See the New and Improved Pittsburgh Cemeteries!

PittsburghCemeteries.com is our new address, where you’ll find everything on this site and some new features, like an alphabetical index of all the articles on the site. Update your bookmarks, rewrite your wills, and head on over.

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Hector McFadden Tombstone, Chartiers Hill Cemetery

Hector McFadden tombstone

An unusually elaborate stone by a talented local artisan whose talents would soon be rendered irrelevant by the growth of a more centralized monument industry.

IN MEMORY OF
HECTOR
McFADDEN
Who departed
this life Decr 12th
1834 aged 65
years

He was just
And honest
And a friend
To the poor.

No Christian could ask for a finer epitaph than that.

Robert Patterson Tombstone, Chartiers Hill Cemetery

The letters are formed very well, but here (as in many other early-settler tombstones) we see that marking out the inscription in advance was not part of the stonecutter’s method. He runs out of space for the name of the deceased, and then again on the next line for the name of the town Canonsburgh (which we no longer spell with an H). He also left out the R in “MEMORY,” and the heading SACRED to the IN MEMOY OF is very decorative but grammatically nonsense.

This transcription preserves the eccentric spelling of the original:

SACRED
to the
IN MEMOY OF

ROBERT PATTERSON
Merchant of Canonsburgh
Who departed this life
January 31st A. D. 1833
in the 29th year of his age

He was a man of temperance and moral habits
as a man of buissness he was unrivell’d
as a friend he was truly candid and sincere
as a husband and parent [he was] kind & affec[tionate]


Father Pitt took this picture in 1999 with an Argus C3. The Chartiers Hill Cemetery is notable for interesting epitaphs.

Nancy Marshall Tombstone, Chartiers Hill Cemetery

Nancy Marshall tombstone

HERE SLEEPS IN DEATH
NANCY MARSHALL
Who died July 2nd 1833
aged 40 years

Her equal is gone before her but her superior will never follow as a WIFE MOTHER and FRIEND.

My flesh shall slumber in the ground,
Till the last trumpet’s joyful sound,
Then burst the chains with sweet surprise
And in my SAVIOURS image rise.

This epitaph is the last stanza of Isaac Watts’ metrical version of Psalm 17.

Old Pa Pitt took this picture on black-and-white film in 1999 with an Argus C3, which captured a very legible image in spite of strong backlighting.

Paul Mausoleum, West View Cemetery

Paul mausoleum

The West View Cemetery is notable for a number of tasteful modernist mausoleums. On this one, note how the etched decoration is repeated in the bronze doors. The landscaping in front is very unusual, and in fact almost unique in Pittsburgh, where cemetery groundskeepers usually expect to be able to mow right up to the steps of a mausoleum.

A. J. Sunstein Mausoleum, West View Cemetery

A. J. Sunstein Mausoleum

Considering that the Exodus is the central event in Israel’s sacred history, Egyptian Revival has always struck old Pa Pitt as an odd choice of styles for a Jewish cemetery. But with this particular mausoleum he can see the appeal. “You think you’re a god-king, Pharaoh? Well, how would you like to be a door handle for the rest of eternity? What do you think of that, Mr. Bricks-Without-Straw?”

Bronze door handle with Pharaoh heads