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Photography

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.

Louis Ernest Mieusset (1881-1886)

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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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: John A. Green

Mausoleum for the Green family in Oakwood Cemetery, 940 Comstock Avenue, next to Syracuse University, in Syracuse, Onondaga County, New York. At least three generations of Greens are interred here, most prominently John A. Green, Jr. (1828-1872) and his wife Jane (1800-1889). John Green was a wholesale grocer and a brigadier general in the New York National Guard during the Civil War, tasked with defending the northern portion of the state (though he butted heads with Maj. Gen. John A. Dix, commander of the Department of the East). General Benjamin Butler mentioned him in his memoirs as a “confidential friend of the governor.” He was a founding member of the Onondaga Historical Association.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Daniel D. Bidwell

Brig. Gen. Daniel Davidson Bidwell (1819-1864) was born in Buffalo, New York and served in the state militia prior to the Civil War. He became colonel of the 49th New York Volunteer Infantry in August 1861. He fought at the head of his regiment in the Battle of Chancellorsville and was present at Gettysburg, although his unit wasn’t involved in the fighting. He took command of a brigade for U.S. Grant’s Overland Campaign, but he was not promoted to brigadier general until August 1864.

On October 19, 1864, a Confederate surprise attack initially routed Union forces at the Battle of Cedar Creek. Bidwell’s brigade was instrumental in slowing their attack and buying time for reinforcements. Bidwell himself was mortally wounded by an artillery shell and died on the field, asking the surgeon to “Tell them I died at my post doing my duty.” He is buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery, at 1411 Delaware Avenue in Buffalo, New York.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Mohawk Warrior

This bronze statue of a Mohawk brave reaching to take a drink of water from a spring sits in Lake George Battlefield Park in Warren County, New York. Sculptor Alexander Phimister Proctor completed the statue (which is also a working fountain) for Commissioner of Conservation for New York State George Pratt in 1921. It has sat beside this quiet woodland pond ever since. Lake George was the scene of several battles between the French, British, and their native allies. Mohawk Indians fought on both sides.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Most Venerable Cemeteries in New York

These majestic rural cemeteries are a who’s-who of New York State’s historic and influential personalities.

It’s not called “The Empire State” for no reason–New York is not only among the largest states in the U.S., it’s also among the most influential. Its citizens have made an outsized contribution to American history and culture, and today you can visit the final resting places of many of these historic and influential personalities.

Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York

Mount Hope Cemetery, at 1133 Mount Hope Avenue, in Rochester, New York, was founded in 1838 as a municipal rural cemetery on the hills overlooking the Genesee River. It sprawls over 196 acres adjacent to the University of Rochester. More than 350,000 former residents are interred there, including abolitionist Frederick Douglass, suffragette Susan B. Anthony, and city founder Nathaniel Rochester.

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Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: John Nill

Monument to John (1835-1919), Dora (1833-1905), and Amelia (1864-1941) Nill in Brookside Cemetery, at Watertown Center Loop and Brookside Drive, Watertown, Jefferson County, New York. John Nill was a German immigrant from Nehren, Kingdom of Wurtemberg. He was a baker and cigar manufacturer by trade, Freemason, and mayor of Watertown in 1888. The inscription on his monument reads:

Humanity is our creed. To do good is our religion. The world is our home.

Categories
Historic America Photography

Stories in Stone: Elam S. P. Clapp

Headstone for Lt. Elam S. P. Clapp (1842-1864) in Oakwood Cemetery, 50 101st Street, Troy, Rensselaer County, New York. Lt. Clapp led Company A, 125th NY Volunteer Infantry, in the 3rd Brigade, First Division, II Corps, Union Army of the Potomac, at the attack on the “Mule Shoe” on March 12, 1864 during the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House. Fighting there was some of the most desperate and bloody of the war. The regiment’s commander, Capt. E. P. Jones, was killed, and Lt. Clapp was mortally wounded. This 300-acre cemetery was established in 1848 and designed in rural style. It offers a beautiful view of the Hudson Valley and contains the remains of over 16,000 people, including Samuel “Uncle Sam” Wilson.