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Southern Epitaphs (& My Most Recent Favorite)

It's no secret. If you follow this blog (and I hope you do!), then you know I like epitaphs. I often highlight the ones I find particularly touching in some way.

I started collecting the epitaphs some time ago and placing them in a database online using the blog format. I am attempting to categorize and uncover meanings. If you'd like to check it out, it's here --> Southern Epitaphs.

By the way, here's my latest favorite. It was found at the Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia.

Seaborn K. O'Neal
Born Sept 20th, 1838
Died June 3rd, 1871

Oh! could you but see my repose
Where dangers no more shall annoy,
Your feelings you then would compose,
And think of me only in joy.

Heaven Bore Away the Prize of John T. Whitehead

The tombstone for John T. Whitehead has a lot going on -- a glowing epitaph, quotes, Bible scripture, and symbols of the urn and hourglass.

Sacred To The Memory Of
John T. Whitehead
In All Life's Relations He Exemplified The Virtues Of The Christian And Gentleman, And Won The Love Of All. He Was Beloved By His Family, Cheerful In Company, Conscientious In Spirit, Successful In Business, Patient In Affliction, And Victorious In Death. The Love Of This Community Claimed A Longer Stay, But Higher Attraction Prevailed, Earth Yielded, And Heaven Bore Away The Prize. The Key To His Most Triumphant Death Is Found In His Dying Request, To Be Put Upon His Tomb, "I Am A Man Of Prayer."

Born March 27th, 1816
Died September 11th, 1860

"I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die."

"Let sickness blast, let death devour,
If heaven must recompense our pa…

Frances Lowe was All the Wife & Mother Could Be (Tombstone Tuesday)

Frances E. Kilgore
Wife of Henry L. Lowe
Born Aug 4, 1834
Died Nov 28, 1877

A loving mother and devoted wife has gone to her rest, and the light has gone out in the happy home. Graces with those rare virtues which are peculiar only to her sex, the deceased was all the wife and mother could be. Her sorrowing husband to whom she had been a faithful and loving companion for so many happy years, now that she is gone will cherish her memory and children whom she has tenderly reared will arise up and call her blessed.

This ledger marker is located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia.

Photo copyright © 2009 S. Lincecum.

I Wish I Could Credit the Carver of Susan's Tombstone

This wonderful piece of art is located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia. The inscription:

In Memory Of
Susan A.
Consort Of Anderson G. Jones,
And Daughter of Wm & Catherine Whitehead
Born In Harris Co, GA Sept 5th, 1834,
And Died In Harris Co, GA Feby 2nd, 1861

A constant Christian,
a devoted Wife and fond
Mother.


The few photos I have here do not do justice to the intricate carving involved. The vining work is very pretty. I looked for a signature, but did not notice one.


Hearts & Hands (Wordless Wednesday)

Henry & Mariah Lowe (Tombstone Tuesday)

Laid to rest in Waverly Hall Cemetery; Harris County, Georgia are General Henry H. and Mrs. Mariah A. Tarver Lowe. Their marble tombstone has inscriptions on all four sides:

To the memory of
Mrs. Mariah A. Lowe,
consort of Genl Henry H. Lowe,
formerly Miss M. A. Tarver,
Born Sept 30th, 1807,
Married Aug 26th, 1821,
Died Nov 27th, 1852.
In but few characters was ever so happily blended all the elements of female virtues and attractions. Modest, refined, cultivated and dignified. Kine, forbearing, benevolent, liberal and just.

Father this cup of sorrow,
We'll drink as did thy Son,
Teach us in resignation,
To say "Thy will be done."

In Memory Of
Genl Henry H. Lowe
Who Was Born 4th Nov 1795
And Died July 8th, 1854
This stone marks the resting place of one whose influence and character were felt in his day: a man of strong will and unwavering purpose, of untiring industry and unyielding perseverance, he made for himself fortune, name and position. And while his excellent…

Today's Epitaph: Mrs. Fannie Pitts Dwelleth in Heaven

Mrs. Fannie M.
Wife of S. H. Pitts
And daughter of Thomas & Mary A. Whitehead
Born Nov 4th, 1842
Died Aug 14th, 1873

She dwelleth in heaven, yet deep in our hearts
Her image is graven, and never departs.
And while we yet linger, we watch and we wait
Till death who has parted, again shall unite.


Ledger marker located at
Waverly Hall Cemetery;
Harris County, Georgia.

Grapes, Wheat & a Dive-Bombing Dove

This tombstone for Virginia Crook (d. 1859), located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia, contains several Christian symbols.


The cross and book (likely representing the Bible) is common enough, and the symbols widely known. The dove is also often seen and represents peace and purity. I learned something else about the dove when it is depicted as "dive-bombing" from Heaven -- it represents the Holy Ghost, as written in John 1:32-34 -

32 And John bore witness, saying, "I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.
33 "I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, 'Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.'
34 "And I have seen and testified that this is the Son of God."

The other items I have not often seen are the grapes and wheat. Grapes alone could symbolize the blood of Christ. Wheat alone may depict i…

Calm, the Good Man Meets His Fate (& a Masonic Funeral Ritual)

This monument is erected by order of the most worshipfull Grand Lodge of Georgia, to the Memory of their former Grand Chaplain, Reverend Thomas Darley, who departed this life, 18th April A.L. 5832, A.D. 1832, in the 63rd year of his age: and who was a shining light to his Masonic Brethren, to imitate in his walk, as a man, Mason, and Christian.

Rev. Darley was laid to rest at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia. According to a death notice found in a local paper, he left behind a wife and 16 children. On the back side of Rev. Darley's monument is the following epitaph:

"Calm, the good man meets his fate,
Guards celestial around him wait!
See! he bursts these mortal chains,
And o'er death the victory gains."


While the symbol and inscription on the gravestone clearly states Rev. Darley was a Mason, there are a couple of other clues you might not be aware of that further bolster this fact. Though I have yet to find a simple explanation as to how, the lett…

Members of Kennon Family Killed by a Storm in 1875 (Tombstone Tuesday)

In March of 1875, at least three tornadoes touched 18 counties in the state of Georgia. In Harris county, at least six members of the Capt. John H. Kennon family were killed. They were laid to rest in the Waverly Hall cemetery.


An account of the disaster in the 30 March 1875 Macon Weekly Telegraph says this: "...At Mt. Airy, the house of Capt. John Kennon was whirled around, and portions of it carried half a mile. Mrs. Kennon was killed with her two grown daughters, a son aged seventeen, a daughter of twelve, and a baby. Their bodies were scattered along the road for 50 to 150 yards, and everything else was gone. The bones of all were broken and they had received severe gashes..."

Here is an additional article that describes more of the storm. I transcribed the whole article for those that might have genealogical interests. After this transcription is a link to even more articles from other newspapers detailing the destruction of the storms.

Augusta Chronicle
24 March…

Michael Gannon, Stone Cutter

The above signature is carved into a marble ledger marker located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia. A little research led me to Mr. Michael Gannon. Census records suggest he was born between 1812 and 1820 in Ireland. He was naturalized in Charleston, South Carolina in the year 1847.


Michael and family are found in the 1860 US Federal Census for Charleston, South Carolina. They are in Ward 3, enumerated on page 9, dwelling 58, family 54 (lines 5-12):

Michael Gannon / age 40 / male / occ: Stone Cutter / b. Ireland
Mary Gannon / 35 / F / b. Ireland
John Gannon / 17 / M / South Carolina
Michael Gannon / 15 / M / South Carolina
Mary Ann Gannon / 13 / F / South Carolina
William J. Gannon / 7 / M / South Carolina
Thomas F. Gannon / 2 / M / South Carolina
James Gannon / 28 / M / occ: Stone Cutter / b. Ireland

By 1870, the craft was being passed on to his son, as both the elder and younger Michael were listed as Stone Masons. A second son, William, joined in as a stone cutte…

Today's Epitaph: Sleep on Dearest!

Sacred to the memory of
Mrs. S. C.
Wife of W. A. Stansell;
And daughter of N. and E. Passmore,
Born 14th Novr 1833
Died 12th March 1863
Aged 29 years, 3 months and 28 days.

Sleep on Dearest! sweetly beside thy infant babes,
On the resurrection morn thou and they
Shall rise again.
Angels guard they sleeping dust.
W. A. S.

This ledger marker is located at Waverly Hall Cemetery in Harris County, Georgia. The stone carver was "M. Gannon, Chn. S. C." Nearby is Mrs. Stansell's mother -

In memory of
Mrs. Elizabeth
Wife of Nathan Passmore
and daughter of John E. & A. Lester
Born Nov. 8th, 1809,
Died May 20th, 1869
Aged 59 years, 6 months & 12 days

Sweetly sleep Wife, Mother
Thy home is in Heaven, where thou
wilt taste the joys and pluck the ambrosial
fruits of Paradise.

Dum Tacet Clamat

I've photographed many Woodmen of the World memorials, and I think this is the best image I've captured of their slogan, Dum Tacet Clamat. It translates to "though silent, he speaks."

Woodmen of the World is the largest fraternal benefit society with open membership in the United States. It is an insurance organization founded by Joseph Cullen Root in Omaha, Nebraska on the 6th of June, 1890.

The first certificate of membership was issued to William A. McCully of Independence, Kansas on the 29th of December, 1890. Six months later, Woodmen paid its first death claim on the life of teenager Willie O. Warner who drowned on the 14th of June, 1891, in Niles, Michigan.

Early Woodmen of the World policies provided for a death and a monument benefit. Gravestones were originally furnished to members for free and later were offered to those who purchased a $100 rider.

To learn more, visit "Woodmen of the World Memorials" on the Southern Graves website.

Note: The p…

Fannie's Headless Angel (Wordless Wednesday)

Starnes Tree of Life & Death

This beautifully carved "treestone" is located at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. I do believe it is one of the most life-like I've ever seen. This particular tree stump memorializes the STARNES family. On the back of the stone is a plaque with all the names of the family members, as well as birth and death years for each.

[Front]
Thomas A. Starnes
1818 - 1897
His Wife
Elyzabeth
1825 - 1896

[Back]
Family of
Thomas Albert Starnes, 1818-1897
& Elizabeth Morgan Starnes, 1825-1896
Avaline S. Smith (Mrs. R. S.), 1843-1924
Caroline S. Ownbey (Mrs. Sims), 1844-1914
Mary Ann S. Reeves (Mrs. T. C.), 1846-1889
Martha S. Clark (Mrs. W. P.), 1848-1908
John Wesley Starnes, 1849-1898
Margaret E. Starnes, 1851-1926
Thomas Charles Starnes, 1854-1899
Jesse Russell Starnes, 1856-1913
George Haskew Starnes, 1857-1922
Dr. E. Clingman Starnes, 1859-1900
Eva Marian Starnes, 1863-1864
Gonano Starnes, 1865-1945
Ida Zone Starnes, 1867-1930

I also found a coup…

Zebulon's Grandfather

For this week's Tombstone Tuesday, I wrote about North Carolina's "greatest man," Zebulon Baird Vance. In a newspaper article about him that I found and transcribed here, Zeb's grandfather is described. Luckily, I had also photographed a stone while at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, not far from where Zebulon was laid to rest, that memorializes this grandfather as well as a few additional members of his family. On each of the fours sides of the stone, a different family member is remembered.

David Vance
Born in Frederick County, Va, of Scotch Irish parentage about 1750. Died in Buncombe Co, N.C. in 1811. He was a soldier at King's Mountain in the Patriot Army in 1780. One of the earliest settlers of Buncombe and the first clerk of the County Court.

Priscilla Brank
Wife of David Vance
Born in Rowan Co, NC in 1756 of German parentage. Reared a family of eight children and died in 1836.

Robert Brank Vance, M.D.
Youngest son of David and Priscilla. Born in...[?]..…

In Case You Missed It - November 2009

North Carolina's Greatest Man (Tombstone Tuesday)

Zebulon Baird Vance
May 1830
April 1894

Riverside Cemetery
Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina
Zebulon Vance was a Confederate military officer during the Civil War, twice Governor of North Carolina, and U.S. Senator. He was a remarkable writer and became one of the most influential Southern leaders of the Civil War and postbellum periods. He was much beloved by his home state, as is conveyed in the following newspaper article describing his funeral.

19 April 1894
State, South Carolina
ON THE SUNNY SIDE THE HILL
ZEBULON VANCE SLEEPS HIS ETERNAL SLEEP
Renewed and Continuous Demonstrations of their Great Love for Their Dead Senator, Made by North Carolinians Yesterday

Asheville, N.C., April 18 -- At the hour of noon today the remains of the late Zebulon B. Vance are being deposited in their last resting place overlooking the beautiful French Broad river in this "Land of the Sky," a fitting spot for the last repose of a great man.

The funeral train arrived just after daw…

I'm Thankful for... You!

Free Access to Colonial, Revolutionary War & DAR Databases

WorldVitalRecords is offering free access to Colonial, Revolutionary War, and Daughters of the American Revolution databases through November 30th. This includes 200 free databases covering vital, court, and military records through the Revolutionary War. You can search everything from information on Mayflower families to lineages submitted by the Daughters of the American Revolution.

Some noted databases:

- Abstracts Of Wills And Inventories, Fairfax County, Virginia, 1742 - 1801
- Abstracts Of Wills, Inventories, And Administration Accounts Of Loudoun County, Virginia, 1757 - 1800
- American Wills Proved In London, 1611 - 1775
- Births, Deaths And Sponsors, 1717 - 1778 From The Albemarle Parish Register Of Surry And Sussex Counties, Virginia
- Calendar Of Wills, 1626 - 1836
- Death Notices In The South-Carolina Gazette, 1732 - 1775
- Genealogical Abstracts From 18th-Century Virginia Newspapers
- Known Military Dead During The American Revolutionary War, 1775 - 1783
- Scots In Geor…

Col. Stephen Lee, Relative of Gen. Robert E. Lee

Laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery at Asheville, North Carolina are members of the Colonel Stephen Lee family. Transcription of the obelisk topped tombstone:

Mrs. Caroline Lee
Died Dec 18th, 1855
Age 48 Years

Caroline Lee
Died Aug 10th, 1857
Age 21 Years

Emily K. Lee
Died June 15th, 1893
Age 62 Years

In Memory Of
Col. Chas C., Thomas, Stephen, and Joseph.
Sons of Stephen & Caroline Lee,
Who Died In The Southern Cause.
Blessed Are The Dead
Who Die In The Lord.

In Memory Of
Col. Stephen Lee
Born in Charleston, SC
June 7th, 1801
Died in Asheville, NC
Aug 2nd, 1879

Here is what the Riverside Cemetery Walking Tour has to say about Col. Stephen Lee: "Colonel Stephen Lee, a distant relative of General Robert E. Lee, left Charleston to open a school in Asheville in 1846. His school, known as 'Lee's Select School for Boys' became famous across the south for its discipline and curriculum. He spent his entire life teaching at his school except for the years of the Civil War. …

Tombstone Tuesday: Clara Chunn Chapman

Clara E. Chunn
Wife of Robt H. Chapman, D.D.
Born Oct 12, 1812
Married Oct 18, 1831
Died Aug 13, 1858

Riverside Cemetery; Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina

According to the text from the Riverside Cemetery Walking Tour, Clara's grave was moved to Riverside Cemetery from the Episcopal Church on Church Street. Chunn's Cove in Asheville was named for her.

McElveen Mausoleum

This mausoleum is located at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. I neglected to write down all the information of the readable inscriptions, as I was in a hurry. Nonetheless, I was able to get the following with my digital camera:

Ella Pace McElveen
Wife of G. W. McElveen
Born Rogersville, Tenn May 1860
Died June 1899

Our Mother
Parolee Blevins Pace
Born Rogersville, Tenn Mar 31, 1836
Died Waco, Texas Jan 26, 1921

I photographed this mausoleum because I thought it was neat how the woman sculpted at the top appeared to be coming out of the greenery.




Buchanan Family Monument Photos

The Buchanan monument at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina is more than meets the eye. There is a large angel sculpture atop the monument, carved entirely out of limestone left over from the construction of the Biltmore Estates by Fred Miles, a stone carver for the Biltmore. At each of the four corners below the angel are cherub faces. And farther down are pairs of faces, again at each of the four corners. These faces seem to represent the Buchanan family -- an adult male, adult female, and children.

In Memory of
William Allen Buchanan
Born in Kingston, Jamaica
Died September 8, 1871
Aged 49 Years
--------------
And His Beloved Wife
Sarah Elizabeth
Died December 27, 1915
Aged 83 Years
And bring thee peace.
----------------------
Also In memory of Their Daughter
Georgiana
1862 - 1930
In The Peace of God
--------------------
William Allen Buchanan
Born June 7, 1856
Died Nov 5, 1931
At Rest
--------
Also In Memory Of
Stella Buchanan Barrett
Died 15th of…

Killed By a Desperado

B. F. Addison
Killed By a Desperado
Nov 13, 1906
Aged 56 Years
Gone But Not Forgotten

Mr. Ben Addison, a black merchant, was laid to rest in the designated "colored" section of Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina.

On the cold winter night of 13 November 1906, a crazed drunken man named Will Harris went on a shooting rampage that left five men dead. One unfortunate victim was Ben Addison. Mr. Addison owned a store at 53 Eagle street in downtown Asheville. He was shot when he opened his door to see what the commotion was about.

[Source: text from "Riverside Cemetery Walking Tour," which uses a script from a video entitled "Journey Beyond the Gates," produced by the students of Charles D. Owen High School -- the 1997 Advanced Placement U. S. History Class]

In Memory of Eighteen German Sailors Who died in the U.S. Army Hospital at Asheville, NC 1918-1919

In Memory Of Eighteen German Sailors Who Died In The United States Army Hospital At Asheville
1918-1919

Nicht grossern Vorteil wusst'ich zu nennen
Als des'Feindes Verdienst erkennen.

No greater gain for the human spirit
Than a sense of our foeman's merit.

Karl Von Aspern
Karl Bening
Adam Biffar
Wilhelm Denecke
Karl Flum
Fritz Hoffman
Hans Jakobi
Karl Kilper
Emil Kobe
Karl Koschmieder
Heinrich Lochow
Hermann Menzel
Johann Wilhelm Meyer
Johann Meyerhoff
Viktor Wilhelm Rieke
Richard Paul Schlause
Wilhelm Stockhausen
Fritz Hermann Wahnschaffe

Erected By Kiffin Rockwell Post American Legion
The memorial transcribed above is located at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. Text from the Riverside Cemetery Walking Tour: "Riverside Cemetery is the final resting place for World War I German Prisoners of War. Several thousand sailors were first transferred from Ellis Island to a detention center in Hot Springs, North Carolina. A typhoid epidemic resulted in 18 of…

Today's Epitaph: Daniel Ogden Lives in Memory Alone

About a month ago, while visiting Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina, I come across the grave of Daniel Ogden pictured here. I was actually on my way to see a more "prominent" memorial in the cemetery when I noticed Daniel's gravestone was fallen over and lying on the ground. I snapped a few photos, simply because I always get the urge to document stones that look to be in trouble.

When I got home, I found a sweet epitaph for Daniel etched in the stone. I also snagged a little more information about him with a bit of research.

Daniel W. Ogden
Feb 10, 1882
July 19, 1917
It is sad that one we cherish
Should be taken from our home,
But the Joys that do not perish
Live in memory alone.
All the years we've spent together,
All the happy golden hours,
Shall be cherished in remembrance;
Fragrant sweets from memories' flowers.

I found Daniel in the North Carolina Death Certificates, 1909-1975 collection at Ancestry. It states Daniel was born in Liddieville,…

Abraham Lincoln's Bodyguard (Wordless Wednesday)

H. Clay Wilson was a Man of Many Virtues and Few Faults (Tombstone Tuesday)

H. Clay Wilson
1856 - 1900
A man of many virtues
and few faults.

Riverside Cemetery
Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina

Photos © 2009 S. Lincecum

Military Monday: Confederate General James Green Martin

Gen. James Green Martin
Born in Elizabeth City, N.C. February 14, 1819
Died in Asheville, N.C. October 4, 1878
Brevet Major, U.S.A. for gallant conduct in Mexico, 1847. Brig. Gen. C.S.A. Army of Northern Va. 1864. General-In-Chief, N.C. Troops, 1861. In Command of Western N.C. 1865.

General Martin was laid to rest in Riverside Cemetery; Asheville, Buncombe County, North Carolina. He was a son of Dr. William Martin and Sophia Dange. General Martin was known as "Old One Wing" because he lost an arm in the Mexican War.

- James Green Martin on Wikipedia

O. Henry - Author, Cowboy, Druggist, Sheep Herder, & Convicted Embezzler

William Sydney Porter (1862-1910), son of Dr. Algernon Sidney Porter and Mary Jane Virginia Swaim, was laid to rest upon his death at Riverside Cemetery in Asheville, North Carolina. Better known as O. Henry, Porter was a well-known short story author. One of his most famous stories is "The Gift of the Magi."
One dollar and eighty-seven cents. That was all. And sixty cents of it was in pennies. Pennies saved one and two at a time by bulldozing the grocer and the vegetable man and the butcher until one’s cheeks burned with the silent imputation of parsimony that such close dealing implied. Three times Della counted it. One dollar and eighty-seven cents. And the next Day would be Christmas.

There was clearly nothing to do but flop down on the shabby little couch and howl. So Della did it. Which instigates the moral reflection that life is made up of sobs, sniffles, and smiles, with sniffles predominating.


There are a few obituaries and funeral notices regarding Mr. Porter bel…


blog.SouthernGraves.net

The hand of the Lord came upon me and brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley; and it was full of bones. Then He caused me to pass by them all around, and behold, there were very many in the open valley; and indeed they were very dry. And He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?"

So I answered, "O Lord God, You know."

Again He said to me, "Prophesy to these bones, and say to them, 'O dry bones, hear the word of the Lord!' Thus says the Lord God to these bones: 'Surely I will cause breath to enter into you, and you shall live...'" (Ezekiel 37:1-5, NKJV)