Tag: Folk Art

  • Maria Boertzler Monument, First Congregational Church of Etna Cemetery

    Maria Boertzler monument

    A beautiful work by a German craftsman. Father Pitt is not an expert in German, but the inscription seems to be in Franconian:

    Hier ruht
    die Gattin von
    gb. Maria Wunderlin
    Gebor. 1 Marz 1829
    Gest. 28 August 1875

    Ein freues Weib und
    eine wahre Mutter
    warst Du und das sagt
    Alles! Alles!

    Anyone with a better knowledge of German dialects is invited to submit a better translation, but here is old Pa Pitt’s attempt:

    Here lies
    the wife of
    Johann H. Boertzler
    Born March 1, 1829
    Died August 28, 1875

    A joyful wife and
    a true mother
    were you, and so says
    everybody! Everybody!

    See the transcribed inscription above
  • Letitia Lee Tombstone, First Congregational Church of Etna Cemetery

    …the Memory  
Letitia Lee  
Consort of Joseph Lee  
Who departed this life  
July —th A. D. 1871  
Aged — years 10 mths  
— days

    This is a very unusual tombstone, handmade by a folk artist of some skill, the way the early settlers’ tombstones were made, but as late as 1871. Almost all English-speaking craftsmen were put out of business by the mechanized monument industry in the 1840s, but in German-speaking communities local craftsmen continued to work until the early twentieth century, and that is our explanation. The church that owned this cemetery was originally a German church, and other handmade tombstones in the cemetery are in German; here an English-speaking family must have hired a German craftsman.

    The inscription is mostly legible, but Father Pitt was unable to interpret some of the numbers:

    …the Memory
    Letitia Lee
    Consort of Joseph Lee
    Who departed this life
    July —th A. D. 1871
    Aged — years 10 mths
    — days

    Note the term “consort,” already well out of fashion, but the usual term for “wife” on tombstones of the late 1700s and early 1800s. Mr. Lee or his stonecutter had very old-fashioned tastes.

  • Amelia Huls Tombstone, Bethel Cemetery

    Amelia Huls

    An easily identified work of the Master of the Robinson Run Reliefs, whose trademarks are all present:

    • thistle decoration flanked by flowers
    • fan patterns in the corners
    • curled tail on the top of the lower-case g in age
    • “IN” in all capitals, “memory of” in all lower case, name in all upper case.

    Interestingly, there is a Henry Huls buried in the Peters Creek Baptist Church Cemetery, whose tombstone is also by the Master of the Robinson Run Reliefs. We therefore know of at least three cemeteries in which this fine craftsman worked.

    The inscription:
    memory of
    who departed this life
    April 16th 1836 in the
    49 year of her age

    This picture was taken in 2015.
  • Marian Fabiszewski Tombstone, St. Anne Parish Cemetery

    Marian Fabiszwski

    This is almost the archetype of the Slavic tombstone, with a fine folk-art crucifix to decorate it. With the help of Google, Wiktionary, and other Internet resources, we translate the Polish inscription thus:

    DIED MARCH 14, 1924.

    Say a Hail Mary for Me

  • Robert Long Tombstone, Bethel Cemetery

    Who departed this life
    August 1st 1832 aged 60
    Go home dear friends
    And cease from tears.
    Here I must lie
    Till Christ appears.

    W. Savage, Sculptor, Williamsport.

    We have seen another pair of tombstones in a similar style in the Bethany Cemetery near Bridgeville: the tombstones of Billingsley Morgan and his (illegible) wife, which were signed by H. Savage. Was H. Savage a brother or other relative of W. Savage? And if “Williamsport” means the only Williamsport Father Pitt knows of in Pennsylvania, then this stone was hauled across the mountains, which must have been quite expensive. Perhaps there was no one in the immediate area who could carve a stone of this quality in 1832—for it certainly is a splendid piece of folk art, well worth the trouble of hauling in from Williamsport. —Update: “Williamsport” was the former name of Monongahela, which is considerably closer than the Williamsport in central Pennsylvania.