Archive for August, 2011

Jennings James (2)

Jennings James (4)

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What does the blank space on this monument signify? At the time the memorial was commissioned, someone intended to sleep eternally next to Catherine Blazek. Was someone interred there but the monument never engraved? Is the person the plot was intended for still alive?  Or did he or she die elsewhere after moving into another stage of life that changed their burial plans?

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It’s time for me to share with you some of the great posts made by other cemetery bloggers.

The first should be of special interest to some of my SCA friends, as it features a pelican in its piety on a British monument. Escape to the Silent Cities found the same symbol on a gravestone done in mosaic.

Blog Sleeping Gardens also brings us the carved image of a baby in swaddling bands.

I’ve been waiting for the right post to use the Graveyard Detective’s find of a sculpture of a phoenix rising.

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These are the only three individual tombstones in the Sandusky Cholera Cemetery. Considering that the cholera epidemic victims were buried a mass grave according to every source I’ve looked at, it’s doubtful that the placement of the stones is very exact.

Fanson John

Ransom Joseph

Ransom Robert

Most sites that refer to these three victims of the cholera epidemic (or more accurately, the stones for these three men) refer to them as the Ransoms, but I would like to do some more digging.  The surname on two of the stones appears to be Ransom, but the last one (first on in my post), looks more to me like Fanson.  Even if the first letter of the last name is an “R,” the last letter appears to be an “n” rather than an “m.”  I also noticed that Robert and Joseph served with the Connecticut troops but John served with Vermont militia.  So what is it – a carving mistake?  unclear records? Was the third man a relative whose name spelling and pronunciation varied slightly?  Is it just a coincidence that would blend in a larger cemetery but is obvious in one where only a handful are honored with individual markers?

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This is one of those angels that was not clearly in a specific family plot, but I’m sure it was meant to be, since the name on the front of the monument only reads “Bernadette 1899-1913.” I’m not sure why, but monuments with only first names on them strike me simultaneously as sweet and sad. Usage of only a first name conveys a level of intimacy, but after 100 years, the surname’s omission can be its erasure, making it that much harder for someone to confirm who Bernadette was. (Yes, many cemeteries have well-maintained burial records, but they can be damaged or incomplete, like those lost in East Cleveland Township Cemetery’s office fire.)

Bernadette (2)

Bernadette (3)


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One of the things that thrilled me most when I started walking through Calvary Cemetery was the number of Celtic crosses.


Quin O'Brien (2)


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Sandusky Cholera Cemetery (2)

Historical marker

Historical marker (2)

We stopped briefly this weekend in Sandusky, Ohio, to see the Cholera Cemetery. In 1849, the lake port city of Sandusky was struck by a cholera epidemic. Those who were able fled the city, but, of those who remained, about 400 died before the outbreak ran its course. The victims were buried on a small plot of land a few blocks from the lakeshore, which has been preserved today. The area could be mistaken for a park, if it wasn’t for the metal gate that declares “Cholera Cemetery.” Inside, there is a historical marker explaining with a short paragraph on the cholera epidemic on one side and a tribute to the doctors who risked their lives to try to save others. There are only four monuments – a central tower, green with age, honors the early pioneers of Sandusky who fell to the disease. Three Revolutionary War veterans perished in the epidemic, and they each get their own government issue tombstone. A flagpole, a birdhouse, a few streetlights, and large trees and bushes contribute to the park-like atmosphere.


Central monument (2)

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Tennes (16)

Almighty God, I am grateful for thy religious surroundings during my long illness.  Guide me to my loved ones in heaven…

Tennes (17)

Mighty God, be merciful to me.  Illu[minate] the paths of my wife and children so that they may be of benefits to others and find their reward in your eternal…

Tennes (18)

Almighty God, I am grateful for your guidance throughout my life even unto my last moments.


My apologies for any errors in transcription on this weeklong odyssey into the epitaphs of the Tennes family.

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Tennes (19)

Mighty God, be mindful of me to [whom] death came when least expected…Help those dear to me to [carry?] the cross and hear their pray[ers] on my behalf.


Mighty God, your infinte goodness brought me the comfort of your ? in death, for this I am eternally grateful.  May I beg further that you ? my dear ones always.

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Tennes (12)

Mighty God, hear the prayers [of my] children and their descendants, ins[truct?] them to aid others, forgive their [sins?], strengthen them against temptation, [gui]de them always.

Tennes (13)

Eternal rest, give to her, O Lord, who spent her life in good works and prayer.

Tennes (15)

Mighty God, be merciful to me, be merciful also to my dear wife and children…

After several days of these posts, I have noticed something interesting about these epitaphs.  The men’s epitaphs are phrased as if the dead themselves are praying to God, but most of the women’s epitaphs sound as if someone else is speaking on their behalf, praying to God for their sake of the women’s souls. There are deviations from this pattern in the sense of women’s epitaphs from an “I” perspective, but none of the men’s are from someone else’s point of view.

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