31 May 2012

Buried the Wrong Boy!

Found this news item and had to share. Can you imagine what his parents went through? And, fast forward 116 years to today, what a genealogist might go through?
A Son Returns Home Whose Parents Thought He Was Dead.

Louisville, Dec 24 -- Louis Rebhan, a young mechanic, arrived in Louisville today for the purpose of letting his parents know that they had buried the wrong boy when, about a year ago, they attended his funeral.

Rebhan disappeared and several weeks later a badly decomposed body was found in the canal. The parents identified the corpse and mourned their son as dead until his reappearance today. He says that he went to make his fortune and did not learn until the other day that he was supposed to be buried. [The Macon Telegraph, Georgia, 25 December 1895]

30 May 2012

Is She Looking at Me? (Wordless Wednesday)

29 May 2012

The Remains of a Good Man Laid to Rest (Tombstone Tuesday)

Charles E. Boynton
Born in Lumpkin, GA
Died in Atlanta, GA
March 31, 1890
"For So He Giveth
His Beloved Sleep."

Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
-- Charles E. Boynton died at his residence, 216 Rawson street, on Monday afternoon, March 31st, 1890. [The Atlanta Constitution, Georgia, 1 April 1890]

The Remains of a Good Man Laid to Rest Yesterday.

The funeral of Mr. Charles E. Boynton occurred at Trinity church at 10 o'clock yesterday morning.

There was not a man in Atlanta better beloved for his broad and liberal charity nor one who enjoyed greater respect for his energy and integrity in the walks of business life. As a consequence the funeral was largely attended by friends and acquaintances of the man whose life was so full of worth and work.

The services were conducted by Rev. Dr. J. W. Lee and General Clement A. Evans, and were beautifully and solemnly impressive.

General Evans, a life long friend of Mr. Boynton spoke most feelingly of his Christian life and character and how ever since boyhood he had ever proved true to the test.

After the services were over the pall bearers, Messrs. Arthur Robinson, John H. Groves, George Muse, Joseph E. Singer, Fred W. Cole, Fred J. Paxon, H. F. Emery, and Dr. Harry Huzza took charge of the remains and with a large escort, chosen from among the leading citizens of the city conducted them to the tomb.

Mr. Boynton enjoyed the love and esteem of his fellow citizens and his loss is not only a bereavement to his family but a sad loss to the city. [The Atlanta Constitution, Georgia, 4 April 1890]

28 May 2012

May's Long Day is Done (Today's Epitaph)

May Inman Gray
Wife of James Richard Gray
March 6, 1862 - January 6, 1940
May Inman Gray rests beside her husband in a lot at Atlanta, Georgia's Oakland Cemetery containing a statue of the grieving Niobe of Greek Mythology.

May's epitaph reads, in part: "My Task Accomplished And The Long Day Done". This phrase is from the final stanza of a poem by W. E. Henley, "A Late Lark Twitters From the Quiet Skies."

So be my passing!
My task accomplished and the long day done,
My wages taken, and in my heart
Some late lark singing,
Let me be gathered to the quiet west,
The sundown splendid and serene,

27 May 2012

James Richard Gray: An Upbuilder of the New South (Sunday's Obituary)

James Richard Gray
September 30, 1859 - June 25, 1917
The name of James R. Gray will occupy a fairly permanent place in the history of the men who had quite a large hand in the upbuilding of the New South. The newspaper of which he was for quite a few years the active directing head has held a prominent place among the big and successful papers of the South. The [Atlanta] Journal has pretty largely reflected Mr. Gray's personality in its general bigness in a physical way and the calm and unruffled fashion in which it meets issues as they come up and goes on about its way day by day.

A man of few words, he saw things in a large way and had the strength and ability to go on with his plans and his ambitions to see the most of them brought into full fruition or to where their success was assured. He held a good many men to him by ties of personal friendship who were not with him in his policies and his determinations, which is after all one of the best tests of inherent character.

As an editor, or even as a great publisher, he will not be remembered. But as a general business man as a constructive builder and helper and encourager of those men who contemporaneously with him have built the great city of Atlanta he has occupied a high place and will so be remembered. In his death, which came too soon, the South, the State of Georgia, more particularly the city of Atlanta, lost a fine useful man who had much yet before him to be done when the thread of his life was cut. (Macon Telegraph, Georgia, 29 June 1917)

James rests beside his wife May Inman Gray (1862-1940) in Oakland cemetery at Atlanta, Georgia. A notable feature of their lot is the statue of Niobe, a character from Greek Mythology that personifies grief.

26 May 2012

Niobe Personifies Grief

Niobe, a character from Greek Mythology, is the personification of grief. She was the mother of many children and boasted of this to the goddess Leto, the mother of only two -- Apollo and Artemis. In retaliation, Leto had Niobe's children killed. Devastated for all eternity, Niobe fled and wept unceasingly.

Works of art featuring Niobe are at home in a cemetery. The photos here were taken at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia.

Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

25 May 2012

Exotic Revival Mausoleum of W. A. Rawson

The William A. Rawson mausoleum in Oakland Cemetery at Atlanta, Georgia was built in the exotic revival architectural style. Not only does it house the remains of Mr. Rawson, but also that of his son-in-law Charles Collier. Charles was at one time the mayor of Atlanta. Also resting in the mausoleum is William Rawson's granddaughter and her husband, Julia Collier and Julian Harris. Julian was the son of author Joel Chandler Harris.

To put it mildly, William Rawson was a wealthy man. His total estate value (real and personal) in 1870, per the Stewart County, Georgia census for that year, was $105,000. Upon his death in 1879, the estimated value of the estate left behind was about $250,000. Mr. Rawson, born in Vermont, was the senior partner of Atlanta booksellers Rawson & Hancock.

The Daily Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia)
Saturday, 13 September 1879
His Death in Iowa Yesterday.

Mr. William A. Rawson, senior member of the firm of Rawson & Hancock, of this city, died at Des Moines, Iowa, Thursday evening last, of Bright's disease of the kidneys. Mr. Rawson's health commenced declining several months since, and thinking that a change of climate would be beneficial to him he left Atlanta a few weeks ago and went to Des Moines where he has two brothers residing, one of them a physician. The change did not accomplish the desired effect and Mr. Rawson's health continued to decline until Thursday evening when he died at the residence of his brother Mr. A. Y. Rawson. Dr. Rawson, another brother of the deceased, attended him during his illness.

The remains left Des Moines yesterday, and will reach here Sunday. A tomb is now being prepared for the reception of the body. Mr. Rawson was about 67 years of age when he died, and leaves a wife and daughter, Mrs. C. A. Collier.

Mr. Rawson was a representative man of Atlanta, and died leaving a large quantity of property to his wife and daughter. He built the large building on Alabama street occupied as a box factory, and owned other valuable buildings in this city. He was one of the most liberal contributors to the building fund of Trinity church, and was a leader in several other enterprises.
The American Stationer, Vol. 7 (pub. 1879)

The death of William A. Rawson, of Atlanta, Ga., is announced. Mr. Rawson was the senior partner in the well-known firm of Rawson & Hancock, paper dealers, booksellers, and manufacturing and jobbing stationers, and his associates in business deplore the loss of one who was an excellent partner, a warm friend, and an enterprising member of the trade...
Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

23 May 2012

Obituary: James V. Matson (This Time It's Personal)

Dallas Morning News (Texas)
16 June 1931
*Viewed online at GenealogyBank.
James V. Matson Dies At Waco Sanitarium
Special to The News.
WACO, Texas, June 15 -- James V. Matson of Hubbard, 72, died Monday night in a Waco sanitarium. He had been ill only a few days. Funeral services will be held Wednesday at Hubbard.

A native Texas, Mr. Matson was born near Independence, but for the last fifty-three years he had lived at Hubbard. He was a stockman and one of the largest shareholders in the cottonoil mill at Dawson and had other large interests, including a directorship of the First National Bank of Hubbard. Surviving him are his wife and two stepchildren.
James was born February 1959, a son of James V. Matson and Mary Elizabeth Catherine Lincecum.

22 May 2012

Simply a Cross Pattée, Maltese, or Not a Cross at All? (A Symbolic Tombstone Tuesday)

I wanted to post this a few days ago, but sometimes life gets in the way!

I didn't pay much attention to this symbolic design on the monument for William Rawson (1861-1902) while visiting at Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta, Georgia. It jumped out at me once I got home and was reviewing the photos I had taken. Since I didn't get a close-up shot at the cemetery, here's a cropped view from the original photo.

The image was familiar to me as a cross, yet I was unsure of what to call it. I conducted a bit of research, and think I got a bit of information overload. My first significant result was from Wikipedia describing the cross pattée as "a type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter." These were variants pictured:

Screen capture.  All images from Wikimedia Commons.

William's cross resembles greatly the third from the left -- "With the ends of the arms convex and curved; sometimes called 'Alisee'". The cross pattée in its variant forms was sometimes used by the Crusaders, and this is where my familiarity began and ended. In connection with the Knights Templar, Wikipedia had this to say:
The Templars did adopt a red cross on their white robes in 1147, but there was no specific style designated, and different Templars used different versions of the cross. The cross pattée was by no means their official symbol. However, some modern Freemason organizations do use the cross pattée in an official way, and this use occasionally causes confusion as to which version was used by the medieval order of Knights Templar.
As I kept researching, I came across references to the Maltese Cross that included the "Alisee Pattée". But I think a main signature of the Maltese Cross is more defined points. Douglas Keister described it in Stories in Stone:
The Maltese cross looks like a + sign with flared ends that are usually indented to form eight points. These eight points represent the Beatitudes. It is often associated with such fraternal orders as the Knights Templar.
From Wikimedia Commons.
Lastly, I saw mention of St. George's Cross (pictured at right). This is a red cross on a white background, also with ties to the Crusades. Supposedly, in Sweden and Scandinavia, the definition of a St. George's Cross is widened to include a "centred cross, normally red but not necessarily, with triangular arms that do not fill the square. Internationally this is often referred to as a subgroup of Cross pattée..."

After all this, I'm inclined to consider the symbolic design on William Rawson's monument as a simple Cross Pattée. Unfortunately, more research would have to be done on Mr. Rawson to know if there is any real connection between his life story and the cross depicted.

I suppose it's possible the design is not a cross at all. What do you think? Would you call the design a cross? What kind?

18 May 2012

William Clarke Rawson, President of the Gate City Coffin Company

Image via FindAGrave

ATLANTA, Jan. 6 -- Councilman William C. Rawson died at his home, 126 Washington street, this morning about 8 o'clock. His death was the result of an attack of pneumonia. He had been ill only ten days. For the last two or three days his condition has been such as to give little hope of his recovery. The deceased was one of Atlanta's most popular and prominent young business men. He was the president of the Gate City Coffin Company and president of the Atlanta Gun Club. Had he lived through his illness he would have retired from council tonight on account of the expiration of his term...

The funeral will likely take place tomorrow and will be largely attended. The members of the new and retiring councils will attend in a body." [Macon Telegraph (Georgia), 7 January 1902]

William Clarke Rawson rests in Oakland Cemetery at Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia. Another newspaper write-up provided a little bit of biographical information about the deceased 40 year old:
...Mr. Rawson is survived by his wife and four children -- two boys and two girls. The children are: Elizabeth, Sarah, William and Charles.

He was born in this city August 21, 1861, and was a son of Mr. and Mrs. Edward E. Rawson. Both parents died in 1893. His father was one of the city's pioneer citizens. The older Mr. Rawson was a man of considerable means and was public-spirited to a marked degree. He was president of the Gate City Coffin Company and at his death his son continued the business.

Young Mr. Rawson attended the city public schools and was later graduated from Emory and Vanderbilt in 1880, he returned home and entered upon an active business career. Four years later he married Miss Lucia Brock, of Alabama. [Atlanta Constitution (Georgia), 7 January 1902]
William Clarke Rawson
Aug 21, 1861
Jan 6, 1902

Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

Stay tuned for a profile of an interesting symbol on William's tombstone. I may need some help in positively identifying it!

17 May 2012

Sarah's Virtue of Hope

Atop Sarah Clara Glenn Redwine's tall monument in Atlanta, Georgia's Oakland Cemetery stands the Virtue of Hope. Most often seen with an anchor, with or without wings, this is the human form of the second of the three theological virtues -- faith, hope, and love (or charity).

Sarah Clara Glenn was born 6 December 1836. According to Georgia Marriages, 1851-1900 on Ancestry, she married Dr. Columbus L. Redwine 1 January 1856 in Coweta County, Georgia. Inscribed on Sarah's towering memorial are the words, She made home always happy. My first thought upon reading this was she had to be a mother. A check of the Newnan, Coweta County, Georgia 1860 federal census on Fold3 shows this to be true. At that time, Sarah was the mother of two boys, Robert G. (aged 3) and Lewis P. (aged 1). Sarah Clara Glenn Redwine died 19 October 1866, less than two months shy of her 30th birthday.

Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

11 May 2012

Say Not Goodnight (Today's Epitaph)

Ida Lee Bennett Bass
1866 - 1899
Say not "Goodnight," but
in some fairer clime bid us

Oakland Cemetery
Atlanta, Fulton County, Georgia
Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
Ida's hopeful, longing epitaph is from the poem Life, by Anna Barbauld.

05 May 2012

Atlanta's Namesake Dead

In This Spot Set Apart By The City Is Buried
Martha Lumpkin Compton
August 25, 1827 - February 13, 1917
Wife Of Thomas M. Compton
Daughter Of Governor Wilson Lumpkin
And His Wife Annis Hopson Lumpkin
In Honor Of This Lady, Atlanta Was
Once Named Marthasville

Oakland Cemetery at Atlanta, Georgia

(Associated Press)

DECATUR, GA, Feb 13 -- Mrs. Martha Lumpkin Compton, after whom the city of Atlanta was twice named died at her home here tonight at the age of 90 years. In 1844 the village now called Atlanta, was named Marthasville in her honor. Four years later it was named Atlanta after the nickname of "Atalanta," which Mrs. Compton's father, Governor Wilson Lumpkin had given her. [Montgomery Advertiser (Alabama), 14 February 1917]

04 May 2012

Meshack Williams's Crossed Rebel Flags

M. W. S. S. Williams
Co. F. 3rd Ala.
C. S. A.
Born Apr 17, 1818
At Rest Atlanta, GA
July 15, 1880
Not far inside the gates of Atlanta's Oakland Cemetery is the famed Jasper N. Smith mausoleum. Beside it is a small traditional tombstone standing for Meshack W. S. S. Williams. Meshack was a private in Company F of Alabama's 3rd Infantry, C. S. A. He wasn't a young pup when he enlisted in 1861, but rather was a nice middle age of about 43 years. Toward the end of the war, Meshack Williams was listed as a prisoner of war at Point Lookout, Maryland. He had been captured at Sutherland Station, Virginia in April 1865. A couple of months later, Pvt. Williams was released after swearing to the Oath of Allegiance. According to his Confederate Soldier File on Fold3, Meshack was described as having a fair complexion, greyish hair, and blue eyes.

An interesting feature of Meshack Williams's tombstone is the crossed pair of Confederate battle flags. The elements have worn the sculpture tremendously, but you can still see them upon close inspection.

Photos © 2012 S. Lincecum

03 May 2012

Recent Cemetery Reads

Though I don't always make time for it, I really do enjoy reading for fun. Mom gave me a Kindle a couple of Christmases ago, and I've been trying to use it faithfully to get more reading done. My most recent book completions have been cemetery related. The first, Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves by China Galland, is a bit of a documentary type read. It's about a woman (the author) who tries to bring attention to and save African American cemeteries, specifically the cemetery called Love in Harrison County, Texas. It's shameful to admit, but this book sat on my to-read list for about four years!

A line from an official blurb about the book sums it up nicely: "...Galland's subsequent effort to help restore just one of these cemeteries — Love Cemetery — unearths a quintessential American story of prejudice, land theft, and environmental destruction, uncovering racial wounds that are slow to heal..." The author recruits a group of people that encompasses all races to help with the cleanup and getting the cemetery back on the map. It's not easy work, and by the end of the book, you realize there is still even more work to be done.

An interesting note about Love Cemetery is the land was provided by an African American woman, Della Love Walker, not a white plantation owner like one might expect. Della was a niece of the famous cowboy Deadwood Dick.

The second (recommended to me by a sweet facebook friend) is actually first in the "Graveyard Queen" series, entitled The Restorer by Amanda Stevens. This read is a work of fiction about a cemetery restorer that finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation in the well-known southern city of Charleston, South Carolina. There actually are mentions and descriptions of cemetery art and symbolism. The main character also has the fortune / misfortune of seeing ghosts. A good combination of criminal minds, local history (some fictional), and paranormal activity, all set in a southern cemetery, with a little bit of romantic tension thrown in for good measure. What more can you ask for? I enjoyed it and have already started on The Abandoned (currently free for Kindle at time of writing), a short prequal to the series. The second book, The Kingdom, will likely be my next read.

The links above (with the exception of "Deadwood Dick") are affiliate links. To learn more about these types of links associated with this blog, please visit the About Me page.

02 May 2012

Death and Burial Notices for Richard T. Matson (This Time It's Personal)

Richard T. Matson, born 21 September 1855, was my 3rd cousin, 5x removed. He was a son of James V. Matson and Mary Lincecum. I found it interesting that James and his son each honored their father in the naming of sons. James named a son after his father, and Richard named a son after his father. Of course it's possible the names might actually date back further.

I recently found death and burial notices for Richard at GenealogyBank. He died at the young age of 41, but I don't know the cause. Richard was laid to rest in Fairview Cemetery at Hubbard, Hill County, Texas. The photo included is from his memorial on FindAGrave.

Dallas Morning News (Texas)
10 June 1897
MATSON -- Hillsboro, Hill Co., Tex., June 9. R. T. Matson, a prominent farmer and stockman of this county, died at his residence three miles west of here, to-day. He was 45 years old."

Dallas Morning News (Texas)
13 June 1897
MATSON -- Hubbard City, Tex., June 11 -- Mr. R. T. Matson, who died at his home three miles east of Hillsboro Wednesday, the 9th instant, was buried here to-day. Rev. C. Smith conducted the funeral services."

Now, was his home three miles east or three miles west of Hillsboro?

01 May 2012

Mob Mistress Virginia Hill (Tombstone Tuesday)

Virginia at Kefauver
Hearing. Photo from
Recently I watched a television show on the Biography Channel about Women of the Mob. One segment was all about Virginia Hill (1916-1966). I was intrigued from the start when I learned she was born in Alabama and moved to Marietta, Georgia at a young age.

Virginia was a beautiful Georgia peach who craved fame and fortune. Described as sharp-tongued and sassy, she left home and moved to Chicago to work as a dancer at the World's Fair. While there, she began to work for the Chicago Syndicate as a courier. Though she denied involvement, it is reported that she once bought a home for her family back in Marietta with $11,000 in cash.

Virginia Hill home in Marietta today. Photo from
Marietta Daily Journal.
Virginia eventually moved to Los Angeles and became entangled in a relationship with Bugsy Siegel. Some years later, about 1951, Virginia was subpoenaed to testify at the Kefauver Hearings. A few years after that ordeal, Virginia was accused of and indicted for tax evasion. She fled to Europe and remained there until her death at the young age of 49. Though ruled a suicide, some suspect foul play surrounded her demise.

Photo by Alexander Krischnig via
The dramatic story of Virginia Hill ended on the tv show, but I was left with a burning question. As you might guess, I was curious as to where she was buried. Chicago? Hollywood? Was she brought back to Marietta? Nope to all three. She was buried in Salzburg, Austria, near her place of death.

- Virginia Hill: Girlfriend to the Mob
- Virginia Hill on Wikipedia
- Virginia Hill on FindAGrave
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