Agness Dickson Tombstone, Robinson Run Cemetery

in memory of
Agnesſ Dickson
Who died feb. the 11th A.D.
1799 in the 21ſt year of her

If this stone was cut when Agness Dickson died in 1799, then it is one of the oldest legible grave markers in the Pittsburgh area. Father Pitt is not sure that it was not put up later, however; it could have been cut at the same time as her parents’ stone in 1817.

Robinson Run Cemetery is a fairly large cemetery near McDonald. It includes a fourteen-acre burying ground that obviously goes back to the 1700s, and many interesting tombstones may be seen there.

The work of this stonecutter is distinctly recognizable, and he has left a few other stones in the same graveyard. His most distinctive quirk is his habit of making a lower-case G like a curly number 3. Following our usual custom, therefore, we shall call him the Master of the Curly G.

On this stone he has made use of the long S twice, and in both cases he gets it wrong. He uses it for the second member of the double S in “Agness,” when it should be the first; and he uses it in the ordinal “21st,” but makes it shorter than the T following (it should be longer, since the long S should have the same dimensions as a lower-case F).

Note the spelling “Agness,” by the way, which seems to have been the usual spelling of that name among the early settlers of western Pennsylvania.

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