Cemetery art and architecture often takes my breath away.
And makes me wonder about the lives of the people who commissioned it.
One can only imagine the heartache felt by Sarah Hickling when her beloved husband William died.
William had referred to Sarah as his “darling girl”.
Apparently their togetherness didn’t end with William’s passing.
Sarah had stone chairs made to face the memorial she had erected in William’s honor.
She may have gazed at the nearby pond while visiting with her late husband on long summer afternoons.
One can only imagine.
The following names were listed under “deaths” on page 9 of the April 13, 1892 edition of the Chicago Daily News:
Bartholomew James Donahue
John D. Morrison
Mary E. O’Connor
See image in this post to read each obituary.
Much of this summer has been spent meandering in cemeteries near and far. When the weather is conducive to headstone photography, I enjoy walking along the rows of granite and stone to preserve what I can.
It may sound strange, but I often think of the names on each marker as part of a community. I get absorbed by the ethnicities and the ages and the epitaphs in each row of headstones.
My focus is on taking clear pictures of each marker. Most of the time I’m wondering about the lives lead by the people each marker represents.
Unless I notice activity nearby:
At which point I move a respectful distance from the family and friends who will be mourning the loss of their loved one.
And a part of me wonders how the new addition will be welcomed into the neighborhood.
Auntie died on this day in 1973. Six months later, her younger brother passed away.
Auntie and Unkie lived together nearly all of their lives. It was fitting that these siblings should remain together even after death.
Their headstone comes to mind every time another Find A Grave contributor asks me to link people as spouses.
We can not assume people were married based only on a shared headstone.
Click on the image below to enlarge.
Warning – you may feel your heart swell with love of our country and appreciation for the service men and women who make our freedoms possible.
Happy Independence Day.
Graveyards of Chicago; the People, History, Art, and Lore of Cook County Cemeteries is a wonderful resource for genealogists, local historians, and lovers of the arts and social sciences.
In her dedication of this gloriously revised and expanded book co-authored with Matt Hucke, Ursula Bielski writes in part, “…and all the neglected and forgotten dead.”
I was re-inspired by these and other phrases that summarized the need for cemetery preservation.
As individuals we may not be able to save an entire cemetery from demise. But we could do something.
We could each take just one headstone picture. Transcribe just one obituary. Remember just one family member.
We could all become advocates of the dead by adding a memorial to Find A Grave or another site that preserves our history.
We need to do this sooner than later.
turned into this
in just five years.
Go graving this weekend.
Prevent another headstone from fading away.