The Flint Granite Company of New York was, according to their brochure, “builders of artistic memorials in granite, marble and bronze.” Like many companies, The Flint Granite Company issued a catalog for potential customers showing the various sorts of monuments and memorials that could be purchased from them. The catalog that they published in 1905 pictures the grand memorial designed and built for President Chester A. Arthur, the 21st President of the United States, erected in the Rural Cemetery at Albany, New York. The caption says, “MOMUMENTS WITH BRONZE STATUES. Taken all in all, the finest results of the sculptor’s skill may be had, for out-of-door effects, in bronze. This alloy does not corrode: time gives it an added charm of color; and it takes perfectly and exactly the form of the model even to the slightest detail.” According to the booklet, PORTFOLIO NO. 7 contains “designs of Monuments with Bronze, Granite, and Marble Statues, from $1,000.00 and upwards.”
Chester Alan Arthur (b. October 5, 1829, Fairfield, Vermont – November 18, 1886) was the 21st President of the United States (1881–85). He assumed the office upon the death of James Garfield who was felled by an assassin’s bullet and a host of doctor’s who eschewed sanitary conditions when treating him. Arthur had been a political appointee in the New York City Republican political machine which meant expectations for him as president were low. To the surprise of many, Arthur stepped up and embraced the political reforms that he and Garfield campaigned on.
After his term, in poor health, Arthur only half-heartedly sought the re-nomination for the presidency in his own right in 1884. Grover Cleveland succeeded him. President Chester Arthur died two years later at the age of 57 years.
After a private funeral service in New York City, Arthur was laid to rest in the Albany Rural Cemetery at Menands, New York. In 1889, a large granite sarcophagus was created for his monument by the Flint Granite Company. Noted American sculptor Ephraim Keyser, created and cast a large bronze female angel that is depicted placing a palm leaf on the top of the tomb. The palm leaf represents victory over death.
Not long after the creation of Arthur’s memorial, Sidney Rowland Francis, brother and law partner of the Governor of Missouri died December 4, 1893, at St. Louis, Missouri. Francis was buried in the famed Bellefontaine Cemetery in that city. With the exception of the hand turned down as opposed to up and the absence of the palm leaf on the top sarcophagus the monument, angel and all, created for Francis’ grave appears to be a look-a-like of Arthur’s.
The entire Flint Granite Company brochure can be found at the Stone Quarries and Beyond Website: http://quarriesandbeyond.org/cemeteries_and_monumental_art/cemetery_stones.html.
The Stone Quarries and Beyond Website was created by Peggy B. and Patrick Perazzo. It focuses on historic stone quarries, stone workers and companies, and related subjects such as geology. Whenever possible links of finished products are provided on the Website. There is a “Quarry Articles” section that presents articles, booklets, and links from the late 1800s to early 1900s, including the 1856 “The Marble-Workers’ Manual.” The “Cemetery Stones and Monuments” section provides references and resources, including many old monument magazines, catalogs, price lists, and a photographic tour “From Quarry to Cemetery Monuments.”