Posts Tagged ‘bay village’


I love the name True on this tombstone.  It’s not a name you see very often.


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The Angel of the Lord encampeth round about them who fear Him and delivereth them.

This epitaph was just different and unusual enough that I thought it needed its own post. It’s such an archaic-sounding epitaph that it seems odd that it is on the tombstone of someone who lived into the 20th century. Part of that is the old-fashioned suffix “-eth.” The other thing that makes it sound strange to our modern ears is the word “fear.” This was one of the words that I had the hardest time wrapping my head around when reading older texts. Fear doesn’t mean terror, like you feel when you are really scared. There may be an element of trepidation in it, but it’s more a matter of awed respect. Much of this connotation of fear has been lost to us, other than the adjective “God-fearing.”

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Unknown Soldier

According to Vicki Blum Vigil’s Northeast Ohio Cemeteries book, this replacement stone really does mark the burial of Bay Village’s own unknown soldier. One day, the residents of Bay Village were surprised to find a body washed up on the lakefront beach. The man was clad in a Union uniform. He was never identified.

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This has been today’s edition of juxtapositions of names on tombstones that make me giggle.

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While we expect that simple tombstones might be alike in some way, I think that there is an assumption that even I have that as a monument gets larger, it is more and more likely to be unique. There is a particular statue design, though, that I have found at least twice now.

She’s veiled and draping a wreath of flowers around a cross. I’ve found her in Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio.

Cahoon monument

I’ve found in her Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio.


From the fact that the design is not unique and the amount of erosion on her compared to other statues, I’m going to guess that she is a slightly less expensive statue that those found around her. That still probably isn’t saying much – a monument with any statue is still far more costly than a simple, flat stone.

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One of the things I have noticed is how often death by drowning is mentioned on a tombstone, like this on at Fort Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg, Ohio.

F. X. Belanger Sr.

Only a fraction of tombstones make any mention of how the deceased, well, got to be deceased.  The practice was more common in the early 19th century, but drowning continues to show up after other causes of death have disappeared from grave markers.

The back of the Prentice stone in Chestnut Grove Cemetery in Ashtabula tells us that Charles J. Copeland drowned in Lake Erie in 1887.


We already looked at photographs of grave markers at Lakeside Cemetery and Erie Street Cemetery that specifically mention drowning.

Dr. Cudell’s stone at Lake View tells us that he drowned:
Adolph Cudell, M.D.

Why does drowning elicit special mention? Is it our relationship with water – an element essential to our survival that can nonetheless be deadly? Does it have anything to do with the symbolism of baptism for Christians, who all of these dead seem to nominally be? Or is it because drowning is so sudden, that fatigue and water can overcome even the strongest, healthiest man within a short time?

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Some of the most compelling epitaphs I read are the ones that seem to ignore the cemetery visitor entirely and speak directly to the dead.

The Scholls’ grief manifested itself into a message directly to their lost son in Lakeside Cemetery.
William Scholl

“We miss thee, Willie,” the stone reads.

It’s a little hard to read because of the angle, but the inscription above Jonathan Bates’ name is “How desolate our home, bereft of thee…” This stone is one of the six behind the Lakewood Historical Society in their herb garden, and I could not get closer without stepping on the plants.

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Louise Behnke tombstone

We’ll start today with Louise Behnke’s broken tombstone in Adams Street Cemetery in Berea, Ohio, and its carved handshake. According to Douglas Keister’s Stories in Stone and numerous cemetery symbolism guides on the internet, carved hands that appear to be clasped or in the midst of a handshake indicate one of three things: earthly goodbye, heavenly greeting, or matrimony.

This monument for the Towns is in the Old Hudson Township Burying Ground.


Looking closely at the monument for Elizabeth Brown on the right in Historic Hopewell Cemetery, the words “Farewell mother” above the carving indicate that these clasped hands are clutched in farewell.

George and Elizabeth Brown

J. Monahan’s marker in Erie Street Cemetery features clasped hands.
J. Monahan

It’s not really possible to distinguish whether the sculpture was thinking of goodbyes or hellos, but the third option (matrimony) is usually reflected by two different sets of cuffs on the wrists of the disembodied hands. One cuff will look more feminine and the other more masculine. It’s hard to tell if the Wolfs’ monument in Lakeside Cemetery includes a difference in the cuffs because of the wear on the marker.

Alfred M. and Carolina Wolf

The monument for the Casinos who died in the Cleveland Clinic disaster has very clearly differentiated feminine and masculine cuffs, implying that the clasped hands are there to let you know that the two buried here were married.

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Lakeside Cemetery

Lakeside Cemetery

Recently I took a drive out to Lakeside Cemetery in Bay Village, Ohio. As the name implies, Lakeside sits directly on the shore of Lake Erie, surrounded by a little iron fence and tucked neatly in between two private homes. The entire cemetery is only about half of an acre, with a single unpaved lane looping through it. And you know what? It’s beautiful. Even for someone who finds cemeteries in general to be lovely places to spend an afternoon, Lakeside is special.

Lakeside Cemetery

The first burial in the cemetery was in 1814, when Rebecca Porter and her infant son Dennis drowned in the lake. The Porter graves have a shiny, newer granite monument to mark them, but their original headstones still stand.
Asahel and Rebecca Porter


Asahel Porter, a War of 1812 veteran, was the brother-in-law of Reuben Osborn, another early settler who owned the land that became the cemetery.
Reuben Osborn

Reuben’s wife Sarah was the sister of the unfortunate Rebecca, commemorated forever as the first to be buried there.
Sarah Osborn

The Cahoons, Joseph and Lydia, have a new monument as well, honoring them as the first setters in the township. A park not far down the road bears the Cahoon name and is the site where the family originally settled.

There are also plenty of older tombstones, chronicling the sorrows now forgotten that people here experienced.
Richard Foot

Joel Cahoon, drowned

William Scholl

The only statue in the cemetery is on another Cahoon family monument, but the cemetery is so tiny that the mourner atop the pedestal can easily be imagined to be looking over all the graves in this tiny patch of waterfront.
Cahoon monument


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