Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tram Ride at Spring Grove

What a lovely (though bouncy) way to tie together all the information that we have been gathering and sharing. I liked being able to tie in my original sections from Walkabout 1 with the rest of the landscape. I was all over Spring Grove for Woody Plant Materials 1 class last fall, but that was strictly on foot (3 hours up hill and down dale every week) and there was very little time to look at anything but "woody plants". It was fun to see parts that I never new existed.

Seeing the different "sub-divisions" of the cemetery, with different "zoning rules" was fascinating - gives lots of choices for how one wishes to be interred. Different feel to each area. Some of it attractive to me, some of it not. I liked this "family grouping" idea with the central floral. Very different than the old Pioneer Cemetery that I visited in Lebanon (see previous blog).

Local Cemetery Visit

Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery [Baptist-Methodist Cemetery]

The cemetery known as the Lebanon Pioneer Cemetery is on a slightly rolling single Lebanon city block bounded by Mulberry Street to the north, Main Street to the south, South Harrison Street to the east, and West Street to the west. It is completely surrounded by a black painted, wrought iron fence. The fence is intact and in fairly good repair. Two breaks in the fence are held together with tee posts, so the only access is through the two gates – one to S. Harrison and one to Mulberry. Both gates are propped open just wide enough to permit pedestrian entry. The site is evenly, but not shortly mowed.

Headstones tend to be plain, upright stones, many with stylized tops. There are a few obelisks, but they are not ostentatious. They are arranged in rows. All of the carving that I could see on the stones faces west. A number of stones have eroded so much that there is no carving visible. I noted two broken stones: one with the parts carefully propped together; one repaired, but illegible.
I was surprised by the number of stones with carved sayings and scriptures – little eulogies. The weeping willow is a very common symbol, especially on the Baptist stones.

There are few trees, shrubs, or plantings and those that are there seem well cared for – not a lot of pruning needed. The whole cemetery is “tidy”. It does not feel unfriendly, just quiet, plain, and lonely. It does not feel visited. I could find no 20th century burials, but I didn’t examine every stone, just most of them.
The old Baptist Cemetery and the old Methodist Cemetery share this space. There is no obvious east to west dividing line except on an 1850 map on the wall of Warren County Historical Society’s library. But there is a kind of “no-man’s land” from south-east to north-west where there are no burials. Good Christians all, but no mixing, even after death?

The Presbyterians had a cemetery in the block just to the west of the pioneer cemetery, which no longer exists. Sometime in the late 1960’s or early 1970’s, the lot was sold. A car dealership now sits on that site. At this time, I am not sure where the Presbyterians were moved to.

According to the Beers’ The History of Warren County, published in 1882 (over 1000 pages of history), ca. 1822 the Baptists removed their church from the east to the west of Lebanon, using the churchyard as a burying-ground. And the Methodist Graveyard was in use no earlier that 1820. The “new” Lebanon cemetery, which is only a couple of blocks away from the old burying-ground, was established with the organization of the Lebanon Cemetery Association in 1850. The new cemetery, that I drove passed on my way to the old cemetery, has attractive plantings, a variety of monument styles, paved roadways and looks used and visited. And anyone can be buried there, with no church affiliation required. The new cemetery is reminiscent of a garden that just happens to have headstones as hardscape.

I have an appointment tomorrow to speak with our local Lebanon historian, John Zimkus. So I hope to have more insight into the background of the cemetery. The first settler of what became Lebanon is buried here with his family. There are a lot of names on stones here that are still common in Warren County. They really do know "where all the bodies are buried."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Monument from two surviving brothers

“This monument was
erected by the two
surviving brothers
of the two who sleep beneath:
March 1853.”

T. (Timothy) C. and A. M. Day erected a much-decorated monument in honor of their older and younger brothers, Albert G. Day and E. (Elias) Harvey Day, respectively. Members of the extended Day family are buried in the same section of Spring Grove, seventeen total interments, but only these first two of Elias and Sara Day’s children to die have a grand edifice in their honor. This monument seems to be a sign of brothers’ love. Both Albert G., a printer by trade, and E. Harvey, a confectioner, were born, lived, worked and died in Cincinnati. Both men were bachelors and apparently had no children. The two middle brothers, T.C. and A.M., married and had their own families. Their parents, Elias and Sara, were still living when Albert G. and E. Harvey died. Was that a part of the reason for the monument? To honor the parents?
I am still researching and sorting the family tree. There are 17 extended family members buried in Section 45 of Spring Grove Cemetery. More later....
This is the Day family tree derived from Spring Grove records - there are 5 generations represented 17 burials that are recorded. Where is everyone else?

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

1st Spring Grove Walkabout Photos

2nd walk around Spring Grove

I find it very interesting that groups of people worked together, socialized together, and then were buried together - all within their "community".
I returned to Spring Grove after class for some daytime photos. I needed clarification of a couple of shots taken during class. The mood is less gloomy in sections 45 and 46, but their mood is still not cheerful, but they project a peaceful mood in the light of midday.
A number of people were walking, running, bicycling, as well as a few parked by sections and looking as graves markers. Overall, a pleasant midday destination.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Recent & old grave markers

The image to the left is of a small marker nearly hidden under the branches of a large spruce. The marker is small, upright, so weathered that the text is not readable, and has the carving of a dove in the center. [2 July 09]

This image is the most recent interment that I found in Sections 45 & 46 during 1st walkabout for class. The next most recent one I found was in the 1960's.
Most of these families seem to have died out or are burying their dead elsewhere. [2 July 09]

Questions from 1st Walkabout in Sections 45 & 46

Sections 45 & 46

There is an attitude of weeping/sorrow expressed by the drooping nature of the (mature) trees and shrubs.
1. Was this the intention of the landscape builders as part of the plan or is it unintended?
2. Is this attitude continued and maintained today?
3. As the trees mature, especially evergreens, their branching spreads over some of the grave markers, is there any attempt to keep the markers visible in current day?
4. Or, as the deceased may have no family left, are their markers disappearing into the undergrowth?
There is a difference in weathering of markers for similar burial dates and in the weathering to carved figures.
5. What results in this difference?
6. What materials are used for the monuments in these sections?
7. Are there local stonecutters/masons who created these monuments?
8. Who were these workmen, regardless if they were local or from out of the region?
9. Was this a sideline or their main business? (there is a lot of stone used in the building of Cincinnati)
10. What was the going rate for carving a grave marker? By number of characters?
There is a difference between family monuments with their outlying headstones/grave markers and very plain, small headstones/grave markers without an associated monument.
11. Is there an economic or social or class level that felt obligated to place monuments to the family?
12. What would be the cost of these monuments in relation to today’s dollars?
13. Are these usually markers of the grave and not just a memorial?
14. The pyramid lists persons who died abroad. Were their bodies shipped back to Cincinnati to be interred in Spring Grove?
There are a number of persons who died at what we today consider a young age, those in their thirties and forties.
15. Were there an appreciable number who died from what we now consider to be minor, easily treatable diseases/conditions?
16. What were the causes of death?
17. How did they change based on demographics? If you were lower socio-economic level and could not afford a doctor, were you more likely to die from conditions that were
At least one family grouping has only names and no dates. And there are other individual stones with no dates.
18. What is the reason for this?
19. Was it less expensive?
20. Did the living family members decide that just listing the name had enough meaning?
The roads have a meandering pattern, especially in the longer developed sections.
21. Is this pattern based on a master plan for the entire site?
22. In the undeveloped area to the north, does the management plan to continue this pattern?
The new sections around the funeral home have a more open, modern feel.
23. Is this intended? (It is very similar in feel to Gate of Heaven to the north of town)
24. What effect do styles or fashions in cemetery layout and planting have on the future development of Spring Grove?
25. In planting trees for the future, what is the overall atmosphere that the developers want to portray as these trees grow and reach maturity?