08 March 2011

Tombstone Tuesday--The Trees (and Stumps) of Stone

I know much has been written about the gravestones shaped like trees.  I have in some previous blogs.  I have picture and talked about them in Maple Grove, Clark and others.  I can't pretend to offer a thorough lecture, but as always, just my personal comments and reflections.  With maybe a real fact thrown in here and there.
A great book we have in our collection is "Tree Stump Tombstones  A Field Guide to Rustic Funerary Art in Indiana" by Susanne S. Ridlen.  It is a wonderful source of information on these type of stones.  Lots of pictures and explanations of the different symbols that can be found on these unique grave markers.
This is one of my family stones, located in the Hawkins Road Cemetery, near Chase, Michigan.  And while not a tree stump, the "stacked log" shape makes it easy to find in the cemetery.  The back is the shape of the stack of logs, while the front has this scroll like feature that hangs down as though held by the top log.  A bit of engraving of a palm frond is across the top, with the family name on the bottom.  But what drives me crazy is the fact that the scroll portion is left blank.  Ok, it is a family marker; James, Sarah and others have small markers nearby.  See the tip of one peeping over the pink flowers?  But think of the info that they could have put on the blank space.  Nothing!  (Drat.  Darn ancestors anyway!)
A similar stone is this one from Clark Cemetery.  Part of the pink granite found there, it is very similar in shape to my Samis stone, but this stone for the Skeels family is also different.  The name is still just a family name, but it appears on the scroll, that is again tucked in and hanging from the logs.  And it has the same palm frond design.
This is another unique style and also from Clark cemetery.  It has the scroll feature, with the family name of Hermance at the top (and blank scroll again!) but this time hanging from one log held upright by a couple forked logs.  I believe this is the only one I've seen shaped like this.  Very striking.
This pair of stones is from Newaygo Cemetery.  The family name is on the branch that crosses both stones, but unfortunately is hard to read in the picture, even in a larger view.  The lichen and coloring almost make the stumps look like the bark has peeled off the center portions.  Vines and flowers climb the trunks and the base looks like roots.  Did you notice too, the two small logs on either side of the large double trunks?  There appears to be a name written on at least the closest one, but again, the lichens and weathering make it difficult to read.  That can be a drawback with these otherwise beautiful stones.

This is one of the groupings of tree stump stones in Fremont's Maple Grove Cemetery.  One that we of course do not have pictures of has the stumps and even benches fashioned as though from branches. This tall family stone has several flat rectangular stones inside the bordered plot, but notice too that there is a small log monument also within the plot.   And again, although no close up here, the main stump is very ornate with flowers, ferns and even a stone potted lily at the base.
This last stone is from East Hesperia cemetery.  It shows more of the possibilities open with these types of monuments.  There are many cut branches from the main stump.  Fronds adorn the bottom but of course the best part is the banner.  Appearing to hang from a rope draped across one of the cut branches it is clearly visible.  This stone is for Hannah S. Bush.  Born Dec 26 1868 and died Oct 7, 1893, not yet 25 years old.  And this banner like section keeps on giving--it also states she was the  "gone but not forgotten Wife of  W. R. Bush".
Some ancestors are not as disappointing as others.  (Did you hear that great granny?)

1 comment:

  1. I can't get enough 'stump stones' myself. They always catch my attention. Thanks for sharing!


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