Posts Tagged ‘wife’

Seeing this post at The Symbolic Past, I felt inclined to look through my photos to see plots with more than one wife listed on the tombstone.

The Gilbert monument in Chester Township Cemetery has a front panel that lists Joel Gilbert and both of his wives, Criscilda and Naomi.



Nearby, Rev. J. R. Thompson rests with his wives, Laura and Delia.


There are a lot of other stones that could be for a man and more than one women to whom he was married, but without the clear moniker of “his wife,” I didn’t post them. The second woman on the tombstone could be another family member (sister or cousin) or, if the birth date is significantly later, either a younger wife or a daughter.

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Today is my wedding reception. (I did write this post in advance.) One of the current cultural trends that I think has occurred is that tombstones are again becoming more personalized. Modern technology has also made that personalization process much cheaper and affordable to more families than ever before. Now, a computer will do the work of engraving your stone with a precision that would take an expert craftsman much more time to produce.

Part of this surge in personalization is the increased emphasis on wedding dates on markers.


Noting the marital relationship on a grave stone is nothing new, as we have seen before with the posts on relicts and consorts. But now a lot more couples (or their descendants) are choosing to include not only their birth and death dates, but the date of their marriage.


It seems like a logical next step in the personalization of tombstones. After birthdays, wedding anniversaries are probably the most celebrated yearly personal events.

Will we choose something similar for ourselves? Hard to say. It is likely that we have some time to decide, and who knows what will be possible/fashionable when we need to pick a style?

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Clarissa M. Gilmore

In memory of Clarissa M., consort of Eli Gilmore (Historic Hopewell Cemetery)

Walking through cemeteries with some friends, they noticed that some women’s tombstones, rather than having the typical pattern of saying “wife of” a particular man, listed the women as his consort. My friends and I discussed whether there was some particular significance to naming a woman as “consort” rather than “wife.” Perhaps the man and woman were not legally married, they mused.


Tombstones for Adam and Ann Titler (Old Carlisle Burying Ground)

A distinction does exist, but it is nothing so lurid as naming a mistress as such on her grave marker. After consulting a dozen or so cemetery symbolism websites, it appears that the word “consort” on a women’s tombstone usually indicates that she predeceased her husband. A “consort” was still most definitely a wife.


Jane, consort of Tobias Miller (Old Carlisle Burying Ground)

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