Posts Tagged ‘historic hopewell cemetery’

James H. Williamson

James H. Williamson

One hundred and fifty years ago today, James H. Williamson fell at the Battle of South Mountain in Maryland. As the Army of the Potomac pursued the Army of Northern Virginia through Maryland, they clashed over three mountain passes – Crampton’s, Turner’s, and Fox’s Gaps. Under the command of Major General George McClellan, the Union army forced General Robert E. Lee’s army into retreat but did not pursue them quickly. Three days later, the armies would clash again in a much better known engagement, the Battle of Antietam.

The Battle of South Mountain, Civil War Trust.
South Mountain, CWSAC Battle Summaries.

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John Milligan

I think this is the first and only time I have yet found the word “terminated” on a tombstone.  I was a little surprised, because I think in our modern culture, “terminated” has a rather negative connotation.  I hear it all the time at work – officially, people are not fired, their employment is terminated.  The Terminator is a creature sent back from the future to kill specific people and alter the course of history in the move of the same name.  Tombstones are often meant to provide some measure of comfort to those who remain, and “terminated” seems a harsher word than is usually used.

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Margaret Brown

In sure and certain hope of a blessed resurrection unto eternal life was deposited here the mortal body of Margaret, wife of James Brown & daughter of Wm. & M. Caldwell.

This is to date the most poetic euphemism for death that I have seen in a cemetery. It’s delightfully old-fashioned and poetic. It conveys a sort of quiet faith and emphasizes the line between the body, which is entirely earthly, and the spirit, that will emerge to enjoy a heaven in perpetuity. I’m sure it is intended to comfort – look, only Margaret’s body will remain here.

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Clarissa M. Gilmore

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

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Mary Jane Buck

Mary Jane Buck’s epitaph is a passage from the Biblical Book of Isiah: “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found; call ye upon him while he is near.” The passage has the ominous tone of some of the earlier 19th century epitaphs I have read. By admonishing the reader of the epitaph to turn to God while he is near and may be found, the epitaph implies that there will come a time when God will not be close, perhaps ever again. One who cares for his or her immortal soul, cautions the epitaph, had best find God before the opportunity is lost.

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O death! Where ends thy strife?
In everlasting life.

I found the epitaph on this tombstone in a 19th century periodical called The Casket, or, Flowers of Literature, Wit, and Sentiment. It was part of a piece entitled “Questions and Answers” by a James Montgomery. An epitaph coming from a publication called The Casket struck me as funny.

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The 1870 census lists one John Marshall, an instructor at the Morning Sun Academy in the Ohio town of the same name. At the time of that census, Marshall was 32 and married. From what I’ve been able to dig up, the Morning Sun Academy was open from the 1850s to the 1870s. I don’t know what caused John Marshall’s demise, but it appears he was well-loved enough that people who knew him as a teacher helped pay for his monument in the cemetery.

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The bird, particularly the dove, is a common cemetery symbol. Birds are used as metaphors for the soul, and depictions of flying birds are often represenations of the soul flying heavenward. Birds signify hope and purity.


Margaret Vandegriff

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A number of other cemetery bloggers have weekly Wordless Wednesday posts, and I thought it was a neat idea. I don’t think I’ll do it every week, but I did find a tombstone in my photo collection that really doesn’t require a lot of comment, because it already says it all.


Rev. Alexander Porter

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