Sunday, October 4, 2009

Let's Go For a Walk......


Hubby and I have been on several Haunted Walking Tours - from a small mining town in Colorado to the big city of New Orleans. We have enjoyed them all, but I think my favorite ones were when we went to cemeteries. I do so enjoy looking at headstones and pondering the lives of the people who are buried there.

Our Walking Tour today is of no cemetery in particular but we will see numerous tombstones, some quite unique. And we might even learn something along the way. (OH NO! Learn something? I can already hear the gasp from the crowd ~ don't worry, it'll be painless!)


As common burial grounds became prevalent, confusion about who was buried where was quite common. Thus emerged the tombstone - a record of a person's burial plot with the date of birth and death inscribed on the stone.


When immigrants came to America, carving tombstones was the last thing on their minds. So simple wooden markers were used. But the settlers soon discovered that the harsh weather of the New World quickly erased any trace of their ancestors. Crude, thin stones became the norm. By the mid 1600s deposits of sandstone were discovered. Because of its soft qualities, sandstone was easy to carve and so it was quickly adopted for use in headstones. But its soft qualities were also a detriment - allowing it to succumb to erosion over time. Slate and later marble were used for headstones. Both of these are harder and have withstood the test of the elements.



Early grave markers had only the pertinent information about the deceased. But as tools advanced, carvings became more prevalent. By the mid 1600s, religious beliefs influenced the ornamentation carved into headstones. Footstones also made an appearance around this time. These small flat stones were used to mark the 'foot' of the grave. They would usually only bear the initials of the deceased.


Epitaphs on tombstones have been around since man has had a written language. It is a way of memorializing the deceased's life. In America, epitaphs did not become common until the mid 1600's. It soon became quite popular to have a poem, Bible verse, or Latin phrase inscribed on one's gravestone. But like any fad, it eventually died out with very few tombstones today sporting such a personal legacy.

For more information on Cemeteries and Tombstones, check out these sites:
Or this book, Tombstones of Your Ancestors by Louis S. Schafer


And please remember, when visiting any Cemetery be respectful. You never know who is watching!




39 comments:

Zan Asha said...

Ha! Really? Are all those REAL tombstones? I can't imagine, Jeanne! I'm sorry but I had to break out laughing at the Scrabble tombstone! Hope that wasn't tooooo disrespectful!

Tammy said...

Great post!

I too have a grave memorial up today! ;D

mrsb said...

Thanks for letting us visit!

If you are reading this post after visiting from Mrs.B.'s, leave the words "candy corn" on any 1 giveaway post for 1 extra entry!

Amanda said...

Wow! I love those tomb stones, if you could even call them that! I am totally setting money aside so that when I did I may be remembered lying naked on my grave!

Stopping over from Mrs. B's haunted tour!

Lavanah said...

stopping by from Mrs. B's. This is a wonderful post about cemetaries. I love visiting them, too. Even the plainest grave marking can tell you so much. And the elaborate ones are amazing!

Mother's Moon's Message said...

I love the photos of the gravestones you have... I would love to know where they are located... The sofa and coffee table are killer... just too funny... Love the post

Wendy Hawksley said...

These are some of the coolest tombstones I have ever seen! Thanks for sharing.

Walk in the Woods said...

OMG - great stones! I especially laughed at the Scrabble stone ... and sooooooooo have to share this with my :clears throat:: Scrabble Nemesis! (She's really among my oldest and dearest friends - and I KNOW she'll love it!)

Anna said...

I've never been on a haunted tour but my daughters and I love to go to local cemeteries to walk and take pictures so peaceful and you learn so much about those who passed.

Stuff On My Blog said...

Those are seriously tombstones?!? More like works of art, and yeah the scrabble one.. what a sense of humor that guy must have had!

Angela said...

I LOVE your tombstone pics. Seriously, I never seen any of those kinds around here. LOL I need to go to more cemetaries!

Sabrina@goddessaday.com said...

Coming in from Mrs. B. Love those tombstones, especially the couple lying together. If you have to be put in the ground to be eaten by worms, you can at least have something special and meaningful put above you!

Bathory said...

Great tombstones :D And really interesting post, learned something new and for that I'm thankful :)

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I've always planned to be cremated and scattered but your post is making me rethink that -- hmmm, what kind of weird or wacky tombstone could I come up with? I came here via Mrs. B but I like your blog so much I'm going to stay as a follower!

Diane said...

great post! thanks for having us!

Divaeva said...

Awesome! Great pictures! I love graveyards - but it always seems I forget my camera when visiting them!

Patty said...

Oh wow, what awesome toobstones, I LOVE old graveyards. They have been a fasination of mine for a long time. Where exactly did you take those photos? I would love to get there for a vist someday.
I am so glad Mrs. B. linked up to you, this is my first visit to your blog. I am adding you to my reads so I can come back by again. Please stop in to viist me, and be sure and check out my ghost hunting blog while your there (a haunting we will go)

Bridgett said...

This was awesome!

Very interesting history and the pictures...wow.

What creative grave stones!

)O(
boo

~Wendy~ said...

Wonderful! I have been a member of AGS for years! Thanks for having us all!
Wendy for The Gothic Tea Society

Linda said...

I LOVE those tombstones, but I have to admit to giggling. If I were going to be buried, I'd want one of the old "memento mori" style stones with a death's head and angel wings. Have to admit, though, the one that looked like a living room was fascinating...wonder if their kids come and sit on the "sofas"....

motheralice said...

Just bounced in for the first time! Love the shots, never seen anything quite like the giant lightbulb. Thanks!

Rue said...

Love those photos - wow, people are really inventive!

I've become a follower! Glad Mrs. B sent us this way!

Angie Mroczka said...

That was awesome! Had to show my husband too. He was amazed.

Did someone mention candy corn?

Ms Snarky Pants said...

Wow that scrabble one was really neat! What a sweet way to remember someone if they loved the game. I also loved the one of the couple cuddling in bed. So incredibly sweet and moving.

Betty aka Fudgie said...

I am visiting your blog (from "Yarni Gras"). It has peaked my couriosity,stimulated the senses! The photos are wonderful. I wonder who the two lovers are...Isn't imagination wonderful...

Krissy said...

Haha! Love the scrabble tombstone..and the electrician? haha!

ELLIE said...

great blog - love the pics

Anne Johnson said...

I just found out my town has a tombstone for someone who drowned on the Titanic. It's a normal stone compared to these awesome displays, but it does say "Lost at sea, U.S.S. Titanic."

As someone who does ancestor worship, I know all too well about stones that get eroded. Fun post!

sailorsheart said...

That was interesting, I never thought about how tombstones came about... I loved the pics too. Although the living room furniture one through me off big time!! Me: "Is that the wrong pic?!" lol

Anet said...

Amazing post!
I love walking in cemeteries.
Great Blog, I'm going to be a follower, thanks for the walk!
Happy Halloween!!!

Lyn said...

I love your article! I'm a bit of a cemetery addict and will spend ages photographing gravestones. Haven't come across anything as interesting as the ones your found though!

TMCPhoto said...

Those are some awesome tombstones. I hope that when I travel from this world my life is marked by something as unique!

AwtemNymf said...

I loved this post! Those are some gnarly tomb/head stones! WOW!
Next time you plan to travel to New Orleans- I'm a-comin' with ya! :O)

Robin said...

Oh my....those are some fabulous tombstones.

Thanks for sharing....and Happy October Blog party!

Have a beautiful day.

D.Suplicki said...

I love going on walking tours of cemeteries as well - the monuments are pretty incredible. I especially enjoyed your photo of the couple tombstone.. I've never seen anything like it

Jasmine said...

Visiting from Mrs. B.'s Blog.

Those tombstones are awesome! I love the one with the two lovers.

All Together Dead said...

How totally creative those are. Great post!

Suzie said...

Mrs. B sent us here to visit, and I'm SO happy that she did! I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to come back again. A lot!

Very interesting post! Thank you!!

Kitty said...

The first one is so beautiful!