A memorial for his young wife and her love of horses

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INA L. PALMER

WIFE OF W. H. AXTON

JAN. 24, 1874. DIED FEB. 4. 1898.

AGED 24 YRS. 10 DS.

W. H. AXTON

1866 – 1928

On the sloping hill across from the Zion Methodist Church in rural Indiana not far from Richland is a country churchyard cemetery. The magnificent Axton monument inside that cemetery, features a nearly life-size horse on top of a large base. The horse was carved from Green River limestone by master carver Ira Correll who was working at the Reavis and Beloat Marble Works at Princeton, Indiana. The statue was modelled after a Kentucky-bred horse and set atop the monument because of Ina Axton’s love of horses. The monument is 12 feet high from the base to the top of the statue and towers above all of the other gravestones and markers in the graveyard.

On the base are two incised designs displaying insignias of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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The left corner of the base displays the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that formed in England in the 1700s as a service organization. The American association was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819. According to the I.O.O.F. Website, “Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.” The three links of a chain is the main symbol of the society. Inside the three links are three letters, F L T, which signify the organizations motto: Friendship, Love, and Truth. The links are carved above the All-Seeing Eye of Providence with rays of light emanating from it.  This symbol can be traced back to Egyptian mythology to the Eye of Horus.

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The right side of the base has the insignia of the Knights of Pythias. In 1864, the Knights of Pythias was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, making it the very first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an Act of the United States Congress.  The society is based on the Greek story of friendship from 400 B. C. between Damon and Pythias, members of a school founded by Pythagoras.  According to their Website, Pythians: promote cooperation and friendship between people of good will, find happiness through service to mankind, believe that friendship is essential in life, view home life as a top priority, show an interest in public affairs, enhance their home communities, respect and honor the law of the land, and expand their influence with people of like interests and energy.

The carving features many of the symbols that are significant to the Knights of Pythias.  A falcon sits atop a knight’s helmet resting on a pyramid-shaped shield with three letters, “F”, “C”, and “B”, which stand for their motto, FRIENDSHIP, CHARITY, and BENEVOLENCE. The shield has a incised skull and cross bones with crossed battle axes.

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The focal point of the entire monument is the meticulously carved horse, which was a nod to W. H. Axton’s young wife’s passion and love of horses.

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Harmony with the Universe

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HENRY D. STEVENSON

1818 – 1868

ELIZABETH HAND

STEVENSON

DIED NOV. 22, 1913

CORA BELLE

STEVENSON

DIED MAY 16, 1941

The lichen-encrusted Stevenson family monument in the Spring Grove Cemetery at Cincinnati, Ohio, depicts a young girl leaning against a harp as she looks upward, presumably toward the heavens.

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The harp has long been considered the instrument of angels. The light and airy tones that emanate from the harp, ethereal and almost mystical, have long been thought of as the sound of Heaven.  The harp as the instrument used to praise God also signifies harmony with the universe.

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Ruins

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CONRAD WINDISCH

1825 – 1887

SOPHIE WINDISCH

1827 – 1901

A passerby in the Spring Grove Cemetery strolling past the gravestone of Conrad Windisch might mistake it for a ruin—which was the whole idea. The white-marble marker carved to look like an English abbey ruin has a gothic pointed-arched window with a tree stump leaning across the face of the stone signifying a life cut short. Above the window is a winged hourglass. The soap opera, Days of Our Lives, has as their catchphrase, “Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.”  The meaning of that catchphrase is clear–life passes by very quickly.  Life measured by the grains of sand slip through one side of the hourglass to the other in a flash.  The hourglass symbol on a gravestone, represents the same thought of time fleeting by quickly. All of this sits on a large base with a large oval convex cartouche with “Conrad Windisch” carved into it.

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The gravestone marks the graves of Conrad and Sophie Windisch. Conrad was a German immigrant from Munich who settled in the United States in the mid-19th Century. After working for several brewers Windisch founded his own brewery with his business partner and brother-in law, Gottlieb Mulhauser. The building that housed the enormous brewery had two large stone lions in the gables on top leading to the brewery’s unofficial name—Lion Brewery. Windisch and Mulhauser were very successful and became the largest brewer in Ohio.

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The Windisch gravestone harkens back to the 18th Century when English gardens were quite often landscaped to feature faux Roman temples and decaying English castles and abbeys. These became known as Victorian follies—that is a building or structure that was built first and foremost as decoration but suggested some other high purpose or former use.

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One of the most interesting monuments in the Metarie Cemetery in New Orleans, Louisiana, was built for Henry J. Egan, a Confederate Lieutenant Colonel, who was killed April 6, 1865, at Amelia Springs, Virginia, during General Robert E. Lee’s retreat. The monument was built to appear like a ramshackle Gothic Revival-style Church. It is a sham, however. The ruin was designed by Charles A. Orleans, one of the leading monument builders in New Orleans at the time, who was at the height of his fame when it was built in 1881. The Victorian folly, built to look like one thing when it is actually another, is a marble monument complete with mock cracks and crumbling stone to deceive the passerby. Carved above the arched doorway into the tomb are the words, “Sic itur ad astra” – Latin which translates to “Thus to the stars”.

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As author Phil Nuxhull writes in his book, Beauty in the Grove: Spring Grove Cemetery and Arboretum, the Windisch gravestone, like the Egan monument, conveys the “transitory nature of all earthly things.”

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(Inscription on the back wall of the church)

In Memory of

Bentinck Egan

Who died Dec. 27, 1881

And his brothers

Walter

Frederock

Yelverton

Henry

Augustus

The Good Sons of

Dr. J. S. Egan and I. M. Yelverton

Mother died 1884

Father died 1891

(on the floor )

Lieutenant Colonel Henry I. Egan

Killed at Amelia Springs, Va.

While in command of

Sharpshooters, Gordon’s Division,

Covering Retreat of Lee’s Army

April 6, 1865, Aged 24 years.

Dr. Yelverton B. Egan

Killed at the Battle of Sharpsburg

September 17, 1863, aged 24 years.

 

Letitia M. Yelverton Egan

Their mother

Died in London England 1884

Mary Louisa Egan

Only daughter of

James and Letitia Egan

Died Dec. 26, 1920

Buried with them in

Fulham Cemetery, London

Cecilia Maria Egan

Died Jan. 2, 1941

Frederick Egan and his wife

Julia Wilkinson Egan

(inscription on the back of the building)

 BENTINCK

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One into the Other

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The gravestone in the St. Adalbert Catholic Cemetery in Chicago depicts Christ on the cross. The gravestone is a moving and expressive representation demonstrating the pain and the suffering of Christ on the cross. The symbol of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross is called a crucifix. The word crucifix is from Latin and is the combination of two words—cruci and fixus—which translates to one fixed to a cross.

The Latin cross is universally recognized as the symbol of Christianity. Though it may look simple to the eye, the symbol is imbued with deep meaning to all Christians. William Henry Deacy in Memorials: To-Day for To-Morrow published by Georgia Marble Company of Tate, describes the symbolism of the Latin cross: “Faith had brought Him to Calvary. The Betrayal, the Trial, the piercing Crown of Thorns, the tortuous road to Golgotha, the cruel weight of the Cross, the hour of Crucifixion—through all these Faith had led Him on. …the Cross of Calvary, instrument of the Passion… a memorial of the Faith, the Chosen Symbol…

In the gravestone below from the St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Cemetery in Chicago, the image of Jesus is depicted standing on a cloud as risen from the dead. On this gravestone the body of Christ forms the cross. In that way the figure of Christ becomes one with the most recognizable symbol of Christianity morphing one into the other.

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Government Issue

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13615.

CAPT. DAN’L M.

KEYS

INDEPENDENT

WEST VA.

RANGERS.

In national military cemeteries across the United States standing tall and straight are rows of “Government Issue” white marble gravestones. Those gravestones are a third iteration. Not long after the start of the Civil War, Quartermaster General Montgomery Meigs was charged with burying the soldiers being lost in each successive battle of the war. The soldiers close to the front in Washington D.C. were being buried in military cemeteries around Arlington. By May of 1864, soldiers were buried on the grounds of Arlington House—the Ancestral home of Robert E. Lee.

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The first markers constructed for the fallen soldiers were made of wood but decayed at a very fast rate. It was clear very quickly that wood would not be a permanent solution. The second solution was to make the markers out of cast iron. To prevent rusting the outside of the marker was to be coated in a veneer of zinc. Only one of these markers remain in the Arlington national Cemetery, that for Captain Daniel Keys. The zinc coating gives the marker a faint blue cast. One side of the marker depicted a soldier, the other side had the fallen soldier’s information.

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The military decided wood nor zinc-coated cast iron was the right material. White marble was chosen as more traditional and appropriate. Each white marble gravestone is to be 13 inches wide, 4 inches thick and 42 inches tall—with 24 inches to show above ground. Soldiers who fought for the North have segmented (or rounded tops) while their Confederate counterparts were issued pointed top tablets.

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The General of the Night

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HENRY W LAWTON

MAJOR GENERAL – U S V

BORN MARCH 17, 1843 DIED DEC. 19, 1899

KILLED IN ACTION PHIIPPINE ISLANDS

MARY C LAWTON

WIFE OF HENRY W LAWTON

The Henry Ware Lawton marker is in the Arlington National Cemetery at Arlington, Virginia, on what was at one time the Robert E. Lee plantation. The Smithsonian sculpture database notes that the Lawton monument was created by sculptor Myra Reynolds Richards (1881-1934). Richards was an Indiana-born sculptor and teacher. She studied at the Herron Art Institute in Indianapolis, in New York under famed artist Isidore Konti, and also the Academie Scandivave in Paris. Her most notable works were created and exhibited in Indiana: A statue of James Whitcomb Riley, the famous Hoosier poet, which was unveiled at the Hancock County courthouse at Greenfield, Indiana, in 1918; The Murphy Memorial Drinking fountain at the Carroll County Courthouse, also in 1918; two works that have been stolen—Pan and Syrinx created for the Depew Memorial Fountain in Indianapolis; and The Bird Boy unveiled in 1924 for the Columbus Central Middle School.

Sculptor Myra Reynolds Richards

Sculptor Myra Reynolds Richards

The bronze Henry Ware Lawton monument was cast by the Roman Bronze Works of New York. The Smithsonian sculpture catalog describes the work as “resembling an abstract casket, each corner composed of a palm tree with fronds extending to the tapered top. At each end is a boy wearing only a loincloth, with arms uplifted and hands clasped behind his head, sheltered by the palm fronds. The bottom of the gravestone widens and is multi-tiered. Each side of the gravestone is inscribed.” It could also be described as a sarcophagus that portrays the jungle in which he fought his last battle in what was a long and distinguished career serving with distinction in the Civil War, the Apache Wars, the Spanish-American War and the Philippine-American War.

Lawton was born on March 17, 1843, at Maumee, Ohio, the son of George W. Lawton and Catherine Daley Lawton. The same year Henry Lawton was born, his father, a millwright, moved the family to Fort Wayne, Indiana. Most of Lawton’s youth was spent between Indiana and Ohio. Lawton volunteered for a three-month call in the Company E of the 9th Indiana Volunteers in the early part of the Civil War. When his three-month stint was up, he re-enlisted in the 30th Indiana Infantry. He fought in several major battles and by the end of the war had been promoted to Brevet Colonel after having received the Medal of Honor.

After studying at Harvard, Lawton accepted a 2nd lieutenant’s commission, and joined the 41st Infantry Regiment on July 28, 1866, which saw action in the Apache Wars. Lawton not only earned a reputation for being a fierce fighter but also compassionate toward the Native Americans. Lawton advocated on behalf of the Indians who were being cheated out of food allotments by the local Indian Agency.

General Henry Ware Lawton

General Henry Ware Lawton

In May 1898, after having serving continuously in several different position in the armed forces, including as Inspector General, Lawton was appointed Brigadier General and given of the 2nd Division, which was being sent to Cuba during the Spanish-American War.

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Lawton was transferred to the Philippine-American War front to command the 1st Division of Eight Army. It was during this campaign that Lawton received the nickname, The General of the Night, from General Emilio Aquinaldo, his opponent during the Philippine-American War. Aquinaldo is known that have said that “Lawton attacked him so often at night that he never knew when Lawton was coming.” Lawton was shot and killed on December 19, 1899, by a Filipino sharpshooter during the Battle of Paye. After a funeral service in the Paco Cemetery in Manila, Lawton’s body was transported to the United States and buried at Arlington National Cemetery on February 9, 1900.

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Forbidden Love

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Nelson W. Blocher

February 1, 1847

January 24, 1884

Inside the elaborate Victorian granite monument in the Forest Lawn Cemetery at Buffalo, New York, dedicated to Nelson Blocher, the son of John and Elizabeth Blocher, are four sculptures that depict the final moment of a Nelson Blocher’s life. In the center of the marble tableau is Nelson in repose depicted at the moment of his death with a Bible resting on his chest. Sculptures of his Mother and Father are standing at either side of his death bed. Lastly, there is a voluptuous winged angel figure clad only in a garland of flowers hovering above him holding a floral crown, presumably to be placed on Nelson’s head as he ascends to Heaven.

John and Elizabeth Blocher--the inset photograph in the center is their son, Nelson.

John and Elizabeth Blocher–the inset photograph in the center is their son, Nelson.

All of the figures depicted in the tomb were a part of Nelson Blocher’s tragic and forbidden love story. According to A Field Guide to Forest Lawn Cemetery, Nelson Blocher, the well-to-do only son of Buffalo merchant, John Blocher, fell deeply in love with his family’s Irish maid, Margaret Katherine “Katie” Sullivan. Nelson’s parents believed it was unseemly for their son to marry below his station and quickly arranged for a business trip for their son that took him out of the country to Italy and away from his not-to-be paramour. While Nelson was away the maid left the household leaving only her Bible behind. In the meantime, Nelson became ill and returned home to convalesce but died soon after he arrived. Some say it wasn’t an illness that felled Nelson, but a broken heart.

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His parents were bereft and felt responsible for denying their son the love he yearned for and sending him to the place where he became ill. To commemorate their son’s life, John and Elizabeth decided to construct a monument dedicated him. The immense granite structure that encases the sculptures was designed by Nelson’s father, John Blocher. The McDonnell Monument Company of Quincy, Massachusetts was contracted to cut the stone of the Victorian confection and construct it at Forest Lawn Cemetery. The bell-shaped top to the monument weighs a staggering 26 tons, “The roof rests on giant granite pilasters separated by glass doors.” The five curved glass panels between the pilasters are French glass.

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The figures inside the tomb are carved from 150 tons of white Italian Carrara marble created by artist Frank Torrey. According to legend, the woman who stood as the model for the curvaceous angel figure hovering above Nelson, was none other than the Katherine, the maid, he had fallen in love with. There are three crypts below the marble figures, one for Nelson, John, and Elizabeth Bolcher. There is no word about what became of Katie.

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There are three sofa-like benches that surround the tomb each with the name of one the Blochers and their birth and death dates.

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