Statue over the grave of Maj. Gen. Joseph Warren (1741-1775) in Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Joseph Warren was a physician, Free Mason, and Patriot who served as President of the Massachusetts Provincial Congress prior to the Revolutionary War. He dispatched Paul Revere and William Dawes to warn of the British approach, and he died fighting as a private soldier at the Battle of Bunker Hill.
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.
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.
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.
Stories in Stone: Sophia B. Stetson
Monument to Sophia B. Osborn Stetson (1819-1894), wife of Alpheus Micah Stetson (1820-1904), and their family in Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. Alpheus M. Stetson was a lumber and coal merchant. Sophia and Alpheus married in 1842. Designed by landscape architect Henry A. S. Dearborn and opened in 1848, Forest Hills Cemetery is a historic rural cemetery.
Whether it’s “Author’s Ridge” in Concord or the small church cemetery where a mysterious visitor leaves flowers for Poe on the anniversary of his death, the graves of literary heroes have long been popular destinations.
For aspiring authors, poets, and fans of literature, the grave sites of America’s famous writers have become pilgrimage sites. Devoted fans leave behind flowers, pens, pencils, and even their own writing as tokens of affection. As a writer myself, I find stops at the graves of famous writers an obligatory inclusion on my travels. Here are just some of them. Have you ever visited a famous author’s grave? Leave a comment with your story!
Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882) was a leader of the transcendentalist movement and champion of individualism (most well-articulated in his essay “Self-Reliance“). He was a prolific author and lecturer. It’s difficult to think of a writer who had greater impact on American intellectual life. He is buried in Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts on Author’s Ridge.
These historic rural cemeteries are a treasure-trove of art, architecture, and sculpture.
Not only are the New England states among the most progressive in America, they were also the birthplace of the rural cemetery movement. These cemeteries were designed by some of the most prominent landscape architects of their day to be parks as well as sanctuaries for the remains of loved ones. Wealthy citizens contributed millions to create beautiful funerary art and sculpture that you can still see today.
Mount Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts
Mount Auburn Cemetery, at 580 Mt Auburn Street in Cambridge, Massachusetts, was the country’s first rural cemetery. Designed by landscape architect Alexander Wadsworth, it opened in 1841 and quickly became one of the most visited destinations in the country. Rural cemeteries were laid out like gardens, with winding paths, ponds, and hills, and many, like Mount Auburn, also serve as arboretums. Mount Auburn was designated a National Historic Landmark in 2003. It is 200 acres and is the final resting place for approximately 70,000 people.
Stories in Stone: Before Their Time
Loving parents with means have often left behind lifelike statues dedicated to children taken before their time.
Death is always painful, but the death of a child is particularly tragic. While memories of their brief time on this earth are cherished, it is often the unfulfilled future we mourn the most. Whenever possible, their devoted parents have gone to great lengths to memorialize and preserve the memory of their dearly departed. The following are just seven of the most touching funerary sculptures I’ve seen on my travels.
Memorial to Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886), son of Louise Helluin Mieusset, who designed fashionable hats for Boston’s elites, in Forest Hills Cemetery, at 95 Forest Hills Avenue in Boston, Massachusetts. She paid for this hauntingly lifelike white marble statue of her son sitting in a boat with all his favorite toys with money she saved for his schooling, leaving her grief stricken and penniless in her old age. According to popular lore, Louis drowned in Jamaica Pond, but some researchers maintain he actually died of scarlet fever.
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