Monday, January 14, 2013

102nd Ohio Volunteer Infantry

Alfred Painter enlisted with them in August of 1862, and was discharged on disability in January of 1863. I can't help but assume that his injuries played some role in his premature death, although I do not know for sure. On the same day this young man died, we also lost President Abraham Lincoln. Quite a coincidence! 

Many members of the 102nd OVI perished in the disastrous explosion of the SS Sultana (which occurred after this young man had been discharged). It is considered the greatest maritime disaster in U.S. history, the Titanic of the Mississippi River, if you will. This link provides a great deal of information on the disaster:

The artwork on the back of the gravestone is intriguing. It looks as though it is a dove or eagle with an American flag in its beak. Depending on which sort of bird this is, the carving can be interpreted quite differently. The eagle is an obvious symbol of our liberty and power as a country, while the dove is a bringer of peace and calm. 

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Zinc (White Bronze) Gravestones

Zinc gravestones are quite interesting. They are characterized by their bluish color and state of impeccable preservation. I was amazed when I saw this stone in person because it is so flawless and over 140 years old! All zinc gravestones came from the same company in Connecticut, and were made from about 1870 to 1912 (when the company stopped producing them). Each stone was created individually for the person who ordered it, with a variety of personalizations available. 

It is touching to think that this stone was designed by the loved ones of this deceased person. The sheaf of wheat shows that the individual lived a long and full life. Wheat can also be symbolic of God because wheat nourishes and sustains so many people. Daisies are plentiful and can grow just about anywhere, so they often stand for the love of the Virgin Mary. This gentleman must have been loved and missed by his family, as the quote on his gravestone would suggest.