Friday, June 24, 2011

Gravestone rubbings for the new millennium.

When I was 11 years old living in Lexington, Mass., I went out and bought some rice paper and a big block crayon and got into doing gravestone rubbings.  For the life of me, I can’t remember what got me onto that hobby, but as you can imagine, there were some interesting gravestones there.

Yesterday I went up to the Heber City Cemetery with Paperback Writer and, with my digital camera, did some new-millennium gravestone rubbings.

Remember, clicking on any picture will give you the full sized version.

The backside of Mt. Timpanogos from the cemetery.  As you can see, it was a beautiful day.

I was fascinated by the number of stones that just had initials on them.  Here are a few.

Another thing that surprised me were the number of babies and very young children that died here right around the turn of the century.  This tombstone was even more unsettling because of what appears to be a dead dove on it.

This poor kid lived merely an hour.

This kid died the same day, but possible lived more than an hour.

This boy lived just over 2 years, but what was fascinating about this stone was that it appears to have been hand made by someone that was semi-literate.

To the best of our anthropological abilities, Writer and I deduced that this the mother of the above 2 year old.  We also made the assumption, since she died the year he was born, that she probably died giving birth to him.  Not a good couple years for Samuel Lee.

Another unexpected trend was tombstones with one word, no names, on them.  “HUSBAND”:



We couldn’t come to an agreement on how to pronounce this first name.

I know you’re not supposed to find humor in a cemetery, but I got a chuckle thinking about some poor kid explaining “My mother is Teenie.”

And I was surprised to find John Henry’s tombstone in Heber, Utah.

Writer was convinced this was the tombstone of Phillip Hyrum.  I still think he was Philli Phyrum.

Some of the interesting decorations included this hand holding a rose.

Pictures of the deceased, which is amazing for the early 1900’s.  We figured they must have been fairly wealthy.

This is a newer stone, but I still liked the scene on the back of it.

And a medallion at the foot of the tombstone.

Here are a couple of the more interesting epitaphs I saw.

This one had the top broken off it, and someone considerately placed it in a safe place.

Here’s the “Chess Pieces” that Writer mentioned in her post.

Preparing for a new tenant.

One of the two remaining corners of a fence around one gravesite.  It’s been there for a while, since the tree has grown around it.

And finally, we were glad to see that any ghosts hanging around were probably friendly.


A Paperback Writer Photos said...

You didn't TELL me you found the Teenie one!!! That's a family joke.
My grandmother had a friend named Teenie Duke -- possibly related to the one under that stone, but that one died too early to be the same person -- and every time we'd take Grandma up to visit Heber, she'd make us drive around so she could tell us where everyone used to live. Now, my brother and our three cousins were all trapped in the back seat of the car, squirming and dying for freedom. And, once, when Grandma got talking about Teenie, one of the boys blurted out, "Who the h--- is Teenie Duke?"
That's now a standby phrase in the family for anytime one of us drives up to Heber.
I'll have to tell Mom you've got Teenie in your post. :)

Another tale from Mom: she said to tell you that there are lots of babies without headstones at all buried in the family plots in the old part of the cemetery. In fact, my mom has a would-be older brother, a child strangled at birth by the umbilical cord, buried in an unmarked spot of ground near the grave of my great grandmother -- the one I couldn't find while we were hunting. Apparently, not everyone thought it was necessary to mark the grave of a child that died either without having lived at all or so soon that it didn't even have a name. (This is quite different from today, when there are Mormon women who actually have birthday parties and other celebrations for fetuses that were miscarried long before birth. Personally, I think the older tradition makes more sense.) Anyway, some of those graves with just initials, particularly the ones with the tiny stones, might be babies without names, merely marked with a parent's initial. However, you know that sandstone one marked T T is for Tabby Tom, the chief, because it had a big historical marker on it.

I particularly like your shot of the mountains. Very nice.

Max said...

I was probably off wandering around on my own when I found the Teenie marker. Thanks for the story to go with it.
Birthday parties for miscarriages? Ok, that's a little bizarre. Like continuing to have birthday celebrations for deceased grandparents and parents. Strange.

Alexia said...

I found this a really interesting post, Max - I used to love wandering around cemeteries when I was younger, but after a bad scare (of the earthly, not ghostly, kind) I haven't been near one for years.
They can be very peaceful places, of course - it looks like this one was.

Karen S. said...

It's a lot of fun wandering around reading bits and pieces of people and their a child I didn't even want to drive by a cemetery! Were you in the boy scouts Max, we took our girls (Girl Scouts)around an old cemetery with crayons and paper to get markings off some very old tombstones...very interesting stuff! Great photos and very cool teenie (Writer) story too! Thanks!

A Paperback Writer Photos said...

Now I want to hear Alexia's scare-in-the-graveyard story!!

And, Max, I think having parties for deceased grandparents and such makes somewhat more sense than having them for miscarried fetuses. After all, at least the grandparents were once here to have their own parties.

Max said...

Alexia - It was a really peaceful one, until the backhoe started digging the hole. But even then it didn't seem out of place or annoying.
Karen - I've never been really bugged by cemeteries, a fellow teacher and I still make annual Halloween visits to the Salt Lake City Cemetery (link). I was in the scouts for a whole 2 weeks, but I did have friends in the scouts, maybe that's where I got the idea.
Writer - Yeah. You got me curious about the graveyard sotry now too.