A rusty and unmarked but elaborately filigreed cross marks somebody’s grave in St. Mary’s Cemetery.
Two of these mass-produced iron crucifixes from the 1880s can be found in St. Peter’s Cemetery [Correction: After another walk through the cemetery, we have found at least four]. Their weakness as monuments is that the individualized letters fall off, though “Hier ruhet” is molded in the metal and perfectly legible. Fortunately there are other Amrheins buried in the same plot with legible stone monuments, so we can be confident that the letters AMR—I- represent AMRHEIN. The first name (-ACK-B) is probably Jackob. The birth and death dates are also illegible, though we can make out the decade of death as 188-.
The epitaph is perfectly legible, because it is cut in a stone base:
Ruhe sanft in deiner Gruft
bis dich Jesus wieder ruft.
Rest softly in your grave
till Jesus calls you again.
Here we find an intact example, with all its letters present, of that very same iron crucifix we saw in St. Peter’s Cemetery. The thing has been spray-painted with silver paint, which may actually have helped preserve its parts. Someone has left a little rosary dangling in front of Christ.
We have met a very similar iron crucifix in St. Peter’s Cemetery (Arlington), and it had the same problem: the letters fall off as they rust. Here we have no adjacent monument to give us the name, so Father Pitt has no way to fill in B–D-NS. If anyone familiar with Polish names has a guess, please leave a comment.
Iron monuments are rare, but in this little German Catholic cemetery this same ornate iron cross occurs twice. it was not a good idea from a genealogical point of view: the letters are separate pieces, and they fall off as bits of the monument rust. Today we can guess the surname “Amrhein” because the cross occurs in a group with a double granite monument, but there is not enough information to fill in the first name or the birth and death dates (18— to 188-).