The Draped Cannon

LUTHER

SON OF S. P. & M. E.

WINKLEPLECK

BORN JULY 5, 1877

DIED NOV. 6, 1898

A MEMBER OF BATERY G. U.S.

HEAVY ARTILLERY

A precious one from has gone

A voice we loved is still

A place is vacant in our home

Which never can be filled

Luther, the son of Simeon P. and Mary E. Winklepleck, joined the Army and was training at Fort Sam Houston when he died of typhoid fever. He had a military funeral and was buried at the San Antonio National Cemetery. But, on November 16th, 1898, according to the U. S. Burial Registry, Military Post, and National Cemeteries records, his body was exhumed and shipped home to Odon, Indiana, where he was re-buried in the Walnut Hill Cemetery, on the land near where he grew up.

His tombstone is in the rustic style which was popular the late 19th Century and the very beginning of the 20th Century, coinciding with the Rural Cemetery Movement. The rustic movement of the mid-nineteenth century was characterized by designs that were made to look like they were from the country, complemented the rural cemetery movement which began in the United States in 1831 with the opening of Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Massachusetts. The rustic gravestones were a funerary art contrivance mimicking the natural surroundings of the cemetery and were most popular for a twenty year-period from about 1885 until about 1905.

Most of these rustic designed tombstones were carved from limestone to look like tree stumps.  In this case, however, the branches on the outside of the block face surrounding the inscription and the branches at the bottom of the plinth are consistent with rustic design.  But the crowning glory of this monument is the draped cannon that tops the tombstone, a nod to Luther Winklepleck’s short service in the Army. Here the cannon, in all of its rich detail including the bolts, is at rest and draped. Drapery seen on gravestones often symbolizes the veil between life and death and the passage of the soul from the Earthly plane to the Heavenly plane.

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