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Mount Moriah Cemetery in Philadelphia has some new friends. The Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, a 501(c)(3) organization, are taking up where the now defunct Mount Moriah Cemetery Association left off in 2011.
In an article published yesterday by Only Your State, some of the history of Mount Moriah Cemetery, established in 1855, talks about some of the notable people buried there.
Image credit: Flickr/pwbaker
Although many of the photos of Mount Moriah are heartbreaking, it's great to know that a group of folks passionate about preservation of this historic cemetery are working hard to restore it to its former glory.
The dead, the dead, the dead -- our dead -- or South or North, ours all -- our young men once so handsome and so joyous, taken from us -- the son from the mother, the husband from the wife, the dear friend from the dear friend...And everywhere among these countless graves we see, and ages yet may see, on monuments and gravestones, singly or in masses, to thousands or tens of thousands, the significant word Unknown. ~ Walt Whitman, 1865
This is a PBS video that aired on American Experience.
If you've ever wondered how the National Cemetery system started, this is the film to watch.
Leading to the arrest and conviction of the vandals who damaged - and we say destroyed - monuments at Mount Holly Cemetery.
On 20 Apr 2016, a person or persons caused approximately $290,000 in damage to several monuments at Mount Holly. The sexton found the damage when he arrived at work.
It is our opinion that the Basham monuments were destroyed.
Photo from Arkansas Democrat- Gazette, 21 Apr 2016.
Basham monuments before vandalism.
The small statues were likenesses of the Basham daughters, Martha - who died at the age of 5 - and Pearl, who was 6 when she died. Carved from Carrara marble in Italy, Mrs. Basham felt one of the monuments did not look enough like her daughter, and so it was sent back to Italy to be re-carved. Those monuments are priceless.
The mourner statue keeping watch over the parents' graves was knocked off its base and broken into three pieces.
Other monuments were also desecrated, and the flagpole damaged, with the American and Arkansas flags shredded.
If you have information about the identity of the person or persons responsible for these despicable acts, there is a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Mount Holly Cemetery is the final resting place for eleven Arkansas governors, thirteen state Supreme Court Justices, four United States senators, four Confederate generals, and twenty-one Little Rock mayors.
And one Cherokee Indian. Her name was Quatie. She was the wife of Chief John Ross. Both were of mixed Cherokee and Scottish ancestry, and both had Cherokee mothers. Quatie's English name was Elizabeth. Chief John Ross' Cherokee name was Guwisguwi.
How Quatie died has been the subject of rumor and speculation, with the most popular story being that she became ill with pneumonia after giving a child her blanket. When and where she died is undisputed, and is documented in a 6 Feb 1839 article in the Arkansas Gazette. How she came to be near Little Rock at the time of her death is part of the story of the forced removal of the Cherokee and other American Indian tribes from their ancestral homelands by white settlers for whom no amount of wealth and power was ever enough. The Cherokee called their forced march The Trail of Tears.
Quatie and her husband were the owners of several hundred acres of rich farmland in Georgia and Tennessee. When gold was discovered in Georgia in 1829 on Cherokee lands, the rush was on.
And the Indians had to go. The white settlers who had squatted on Cherokee land illegally, and the gold miners dreaming of fortune didn't care how or where the Indians went.
The Cherokee held out against President Andrew Jackson's 1830 Removal Act for eight years, continuing to live and work as they had always done. Across the Cherokee Nation in the spring of 1838, Cherokee farmers continued to till the soil for planting corn and beans. The deadline for their leaving passed. Military troops descended, rounding up nearly 16,000 Cherokee men, women and children. Many were taken away wearing only the clothes on their backs, carrying whatever they could grab.
The captives were imprisoned in military stockades while the government organized the marches. Chief Guwisguwi and Quatie, escorting 231 Cherokee elders and children, began their journey west on 5 Dec 1838, aboard Chief Guwisguwi's steamship, the Victoria. The Arkansas Gazette reported that on 1 Feb 1839, Quatie had died of smallpox, shortly before the Victoria's arrival in Little Rock.
Originally, Quatie was buried in the Little Rock city cemetery, located on the site of of the present-day Federal Building at Capitol Avenue and Gaines Street. In 1843, a group of Little Rock businessmen, including Albert Pike, successfully dedicated a new cemetery, Mount Holly, on land deeded by two leading citizens, Chester Ashley and Roswell Beebe, to the city of Little Rock.
Quatie's remains were reinterred in Mount Holly, on Albert Pike's lot. By the 1930s, her original grave marker was thought to be lost. However, in recent conversation with Mount Holly's sexton, we learned that a broken portion of her original marker had been found partially buried in a corner of Mount Holly several years ago, and a replica created.
Note the simulated crack in the reproduction. It was the right half of the marker that was found.
In 1935, the General George Izard Chapter of the United States Daughters of 1812 placed a replacement headstone to mark Quatie’s final resting place.
In 2001, the Cherokee Nation also marked Quatie's final resting place with a marker noting her induction into the Continental Society Daughters of Indian Wars.
As can be seen from the middle photo above, visitors to Quatie's grave often leave tokens for her - crystals and other stones, and sometimes coins. Perhaps these are signs that we have learned from the past, and are sorrowful for the tragic event that was known to the Cherokee as The Trail of Tears.
In any event, one can hope.
For many years, historians and genealogists have said that death of children did not evoke the same feelings in parents of the 19th and early 20th centuries that it does in parents of today.
The thought was that there were so many children born that parents realized there would be a certain level of infant and child mortality. That's just the way it was. They didn't look at their children like we do ours.
Thankfully, that line of thinking is changing.
Because all you have to do is go to a cemetery with children's graves of that time, and look at the gravestones.
Photos in our newest video came from the following Arkansas cemeteries:
Carter Cemetery, White County
Crooked Bayou Cemetery, McGehee, Desha County
Crossroads Cemetery, Appleton, Pope County
Ford Cemetery, Pope County
Golden Cemetery, Clark County
McCarley Cemetery, Pope County
Mount Holly Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Oak Grove Cemetery, Des Arc, Prairie County
Oak Grove Cemetery, Morrilton, Conway County
Oakland & Fraternal Historic Cemetery Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Pilgrim Rest Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Pinecrest Memorial Park, Little Rock, Pulaski County
Rose Hill Cemetery, Arkadelphia, Clark County
St. Joe Cemetery, outside Atkins, Pope County
St. Scholastica Cemetery, New Blaine, Logan County
Although we now recognize stone carvers - now called memorial masons or monumental masons - as master craftsmen and artisans today, the business of stone carving did not start as an art form. In the New England portion of the United States, the earliest carvings were rudimentary at best, and any motifs carved into stones were often designed to frighten the viewer into leading a pious life. As stone carving evolved into an art form, bricklayers and masons began to take up the trade as a way to make extra money. Stoneworks companies began to form, and in the United States, Vermont became known as the source for marble. Many stones and monuments that were carved and cut in Vermont were done by Scottish and Italian immigrants, with Italian stone carvers becoming known for their skill at fine carving.
Stone carving as an art form peaked during the last half of the 19th century. The perils of stone carving as an occupation caused the death of many carvers, often from a form of tuberculosis caused by inhaling marble dust. Not only the carvers, but also many members of their families were affected by the toxic effects on the respiratory system of inhaled marble dust. Even today, workers and residents living in areas adjacent to stone quarries are prone to a disease called silicosis, whereby inhaled marble dust damages the cells of the respiratory system. Symptoms include a chronic cough and shortness of breath. There is no treatment that can reverse the damage to the lungs.
We have seen the work of the following stone carvers in historic cemeteries in Arkansas.
James L Tunnah
James Tunnah was born in Dumfernline, Fifeshire, Scotland, on March 21, 1817, immigrating to the United States in his early 30s. According to Goodspeed's History of Pulaski County, Arkansas (1889), in the “spring of 1849, with Joseph Clark, his companion from Scotland, Tunnah arrived at Little Rock. Both of them were marble and stone cutters, and were the first to establish the marble business in Little Rock, which they carried on under the firm name of Joseph Clark & Co.,” until the death of Clark in 1852. Tunnah then assumed full control of the business (and married Clark’s widow). Tunnah's son Renton (born in 1864), whom James was training in his craft, became his partner in the business in 1882, prior to James Tunnah's death.
Rather than bas relief carving for which many carvers were known, James Tunnah's style was notable for deeply incised carving on his stones. He worked primarily in marble.
James Tunnah died on 9 Oct 1882, and is buried at Mount Holly Cemetery. Renton Tunnah's son, Renton Tunnah, Jr., is buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Little Rock, and carried on the trade of his father and grandfather in the company called Little Rock Marble Works.
William L Funston
Although not a lot is known about how he learned his trade, William L. Funston, another Little Rock stone carver, was in Little Rock with his own stone cutting business by 1881. The company was listed in the 1881 Little Rock City Directory as Little Rock Marble Works on Main Street. Soon after setting up shop in Little Rock, he opened a larger marble yard in conjunction with the Main Street yard at 400 Markham Street and by 1895, had a mill at 1100 to 1124 East 2nd Street.
Funston worked in both marble and limestone. His work is almost always bas-relief with few examples of sunken relief or high relief. In the early 1900s, Funston's stylized Gothic letterings and slightly incised vine decorations were his most common iconography. Sometime around or after 1902, Funston lost control of the company to his son William P. Funston - apparently as the result of an acrimonious divorce. In the 1902 Little Rock City Directory, he was shown as the manager of the W L Funston Co. at 613-615 Main Street, and additionally had a steam mill at East 9th and C Streets. The 1907 City Directory for McAlester, OK shows him as a marble cutter for Bennett, Urmston and Co. By 1910, Funston was living in Fort Smith. He then relocated to Ada, OK, where he continued stone carving, although he never owned his own company again.
William L Funston variously signed his work "W.L. Funston, Little Rock," "Funston, Little Rock," or "W L Funston, L Rock." He died in 1931 in Ada, OK, and is buried in Rosedale Cemetery. Ironically, his grave has no monument.
R. L. Rosebrough Sons
Found in several historic Arkansas cemeteries, the stonework of Richard L Rosebrough and his sons was commissioned by Arkansans with the money to afford this notable stone carver from St. Louis. The company still exists today, and is known as the Rosebrough Monument Company. Their stones are signed either "Rosebrough Sons, St. Louis" or simply "Rosebrough, St. Louis."
The Industries of St. Louis (1887) includes a drawing of the monolithic building that housed the marble and stone works in St. Louis, encompassing six city blocks. Originally established in 1858 by Richard L Rosebrough, ownership of the company passed to his son, J W Rosebrough, after Richard Rosebrough’s death in 1866.
Monahan & Steinert - Ed Monahan, R C Steinert
Ed Monahan was listed in the 1881 Little Rock City Directory as a stone cutter. In 1886, he was listed in the Little Rock City Directory as a marble cutter for W L Funston. City directories show that Monahan’s employment with Funston as a marble cutter continued at least through 1895. In the 1897 Little Rock City Directory, Monahan was listed as one of the partners in the stone cutting company of Monahan & Viquesney. Monahan & Viquesney - Ed Monahan and J A Viquesney - marble and granite workers, were in business at 401 West Markham from 1899 through 1902.
By 1903, Richard Carl Steinert appeared as a stone cutter in Little Rock, and J A Viquesney was no longer found in the Little Rock City Directory. Ed Monahan and R C Steinert had a stone cutting business at 412 West Markham in the listings of the 1903 Little Rock City Directory.
Apparently having problems with knock-offs of their work, Monahan and Steinert published this almost full page advertisement in the 1913 Souvenir Yearbook and Parish Guide of the Catholic Church of St. John the Baptist ... Hot Springs, Arkansas.
Ed Monahan, R C Steinert
The largest and most complete stock in the state to select from
Monahan & Steinert
AND ALL KINDS OF TOMBSTONES
Phones-Old, 2565-NEW, 784 LITTLE ROCK, ARKANSAS
DEMAND THE GENUINE
THE Fine Art Production of the Daprato Statuary Company-
are being imitated— and their reputation is being cheapened
by substitution. Orders are being solicited for our Statuary and
inferior works furnished in their stead. Even the catalogue of this
house, in its general style and arrangement, has been copied, and
its contents plagiarized. We give this information so that our pa-
trons may guard themselves against deception.
LOOK FOR OUR NAME ON EVERY STATUE YOU BUY IT IS
YOUR PROTECTION. IT IS PROOF OF THE GENUINE.
Our full name on any statue is a guarantee of quality
In cemeteries across Arkansas and neighboring states - particularly the older cemeteries - we find faces. Sometimes they are the likeness of the loved one who passed on carved into the stone. Sometimes they are the faces of the eternal mourner, keeping a silent and continuous vigil over the grave. In other cases, they are actual photographs of the person in the grave, mounted to the gravestone.
And although there is always an appreciation for the skill needed to carve hands placed over on another or clasped in prayer, it is the faces that move us the most. The painstaking care used to deeply incise facial features, down to individual hairs in eyebrows, beards, and moustaches reflects the skill and talent of master craftsmen.
We often wonder about those faces. In the cases where the likeness of the departed one is carved into - or out of - the stone, we wonder if the stone was carved before or after death. Did the stone carver meet his subject, or was he working from a photo?
Calvary Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski County
The face of the eternal mourner standing watch over the grave...was this face modeled after a family member? Or was it a face known only to the stone carver, and remembered by him for a special special reason?
Mount Holly Cemetery, Little Rock, Pulaski County
There are many faces of Jesus. Were these faces inspired by individual passion in each stone carver?
Pinecrest Memorial Park, Alexander, Saline County St. Ignatius Cemetery, Scranton, Logan County
We hope you'll enjoy our latest video, Faces in Stone.
Musing about Stories in Stone