five Hebrew 
letters at the bottom (again right to left) are Tav, Nun, Tsadik, Bet, and Hay, 
an acronym for "tehe nishmato tzerurah bitzror hachayim," meaning 
"may the soul be bound up in the bond of life," a passage from I Samuel 
(25:29). 9 

Beth El's departure from Orthodoxy is reflected in the absence of sym- 
bols commonly found on Jewish markers in Orthodox and Conservative 
Jewish cemeteries, such as books and lions. The only symbols still retained 
on some of the markers at Beth El and other Jewish Reform cemeteries are 
the six-pointed Star of David (see Fig. 4) and, less commonly, the candela- 
bra (see Fig. 5). Interestingly, neither symbol appears on the oldest mark- 
ers at Beth El. 

Reflecting an egalitarian philosophy which no long paid homage to the 
ancient priestly castes, there is only one stone with the symbol of fingers 
stretched out in priestly benediction denoting the grave of a Kohan (see 
Fig. 6). This stone was erected in 1870 or shortly thereafter and would not 
have been encouraged after the 1899 adoption of aggressively egalitarian 
measures. In this regard it is noteworthy that none of the markers for the 

% mHH v" 

" V 

~t^i jjfff^*Hn 


4 40 .* 








I AP I. R 

Fig. 5. Gravestone containing menorrha, commonplace on female 

Orthodox and Conservative Jewish gravestones, but less common on 

stones in Reform Jewish cemeteries. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


Fig. 6. Only gravestone in the cemetery depicting 
symbolic imagery of the priestly Kohanim. 

74 Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

four male Cohens and three Kahns in Beth El, whose surnames are indica- 
tive of the Kohanim, have symbols indicating they are Kohanim. There is 
also no symbol (a pitcher used for washing the hands of the Kohanim) 
denoting a Levite on any gravemarker, although there are three Levins 
and four Levys buried in the cemetery. 

Also contrary to Orthodox tradition, the gravesite for the one Kohan 
marker, the Shlesinger stone (Fig. 6) is in the middle of the cemetery rather 
than at its edges. The latter tradition, still observed in Orthodox Jewish 
cemeteries, was adopted so that Kohanim would not be contaminated by 
the other dead interred in the cemetery. 

Although common in Victorian-era gravemarkers, the symbol of the 
weeping willow is not found at Beth El. Another symbol common in Victo- 
rian-era cemeteries, the hand-clasp, perhaps signifying reunion in the af- 
terlife, occurs only once at Beth El (see Fig. 7). The absence of this symbol in 
Jewish cemeteries might well reflect the absence of a belief in an afterlife in 
Reform Judaism. While individuals are free to believe in an ultimate res- 
urrection or reunion, this belief is not a cornerstone of Reform Judaism as 
it is in Christianity. 

During its 100-year history there was a rapid increase in the number 
of burials at Beth El in the period 1840-1880. The trend stabilized for the 
next 60 years and then rapidly declined after the 1940s. The percentage of 
burials for each 20-year period from 1840 to 1959 is shown in Figure 8. A 
more detailed reflection of this decline is indicated in Figure 9, which charts 
the number of internments for subadults (infants/toddlers/children/teens) 
and adults (young adults/adults/elderly) [for age-definitions see below]. A 
decrease in the number of subadult burials beginning in 1880-1899 indi- 
cates the community's relocation farther to the north and purchase of 
additional cemetery space at Woodmere Cemetery in 1873. The increase in 
adult burials indicates that either the elderly continued to live in the com- 
munity or that they had earlier purchased cemetery plots at Beth El. The 
trend of declining burials for subadults and an increasing number of buri- 
als for adults is similar to that noted by Foster, et al. w for burials in rural 
Illinois as the people in that community moved elsewhere in search of jobs 
or better farming land, a phenomenon common to frontier settlement. 

Sociological Analysis 

In this section we examine birth and mortality data gleaned from the 
markers at Beth El and describe the gender and kinship relationships re- 
flected on them. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


Fig. 7. Rare example of hand clasp symbol on marker 
in Jewish cemeteries. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Birth and Mortality 

Social and medical scientists have a special interest in month of birth 
patterns because month of birth is linked to a wide range of conditions 
later on in life, including suicide and longevity. 11 However, month of birth 
has rarely been examined for Jews because such records are rarely kept by 
synagogues and religion is not indicated on census records. Analyses of 
gravemarkers at Beth El offered a way to determine Jewish month of birth 
patterns. Comparison of those patterns with comparable patterns from 
rural Illinois cemeteries enabled us to determine if there were differences 
between the two communities in family planning. 

At Beth El, information pertaining to birth month was found on 143 of 
the 327 markers. A Table indicating the monthly distribution for births is 
shown in Appendix I along with our extrapolated months for conception. 
As indicated in the Table, there was a clearly defined pattern in births, 
with a consistent decrease in the hotter months of June to September. The 
mean number of births per month during June-September was 6.5, about 
half as many as the 11 per month one would expect by chance. The month 
with the highest number of births was May, followed by January and 
March, although as is evident from the Table, differences between the first 
five months and the last three were relatively minor compared to differ- 
ences between these months and the June-September months. Looking at 

Percent Deaths 

1840-1859 1860 1879 18801899 1900 1919 1920 1939 1940 1959 

20 Yr. Period 

Fig. 8. Percent burials at Beth El in 20-year periods from 1840-1959. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


the corresponding months for conception, the fewest conceptions occurred 
during the last four months of the year and the greatest number occurred 
during the first eight months. This pattern of births/conceptions differed 
from the rural Illinois cemeteries studied by Foster and Hummel, where 
the peak number of births took place between November-February, corre- 
sponding to conceptions from January to April. 

The difference in birth/conception patterns is not likely due to rural 
versus urban differences or to socioeconomic differences because such dif- 
ferences tend to either augment (for low socioeconomic groups) or deflate 
(for high socioeconomic groups) seasonality birth patterns rather than 
change them, as is the case at Beth El. 12 

A possible explanation is that differences are related to the respective 
new year calendars for Christians and Jews. For Christians, the "high- 
spirited chivaries" and optimism of the New Year season may have 
"inspire(d) amorous exercise!" resulting in a peak in births from Novem- 
ber to February 13 , whereas for the Jewish community the March-April 
period, corresponding to the celebratory Passover family holiday, seems 
to have been the occasion for procreative activity. Unlike the Christian/ 
secular season with its fixed calendar holidays, the Jewish holiday season 
is lunar-based and can fluctuate by as much as a month from year to year. 
The optimism associated with the spring Passover season may have en- 
couraged its own calendar-related new beginnings. 

Number of Deaths 

I 31 

1840 1859 1860 1879 1880 1899 1900 1919 1920 1939 1940 1959 
20 Yr. Period 

Fig. 9. Number of deaths by 20-year period for adults and subadults. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Death By Age, Gender, and Season 

We were able to identify age at death for 279, and gender for 324 of the 
327 burials. The average age at death at Beth El was 48. Gender differences 
in number were minimal: 50.6% were female and 49.4% were male. Both 
findings are at variance with data from non-Jewish cemeteries. In rural 
Illinois, for instance, the average age at death was about five years less 
than at Beth El, and where the number of male deaths was much higher 
than females. Dethlefsen's 14 data from colonial cemeteries is similar to the 
rural Illinois data. 

One reason death age was higher at Beth El was that the death rate for 
Jewish infants was much lower than the rate for non-Jews (see below), 
thereby raising the overall average death age. An explanation for the dif- 
ference in male-female ratios for the two sites is harder to come by. One 
possibility is that in the rural communities men were more likely to ven- 
ture out alone, resulting in a greater number of men in the community 
than women, whereas this was common for urban-bound Jewish immi- 
grants. Another possibility is that women were less likely to have mark- 
ers in rural and colonial cemeteries than men. 

We next examined month of death for men and women. For compari- 
son purposes with Foster, et al. 15 we divided months into the same divi- 
sions they used. Our findings for all burials at Beth El are shown in Figure 

Number Died 

4. 16 


— • — MALES 
-m- - FEMALES 

DecJan Feb-Mar Apr-May Inn Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov 

Death Period 

Fig. 10. Death months for males and females at Beth El. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 79 

10. Overall, the fewest deaths for men occurred during June-July, whereas 
the highest percentage occurred in October-November. Female deaths 
tended to be more evenly dispersed throughout the year. The Table found 
in Appendix II lists the mean age at death for males and females for each 20 
year period from 1840 to 1960. Dethlefsen 16 noted that up until the 19 th 
Century males lived longer than females, but after the 19 th Century this 
pattern was reversed. Foster and Hummel 17 found a similar reversal, but 
one that began to emerge around the turn of the 20 th Century. The same 
general reversal between males and females was noted at Beth El after 

We next divided ages into the same categories as Foster, et al. ls and 
compared ages at death in the two communities. The categories were: 
infant (birth-1), toddler (1-3), child (4-12), teen 13-19), young adult (20-30), 
adult (31-60), and elder (61 and above). The data are shown in the Table 
found in Appendix III. Infant/toddler deaths accounted for 13.3% of the 
total deaths, much lower than the 24.9% deaths for this age category in 
rural Illinois 19 , but consistent with many studies noting a lower mortality 
among children of Jewish immigrants in the United States. 20 Some of the 
reasons for this difference are discussed below. Child/teen/young adult 
deaths accounted for 11.8% of the total deaths, which, though lower than 
in rural Illinois, was closer to its 18.1% rate. On the other hand, our adult/ 
elder category accounted for 74.9% of the deaths, much higher than the 
56.5% reported by Foster and colleagues for this age group. The greater 
number of adult/elderly at Beth El reflects the fact that if children survived 
beyond their first three years they had a reasonably good expectation of 
surviving their young adulthood as well. 

We next stratified burials for the three age categories and compared 
their death patterns by season. The results may be found in the Table 
comprising Appendix IV. Most infant/toddler deaths occurred in fall and 
winter; the fewest occurred in summer, which differed considerably from 
historic infant mortality trends in America and Europe, which rose dur- 
ing the summer (oftentimes over one and a half times the yearly average) 
in response to annual epidemics of diarrheal diseases during the 17 th to the 
early 20 th Centuries. 21 Both Dethlefesen 22 and Foster 23 recorded a compa- 
rable tendency for younger deaths to occur in late summer (August-Sep- 

One reason that the Beth El site differed from infant mortality patterns 
elsewhere is likely related to lower rates of Jewish women in the labor 
force 24 , which meant that infants in Jewish homes were breast fed for at 

80 Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

least their first year of life. Such prolonged and exclusive breast feeding 
was a major deterrent of infant mortality from water- and food-borne 
diarrheal diseases responsible for the summer spike in infant/toddler 
deaths in the 19 th Century. Older children and adults may have been simi- 
larly exposed, but were much more resistant to infection. A second factor 
may be related to the month of birth patterns described earlier. Since 
fewer Jewish children were born during the summer months when diar- 
rheal diseases were most virulent, they would have had less opportunity 
to become infected than children born during this peak season for infec- 

By the third decade of the 20 th Century the summer epidemic in infant 
diarrhea largely disappeared following improvement in sanitation and 
food preparation and public health campaigns encouraging mothers to 
breast feed their children for longer periods. There were not enough in- 
fant/toddler burials before and after for us to compare deaths before and 
after 1930. 

Social Relationships 

The first of the social relationships on gravestones that we examined 
was gender inequality. We expected that traditional dominant male-pre- 
ferring attitudes during life would carry over into death, and anticipated 
this inequality would take the form of a higher percentage of females being 
identified as a wife (see Fig. 11), mother (see Fig. 12), or daughter than 
males identified as husband, father, or son. We also anticipated that the 
extent of this female inferiority would be much lower at Beth El than at the 
cemeteries in rural Illinois because of Beth El's egalitarian philosophy of 
equality of the sexes. 

Both of these presuppositions were evident at Beth. El. While we found 
a higher percentage of females (46.3%) than males (34.2%) with expressed 
relationships to the other sex on the markers at Beth El, the "inferiority" 
relationship was much less prevalent at Beth El than in rural Illinois, 
where 71.6% of the female markers had relationships expressed on their 
markers. By contrast, the percentage of males with an expressed relation- 
ship at Beth El and rural Illinois were an identical 34%. 

A second indicator of differential status between the genders is the 
frequency with which male and female markers contain a surname. When 
first names of both males and females are present on the same stone and 
only the male's surname is also present, it implies that the female's status 
is derived from the male. Again, while we found a higher percentage of the 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


Fig. 11. Marker showing typical "inferior" female relationship 
expressed as "wife of ..." 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

males (42.5%) than females (34.8%) identified by surname at Beth El, differ- 
ences at Beth El were not as great as at rural Illinois, where only 19.1% of 
the females had their surnames inscribed on their markers compared to 
52.7% for the males. 

While the Babett Schloss stone (Fig. 11), with its familiar "wife of..." 
inscription, is typical of Victorian-era markers, the Kahn marker (Fig. 12) 
illustrates the equal status more often accorded husbands and wives on 
markers at Beth El, especially beginning in the 20 th Century. The 
Rosenbloom marker (Fig. 13), which also indicates equal status, is likewise 
interesting because it contains the family name at the top of the marker 
and repeats it for both male and female. This contrasts with the more 
common situation in other cemeteries where, if a surname appears at the 
top of a marker and is repeated, it is repeated only for the male, with the 
female being typically identified as "wife of" or "his wife." Yet another 
reflection of Beth El's egalitarian philosophy is the Albert Marx marker 
(see Fig. 14), which identifies him with the rare designation of "husband of 
Fannie Marx." 

Fig. 12. Kahn marker containing relationships and surnames 
for both husband and wife. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


Closely related to sexism is the paternalistic attitude that a child's life 
only has meaning in the context of that child's relationship to a parent. 
Since children were generally considered inferior to adults, Foster and 
Hummel 25 proposed that subadults (infants/tolders/children/teens) would 
be much more likely to be identified in the context of familial relationships 
than adults/elderly. In other words, markers for children would be more 
likely to express familial relationships because children are generally only 
regarded in terms of their relationship to their parents. 

Twenty-seven of the markers contained an inscription identifying the 
burial as being a son (13) or daughter (14). Of these, 23 also had an age of 
death indicated on their markers: 17 of the 23 (74%) were subadults, 
whereas only 6 (26%) were adults, which is not very different from the 

Fig. 13. Rosenbloom marker containing surnames 
for both husband and wife. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Fig. 14. Albert Marx headstone identifying him as "husband of 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 


percentages in rural Illinois. There were also fewer subadults with sur- 
names on their markers, though exceptions did occur (see Fig. 15). Com- 
pared to 82% of the adults, only 18% of the subadults had surnames on 
their gravemarkers, which was similar to the percentage in rural Illinois. 


The kinship structure of a community can be discerned from the ratio 
of the number of people interred to the number of surnames on their cem- 
etery markers: the higher the ratio, the greater the kinship and the greater 
the homogeneity of the community. 26 Over time, an increasing ratio indi- 
cates community solidarity and prosperity, whereas a declining ratio over 
time reflects economic hardship and abandonment of the community. We 
identified 163 different surnames at Beth El, a far greater number than the 
33 surnames found at Atkins-Woodson cemetery in rural Illinois, reflect- 
ing a lesser overall degree of kinship at Beth El. 

A lesser degree of kinship was also evident in the number of people 
with the same surnames. The most common surname at the rural Illinois 
cemetery was held by 31 individuals, whereas at Beth El the highest num- 
ber of people with the same surname was 15. At Beth El, five or more 
surnames accounted for 25.5% of the total, whereas in rural Illinois five or 

Fig. 15. Marker for infant containing both given and surname. 


Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

more surnames accounted for 57.3% of the totals. In the rural Illinois cem- 
etery there were only 15 (14.7%) people who were buried alone, meaning 
they did not share a surname with anyone else, whereas at Beth El, 96 of 
320 (30%) people were buried alone. 

The person/surname ratio at the ten cemeteries Foster studied ranged 
in ratio from a low of 2.25 to a high of 4.94 at three Baptist cemeteries. As 
shown in Figure 16, the person/surname ratio at Beth El was below the 
lowest ratio in rural Illinois. After a marked decline in 1860-1879 (likely 
due to Civil War casualties and internment elsewhere), the person/name 
ratio at Beth El increased systematically from 1860-1880 (although never 
coming as high as in rural Illinois) and peaked between 1900-1919, after 
which it declined systematically. 


As Snell 27 reminds us, the inscriptions chipped into gravestones are 
paid for by the living. Sometimes they are dictated in advance of dying, 
but typically they reflect the sentiments of those in the here and now. As 
such, cemeteries provide a unique insight into community life histories 
and traditions, In many cases, they are a community's only archives. This 
may be especially so in the case of minority racial and religious communi- 
ties, whose pasts are often rarely preserved. 

Name-Person Ratio 

1840 1859 1860 1879 1880 1899 1900 1919 1920 1939 1940 1959 

20 Yr. Period 

Fig. 16. Name-person ratio for 20-year periods between 1840 and 1959. 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 87 

Beth El Cemetery, Michigan's oldest Jewish cemetery, aligned itself with 
the Reform Judaism movement almost from the congregation's beginnings. 
Reform's characteristically egalitarian philosophy discourages distinc- 
tions of religious caste or gender preference, as reflected in the almost total 
absence here of symbols denoting Judaism's hereditary religious castes 
which are very prominent in Orthodox and Conservative Jewish cemeter- 

Our analyses of the personal details on Beth El's gravemarkers indi- 
cated a pattern of births/conceptions for the Beth El community that dif- 
fered from the pattern in rural Illinois. We speculated that the differences 
might be due to timing based on the two different holiday calendars. We 
also found differences in childhood death patterns which might in part be 
related to these seasonal differences in births/conceptions. Yet another 
difference was the extent of gender discrimination at the two cemeteries. 
Although females were still more likely than males to be identified in 
terms of their relationship to spouses on their markers than vice versa, 
and also were less likely to have surnames on their markers, these tenden- 
cies occurred to a much lesser extent at Beth El than at cemeteries in rural 
Illinois. The implication is that the Reform movement's egalitarian phi- 
losophy continued to be honored at death, according women a recognition 
in their own right rather than one due to a relationships to a male. 

As in all such studies focusing on relatively few individuals from par- 
ticular segments of society in particular parts of the country, the relation- 
ships we noted at Beth El may be unique to that community. As indicated 
in the Introduction to this essay and noted by others 28 , there is no single 
Jewish sociocultural identity. Jewish communities throughout the United 
States are separated into the three broad divisions of Reform, Conserva- 
tive and Orthodox, and there are often subtle distinctions within these 
divisions. One might expect these distinctions would be reflected in their 
cemeteries, but other than general analyses 29 that expectation has yet to 
be tested. 


1 . K.D.M. Snell, "Gravestones, Belonging and Local Attachment in England 1700- 
2000." Past and Present 179 (2003), 97-134. 

2. G.S. Foster, and R.L. Hummel, "The Adkins- Woodson Cemetery: A Sociological 
Examination of Cemeteries as Communities." Markers 12 (1995), 93-117. 

Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

3 . G.S. Foster, R.L. Hummel, and D.J. Adamchak, "Patterns of Conception, Natality, and 
Mortality from Midwestern Cemeteries: A Sociological Analysis of Historical Data." 
Sociological Quarterly 39 (1998), 473-489. 

4. R.A. Rockway, The Jews of Detroit (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1986). 

5 . D.M. Gradwohl, "The Jewish Cemeteries of Louisville, Kentucky: Mirrors of Historical 
Processes and Theological Diversity through 150 Years." Markers 10 (1993), 116- 

6 . I.I. Katz, The Beth El Story (Detroit: Wayne University Press, 1955). 

7. As the Congregation grew, additional burial space was purchased in 1873 and 1915 
for Beth El members and their families within Woodmere Cemetery (Section 27, 
North F). In 1939 a new site (Beth El Memorial Park) was established and was formally 
opened in 1940. The last burial at the original Lafayette Street cemetery occurred in 
the 1960s. Burials still take place at the Woodmere Cemetery, but most now occur at 
the newer site. 

8 . Also typical of Reform cemeteries are family plots. While there are no family plots at 
Beth El, there are such plots at Woodmere and at Beth El Memorial Park. Some 
Conservative congregations also have family plots. Orthodox congregational 
cemeteries do not. Instead, only husbands and wives are usually buried side by side. 
The place where husbands and wives are buried is determined by the chronology of 
their deaths. 

9 . The other two lines of the inscription describe Samuel as "a good father" and "the son 
of Yehudah." 

10. "Patterns of Conception," 473-489. 

11. Ernest L. Abel and Michael L. Kruger, "Birth Month and Suicide Among Major 
League Baseball Players." Perceptual and Motor Skills 101 (2005), 21-24. 

12. B. Pasamanick, S. Dinitz, and H. Knobloch, "Socioeconomic and Seasonal Variations 
in Birth Rates." Milbank Memorial Fund Quarterly 38 (1960), 248-254. 

13. Foster and Hummel, "The Adkins-Woodson Cemetery." 

14. E. Dethlefsen, "Colonial Gravestones and Demography." American journal of Physical 
Anthropology 31 (1969), 321-324. 

15. "Patterns of Conception." 

16. "Colonial Gravestones and Demography." 

17. "The Adkins-Woodson Cemetery." 

18. "Patterns of Conception." 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 89 

19. Ibid. 

20. G.A. Condran and E.A. Kramarow, "Child Mortality Among Jewish Immigrants to the 
United States." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 22 (1991), 223-254. 

21. R.A. Cheney, "Seasonal Aspects of Infant and Childhood Mortality: Philadelphia, 
1865-1920." Journal of Interdisciplinary History 14 (1984), 561-585. 

22. "Colonial Gravestones and Demography." 

23. "The Adkins-Woodson Cemetery." 

24. Condran and Kramarow, "Child Mortality." 

25. "The Adkins-Woodson Cemetery." 

26. F.W. Young, "Graveyards and social structure." Rural Sociology 25 (1960), 446-450. 

27. "Gravestones, Belonging and Local Attachment." 

28. Gradwohl, "The Jewish Cemeteries of Louisville." 

29. e.g., Gradwohl. 

90 Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Frequencies (%) of Birth and Conceptions by Months (1841-1952) 
































































Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 91 


Average Age at Death (No. cases) by 20-year period 
at Beth El Cemetery (1840-1959) 






24.0 (4) 

19.5 (4) 

21.8 (8) 


31.1 (22) 

35.3 (24) 

33.2 (46) 


37.6 (31) 

39.5 (37) 

38.7 (68) 


52.9 (35) 

49.5 (31) 

51.3 (66) 


61.6 (35) 

62.3 (34) 

61.9 (69) 


66.2 (11) 

68.2 (9) 

67.1 (20) 

92 Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 


Age Status at Death at Beth El Cemetery (1840-1859) 
Status Deaths 



Infant (>1) 



Toddler (1-3) 



Child (4-12) 



Teen (13-19) 



Young Adult 




Adult (31-60) 



Elder (61+) 



Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 93 

Deaths By Season at Beth El Cemetery (1840-1959) 

Winter Spring Summer Fall Total 

Months: (Nov-Jan) (Feb-Apr) (May-July) (Aug-Oct) 

Age Cat. 

Infant/Toddler 11 (32.4%) 7 (20.6%) 5 (14.7%) 11 (32.4%) 34(14.6%) 


Young Adult 5(17.2%) 9(31.0%) 8(27.6%) 7(24.1%) 29(12.4%) 

Adult/Elder 45 (26.5%) 51 (30.0%) 32 (18.8%) 42 (24.7%) 170 (73%) 


'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

£}:,: m ■$, 



■' >v^ •- . 


Fig. 1. Caroline Chapman, 1850, Washington Center, NH. 




William Lowenthal 


This essay discusses an unusual style of gravemarker, examples of which 
were placed in a limited number of New Hampshire cemeteries for a few 
years in the middle of the Nineteenth Century. They cannot properly be 
called gravestones, since they are made of cast-iron. They share a uniform 
Victorian "Gothic" design. Although the focus here is on the specimens 
signed by Charles H. Greenleaf and James Newman in the greater 
Hillsborough region, the style has been found both elsewhere in New Hamp- 
shire (signed by D. French) and much further beyond, suggesting at the very 
least the existence of a commercially-available foundry mold pattern. 

The Greenleaf and Newman Markers 

A country road leaves the calendar-perfect common of the town of 
Washington, New Hampshire and shortly curves its way past a grave- 
yard. Visitors who linger here are usually looking for a famous stone 
marking the burial place of the leg of Captain Samuel Jones, amputated in 
1804. Should they notice, these visitors might also puzzle over some mark- 
ers which seem out of place here in the heart of stony New England, for 
they are of an atypical construction and appearance. Made of iron, they 
resemble the facade of a Gothic cathedral. They embody some interesting 
contradictions. Though ironworking is emblematic of the Industrial Revo- 
lution, and they date from that period, the process used to make these 
markers is a low-technology endeavor that could be performed by one 
man (excluding production of the iron itself). And though the use of iron as 
a gravemarker material is highly progressive, the motif dates back five 
centuries. The simple fact that there are so few of them, and those that 
exist tend to run in families, suggests they never found a wide apprecia- 
tion, both in style and material. 

There are three of these markers in the Washington Center Cemetery, 
dating in the 1840s and '50s, and all completely identical except for size 
and lettering. The one belonging to Caroline Chapman (Fig. 1), who died in 
1 850 at age 5, displays a strong clue to their origin. On the reverse side (Fig. 
2) is a small plate with the words "Greenleaf & Newman, Hillsboro Br. 
N.H." 1 


'Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Fig. 2. Caroline Chapman marker, showing typical reverse. 

William Lowenthal 


In the greater Hillsborough region I ultimately located just 15 of these 
markers, plus a "foot" marker without its head. Paradoxically, none can 
be found in Hillsborough itself. They exhibit a high degree of locational 
clustering in the region west of Concord, New Hampshire, as can be seen 
in the Table found in Appendix I; for this reason I attribute all in this area 
to Greenleaf and Newman even though some are "unsigned." 

There is another strong tendency for the markers to be either belong- 
ing to relatives of Greenleaf or Newman, or to be clustered in a few other 
family groups (e.g. Fig. 3). These two traits, along with the general extreme 
rarity of the markers, suggests that they may have been too avant-garde 
or otherwise unsuited for the wider public. 

The Table presented in Appendix II describes all the surviving Greenleaf 
and Newman markers with family relationships where known. Approxi- 
mate heights and widths are shown; height is from the base to the top of 
the center spire and is not available where the marker is broken or sub- 

I have no doubt that more of these markers were originally produced. 
In a number of locations there seem to be gaps between existing iron mark- 

Fig. 3. Fisher Family markers, Deering, NH, 
showing subsidence in soft soil. 


'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Fig. 4. Charles (1840) and William (1841) Barney, 
Washington Center, NH. 

William Lowenthal 99 

ers in family plots, suggesting missing examples. The footmarker in New- 
port with the initials "H.H.M." is an obvious orphan. Though cast-iron is 
strong from a load-bearing perspective, it is brittle, and these markers 
had what could be termed a design flaw in the way they were mounted to 
their stone bases; only short pegs cast with the main body formed their 
anchoring points. Indeed, since I have been studying them a prime ex- 
ample has toppled and now is slowly being overgrown with grass. Also, it 
is likely that because of their unusual, even bizarre appearance, they were 
tempting targets for thieves, as is continuing to happen to iron cemetery 
gates and fences. 

As the Table shows, the majority of markers are dated in the early 
1850s and none after 1854, suggesting a manufacturing date range. Con- 
ventional stone markers present challenges in ascertaining the original 
carving date when multiple names and dates appear, as names could have 
been added at any time, or the stone was carved upon the death of the 
spouse, years after the death of the first spouse. However, the very nature 
of iron casting lets one establish with certainty that the latest date on the 
marker is the earliest it could have been made. With cast-iron, there is no 

The Table also shows there are three standard sizes, with the smallest 
reserved for small children. The molds were therefore most probably of- 
fered in a limited number of sizes, all having an approximate height to 
width ratio of 2.2:1 

Beyond the size and lettering, these markers are quite uniform in de- 
sign and execution, as might be expected for the output of a mold (Figs. 4, 5, 
6). The lettering panel dominates the center of the marker, and forms a true 
Gothic arch. There are three knobbly spires, the center one tallest and 
crowning the arch. In the triangular space between the arch and its crown 
are two darts and an object somewhat like a fleur-de-lys. The two flanking 
spires crown columnar elements which have a raised floret in the middle. 
From the front, the markers give the appearance of bulk and solidity, but 
they are actually quite two-dimensional; less than an inch thick at most. 

The lettering is fairly uniform among all the markers. A name in a half- 
circle has the largest glyph. For women's and children's markers, usually 
only the first name is in the half-circle; mens' display both first and sur- 
name in this style. 2 The text is a mix of upper and lower case. On a few 
markers, the word "DIED" appears in a wreath, but there is usually no 
other ornamentation to the letters; nor are the letters in any form of script 
or fancy glyph. 


'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Fig. 5. Hannah Abell, 1852, Goshen, NH, with detached foot marker. 

William Lowenthal 


Fig. 6. Olive Draper, 1850, East Washington, NH, 
with detached foot marker. 


'Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

The reverse of the markers is unadorned, and concave where the front 
is convex (and vice versa), except the letters, which have no indentation on 
the back. A "maker's" plate appears on the reverse of many, either in the 
center or at the bottom. In some cases the plate looks subsequently at- 
tached, in others it has a more integral appearance as if it were cast di- 
rectly into the marker (Fig 7). All "maker's" plates reference "Hillsboro Br. 

The footmarkers echo the shape and general style of the headmarkers, 
but their spires lack any of the knobbly details of their larger kin. The 
fleur-de-lys and darts are present. Typically, only initials in very bold 
letters (separated by periods) appear on the footmarkers. 3 

Given cast-iron's well known tendency to oxidize when exposed to the 
elements, one wonders what their original appearance was, and what the 
thinking was about the effects of time. They were undoubtedly meant to 
last, like other markers, until the Resurrection, so what was the vision of 
their lasting appearance? In a few protected areas on some of the markers 
flakes of white enamel can be found; whether this is original or not cannot 
be discerned. And if bright white, they might have resembled the white 
marble of so many of their contemporaries. If the intention was to main- 
tain the paint, they would have been adequately protected. Over time, 

Fig. 7. Typical Greenleaf & Newman makers' name plate. 

William Lowenthal 103 

though, the sad but inevitable decline in attention paid to old things has 
caused them to rust, break, and vanish. 

Greenleaf and Newman— Who Were They? 

The plain truth is there are no historical references to the markers, only 
scant reference to Greenleaf and Newman separately, and none as a team. 

Obviously, since many of the markers were conveniently "signed" with 
a reference to Hillsborough Bridge, I hoped studying Hillsborough town 
histories might yield some information about the enterprise. The History of 
Hillsborough, NH 1735 — 1921 V.2 (Biography and Genealogy) contained this 

Newman, James, (son of Joseph and Pamelia (Bingham) Newman, b. in 
Washington May 10, 1818; came to Hillsborough in 1841 and engaged in 
the stove and tinware business for many years. He was an upright, 
energetic, public spirited business man, respected by all... He d. May 10, 

The 2860 New England Business Directory lists one "Jas. Newman of Hillsboro 
Br" under the heading "Stove Dealers and Tinsmiths." 

The mention of stoves, assembled of cast-iron panels, leads me to be- 
lieve this is the Newman of Greenleaf & Newman. However, there is no 
direct reference to an iron foundry. Thus, it is possible that the "stove and 
tinware business" could mean simply dealing in finished goods. The 
foundry which actually produced the markers could have been owned by 
someone else and located anywhere in the vicinity. In fact, a history of 
Washington mentions "Gage's Mill, which at one time manufactured stove 
castings." 4 This was purchased by one Frank P. Newman (b. 1852), and 
was renamed "Newman & Wiley Mills." Frank Newman was a first cousin 
once removed of James. 5 Frank was born too late to have had a hand in the 
making of the iron markers, and the mill was in Washington, not 
Hillsborough, but it does suggest a family connection to iron making. 

There are genealogical links to James Newman and two of the mark- 
ers. James's mother, Pamelia, was the daughter of Harris and Phebe 
Bingham of Lempster, NH. Her parents share a large Greenleaf & Newman 
marker in the main Lempster Cemetery (Fig. 8). Also, Newman's first 
cousin once removed was Caroline Chapman, the young girl whose iron 
marker in Washington was noted and shown (Figs. 1-2) at the beginning 
of this article. 

In a "maker's" plate on one marker, the name "C. H. Greenleaf" ap- 


'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Fig. 8. Harris (1822) and Phebe (1824) Bingham, Lempster, NH. 

Maternal grandparents of James Newman. Taken prior to 

toppling of marker. 

William Lowenthal 


Fig. 9. Makers' name plate showing C. H. Greenleaf only. 


"Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 


Fig. 10. Elizabeth Greenleaf (1847), Washington, NH. 
Mother of C. H. Greenleaf. 

William Lowenthal 


pears, without Newman (Fig. 9). The initials gave me the ability to identify 
him from brief historical records. The fact that here only his name appears 
raises questions about the partnership being dissolved at some point, par- 
ticularly when combined with the above 1860 reference to James Newman 
as a stove dealer with no mention of Greenleaf. 

The History of Washington, NH (1886) lists a Charles H. Greenleaf, one of 
11 children of Daniel Greenleaf, "born in Concord May 7, 1812; m. Mrs. 
Elizabeth Piatt, res. in Lempster, died in Washington May 20, 1886." 6 His 
father, Daniel Greenleaf (Jr.), was born in 1780, married Elizabeth W. Gale, 
and moved to Washington in 1820, dying there in 1847. Charles's mother 
also died in 1847. Hers is the name on one of the Greenleaf & Newman 
markers I first encountered in the Washington Cemetery (Fig. 10). Daniel's 
gravestone next to hers is a relatively modern standardized veteran's 
marker. I suspect that he may have also had an iron marker obtained from 
his son, now replaced. 

Though there are no further references to C. H. Greenleaf, and an oc- 
cupational description is lacking for him, I nonetheless believe I have iden- 
tified the Greenleaf of Greenleaf & Newman. 

Fig. 11. Plot of John Piatt (1851), Lempster, NH, showing iron 

fencing with balusters suggestive of the "Gothic" iron markers. 

Piatt was the former husband of C. H. Greenleaf 's wife. 

108 "Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

There is another intriguing but wispy thread that can be followed, 
however. Recall that C. H. Greenleaf married the widow Elizabeth Piatt, 
and that they resided in Lempster for some years. Very near the iron 
marker in Lempster for Harris and Phebe Bingham (Newman's maternal 
grandparents) can be found a marble obelisk surrounded by a cast-iron 
fence whose balusters are extremely similar to the spires of the Greenleaf 
& Newman markers (Fig. 11). The obelisk and fence is for the Piatt family, 
with John Piatt the "primary" name. 7 On the left side of the obelisk are the 
names of two young children of John and Elizabeth Piatt. But on the right 
side is the name C. H. Greenleaf, and "Elizabeth B., wife of C. H. Greenleaf 
and widow of John Piatt." 8 This causes the highly unusual situation of 
two husbands sharing a plot and a stone with one wife. Apparently 
Elizabeth's wish was to be buried with her children (which meant with 
Piatt, their father), and Greenleaf 's wish was to be with his wife. Indulging 
in pure poetic license, could Elizabeth have noticed and liked the Bingham 
iron marker near her late husband's plot, seen that Greenleaf & Newman 
were the makers, decided to commission an iron fence from them for the 
plot, and thus made the acquaintance of the middle-aged bachelor Charles 

The D. French Markers 

The late Barbara Rotundo had a long-standing interest in metallic 
gravemarkers, in particular the fairly common "white bronze" (zinc) 
markers of the late 19th Century. In 1994 I began a brief correspondence 
with her to see if she had had any exposure to the iron markers I was 
studying. She replied that she had, indeed, encountered the Washington 
Center pieces. She informed me that she had also seen several of the same 
type of markers in Danville, NH, near the border of Massachusetts. This 
was intriguing because I had so far found nothing beyond a 25-mile 
radius of Hillsborough, and Danville is over 60 road miles away from 

She had not researched any of these pieces, but suggested that the 
Danville markers may also have been made by Greenleaf and Newman. 
As soon as possible I journeyed to Danville, and found three of them: much 
to my surprise they were all signed "D. French, Haverhill, Mass." In size, 
design, lettering, and dates they are indistinguishable from the Greenleaf 
and Newman examples (see Appendix III). Two of them, however, feature 
oval copper frames attached meant to hold daguerreotypes, as shown in 
Figures 12 and 13. None of the Greenleaf/Newman markers have this in- 

William Lowenthal 


teresting accessory. Sadly, the images they once held are long gone, as is 
the glass which encased them. 9 

Examination of cemeteries in the surrounding areas, including Haverhill 
itself and going all the way out to the seacoast, turned up no further ex- 

Fig. 12. Miriam Dearborn (1852), Danville, NH. Makers' plate 

shows D. French. Note daguerreotype frame. 

Broken spire testifies to the brittle nature of cast-iron. 


'Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

amples, so it is indeed puzzling why tiny Danville should have three. I 
could find no historical reference to a D. French from Haverhill, so nothing 
is known of him. As hopeful as it initially seemed, it is not possible that this 
D. French is the same person as the noted sculptor Daniel Chester French. 10 

Distribution Elsewhere 

Especially intriguing were photographs sent to me by Barbara Rotundo 
of similar pieces in Rochester, New York and Montgomery, Alabama! The 
Rochester example in Barbara's photograph is virtually identical to the 
New Hampshire pieces, except that a botanical decoration appears above 
the lettering (Fig. 14). The Montgomery piece may be a foot marker, and it, 
too, is quite similar to the others, except the lettering appears to have been 
separately made and attached by rivets. The overall similarity between 
these far-flung pieces led Barbara to write: "I have a theory — and have 
never tried to get evidence to support it — that some outfit, perhaps in 
Philadelphia or New York City, made these molds and sold them to small 
and large local foundries." 11 

The molds she referred to remain elusive; I have communicated with 
the curators of the Saugus Iron Works in Massachusetts and the Hopewell 

Fig. 13. James Hook, left (1851) and Permelia Hook (1853), 
Danville, NH. Note typical setting of markers in granite slabs. 

William Lowenthal 


Fig. 14. Albert Freeborn (1854), Rochester, NY. 
Photo by Barbara Rotundo. 

112 "Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Furnace in Pennsylvania, both units of the National Park Service, to see if 
such patterns existed in their collections. Both replied that they had never 
encountered them before. 

The similarity could otherwise be explained by postulating that deal- 
ers throughout the country took orders for the markers and had them 
made at one or two foundries that specialized in this craft. They did not 
have to be local to the dealers at all; effective rail transportation existed by 
the 1850s, and, in contrast to stone markers, iron is much more durable in 

How They Were Made 

Many of the convex features on the face of the markers have corre- 
sponding concave surfaces on the back. This indicates that a double-sided 
mold was used; otherwise the reverse would be flat and lack any detail. 

This type of iron working is called "flask casting." Two identical box 
frames are constructed. One box, called the "drag," is laid on a flat "follow 
board." The pattern is placed in the box with its obverse facing up. A fine, 
damp sand is sifted over it until the box is filled to the rim, at which point 
it is firmly packed. After removing excess sand with a level (the "strike"), 
another follow board is laid on top and the drag is turned over. Removing 
the first follow board exposes the back of the pattern. The second box 
frame ("the cope") is placed on the drag and more sand is packed in. A 
wooden wedge called a "gate" is placed in the sand, which forms a conduit 
for the molten iron. The cope is filled to the top with more sand, tamped, 
and leveled. The gate is removed, the two halves of the flask are separated, 
and the pattern is carefully removed. When the cope and drag are mated 
and clamped, the hollow formed by both sides of the pattern is preserved 
in the center of the flask's sand. Iron is poured through the gate into the 
hollow and allowed to cool. 

Of all the known examples of this type found in New Hampshire, the 
basic pattern varied only in size. The lettering verbiage varied, of course, 
which probably meant the basic molds had separate boards to which 
letter blocks (like type) were glued. With the lettering board attached to 
the main pattern (but not permanently, so the mold could be reused), the 
letters became integral to the overall casting. 

Conservation Status 

Iron and a harsh environment are mighty foes. That is the obstacle to 
overcome; challenging enough even without the fatal flaw of these mark- 

William Lowenthal 


Fig. 15. Eleanor W. Starkey (1852), Antrim, NH, showing recent 
attempt at conservation by spray painting. 

114 "Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

ers' design - the ridiculously small and delicate pegs which anchor them 
into their pedestals. 

Just in the time I have been observing them significant events have 
occurred to affect the survivability of a number of these rare monuments. 
The Eleanor Starkey marker in Antrim has received a coat of silver spray 
paint presumably rustproof (Fig. 15). The intent is good, though it is star- 
tling and no doubt makes it look very different from what was intended 
by the designers. The Phebe Matilda Warde marker in Henniker, in years 
past displaced and simply leaning against a tree on the edge of the cem- 
etery, seemed likely to become a decoration for a dorm room in adjacent 
New England College. Happily, it has been rescued and re-erected, though 
possibly in the wrong plot. 12 Unhappily, as previously mentioned, the 
massive marker for Harris and Phebe Bingham in Lempster has toppled 
and must soon vanish through contact with the earth or theft unless con- 
servation is undertaken (Fig. 16). And the three Fisher markers (see Fig. 3) 
in the abandoned plot in Deering look to be further sinking into the appar- 
ently soft earth. 


The few surviving examples (only 18 in New Hampshire) of this won- 
derful and rare art form illustrate a truism about taste: to become popular, 
a style must be accepted by the consuming public. Colonial and post- 
Colonial New England signaled its approval of slate and marble for 
funerary art, and countless thousands of existing examples attest to that. 
Only in the last hundred years or less has granite supplanted these earlier 
materials. The Gothic-style iron markers had two strikes against them. 
Not only is the material of the markers unusual and unorthodox, the shape 
is quite different from nearly anything they were traditionally associated 
with. For a real trend to start, these two obstacles had to be overcome, 
which did not happen in New Hampshire or, apparently, elsewhere. 

William Lowenthal 







WtjT * 




ftiS ■ 



Win- oj 




1 ... > r '* ?, \ 

\ 's A 

.. Witf 

Fig. 16. Harris and Phebe Bingham, showing present toppled and 
overgrown condition. Note thin iron peg in lower left corner. 

116 "Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 


1 . Hillsborough Bridge is the historic mill section of the town of Hillsborough (popularly 
spelled Hilllsboro), New Hampshire, sited on the Contoocook River about 10 miles 
southeast of Washington. In 1850 the town's population was about 1700. 

2 . The "Wid. Lydia Cram" has her whole name in the half-circle; the child brothers Ezra 
and William Fisher appear side-by-side. 

3 . Harris and Phebe Bingham's entire surname appears on their footmarker. 

4. Ronald Jager and Grace Jager, Portrait Of A Hill Town - A History of Washington, N.H 
1876 - 1976 (1977), 153-156. 

5 . James Newman's father's brother's son's son. 

6 . P. 459. This would put him in his early 40s when the markers were made. 

7. Piatt died 1851, the time of the iron markers. 

8. C.H. died 1886; Elizabeth died 1881. 

9 . Except for a few shards, which I discovered "the hard way." 

10. Daniel Chester French, who hailed from nearby (to Danville) Exeter, New Hampshire, 
made such well-known and -loved pieces as the bronze "Concord Minute Man" 
statue placed at the Old North Bridge in Concord, Massachusetts, and the marble 
Seated Lincoln in the Lincoln Memorial. Born in 1850, he was a child at the time these 
iron markers were made. 

11. Personal communication, March 27 1994. 

12. Her marker is placed next to other iron markers in the plot of her husband's relatives 
(the Warde Family). I suspect its original location was in the adjacent plot of her 
husband, George Warde, where she is listed on his obelisk. This leads me to further 
suspect that her marker was placed on a base which originally held yet another 
vanished iron marker for a Warde family member. 

William Lowenthal 117 

Distribution of Greenleaf and Newman Iron Markers 

Town Quantity Number of Cemeteries 




















1 ("foot" 

marker only) 



'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 


Inventory of All Known Greenleaf and Newman Iron Markers 


Relationship to 
Greenleaf or 

Newman, or to 
other family 
iron markers 





Ht. - 
Wth (in.) 






Mother of 
Charles H. 



48 -22 




First cousin 


of James 




35 - 16 



Harris and 



grandparents of 
James Newman 


58, 60 

60 - 27 



Phebe Warde 

Warde family 



48 -22 



Jesse and 
Sally Warde 

Warde family 


42, 52 

N/A - 27 



William and 
Sarah Warde 

Warde family 

(son and daughter 

of Jesse and 

Sally Warde) 


20, 18 

48 - 22 



Mary Fisher 

Fisher family 

(wife of Ezra 




N/A - 22 



Ezra Fisher 

Fisher family 






Ezra and 
William Fisher 

Fisher family 

(sons of Ezra 

and Mary 



48, 16 

N/A - 22 



Charles and 
William Barney 

None known 


2, 4 

35 - 16 



Hannah Abell 

None known 



48 - 22 



Simon Brown 

None known 



60 - 27 



William Lowenthal 


Lydia Cram None known 1851 

Olive B. Draper None known 1850 

Eleanor W. None known 1852 





52 48-22 East 



1 35-16 East Yes 


23 60-27 Antrim 


N/A N/A Newport Foot- 



'Gothic" Cast-Iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (And Beyond) 

Inventory of All Known D. French Iron Markers 

Age(s) Approx. Foot- 

Marker Death at Ht. - marker 

Name Date(s) Death Wth (in.) Location Present? Remarks 

Permelia 1853 


James Hook 1851 



48 - 22 Danville 

48 - 22 Danville 

Yes Has 







48 -22 








Richard E. Meyer 

This annual feature of Markers, inaugurated in 1995, is intended to serve 
as an ongoing, working bibliography of relevant scholarship in the inter- 
disciplinary field of Cemetery and Gravemarker Studies, including rel- 
evant works dealing with cenotaphs and public monuments and/or 
memorials. With significant exceptions, since 2004, it has restricted itself 
to English-language works in the modern era (i.e., post-1500), consisting of 
books, scholarly articles, and theses/dissertations. Excluded are confer- 
ence presentations, audio-visual materials, newspaper articles, book re- 
views, items in trade and popular magazines, compilations of gravemarker 
inscriptions, and a number of non-scholarly items of varying sorts. Also 
not included are articles found in Markers or in the AGS Quarterly. Bracketed 
notations in [bold] occur where geographical locale is unclear. This year's 
bibliography features materials published in 2006 but not covered in Mark- 
ers XXIV, as well as from 2007: items published in 2007 after this listing 
was compiled will be included in next year's edition. 

Books, Monographs, Pamphlets, etc. 

Adams, Geoff W., and Tobler, Rebecca. Romano-British Tombstones Between the V and 3"' 

Centuries A.D.: Epigraphy, Gender and Familial Relations. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, 

Adams, Josephine, et al. 'Out of Darkness Cometh Light': Life and Death in Nineteenth-Century 
Wolverhampton: Excavations of the Overflow Burial Ground of St. Peter's Collegiate Church, 
Wolverhampton, 2001-2002 [UK]. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, 2007 

Applegate, Shannon. Living Among Headstones: Life i)i a Country Cemetery [OR]. Cam- 
bridge, MA: Da Capo Press, 2006. 

Bauer, Paul. Deux siecles d'histoire au Pere Lachaise. Versailles, France: Memoire & docu- 
ments, 2006. 

Beach, Darren, et al. London's Cemeteries. London: Metro Publications, 2006. 

Beresford, Sarah, et al. Italia)! Monumental Sculpture. London: Frances Lincoln Ltd., 2006. 

Bold, Christine, et al. Remembering Women Murdered by Men: Memorials Across Canada. 
Toronto: Sumach Press, 2006. 


Bomgasser Klein, Barbara, et al. Grabkunst und Sepulkralkultur in Spanien und Portugal. 
Frankfurt am Main: Vervuert, 2006. 

Bond, Larry, and Fitzgerald, f-stop. The Mighty Fallen: Our Nation's Greatest War Memorials. 
New York: Collins, 2007. 

Bose, Romen. Kranji: The Commonwealth Cemetery and the Politics of he Dead. Singapore: 
Cavendish Editions, 2006. 

Bostyn, Franky. Passchendaele 1917: The Story of the Fallen and Tyne Cot Cemetery [Belgium]. 
Barnsley, UK; Pen & Sword Military, 2007. 

Boutell, Charles. Christian Monuments in England a)id Wales: An Historical and Descriptive 
Sketch of the Various Classes of Sepulchral Monuments. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub- 
lishing,' LLC, 2007. 

Brinkley, Douglas. The World War II Memorial: A Grateful Nation Remembers. New York: 
HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. 

Brooks, Patricia. Permanently New Yorkers: Final Digs of the Notable and Notorious. Guilford, 
CT: Globe Pequot Press, 2006. 

Burstein, Joyce, and Wilson, Peter Lamborn. The Epitaph Project. Los Angeles: Otis Col- 
lege of Art and Design, 2006. 

Carrier, Peter. Holocaust Monuments and National Memory Cultures in France and Germany 
since 1989: The Origin and Political Functions of the Vel d'Hiv in Paris and the Holocaust 
Monument in Berlin. Oxford,UK: Berghan, 2006. 

Carroll, Maureen. Spirits of the Dead: Roman Funerary Commemoration in Western Europe. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 

Carter, J.C., ed. The Gravestones of Chersonrsos: Research and Conservation. Austin, TX: 
Institute of Classical Archaeology, 2006. 

Cataldi, Nancy, and Ballenas, Carl. Maple Grove Cemetery [Long Island, NY]. Mount Pleas- 
ant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 

Churchward, Albert. Burial Customs Amongst Different Peoples. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger 
Publishing, LLC, 2006. 

Clark, Bob. Enfield, Connecticut: Stories Carved in Stone. West Springfield, MA: Dog Pond 
Press, 2006. 

Clarke, Joseph. Commemorating the Dead in Revolutionary France: Revolution and Remem- 
brance, 1789-1799. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 

Clendenan, Diane E., and Stuart, Marjorie. Solving Cemetery Problems: How to Deal with 
Vandalism, Abandoned Cemeteries, and Registration and Heritage Designation. Toronto: 
Ontario Genealogical Society, 2007. 


Cockerham, Paul. Continuity and Change: Memorialization and the Cornish Funeral Monu- 
ment Industry, 1497-1660. Oxford, UK: Archaeopress, 2006. 

Corbelli, Judith A. Tlie Art of Death in Graeco-Roman Egypt. Miami: Parkwest Publications, 

Corke, Jim. War Memorials in Britain. Princess Risborough, UK: Shire Publications, Ltd., 

Craske, The Silent Rhetoric of the Body: A History of the Monument and Commemorative Art in 
England, 1720-1770. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2007. 

Dahlin, Curtis A. Dakota Uprising Victims: Gravestones & Stories. Edina, MN: Beaver's Pond 
Press, 2007. 

Davidson, Gerald, and McNabb, Sherril. 'Til the Day Breaks: World War I Memorials in 
Petone. Petone, New Zealand: Petone Historical Society, 2006. 

De Angelis, Daniela. / monumenti coduti delta Grande Guerra nei Castelli Romaui: la luce e 
Vombra. Roma: Gangemi, 2006. 

Deed, Stephen. Unearthly Landscapes: New Zealand's Old Cemeteries. Dunedin, New Zealand: 
University of Otago Press, 2007. 

D'Imperio, Chuchk. Great Graves of Upstate New York. Bloomington, IN: Rooftop, 2007. 

Dodge, George W., and Hollen, Kim B. Arlington National Cemetery. Mount Pleasant, SC: 
Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 

Donaldson, Peter. Ritual and Remembrance: The Memorialization of the Great War in East 
Kent. Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars Press, 2006 

Donovan, Erin Paul. New England Graveyards: A Photographic Portrait. Morrisville, NC:, 2007. 

Dupre, Judith. Monuments: America's History in Art and Memory. New York: Random 
House, 2007. 

Eckert, Eva. Stones on the Prairie: Acculturation in America. Bloomington, IN: Slavica Pub- 
lishers, 2006. 

Eckhardt, Charles, and MacAvoy, Robert. Our Brothers Gone Before: An Inventory of Graves 
and Cenotaphs in New Jersey for Union and Confederate Civil War Soldiers, Sailors, 
Marines, and Nurses. Hightstown, NJ: Longstreet House, 2006. 

El Kadi, Galila, and Bonnamy, Alain. Architecture for the Dead: Cairo's Medieval Necropolis. 
Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2007. 

el-Shaway Abeer. The Funerary Art of Ancient Egypt: A Bridge to the Realm of the Hereafter. 
Cairo: American University in Cairo Press, 2006. 


Elliott, Donald R. Cemeteries of Colorado: A Guide to Locating Colorado Burial Sites and 
Publications about their Residents. Parker, CO: Colorado Research Publications, 2007. 

Enss, Chris. Tales Behind the Tombstones: The Deaths and Burials of the old Wesf's Most 
Nefarious Outlaws, Notorious Women, and Celebrated Lawmen. Guilford, CT: Globe 
Pequot, 2007. 

Galland, China. Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves [TX]. New York: 
HarperOne, 2007. 

George, Harold A. Civil War Monuments of Ohio. Lakewood, OH: H. George Publishing, 

Giuffre, Maria. L'architettura delta memorie in ltalie: cimeteri, monumenti e cittd, 1750-1939. 
Milano: Skira, 2007. 

Goffinet, Pamela Kay. Mapping and Documenting Cemeteries. Sandy, UT: Aardvark Global 
Publishing, 2007. 

Goodrich, Deborah. Cemetery Art and Symbolism in North America. Morrisville, NC:, 2007. 

Gradwohl, David Mayer. Like Tablets of the Law Thrown Down: The Colonial Jewish Burying 
Ground, Newport, Rhode Island. Ames, IA: Sigler Printing, 2007. 

Grave History: A Guidebook to Citizens' Cemetery, Prescott, Arizona. Prescott, AZ: Borrego 
Publishing, 2006. 

Greene, Meg. Rest in Peace: A History of American Cemeteries. Breckenrisge, CO: Twenty- 
First Century Books, 2007. 

Guthke, Karl Siegfried. Sprechende Steine: Tine Kultitrgeschichte der Grabschrift. Gottingen, 
Germany: Wallstein, 2006. 

Hardy, Michael C. Remembering North Carolina's Confederates. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia 
Publishing, 2006. 

Harris, Mark. Grave Matters: A Journey through the Modem Funeral Industry to a Natural Way 
of Burial. New York: Scribner, 2007. 

Hartley, Tom. Written in Stone: The History of Belfast City Cemetery. Belfast, UK: Brehon 
Press, 2006. 

Healy, Clement M. South Fork Cemeteries [NY]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 

Heaton, Dean. Remember Me: Burial Sites of Actors. Mesa, AZ: Val Vista Books, 2006. 

Heller, Allan M. Monuments and Memorials of Washington, D.C. Atglen, PA: Schiffer Pub., 


Hershenzon, Gail D. Detroit's Woodmere Cemetery. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 

Hewson, Eileen. Darjeeling & the Dooms: Christian Cemeteries and Memorials, 1842-1995 
[India]. London: BASCA, 2006. 

History of Government Furnished Headstones and Markers. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Depart- 
ment of Veterans Affairs, 2007. 

Hooper, Valerie, and Vibert, Pat. Cemetery Recording Instruction Book. Richmond, B.C.: 
British Columbia Genealogical Society Publishing Committee, 2006. 

Inglis, K. S. Sacred Places: War Memorials in the Australian Landscape. Melbourne: Melbourne 
University Publishing, 2006. 

Irwin, Jane, and De Visser, John. Old Canadian Cemeteries: Places of Memory. Buffalo, NY: 
Firefly Books, 2007. 

Isbell, Timothy T. Gettysburg: Sentinels of Stone. Jackson, MS: University Press of Missis- 
sippi, 2006. 

. Vicksburg: Sentinels of Stone. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 


Jacobson, Kimberlv R., and Greene County Historical Society. Greene County and 
Mesopotamia Cemetery [AL]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. 

Jensen, Cecile Wendt. Detroit's Mount Elliott Cemetery. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Pub- 
lishing, 2006. 

. Detroit's Mount Olivet Cemetery. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 


Jewish Cemeteries. Newton Centre, MA: Jewish Cemetery Association of Massachusetts, 

Johnson, Nuala Christine. Ireland, the Great War and the Geography of Remembrance. Cam- 
bridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 

Jones, Trefor. On Fame's Eternal Camping Ground: A Study of First World War Epitaphs on the 
British Cemeteries of the Western Front. Eastbourne, UK: Gardners Books, 2007. 

Kaemmerlen, Cathy. The Historic Oakland Cemetery of Atlanta: Speaking Stones. Charleston, 
SC: History Press, 2007. 

Kath, Laura. Forest Lawn: The First 100 Years [CA]. Glendale, CA: Tropico Press, 2007. 

Kerrigan, Michael. The History of Death: Burial Customs and Funeral Rites from the Ancient 
World to Modern Times. Guilford, CT: Lyons Press, 2007. 


Kinsley, Maxine Schuurmans. Roots in Dakota Soil: Prairie Cemeteries of Bon Homme County, 
South Dakota: An Illustrated History and Guide. Tyndall, SD: Pine Hill Press, 2007. 

Knoblock, Glenn A. Cemeteries Around Lake Winnipesaukee [NH]. Mount Pleasant, SC: 
Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 

. Portsmouth Cemeteries [NH]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. 

Krowl, Michelle A. The World War II Memorial: Honoring the Price of Freedom. Virginia 
Beach, VA: Donning Co. Publishers, 2007. 

Kucharsky, Danny, and Cowles, D.R. Sacred Ground on de la Savane: Montreal's Baron de 
Hirsch Cemetery. Montreal: Vehicule Press, 2007. 

Lanciotti, Joseph. George Washington Memorial Park Cemetery: They Built for the Ages. 
Bloomington, IN: Authorhouse, 2007. 

Lauro, Brigitta. Die Grahstdtten der Habsburger: Kunstdenkmaler einer Europaischen Dynastie. 
Wien: Brandstatter, 2007. 

Linden, Blanche M.G. Silent City on a Hill: Landscapes of Mempry and Boston's Mount Auburn 
Cemetery (revised and expanded edition). Amherst, MA: University of Massachusetts 
Press, 2007. 

Maillos, Seth, and Caterino, David M. Cemeteries of San Diego, California. Mount Pleasant, 
SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. 

Mainfort, Robert C. Two Historic Cemeteries in Crazoford County, Arkansas. Fayetteville, AR: 
Arkansas Archaeological Survey, 2006. 

Marsden, Simon. Memento Mori: Churches and Churchyards of England: A Personal Selection. 
Swindon, UK: English Heritage, 2007. 

Mays, Simon, et al. The Churchyard. York, UK: Department of Archaeology, University of 
York, 2007. 

McCaul, John. Christian Epitaphs of the First Six Centuries. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub- 
lishing, LLC, 2006. 

Melzer, Richard. Buried Treasures: Famous and Unusual Gravesites in New Mexico History. 
Santa Fe, NM: Sunstone Press, 2007. 

Menachemson, Nolan. A Practical Guide to Jewish Cemeteries. Bergenfield, NJ: Avotaynu, 

Mercado Limones, Carlos Alberto, and Serna Cerrillo, Luz de Loudres. Catrina y sepulcro: 
cultura y espacios funerarios en Mexico. Mexico, D.F.: Universidad Autonoma 
Metropolitana, Unidad Xochimilco, 2006. 

Moore, Carol. Greensboro's First Presbyterian Church Cemetery [NC]. Mount Pleasant, SC: 
Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 


Nelson, Louis P. Sensing the Sacred: Anglican Material Religion in Early South Carolina. 
Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2007. 

Nooteboom, Cees. Tumbas: Graven van Dichters en Denkers. Amsterdam: Uitgeverij Atlas, 

Nosonovsky, Michael. Hebrew Epitaphs and Inscriptions from Ukraine and Former Soviet 
Union. London:, 2006. 

Philbert-Ortega, Gena. Cemeteries of the Eastern Sierra. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publish- 
ing, 2007. 

Pierret, P. Memoires, Mentalities, Religieuses, Art Funeraire: La Partie Juive du Cimitiere de 
Dieweg a Bruxelles, XlXe-XXe Siecles. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters Publishers, 2006. 

Potter, Elisabeth Walton. Remembering Oregon's Missionary Pioneer: The Story of Jason Lee's 
Re-Interment in Lee Mission Cemetery, Salem, OR. Salem, OR: Lee Mission Cemetery, 

Privee, James A. Art to Die For: Artistic Headstones in Orleans Count}/, Vermont. [S.I.]:, 2007. 

Raimbault, France. Le Pere-Lachaise: Guide de flaneur [Paris]. Saint-Cyr-sur-Loire, France: A. 
Sutton, 2006. 

Ricci, Cecilia. Qui non riposa: cenotofi antichi e moderni fra memoria e rappresentazione. Roma: 
Quasar, 2006. 

Riggs, Christina. The Beautiful Burial in Roman Egypt: Art, Identity, and Funerary Religion. 
New York: Oxford University Press, 2006. 

Robinson, W. God's Acre Beautiful or the Cemeteries of the Future. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger 
Publishing, LLC, 2007. 

Rosinsky, Natalie M. Vietnam Veteratis Memorial. Minneapolis: Compass Point Books, 

Rousmaniere, John. The Evergreens: The Story of a Brooklyn Cemetery, 1850-2007. Brooklyn, 
NY: Smith Kerr Associates, 2007. 

Ruck, Tom. Sacred Ground. Washington, D.C.: Regency Publishing, 2007. 

Santino, Jack. Spontaneous Shrines and the Public Memorialization of Death. New York: Palgrave 
Macmillan, 2006. 

Savaglio, Cynthia, and Floro-Khalaf, Jenny. Mount Carmel and Queen of Heaven Cemeteries 
[IL]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2006. 

Schaefer, Ted, and Schaefer, Lola M. Arlington National Cemetery. Chicago: Heinemann 
Library 2006. 


Scholten, Frits. Sumptuous Memories: Studies in Seventeenth Century Dutch Tomb Sculpture. 
Zwolle, Netherlands: Waanders B.V., Uitgeverij, 2006. 

Segal, Joshua L. The Old Jewish Cemetery of Newport: A History of North America's Oldest 
Extant Jewish Cemetery [RI]. Nashua, NH: Jewish Cemetery Publications, LLC, 2007. 

. A Self-Guided Tour of Monuments of Jews Buried in The Mount Auburn Cemetery, 

Cambridge, MA. Nashua, NH: Jewish Cemetery Publications, LLC, 2007. 

Semple, Sarah, and Williams, Howard. Early Medieval Mortuary Practices: New Perspectives. 
Oxford, UK: University of Oxford, School of Archaeology, 2007. 

Shannon, Robin. Cemeteries of Seattle. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. 

Simpson, David. 9/11: The Culture of Commemoration. Chicago: University of Chicago 
Press, 2006. 

Smookler, Michael. Colma [CA]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 2007. 

Sofarelli, Michael. Letters on the Wall: Offerings and Remembrances from the Vietnam Veterans 
Memorial. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2006. 

Spahic, Omer. The Origins and Significance of Funerary Architecture in Islamic Civilization. 
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: International Islamic University Malaysia, 2006. 

Stamp, Gavin. Memorial to the Missing of the Somme [France]. London: Profile Books Ltd., 

Stirling, Lea Margaret, and Stone, David Leigh. Mortuary Landscapes of North Africa. 
Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2006. 

Student, Annette L., and Noel, Thomas J. Denver's Riverside Cemetery: Where History Lies. 
San Diego: CSN Books, 2006. 

Summers, Julie. Remembered: The History of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. 
London: Merrell Publishers Limited, 2007. 

Swan, Robert J. New Amsterdam Gehenna: Segregated Death in New York City, 1630-1801. 
Brooklyn, NY: Noir Verite Press, 2006. 

Switzer, Catherine. Unionists and Great War Commemoration in the North of Ireland, 1914- 
1918. Dublin: Irish Academic Press, 2007. 

Trinkley, Michael. Historic Research on Drafts Cemetery, Lexington County, South Carolina. 
Columbia, SC: Chicora Foundation, 2007. 

, and Hacker, Debi. A Small Sample of Burials at Randolph Cemetery: What Their 

Stories Tell Us About the Cemetery and African American Life in Columbia [SC]. Colum- 
bia, SC: Chicora Foundation, 2007. 


Vigil, Vicki Blum. Cemeteries of Northeast Ohio: Stones, Symbols & Stories. Cleveland: Gray & 
Co., 2007. 

Vincent, W.T. In Search of Gravestones: Old and Curious. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Publish- 
ing, LLC, 2006. 

Wagaman, Gena D. Fairmont's Cemeteries [WV]. Mount Pleasant, SC: Arcadia Publishing, 


West, Nancy Fogel. To Dwell with Fellow Clay: The Story of East Cleveland Township Cem- 
etery [OH]. Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2007. 

Whitington, Mitchel. Angels of Oakwood: Jefferson's Historic Cemetery [TX]. [S.I.]: 23 House 
Pub., 2006. 

Wiebenga, Terri. Passages: A Collection of Personal Histories of Chippiannock Cemetery [IL]. 
Battendorf, IA: Razor Edge Press, 2006. 

Williams, Howard. Death and Memory in Early Medieval Britain. Cambridge, UK: Cam- 
bridge University Press, 2006. 

Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of Over 10,000 Famous Persons. Jefferson, NC: 
Mcfarland & Co., 2007. 

Zino, Bart. A Distant Grief: Australians, War Graves and the Great War. Crawley, W.A., 
Australia: University of Western Australia Press, 2007. 

Articles in Scholarly Journals, Edited Collections, etc. 

Baird, Scott. "Anglicizing Ethnic Surnames." Names 54:2 (2006), pp. 173-192. 

Bakker, Hans T. "Monuments to the Dead in Ancient North India." Indo-Iranian journal 
50:1 (2007), pp. 11-47. 

Benton-Short, Lisa. "Politics, Public Space, and Memorials: The Brawl on the Mall." Urban 
Geography 27:4 (2006), pp. 297-330. 

Blum, Hester. "American Graves, Pacific Plots." In American Literary Geographies: Spatial 
Practice and Cultural Production, 1500-1900. Edited by Martin Bruckner and Hsuan L. 
Hsu. Wilmington, DE: University of Deleware Press, 2007, pp. 149-170. 

Bowdon, Shelly Hudson. "Here Lies. ...Cemeteries as Historical and Artistic Lessons for 
Primary-Age Children: A Teacher's K-W-L Plan." Childhood Education 83:2 (2006), 
pp. 87-92. 

Britton, Dee. "Arlington's Cairn: Constructing the Commemorative Foundation for United 
States Terrorist Victims." Journal of Political & Military Sociology 35:1 (2007), pp. 17- 


Browne, K. "Consuming the Dead: Waiting for Blessings in a Javanese Cemetery." Re- 
search in Consumer Behavior 11 (2007), pp. 151-164. 

Butler, Sara. "The Monument as Manifesto: The Pierre Charles L'Enfant Memorial, 1909- 
1911 [D.C.]." Journal of Planning History 6:4 (2007), pp. 283-310. 

Chadha, Ashish. "Ambivalent Heritage: Between Affect and Ideology in a Colonial Cem- 
etery [India]." Journal of Material Culture 11:2 (2006), pp. 339-363. 

Closterman, Wendy E. "Family Ideology and Family History: The Function of Funerary 
Markers in Classic Attic Peribolos Tombs." American Journal of Archaeology 111:4 
(2007), pp. 633-652. 

Collins-Kreiner, Noga. "Graves as Attractions: Pilgrimage-Tourism to Jewish Holy Graves 
in Israel." Journal of Cultural Geography 24:1 (2006), pp. 67-89. 

Conyers, Lawrence. B. "Ground-Penetrating Radar Technique to Discover and Map His- 
toric Graves." Historical Archaeology 40:3 (2006), pp. 64-73. 

Dafni, Amots. "Ritual Plants of Muslim Graveyards in Northern Israel." Journal of Ethnobiology 
and Ethnomcdicine 2 (2006), 38 pp. 

Doss, Erika. "Spontaneous Memorials and Contemporary Modes of Mourning in America." 
Material Religion 2:3 (2006), pp. 294-318. 

Dymshits, Valery. "The Jewish Cemetery." East European Jewish Affairs 37:3 (2007), pp. 

Edgette, J. Joseph. "Larger than Life: Titanic and her Name Heritage." Names 54:2 (2006), 
pp. 121-146. 

. "RMS Titanic: Memorialized in Popular Literature and Culture." Studies in the 

Literary Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. 119-142. 

Figal, Gerald. "Bones of Contention: The Geopolitics of 'Sacred Ground' in Postwar 
Okinawa." Diplomatic History 31:1 (2007), pp. 81-109. 

Franzmann, Majella. "Authority from Grief: Presence and Place in the Making of Roadside 
Memorials." Death Studies 30:6 (2006), pp. 579-599. 

Gammage, Bill. "Forum - War Commemoration - The Anzac Cemetery." Australian Histori- 
cal Studies 38:129 (2007), pp. 123-141. 

Garrattini, Chiara. "Creating Memories: Material Culture and Infantile Death in Contempo- 
rary Ireland." Mortality 12:2 (2007), pp. 193-206. 

Gillespie, Lydia Gayle Johnson. "The Grave Side of Bobbie Ann Mason." Studies in the 
Literary Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. 101-118. 

Godel, Margaret. "Images of Stillbirth: Memory, Mourning and Memorial." Visual Studies 
22:3 (2007), pp. 253-269. 


Goody, Jack. "Flowers and Bones: Approaches to the Dead in Anglo-American and Italian 
Cemeteries." In Modes of Comparison: Theory and Practice. Edited by Aram A. Yengoyan. 
Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2006, pp. 420-456. 

Grant, Susan-Mary "Landscapes of Memory." History Today 56:3 (2006), pp. 18-20. 

Grider, Nicholas. '"Faces of the Fallen' and the Dematerialization of US War Memorials." 
Visual Communication 6:3 (2007), pp. 265-279. 

Gutting, Sally Anne S. "Honoring Texas Heroes: The San Jacinto Monument and Its 
Cornerstone." Houston History 4:2 (2007), pp. 20-28. 

Harvey, Thomas. "Sacred Spaces, Common Places: The Cemetery in the Contemporary 
American City." Geographical Review 96:2 (2006), pp. 295-312. 

Hess, Aaron. "In Digital Remembrance: Vernacular Memory and the Rhetorical Construc- 
tion of Web Memorials." Media, Culture & Society 29:5 (2007), pp. 812-830. 

Hobbs, June Hadden. "Graveyards and the Literary Imagination." Studies in the Literary 
Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. i-xi. 

. "A Woman Clinging to the Cross: Toward a Rhetoric of Tombstones." Studies 

in the Literary Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. 55-74. 

Horvath, Gabot, et al. "Ecological Traps for Dragonflies in a Cemetery: The Attraction of 
Sympetrum Species (Odonata: Libellulidae) by Horizontally Polarizing Black Grave- 
stones." Freshwater Biology 52:9 (2007), pp. 1700-1709. 

Huang, Shu-Chun Lucy. "Intentions for the Recreational Use of Public Landscaped Cem- 
eteries in Taiwan." Landscape Research 32:2 (2007), pp. 207-223. 

Janney, Caroline E. '"The Right to Love and Mourn': The Origins of Virginia's Ladies 
Memorial Associations, 1865-1867." In Crucible of the Civil War: Virginia from Seces- 
sion to Commemoration. Edited by Edward L. Ayers, et al. Richmond, VA: University 
of Virginia Press, 2006, pp. 165-188. 

Jiminez, Albert M., and Cossman, Jeralyn S. "When People Died: An Examination of 
Seasonality of Mortality Using an Historic African American Population." Sociologi- 
cal Spectrum 26:2 (2006), pp. 149-181. 

Johnstone, Ian M. "Epitaphs in Australia." Australian Folklore: A Yearly Journal of Folklore 
Studies 21 (2006), pp. 193-198. 

Kidwell, Deborah C. "'Lest We Forget': Building the Vietnam Veterans Memorial at the 
University of Kansas." Kansas History 30:3 (2007), pp. 178-191. 

Knischewski, Gerd, and Spittler, Ulla. "Remembering the Berlin Wall: The Wall Memorial 
Ensemble, Bernauer Strasse." German Life and Letters 59:2 (2006), pp. 280-293. 

Kowalski, Philip J. "From Memory to Memorial: Representative Men in the Sculpture of 
Daniel Chester French." Journal of American Studies 41:1 (2007), 49-66. 


Labno, Jeannie. "Child Monuments in Renaissance Poland." Sixteenth Century Journal: 
Journal of Early Modern Studies 37:2 (2006), pp. 351-374. 

Mallios, Seth, and Caterino, David. "Transformations in San Diego County Gravestones and 
Cemeteries." Historical Archaeology 41:4 (2007), pp. 50-72. 

Matthews, Samantha. "The London Necropolis: Suburban Cemeteries and the Necropolitan 
Imaginary." In A Mighty Mass of Brick and Stone: Victorian and Edwardian Representa- 
tions of London. Edited by Lawrence Phillips. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2007, pp. 257-281. 

McCrea, Heather L. "On Sacred Ground: The Church and Burial Rites in Nineteenth- 
Century Yucataan, Mexico." Mexican Studies I Estudios Mexicanos 23:1 (2007), pp. 33- 

Meyer, Richard E. '"Death possesses a good deal of real estate': References to Gravestones 
and Burial Grounds in Nathaniel Hawthorne's American Notebooks and Selected Fic- 
tional Works." Studies in the Literary Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. 1-28. 

Michaels, Ellis, et al. "Early Westmoreland County Tombstone Carvers [PA]." Westmoreland 
History 12:1 (2007), pp. 24-31. 

Miller, DeMond Shondell, and Rivera, Jason David. "Hallowed Ground, Place, and Cul- 
ture: The Cemetery and the Creation of Place." Space and Culture 9:4 (2006), pp. 334- 

Musambira, George W., et al. "Bereavement, Gender, and Cyberspace: A Content Analy- 
sis of Parents' Memorials to their Children." Omega 54:4 (2007), pp. 263-281. 

Mytum, Harold. "Beyond Famous Men and Women: Interpreting Historic Burial Grounds 
and Cemeteries," In Past Meets Present. Edited by John H, Jameson, Jr., and Sherene 
Baugher. New York: Springer, 2007, pp. 411-426. 

Newstock, Scott L. "Elegies Ending 'Here': The Poetics of Epitaphic Closure." Studies in 
the Literary Imagination 39:1 (2006), pp. 75-100. 

Olsen, Susan. "Nicknames and Remembrance: Memorials to Woodlawn's Jazz Greats." 
Names 54:2 (2006), pp. 103-120. 

O'Rourke, Diane. "Bodies in Public and Private - Mourning Becomes Eclectic: Death of 
Communal Practice in a Greek Community." American Ethnologist 34:2 (2007), pp. 

Owsley, Douglas W., et al. "Search for the Grave of William Preston Longley, Hanged 
Texas Gunfighter." Historical Archaeology 40:3 (2006), pp. 50-64. 

Paoletti, John T. "Medici Funerary Monuments in the Duomo of Florence during the 
Fourteenth Century." Renaissance Quarterly 59:4 (2006), pp. 1117-1164. 

Paraskevas, Cornelia. "The Geography of the Cemetery: A Sociolinguistic Approach." 
Studies in the Literary Imagination 39:1 (1006), pp. 143-168. 


_. "Problems in Greek-to-English Transliteration." Names 54:2 (2006), pp. 193- 


Payling, C. "The Non-Catholic Cemetery in Rome: A History." Keats-Shelley Review 20 
(2006), pp. 52-57. 

Peeters, Marc C. "The Representation ot Couples on Funerary Reliefs of the Roman World 
and in the Xxth Century." Dualogues d'histoire ancienne 32:2 (2006), pp. 95-125. 

Perret, Daniel. "Some Reflections on Ancient Islamic Tombstones Known as Batu Acceh 
in the Malay World." Indonesia and the Malay World 35:103 (2007), pp. 313-340. 

Poppi, Cesare. "Flowers and Bones: Posthumous Reflections." In Modes of Comparison: 
Theory and Practice. Edited by Aram A. Yengoyan. Ann Arbor, MI: University of 
Michigan Press, 2006, pp. 457-475. 

Powell, B.D. "The Memorials on Beechey Island, Nunavut, Canada: An Historical and 
Pictorial Survey." Polar Record 42:4 '(2006), pp. 325-333. 

Rice, Thomas. "Samuel Smith and the First Minnesota Monument at Gettysburg." Minne- 
sota History 60:1 (2006), pp. 18-25. 

Romero, Eugenia R. "Amusement Parks, Bagpipes, and Cemeteries: Fantastic Spaces of 
Gallician Identity Through Emigration." Journal of Spanish Cultural Studies 7:2 (2006), 
pp. 155-169. 

Roper, Stephanie Abbot, el al. "Cemeteries of the Texas Panhandle." Pioneer America Society 
Transactions 29 (2006), pp. 24-41. 

Rowlands, Michael. "Monuments and Memorials." In Handbook of Material Culture. Edited 
bv Christopher Tilley et al. London: Sage, 2006, pp. 500-515. 

Sauers, Richard A. "Wall Street's Gilded Age: Nicknames of Her Capitalists and Robber 
Barons." Names 54:2 (2006), pp. 147-172. 

Scheff, T. J. "Politics of Hidden Emotions: Responses to a War Memorial." Peace and 
Conflict 13:2 (2007), pp. 237-246. 

Schrey, Mick. "'Infant's Graves are Steps of Angels': Childhood Mortality as a Recurrent 
Theme in Clare's Poetry." John Clare Society Journal 26 (2007), pp. 35-59. 

Shepard, Mary B. "A Tomb for Abelard and Heloise. [Paris]" Romance Studies 25:1 (2007), 
pp. 29-42. 

Stangl, Paul. "Revolutionaries' Cemeteries in Berlin: Memory, History, Place and Space." 
Urban History 34:3 (2007), pp. 407-426. 

Stephens, John. "Memory, Commemoration and the Meaning of a Suburban War Memo- 
rial." Journal of Material Culture 12:3 (2007), pp. 241-261. 


Stevens, William D., and Leader, Jonathan M. "Skeletal Remains from the Confederate 
Naval Sailor and Marines' Cemeteries, Charleston, SC." Historical Archaeology 40:3 
(2006), pp. 74-88. 

Stewart, David J. "Gravestones and Monuments in the Maritime Cultural Landscape: Re- 
search Potential and Preliminary Interpretations." The International Journal of Nautical 
Archaeology 36:1 (2007), pp. 112-124. 

Taavi, Pae. "The Formation and Location Features of Estonian Cemeteries." journal of 
Baltic Studies 37:3 (2006), pp. 277-297. 

Tanaka, Kimiko. "Graves and Families in Japan: Continuity and Change." The History of the 
Family: An International Quarterly 12:3 (2007), pp. 178-189. 

Trigg, Jonathan. "Memory and Memorial: A Study of Official and Military Commemora- 
tion of the Dead, and Family and Community Memory in Essex and East London." 
Journal of Conflict Archaeology 31:1 (2007), pp. 295-315. 

Trout, Steven. "Forgotten Reminders: Kansas World War I Memorials." Kansas History 
29:3 (2006), pp. 200-217. 

Wimmer, Adi. "'Objectifying the War': The Vietnam Veterans Memorial as a Secular 
Message Board." ELOPE: English Language Overseas Perspectives and Enquiries 3:1-2 
(2006), pp. 221-230. 

Wright Elizabethada A. "Keeping Memory: The Cemetery and Rhetorical Memory in 
Constance Fenimore Wolson's 'Rodman the Keeper'." Studies in the Literary Imagina- 
tion 39:1 (2006), pp. 29-54. 

Young, James E. "From the Texture of Memory: Holocaust Memorials and Meaning." In 
Theories of Memory: A Reader. Edited by Michael Rossington and Anne Whitehead. 
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007, pp. 177-184. 

. "Memorials and Meaning." Sculpture Review 55:4 (2006), pp. 8-15. 

Zelinsky, Wilbur. "The Gravestone Index: Tracking Personal Religiosity Across Nations, 
Regions, and Periods." The Geographical Review 97:4 (2007), pp. 441-466. 

Zucchi, Alberta. "Churches as Catholic Burial Places: Excavations at the San Francisco 
Church, Venezuela." Historical Archaeology 40:2 (2006), pp. 57-69. 

Dissertations and Theses 

Amsellem, Patrick. "Remembering the Past, Constructing the Future: The Memorial to the 
Deportation in Paris and Experimental Commemoration After the Second World 
War." Ph.D dissertation, New York University, Institute of Fine Arts, 2007. 

Bale, Colin. "A Crowd of Witnesses: Australian War Graves Inscriptions on the Western 
Front of the Great War." Ph.D dissertation, University of Sydney [Australia], 2006. 


Bastis, Kristen. "Health, Wealth, and Available Material: The Bioarchaeology of the Bulkeley 
Tomb in Colchester, Connecticut." M.A. thesis, University of Connecticut, 2007. 

Bazzarone, Ann Korologos. "Death and Diaspora: Greek American Acculturation in Salt 
Lake City, Utah and Baltimore, Maryland." Ph.D dissertation, George Mason Univer- 
sity, 2007. 

Bean, Kathleen K. "Beyond Green: Restoration, Ritual and Remembrance in the Cemeter- 
ies of the Future." M.Landsc.Arch. thesis, University of Washington, 2006. 

Birck, Adam R. "A Universally Sacred Place for the Living to Reflect on the Dead: Beech 
Grove Cemeterv [OH]." M.Arch. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2006. 

Borbonus, D. "Textual and Visual Commemoration in Columbarium Tombs of Early Impe- 
rial Rome." Ph.D dissertation, University of Pennsylvania, 2006. 

Boyd, Jessamyn Daniel. "Lasting Resonance: The National Vietnam Veterans Memorial's 
Influence on Two Northern Florida Veterans Memorials." M.A. thesis, Florida State 
University, 2007. 

Bruner, David E. "Symbols for the Living: Synthesis, Invention, and Resistance in 19 lh to 
20 th Century Mortuary Practices from Montgomery and Harris Counties, Texas." 
Ph.D dissertation, State University of New York at Binghampton, 2007. 

Budreau, Lisa M. "Repatriation, Remembrance and Return: The Politics of Commemora- 
tion in Post-War America, 1919-1933." D.Phil, thesis, University of Oxford [UK], 

Casperson, Cassandra L. "Death and Burial in Ancient Alexandria: The Necropolis of 
Moustapha Pasha [Egypt]." M.A. thesis, University of Missouti-Columbia, 2007. 

Clements, Jacquelyn H. "The Image of the Charioteer in Funerary Art and Plato's Phaedrus." 
M.A. thesis, Florida State University, 2007. 

Coulston, Stephen Michael. "Memorials and their Significance: A Memorial to the men of 
Naval Special Warfare." M.Arch. thesis, University of Washington, 2006. 

Cox, Christopher J. "The Wentworth Cemetery and Its Context Within the Moorehead 
Burial Tradition [Oakland, ME]." B.S. thesis, University of Maine, 2006. 

Cunningham, Pamela Marie. "The Meeting Place at the Bend in the River: An Examination 
of the Fort Edmonton Cemetery / Aboriginal Burial Ground, Edmonton, Alberta." 
M.A. thesis, University of Alberta [Canada], 2006. 

Devlin, Zoe Louise. "Remembering the Dead in Anglo-Saxon England: Memory Theory 
in Archaeology and History." Ph.D dissertation, University of York [UK], 2006. 

Ehinger, Autumn R. "Gravestones as Artifacts of the Upper Cape Fear: Identity, Economy, 
and Mortality in North Carolina's Cumberland and Harnett Counties, 1770-1900." 
Honors thesis, Department of Anthropology, University of North Carolina at Chapel 
Hill, 2006. 


Feld, Erin Christine. "The Rhetoric of Memory and the Vietnam Veterans Memorial." 
M.A. thesis, San Diego State University, 2007. 

Fink, Nissa. "Gateway to Heaven?: An Examination of Muslim Burials in Southwest Ohio." 
M.A. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2006. 

Finnegan, Erin R. "Buried Beyond Buitengtacht: Interrogating Cultural Variability in the 
Historic 'Informal' Burial Ground of Prestwich Street, Cape Town [S. Africa]." M.Phil, 
thesis, University of Cape Town, 2006. 

Francis, Denise Nicole. "Architecture-Art-Memory: A Contemporary Memorial for Afri- 
can Genocide." M.S. thesis, Florida A&M University, 2007. 

Guy, Richard John. "Uses for a Monumental Tomb: The Motives for Restoration and 
Interpretation at the Sultan Sanjar Mausoleum [Turkmenistan]." M.A. thesis, Cornell 
University, 2006. 

Hannah, Catherine "American Memorial Quilts and the Material Culture of Mourning." 
M.A. thesis, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, 2007. 

Hill, Roger H. "Memorializing Community Grief: Bedford, Virginia and the National D- 
Day Memorial." D.A. thesis, George Mason University, 2006. 

Hobratschk, Johanna M. "Myth and Mourning in Southern Italy: An Iconographical Study 
of Apulian Funerary Art." A.M. thesis, Washington University, 2007. 

Horn, Heath M. "Provoking Remembrance and Contemplation: A Non-Sectarian Cem- 
etery Design." M.Arch. thesis, University of Cincinnati, 2007. 

Horn, Zachary Alan. "Cemeteries and the Control of Bodies." M.A. thesis, University of 
Waterloo [Canada], 2006. 

Jackson, Jeanette M. "Grave Matters: A History of Canyon Hill Cemetery, Caldwell, 
Idaho." M.A. thesis, Boise State University, 2007. 

Jerome, Lorrie Whittemore. "Grave Goods of Early Historic Chickasaw Burials." M.A. 
thesis, University of Mississippi, 2006. 

Katz, Sarah Rachel. "Redesigning Civic Memory: The African Burial Ground in Lower 
Manhattan." M.S. thesis, University of Pennsylvania, 2006. 

Kee, Tara White. "No Place for the Dead: The Struggle for Burial Reform in Mid-Nine- 
teenth Century London." Ph.D dissertation, University of Delaware, 2006. 

Kidwell, Deborah Colene. "Remembering and Forgetting War: Vietnam Memorials and 
Public Memory." Ph.D dissertation, University of Kansas, 2006. 

Kubly, McKenzie Clo. "Elmwood Cemetery: A Southern American Institution [Columbia, 
SC]." M.A. thesis, University of South Carolina, 2007. 


Lando, Russell G. "How to Build a Police Memorial." M.P.A. thesis, University of Penn- 
sylvania, Kutztown, 2006. 

Lo Wing-fai. "From Death to Lite: Eco-Cemetery at Drinker's Bay [Hong Kong]." M.L.A. 
thesis, University of Hong Kong, 2007. 

Macdonald, Catherine C. '"The Dust They Left Behind': Community and the Persistence of 
Mortuary and Funerary Practices in the Connecticut River Valley, 1650-1850." B.A. 
honors thesis, Amherst College, 2007. 

McClain, Aleksandra N. "Patronage, Power and Identity: The Social Use of Local Churches 
and Commemorative Monuments in Tenth to Twelfth-Century North Yorkshire." 
Ph.D dissertation, University of York [UK], 2006. 

McPherson, Susan. "Grave Matters: An Archaeological Investigation of Social 
Marginalization in Historical Nevada." M.A. thesis, California State University, Chico, 

McRae, Erik Renner. "Reassesing the Tomb of Caecilia Metella [Rome]." M.A. thesis, 
University of Texas at Austin, 2007. 

O'Flaherty, Rosemary. "Carving the Past in Stone: Le Monument aux Patriotes [Montreal]." 
M.A. thesis, Concordia University, 2006. 

Potter, Amanda. "Sculpting Memory: Loss and Legacy in the Tombs of Drouais and 
Gericault." M.A. thesis, Williams College, 2006. 

Pye, Jeremy W. "A Look Through the Viewing Glass: Social Status and Grave Analysis in 
a 19 lh Century Kansas Cemetery." M.A. thesis, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, 


Ross, Tina. "Winged Representations of the Soul in Ancient Greek Art from the Late 
Bronze Age Through the Classical Period." M.A. thesis, University of Victoria 
[Canada], 2006. 

Roth, Jennifer Orosco. "Ethnicity and Cultural Differences in San Marcos: Factors Behind 
Segregation in Two Local Cemeteries." M.A. thesis, Texas State University - San 
Marcos, 2007. 

Rowe, Mark Michael. "Death by Association: Temples, Burial and the Transformation of 
Contemporary Japanese Buddhism." Ph.D dissertation, Princeton University, 2006. 

Schmidt, Ryan William. "The Forgotten Chinese Cemetery of Carlin, Nevada: A 
Bioanthropological Assessment." M.A. thesis, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, 

Scott, Rachel E. "Social Identity in Early Medieval Ireland: A Bioarchaeology of the Early 
Christian Cemetery on Omey Island, Co, Galway." Ph.D dissertation, University of 
Pennsylvania, 2006. 


Sin, Rachel. "Defining Canadian Identity in the National Cemetery of Canada [Ottawa]." 
M.Arch. thesis, Carleton University [Canada], 2006. 

Smith, Leanna Deveres. "'Fame's Eternal Camping Ground': Louisiana and Virginia Civil 
War Cemeteries." M.A. thesis, Louisiana State University, 2007. 

So, Shui-shan Isaac. "Deng Gao: A New Landscape Approach to Cemeteries." M.L.A. 
thesis, University of Hong Kong, 2007. 

Swart, Carlu Johannes. "Urban Cemetery." M.Arch. thesis, University of Pretoria [S. 
Africa], 2006. 

Thompson, Donald Eugene. "Public Expression of Community Grief: Spontaneous Shrines 
and the Process of Memorialization." M.A. thesis, University of Oregon, 2006. 

Tupman, Charlotte Mary Lyon. "Death and Commemoration in Roman Iberia: A Contextual 
Study of the Barrel-Shaped and Semi-Cylindrical Tomb Monuments." Ph.D disserta- 
tion, University of Southhampton [UK], 2006. 

Van Rosevelt, Margo Leigh. "The House of Peace Cemetery of Columbia, South Caro- 
lina: An Historical and Material Culture Survey." M.A. thesis, University of South 
Carolina, 2007. 

Warren, James Garrett. "A Place of Remembrance: Masusoleum and Funerary Chapel at 
Lakewood Cemetery, Minneapolis, Minnesota." M.Arch. thesis, University of Min- 
nesota, 2006. 

Whitaker, James L. "'Hark from the Tomb': The Culture, History, and Archaeology of 
African-American Cemeteries." M.A. thesis, Boise State University, 2007. 

Wolf, Eric B. "Low-Cost Large-Scale Aerial Photography and the Upland South Folk 
Cemetery." M.S. thesis, Northwest Missouri State University, 2006. 

Wright, Jessica Lauren. "Constructed Sites and Collective Memory: A Proposal for Lower 
Manhattan's African Burial Ground." M.Arch. thesis, University of Tennessee, Knox- 
ville, 2006. 



Ernest L. Abel is Professor in the Departments of Obstetrics/Gynecology 
and Psychology at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. He and 
his wife Barbara have been photographing cemetery monuments in Italy 
for many years and are trying to find time to put them into book form. 
Michael L. Kruger is a statistician in the Department of Obstetrics and 
Gynecology at Wayne State and has collaborated on many project with 
Ernest Abel. Jason R. Abel is an attorney with the firm of Honigman, Miller, 
Schwartz and Cohn in Detroit, Michigan, and has an emerging interest in 
cemeteries. For many years he has also specialized in correcting his father's 
grammar and spelling. Any such errors in the present work are owing to 
his father's ignoring his suggestions. 

Laurel K. Gabel, Independent Scholar and former Coordinator of the Re- 
search Clearinghouse of the Association for Gravestone Studies, has pub- 
lished numerous articles on various aspects of early American gravestones 
and their carvers, many of them appearing in previous editions of Markers 
(III, V, XI, XVI, and XIX). With Theodore Chase she co-authored the two- 
volume Gravestone Chronicles: Some Eighteenth-Century New England Carvers 
and their Work (1997). In 1998 she was recipient of the AGS's Harriette M. 
Forbes Award for excellence in gravestone studies, and she currently serves 
on that organization's Board of Trustees. 

William Lowenthal lives surrounded by the classic graveyards of New 
Hampshire and Massachusetts. He received a B.A. in Anthropology from 
the University of California, Santa Barbara, and pursued a Ph.D in the 
same discipline at Brandeis University. The move East gave him his first 
actual exposure to the source subjects for James Deetz's famous seriation 
analyses which he had studied as an undergraduate in California, becom- 
ing the inspiration for his subsequent longtime fascination with grave- 
stones. His essay on the workshop of New Hampshire carver Moses Davis 
may be found in Markers XXIII. He is a consultant for Oracle Corporation's 
Utilities Global Business Unit. 

Richard E. Meyer, Professor Emeritus of English and Folklore at Western 
Oregon University, was editor of Markers for eleven years (X-XX), and has 
also edited the books Cemeteries and Gravemarkers: Voices of American Culture 
(1989, reprinted 1992) and Ethnicity and the American Cemetery (1993). With 


art historian Peggy McDowell he co-authored the book The Revival Stifles in 
American Memorial Art (1994). He has served as a member of the editorial 
board of The Journal of American Culture, is former president of the Oregon 
Folklore Society and vice president of the Oregon Historic Cemeteries As- 
sociation, and from 1986-1996 chaired the Cemeteries and Gravemarkers 
Section of the American Culture Association, which he founded in 1986. 
He has published articles on Oregon Pioneer gravemarkers, San Francisco's 
Presidio Pet Cemetery (with David M. Gradwohl), World War I Western 
Front cemeteries, logger's gravemarkers in the Pacific Northwest, humor 
in the graveyard, and Nathaniel Hawthorne's use of markers and burial 
grounds in his fictional works. In 1998 he was a recipient of the Harriette 
M. Forbes Award for excellence in gravestone studies, and he continues to 
serve on the Board of Trustees of the Association for Gravestone Studies. 
Besides his contribution to material necrology, he has published a wide 
variety of scholarly materials in both folklore and literary studies, and 
enjoys performing (blues, traditional folk, and bluegrass) both as a solo 
artist and with others. 

George Thomson is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of 
Cumbria, England, following several years in which he served as a lec- 
turer in lettering and typography at Glasgow School of Art. He currently 
devotes his time to research, writing, creative work, and lecturing on his- 
torical and contemporary aspects of lettering and other language media. 
His research in inscriptional palaeography and other aspects of funerary 
artifacts has led to his recent work on tombstone and other memorial 
lettering. In addition to several books and a CD-ROM, he has published 
extensively on lettering and palaeography in international journals. He 
was born in Perthshire and lives in a small village in south-west Scotland. 



Abell, Alfred 100 
Abell, Hannah 100, 118 
Adams, Samuel 25 
Adkins-Woodson Cemetery, Coles 

County, IL 66-93 
Ancient and Honorable Artillery, 

Boston, MA 14 
Andros, Edmund 14, 34 
Antrim, NH 113-114 
Asher, Michael 38 

Baity John 22 

Barney, Charles 98, 118 

Barney, John 98 

Barney, Sarah 98 

Barney, William 98, 118 

Belcher, Jonathan 13 

Belcher, Mary 13 

Beth El Cemetery, Detroit, MI 66-93 

Beth El Memorial Park, Detroit, MI 88 

Bing, Samuel 70 

Bingham, Harris 103-104, 108, 114-115, 

Bingham, Phebe 103-104, 108, 114-115, 

Boston [Sewall family servant] 24, 41 
Boston, MA 8-43 
Brown, Simon 118 

Callender, Ellis 36 

Cat Hill Cemetery, McCreary County, 

KY 46 
Chapman, Caroline 94-96, 103, 118 
Checkley family tomb, Granary Burying 

Ground, Boston, MA 25 
Clap, Samuel 27 
Clark, Samuel 21 
Clarke, Timothy 31 
Closeburn Graveyard, Dumfriesshire, 

Scotland 53-54 
Collison, Gary vi-7 
Cooke, Elisa 22 
Coston Cemetery, Onslow County, NC 

Cram, Lydia 116, 119 

Danville, NH 108-109, 113 
Dearborn, James 109 

Dearborn, Miriam 109, 120 
Deering, NH 97, 114 
Dorchester, MA 27 
Draper, Abigail 101 
Draper, J. 101 
Draper, Olive B. 101, 119 

East Deering, NH 97 

East, Francis (?) 12-13 

East Washington, NH 101 

Eliot, Andrew 14 

Eliot, Jacob 11, 29-30 

Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, MI 66, 71 

Emerson, Ralph Waldo 1 

Emmes, Nathaniel 28 

Eyre, John 29-30 

Farber, Jessie Lie iv-v 

Fink, Norma J. 85 

Fisher, Ezra, Jr. 97, 114, 116, 118 

Fisher, Ezra, Sr. 97, 114, 116, 118 

Fisher, Mary 97, 114, 116, 118 

Fisher, William 97, 114, 116, 118 

Fitch, Jabez 40 

Foster, James 28 

Frame, Richard 15 

Francis, Convers 1 

Frazon, Joseph 17 

Freeborn, Albert 111 

French, D. 95, 108-110 

French, Daniel Chester 110, 116 

Gerrish, Mary (Sewall) 22 

Gibs, Billy 31 

Gilchrist, James 28 

Goshen, NH 100 

Greenleaf, Charles H. 94-108 

Greenleaf, Daniel 107 

Greenleaf, Elizabeth (Gale) 107 

Greenleaf, Elizabeth (Piatt) 106-108, 118 

Greenough, William 26-27 

Groton, CT 45-46 

Hamilton, Thomas 14 
Hardy, Pike County, KY 46 
Haverhill, MA 108-111 
Henniker, NH 114 
Hillsborough, NH 94-108 


Hirst, Elizabeth (Sewall) 22-23 

Hirst, Grove 21 

Holyoke, Elizar 17-18 

Hook, James 110, 120 

Hook, Permelia 110, 120 

Hull, John 9, 38-39 

Hull, Robert 18 

Hull/Sewall tomb, Granary Burying 

Ground, Boston, MA 19-22, 25, 38-39 
Hutchinsin, Edw. 22 

"J.N." [carver] 29, 42-43 
Jones, Samuel 95 
Joseph, Esther 75 
Joseph, Joseph 75 
Judaism (Conservative) 68 
Judaism (Orthodox) 68 
Judaism (Reform) 66-93 

Kahn, Abraham 62 
Kahn, Regina 62 

Lake, Thomas 15, 37 
Lamson shop, Charlestown, MA 11 
Lamson, William 42 
Landau, Sadie 71 

Lempster, NH 103, 107-108, 114-115 
Lennel Old Churchyard, Lennel, 
Berwickshire, Scotland 55-57 
Liberty, NC 47 
Lynde, Samuel 26 

Marshal, John 28 

Marx, Albert 82, 84 

Marx, Fannie 82, 84 

Mather, Cotton 10-11, 16, 21, 23, 34 

Mather, Increase 11 

Mather, Nathaniel 10-11, 34 

Maxwell, William 29-30 

Miller, Paul 30 

Minkins, Shadrack 2 

Moody, Mehetabel (Sewall) 28 

Montgomery, AL 110 

Mumford, William 16, 21, 27-29, 31, 42 

Myerson, Joel 4 

Newbury, MA 9, 20 

New Ipswich, NH 53 

Newman, Frank P. 101 

Newman, James 94-108 

Newman, Joseph 103 

Newman, Pamelia (Bingham) 103 
Newport, NH 119 
Newport, RI 17 
Nicholson, Francis 14, 37 
"Norwich Ovoid Carver" 45-46 
Norwichtown, CT 45-46 
Nowell, Mary 25 

"Old Stone Cutter" [carver] 42 
Ovid, Metaniorplwses 21 

Parker, Theodore 1 
Parker, Thomas 9 
Phillips, Henry 14 
Phips, William 29 
Piatt, John 107-108 
Plymouth, MA 12-13 
Prince, Thomas 13 
Prout, Elizabeth 29 

Rainsford, Solomon 21 
Rauscher, Barry 4-5 
Richards, John 15 
Rochester, NY 110-111 
Rodney, Joel M. 4 
Rosenbloom, Ida 82-83 
Rosenbloom, Isaac 82-83 
Rotundo, Barbara 1, 108-113 

Salem, MA 10-11 

Salem Witch Trials 29 

Saughtree, Roxburgshire, Scotland 48, 62 

Schey, NC 53 

Schloss, Babett 81-82 

Schloss, Emanuel 81 

Sewall, Hannah (Hull) 9, 23 

Sewall, Hannah [daughter of Samuel and 

Hannah] 23-24 
Sewall, Henry [father of Samuel] 33 
Sewall, Henry [son of Samuel and 

Hannah] 18-19 
Sewall, Hull 20-21 
Sewall, Jane (Dummer) [mother of 

Samuel] 33 
Sewall, Jane [daughter of Samuel and 

Hannah] 21 
Sewall, Judith 21-22 
Sewall, John [brother of Samuel] 27-28 
Sewall, John [son of Samuel and Hannah] 



Sewall, John [grandson of Samuel] 24 

Sewall, Joseph 23 

Sewall, Samuel 8-43 

Sewall, Samuel [son of Samuel and 

Hannah] 21-22 
Sewall, Sarah 21-22 
Sewall, Stephen 21 
Shapiro, Rae 72 
Shrimpton, Samuel 14-15 
Soames, John 16 
Solomon, Isaac 38 
Stanclift, James 23 
Starkey, Eleanor 113-114, 119 
St. Kentigern's Old Churchyard, Lanark, 

Lanarkshire, Scotland 56-57 
Stoughton, Dudley 14 

Temple Beth El, Detroit, MI 67-68 
Thomas, M. Halsey 8-43 
Toppan, Hannah (Sewall) 28 

Walley, Thomas 12-13 

Walker, Isaac 11 

Walston Old Churchyard, Walston, 

Lanarkshire, Scotland 57-58 
Warde, Jesse 116, 118 
Warde, Phebe Matilda 114, 118 
Warde, Sally 116, 118 
Warde, Sarah 116, 118 
Warde, William 116. 118 
Washington Center Cemetery 

Washington, NH 94-96, 98, 106 
Welch, Thomas 42 
"white bronze" markers 108 
Willard, Edward 25 
Willard, Josia 22 
Willard, Richard 30-31 
Willard, Samuel 11-12, 30-31 
Wiswall, John 27 
Woodmere Cemetery, Detroit, MI 74, 8! 

Obituary: Gary L. Collison (1947-2007) 

Richard E. Meyer 

Death, Burial, and Memorialization in Colonial New England: 
The Diary of Samuel Sewall 

Laurel K. Gabel 

Scottish Discoid Gravemarkers: 

The Origins and Classification of a Rare Type of Mortuary 


George Thomson 

Beth El: Michigan's Oldest Jewish Cemetery 

Ernest L. Abel, Michael L. Kruger, and Jason R. Abel 

"Gothic" Cast-iron Gravemarkers of New Hampshire (and 

William Lo wenthal 

The Year's Work in Cemetery and Gravemarker Studies: 
An International Bibliography 

Richard E. Meyer