Archive for October, 2011

Cudell Monument

This post started because I was trying to source the epitaph on the monument: “Our goal must be to attain perfection through spiritual beauty.” I wasn’t successful, but in the process, I discovered that F.E. Cudell was a prominent enough figure to have his own entry in Case Western Reserve University’s Encyclopedia of Cleveland History. Born Franz Cudell in Germany, he immigrated to the United States as a young man and was known as Frank. He partnered with fellow architect John Richardson to create the firm Cudell and Richardson and they designed a number of significant Cleveland buildings, including churches, the Jewish Orphan Asylum, the Tiedemann House (now infamous as Franklin Castle), the Root & McBride-Bradley building (now the main office of my husband’s employer, the Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority), and the Perry-Payne Building (a photo available on this page).

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The New Orleans Graveyard Rabbit did a very useful series on “New Orleans Burial Basics” for those unfamiliar with the city interested in its burial practices, particularly those doing genealogical research. You can find part 1, part 2, and part 3 at her blog.

Love your alma mater? The College Times has an article on collegiate cemeteries in the US.

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This past weekend, we attended the 2nd Annual Halloween Night at the Cemetery at the East Cleveland Township Cemetery. Although the name might not make it completely clear, the event is a torchlit tour of the cemetery with stops for stories of individuals who are buried there. This year, they planned for the high turnout by having two tour groups at each time slot for a total of four tours. We visited 11 sites in the cemetery, with a mix of marked and unmarked graves, and there was only one brief story that was a repeat of the previous year’s tour. We were very lucky to have our tour lead by Nancy West, the author of To Dwell with Fellow Clay, a history of the cemetery and its residents. Before and after the tour, the restored chapel at the gate was open with baked goods, candy, and cider. Nancy stated they would have the tour again next year, and I will be there. I hope that in the future more of my readers will be able to make it out and support the great work the cemetery foundation is doing to take care of this historic cemetery.


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Jennings James (4)


Hummer (2)


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Barbara Kurth

Here are some more stones with the symbol of the finger pointing upward, indicating that the deceased has ascended to heaven.

Mary Thomas’ stone hammers home the point with the epitaph “Gone home” just above the symbol, in case the meaning was not clear.


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Carlton (2)


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There is a recurring metaphor in our culture of death as sleep, and it shows up in cemetery epitaphs. Guy and Carrie Kittell’s epitaphs both refer to sleep. His is “Just like going to sleep” and hers is “If I should sleep till morning, do not wake me up.”

Guy Kittell and Carrie Kittell

Elizabeth Waggoner’s family inscribed her tombstone to advise us that “She is not dead, but sleepeth.”

Waggoner (2)

The Gerhardts’ have a similar epitaph.


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Steffen Monument

William Steffen

November 21, 1846 – January 11, 1902

Dear husband

We can never meet on life’s eventful shore

I’ll meet thee love in heaven above

Where parting is no more

Steffen Monument

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Gaylord Monument

I’m not sure how many times I looked at these monuments before I saw the letters IHS. The overlaid version of the letters is probably more common than the arrangement I’ve shown you before. As I explained then, IHS is an abbreviation for Jesus Christ, made up of the first three letters used to spell the name in Greek.


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Donaldson Monument

These three turtles are the only use I have seen for the creature in funerary art. Stories in Stone, which has a pretty thorough listing of meanings for funerary art, theorizes that turtles don’t have a strong symbolic meaning in most funerary art. He states they are probably usually decorative rather than symbolic. Still, he continues by stating that turtles certainly could be interpreted in many ways. In this case, I find it interesting that the turtles are supporting a large flower urn, which seems reminiscent of mythologies that place the entire world on the back of a turtle. Why did the Donaldsons choose the turtles? I can’t really say.

Donaldson Monument

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