Archive for September 13th, 2011

Boland Gilmartin

I can’t claim certain knowledge of the story of this particular stone, but based on what I see here and what I know of the family history and genealogy movement in this country, I’m going to make some speculation. This looks like the kind of stone that a descendant puts up to honor their family members whose headstones have been lost to time or were too poor to ever have tombstones in the first place. It’s a way of honoring the past. I think it is also an assertion that ordinary people matter – these people may not have discovered the cure for cancer or invented the next big trend, but their lives were still important enough to be honored by those who came after them. I like it, and it’s a pretty important trend to the cemetery preservation movement as a hold. It’s not universally true, but a lot of people I have met who are deeply involved in cemetery preservation got their start because they discovered a cemetery where their ancestors were buried in disrepair and neglect. Sometimes, that narrowly personal interest expands into a general passion to restore and maintain cemeteries in general, and from that springs clean-up projects, fundraising, and cemetery foundations.

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Booth Annie

I’m not sure why, but this stone fascinates me. When I first spotted it, I expected it to be a very old stone. When I realized the condition was too good to be one of the oldest stones in Calvary, I jumped to the conclusion that it was a very recent stone that mimicked the old New England style of stones, but it’s really neither. The death year on the stone is 1924, and the level of weathering appears consistent with the stone being installed relatively soon after burial. But something about it just doesn’t look like a standard 1920s stone to me.  I think it’s the tall profile with the rounded top and intricate decoration following the curve.  Maybe I just haven’t had enough exposure yet to tombstone styles.  After all, I’ve visited only a tiny fraction of the cemeteries in northeast Ohio, barely a drop in the bucket of those in the country.

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