Death’s dusky hand

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Spring Grove Cemetery, Cincinnati, Ohio

Andrew Erkenbrecher

July 4, 1821

January 3, 1885

Andrew Erkenbrecher was a German immigrant who came to America with his parents when he was a child.  He was quite industrious and worked in a series of jobs until he founded his own company.  Andrew opened a starch factory and grain mill.  It was the starch, though, that made his fortune.  When Cincinnati was struck by a caterpillar plague in the late 1800s, Erkenbrecher imported birds to combat the caterpillars.  He treasured the birds and imported exotics of all kinds which later became  a focal point as an exhibit in the Cincinnati Zoo, which he helped found.

Andrew Erkenbrecher’s cast bronze monument in the Spring Grove Cemetery at Cincinnati, Ohio, features a woman leaning back on a pillow while holding a tablet in her right hand.  The lines of a poem by the German poet Friedrich Ruckert are inscribed on the tablet which seem to extoll the virtues of death and the prize it brings:

“Though Death ends well all life’s distress.  Yet life still shudders at Death’s approach

Life only sees Death’s dusky hand.  And not the shinning cup it bears”.


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