The “Hat” is the Clue.

CHARLES PETIT McILVAINE

BISHOP FOR FORTY YEARS OF THE DIOCESE OF OHIO

BORN JAN 18, 1799 DIED MAR 12, 1873 AGED 74 YEARS

THERE IS NO CONDEMNATION TO THEM THAT ARE IN CHRIST JESUS ROM. VIII.I

 

EMILY COXE WITH OF CHARLES P. McILVAINE

BORN FEB 19, 1801 DIED FEB 19, 1877

THINE EYES SHALL SEE THE KING IN HIS BEAUTY

JOSEPH HEATHCOTE McILVAINE

SON OF CHARLES P AND EMILY McILVAINE

BORN JULY 24, 1824 DIED APRI 4, 1870 AGED 16 YEARS

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART

EMILY HARRIET McILVAINE

DAUGHTER OF CHARLES P AND EMILY McILVAINE

BORN SEP 12, 1823 DIED MAY 1, 1836 AGED 8 YEARS

 

BLOOMFIELD HENRY McILVAINE

SON OF CHARLES P AND EMILY McILVAINE

BORN AUG 12, 1825 DIED MARCH 4, 1837

AGED 11 YEARS

The limestone monument that marks the grave of Charles Petit McIlvaine has a heavy architectural design.  From the front it looks like a heavy and plain Gothic building that is barren of detail except for the ivy that twines underneath the two-tier roof line and the ornamented and pointed arched alcove that contains the decaying bust of monument’s focus.

Except for the inscription there is not an indication of who the man was or his importance.  But once the side of the monument is studied the “hat” gives it away.  A mitre on an open Bible rests on a tufted and tasseled pillow.  The mitre has been worn by bishops of the church since the 11th Century with origins dating back much further.

Bishop Charles McIlvaine was born January 18, 1799 in Burlington, New Jersey, into a prominent political family.  His maternal grandfather, Bowes Reed, was the New Jersey Secretary of State and his father, Joseph McIlvaine, was a United States Senator.  McIlvaine himself served in the United States Senate twice as chaplain.  McIlvaine studied theology at the seminary in Princeton, New Jersey, and then went on to have a prestigious and impressive career as a clergyman and professor.

McIlvaine served as a chaplain and professor of ethics at the United States Military Academy at West Point.  Notably two of his students were Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis.  Held a number of other posts—minister to St. Ann’s Church in Brooklyn, professor of the evidences of revealed religion at the University of the City of New York, president of  Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, and the second Episcopal Bishop of Ohio.   McIlvaine also became a prolific and noted author who caught the attention of President Abraham Lincoln, who appointed him to act as a special envoy to dissuade the British from support the Confederacy during the Civil War.  His eloquent and persuasive writings and oratory gained him many influential friends and admirers.  So much so, that when McIlvaine died in Florence, Italy on March 14, 1873, his body was shipped to Ohio for burial.  However, on the long journey, his body was rested for four days in Westminster Abbey, the only American to ever lie-in-state to be so honored.

There is often a story behind the “hat” or should it be under the hat?

This entry was posted in Famous graves, Symbolism. Bookmark the permalink.

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