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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Andrew Alexander

Monument to Brig. Gen. Andrew Jonathan Alexander (1833-1887) in Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York. Alexander was a staff officer and Union cavalry commander during the American Civil War, rising from the rank of captain to brevet brigadier general. He was born in Kentucky, but his mother emancipated their slaves. He fought in several battles, including Fredericksburg, Aldie, Upperville, and Atlanta on his horse named “Black Sluggard”. After the war, he continued his military service and reached the rank of lieutenant colonel.

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Photography

Stories in Stone: George L. Randidge

Monument to George L. Randidge (1820-1890), his wife Caroline R. (unk-1895) and their family in Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. This bronze neoclassical sculpture entitled “Grief” sits atop their mausoleum and was designed by sculptor Adolph Robert Kraus. The inverted torch symbolizes life extinguished. George L. Randidge was a merchant tailor. Designed by landscape architect Henry A. S. Dearborn and opened in 1848, Forest Hills Cemetery is a historic rural cemetery.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Erasmus D. Keyes

Monument to Maj. Gen. Erasmus Darwin Keyes (1810–1895) in West Point Cemetery, 329 Washington Road, United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. New Englander Erasmus D. Keyes led a brigade at the First Battle of Bull Run, then the Union Army of the Potomac’s IV Corps during the Peninsula Campaign. Despite having a regular Army background, his lackluster performance led to reassignment and eventual removal from command. He resigned his commission in May 1864. Later in life, he became a successful businessman in San Francisco.

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Photography

Stories in Stone: Figures Behind Glass

White marble statues preserved behind glass are a unique find in any cemetery excursion.

Funerary art and sculpture is some of the most difficult to preserve. Often outside and exposed to the elements, time takes a toll on even the highest quality pieces. Thieves and vandals are also an unfortunately reality, leading some to encase memorials to their loved ones behind thick glass, hoping to preserve their memory for eternity. There’s something eerie about these serene sculptures frozen in time. Here are just a few I have seen on my travels.

Emily A. Woodruff Keep-Schley (1827-1900)

Lovely white marble statue for Emily A. Woodruff Keep-Schley (1827-1900) in Brookside Cemetery, Watertown, Jefferson County, New York. Emily’s first husband was Henry Keep (1818–1869), one-time president of the New York Central Railroad and then the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad. Her second husband, William Schley (1823–1882), was a judge and lawyer.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Louis Schwitzer

Detail on the door of a neoclassical mausoleum for Louis Schwitzer (1880-1967) and Sophie Rampp Schwitzer (1889-1935) at Crown Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery, 700 38th Street in Indianapolis, Indiana. Louis Schwitzer was born in an area of Poland then part of the Astro-Hungarian Empire, where he earned master’s degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering. He immigrated to the United States and went on to found the Schwitzer Corporation in Indianapolis. He was an engineer, not a race car driver, but he did win the first race held at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

Sophie Rampp Schwitzer (1889-1935)
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Photography

Stories in Stone: William C. Skinner

Monument to Florence C. Roberts Skinner (1857-1904) and William C. Skinner (1855–1922) and their family in Cedar Hill Cemetery, 453 Fairfield Avenue in Hartford, Connecticut. William C. Skinner was vice president and then president of Colt’s Manufacturing Company from 1909-1911 and 1916-1921.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: William H. Seward

Monument to U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward (1801-1872), his wife Frances Adeline Miller (1805-1865), and their family in Fort Hill Cemetery, 19 Fort Street in Auburn, Cayuga County, New York. William H. Seward was governor of New York and a U.S. senator before rising to become among the most influential secretaries of state in American history, serving from 1861 to 1869 under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. He was instrumental in preventing European powers from recognizing the Confederacy during the Civil War and was attacked in the same assassination plot that killed Lincoln (though Seward survived).