The Scroll




JULY 18, 1860






JAN 22, 1863


1822 – 1839


1831 – 1839

The City Cemetery at South Bend, Indiana, has a very elaborate monument dedicated to Reynolds Dunn and his family. The gravestone is a tall white marble column topped with a small urn resting on a plinth of the same material. The soft marble is slowly being eaten away by the elements, eroding the detail of the wording and the carvings on the market.

On what appears to be the back side of the marker is a cartouche. Inside that is the name Phebe Dunn, wife of Reynolds Dunn, along with her date of death and her age, though her age is so badly faded and illegible. The side of the plinth has two names carved into it—presumably children of Reynolds and Phebe—Simeon and Jennette, along with birth and death years. The front side is an elaborately carved tribute to Reynolds Dunn.


The design features—the “All-Seeing Eye of God” The all-seeing eye of God, also called the Eye of Providence is one of many symbols of Masonic iconography.  This symbol is to remind Masons that all of their actions and deeds are being observed by the watchful eye of the Great Architect of the Universe.  Sometimes the eye is displayed in a triangle.
Just below the All-Seeing Eye of God symbolism is the Masonic emblem—the square and two compasses.  In this example the letter “G” appears in the middle of the emblem.  Each component of the symbol represents a different Masonic orthodoxy, though, these are not hard and fast: The compasses represent the boundaries of wisdom a person should have the strength to circumscribe and stay within. The square symbolizes virtue in all actions, just as the expression “square deal” means treating people with fairness. The letter “G” seems to have more than one meaning.  It could possibly mean God, as in the creator of the universe; or Gimel, which is the word for the third letter of many Semitic languages.  The number three is significant to many Masonic rituals and beliefs.  Some also believe the “G” may represent geometry.
Directly below that are two female hands holding a scroll that look as if it is rolling open at the bottom. The scroll represents both the life of the deceased and the time spent on Earth. In this case, the scroll is being unfurled by two hands, most likely representing the life that is being recorded by the angels.

Though the poem, “Invictus”, was written by William Ernest Henley in 1875, a full 15 years after Reynolds Dunn died, the carving reminds me of the last stanza of the poem:
It matters not how strait the gate,

    How charged with punishments the scroll,

I am the master of my fate,

     I am the master of my soul.


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