Saturday, December 29, 2012

Winter in the Cemetery

I want it cold. I want a mess made in the snow so that the earth looks wounded, forced open, an unwilling participant. 

Forgo the tent, stand openly to the weather, get the larger equipment out of sight, it’s a distraction, but have the sexton, all dirt and indifference, remain at hand

Go to the hole in the ground, stand over it, look into it, wonder, and be cold…

… but stay until it’s over, until it’s done. 

-Thomas Lynch, undertaker and poet

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Happy Holidays and Well Wishes!

I hope that everyone has a safe and joyous holiday season! It's a great time of year to visit churches and cemeteries to take in all of the holiday decorations and snowy scenery. 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Draped Urn

The widely used draped urn is one of the many symbols that humans have used to represent their views towards death and the immortal spirit. The urn itself represents a classical funeral urn used for cremains. A revived interest in classical Greece led to the prevalence of the draped in urn in cemetery symbolism, even though cremation was not terribly popular at this time ( mid to late 1800s). The urn was also thought to stand for the fact that we all return to ash, or dust; the state from which God created us.

The meaning of the drape on the urn can mean many things to many people. Some feel that it symbolizes the final, impenetrable veil between the living and the dead that awaits us all. To others, it symbolizes the human shedding their mortal body and trappings to join God in Heaven. The drape can also stand for the protective nature of God over the dead and their remains, until the Resurrection occurs. 

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Broken Bud

Emma A. Wolboldt
Died Feb. 18, 1875
Aged 1 yr. 3 Ms. 

The loss of a young life is sometimes symbolized by a broken bud. The snapped branch represents a life cut short... before they have had time to grow, bloom, and flourish. This symbol is almost exclusively used on the gravestones of young people. 

On an interesting note, from the research I've done on Find a Grave (which is a wonderful website that I highly recommend for anyone searching for grave/cemetery records), I've found a photo of young Emma's mother, Sarah:

(She is the one in black, sitting down)

Also, this gravestone has been lovingly cleaned and repaired by someone, whom I am assuming may be a descendant (who may have also left the flowers):

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Keifer Croco, the Croco House, and the Underground Railroad

Keifer Croco was a pretty fascinating man. He was a rural farmer, but he was also passionate about abolition. His home was a stop on the Underground Railroad, and he cared for many slaves on their journey to freedom (The Croco House is a private residence, so the actual place where he hid slaves isn't open to the public). A local mob who disagreed with his stance on slavery once assaulted him and crushed his skull. He survived and wore a gold plate in his head for the rest of his life. Pretty amazing man, right? Here are links to his Find A Grave page, as well as a photo of his home:

Keifer Croco's Find A Grave page: 

The Croco House: