Posts Tagged ‘harrisburg cemetery’

When a tombstone includes someone’s real name, it can be revealing. I particularly like when the individual is named for someone famous.

In Cincinnati’s Spring Grove Cemetery, you can find the grave of Thomas Jefferson Henderson.

Henderson (6)

Florence Nightingale Houck lies in Harrisburg Cemetery.

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Ulysses S. Grant Fisher is buried in Silver Spring Presbyterian Churchyard.

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The winged hourglass is a symbol of mortality, but it is a much rarer find than a weeping willow or an urn. Imagine my delight when I found multiple examples in the Olmstead family plot in Harrisburg Cemetery.


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A winged hourglass adorns each step down to the family plot.

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Harrisburg Cemetery has a lot of lovely old funerary art, and willow trees are a personal favorite of mine.

I’m guessing based on proximity to another monument that the surname on this one is Haehlen as well. It’s a slightly different style of willow than I’ve posted in the past.


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Haly Sarah Haldeman


I haven’t posted photos of sarcophagi in a while. Sarcophagus tombs in most modern cemeteries just look like they hold a body. The actual person is usually interred below or next to the monument.

Groenbaum (3)

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Boyd  (5)

Arches and archways in cemeteries are supposed to symbolize the entrance to heaven. These particular examples are from Harrisburg Cemetery in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

Knox Josephine and Georgeanna

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An unopened or partially opened bud with a broken stem is a frequent symbol on the graves of young people – not just children, but young adults. It symbolizes the unrealized possibilities from death at a young age.


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Keller 2

I’ve shown you this stone before but I’m showing it to you for a different reason. This man, like my grandfather, worked for the railroad (unlike my grandfather, this man died on the railroad). My grandfather doesn’t have anything about his employer, the Pennsylvania Railroad, on his stone. I am grateful that my grandfather, despitte his teh fact that the was able to work with only a 5th grade education, encouraged me to continue mine. He wanted me to go to college, and he was one of the few people who never questioned that I wanted to go to graduate school. I may not yet have the job I want, but I don’t have to do the hard manual labor that wore down his body and caused him pain not only at the time, but in the last years of his life.

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It’s been a while since I wrote about this, so on the anniversary of the opening of King Tutankhamen’s tomb, let’s look at some more examples of the Egyptian Revival style in funerary art. The United States and Europe were already pretty fascinated by ancient Egypt before 1922, so the discovery of the rich tomb attracted international attention. Some of that fascination was reflected in their cemeteries.

The light was better on this side of the Rice monument to show you the motif that runs all the way around the top edge.




The previous two examples are from Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio. The last one is from Harrisburg Cemetery (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania), and was so close to the cliffs at the edge that I could only photograph it from the side.


McCormick 2

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Philbin (2)


I’ve written about draped urns before, but I haven’t written about the symbol of drapes or curtains all by themselves. Most people who study cemetery symbolism agree that the depiction of draperies on a tombstone is a symbol of mourning. Into the 20th century, it was customary in the United States to put out black drapes (not just as curtains, but over mantlepieces, furniture, and other decor) during a period of mourning.

Spayd detail

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On this date in 1865, Prosper Dallien died while recovering from wounds he had received at Petersburg more than two months before.  Petersburg, Virginia, was under siege by the Union army for around 9 months.  The specific conflict mentioned on Captain Dallien’s tombstone, Fort Stedman, marked Lee’s final attack of the Civil War.  Trying to break the siege of Petersburg, Confederate forces under General John B. Gordon attacked the Union redoubt Fort Stedman on March 25, 1865.  The Confederates were able to gain control of the redoubt and surrounding trenches that day, but were driven out again by Union reinforcements on the next day.  It is during this battle that Dallien was wounded.  I don’t know if Captain Dallien died of those wounds or contracted disease while in the hospital, but by the time he died, the Civil War had officially ended and the first steps had been taken to reconciliation.

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