John Naugle was a master carver who plied his trade in the Salem, Indiana, area. Examples of his work can be found in the Crown Hill Cemetery of Salem. Two examples, the Lula McMahan monument and the Emmanuel Zink Monument, demonstrate his talent as a carver. In these examples shown here, Naugle crafted towering monuments that are architectural in nature. They resemble each other in form, but have minor changes in detail and symbolism.
According to all reports he loved his craft and was widely recognized for his talent. But, according to Guardians of the Soul, a book about cemetery sculptures in Indiana by John Bower, one of his greatest joys was at the end of the day when he was met by his four-year old daughter, Caddy, at their garden gate. Tragedy struck when illness befell the little girl and she died a few days later. John Naugle was bereft and unable concentrate at his job and many projects were left undone. According to Bower’s book, “many of his duties were taken over by an itinerant stone mason who just happened to be passing through town.”
Not only did this stone carver complete many of the projects that were languishing in the Naugle’s workshop, but he also produced a memorial to Caddy, appropriately, standing at the garden gate, as if she were still waiting for her father. By all accounts, he then disappeared almost as if he had been a ghost.