Category Archives: St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

A German hilltop cemetery with a few interesting pieces of sculpture and some very fine examples of German vernacular stonecutting; it also possesses the most spectacular city view of any of the city cemeteries.

Emma Henriette Dietsch Tombstone, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

Not a particularly artistic stone, but it has a poem or hymn as an epitaph. You will pardon, and possibly correct, Father Pitt’s clumsy attempt to transcribe and translate it:

Was hat ich in der Welt,
Als nur ein Sieches leben:
Ich war mit Angst umgeben,
Und unters Kreuz gestellt.
ich musste Thraenen giessen.
Hier kann ich Trost geniessen,
O schoenes Himmel Reich.

What had I in the world
but to live a sickly life?
I was surrounded by fear
And placed at the foot of the cross.
I had to pour out tears.
Here can I know comfort,
O sweet Kingdom of Heaven.

Emma Henriette Dietsch lived only to the age of 33 or 34, so it may well be true that her life was filled with sickness; but that is also one of the expected clichés of a German epitaph. German epitaphs seem to dwell more commonly than English ones on the discomfort of the present world. From that observation one might draw all sorts of sociological conclusions about the status of German-Americans in nineteenth-century society, but one would probably be wrong; it is more likely simply a matter of tradition.

Old Pa Pitt has not been able to find this poem anywhere on the Internet. It is just barely possible that it was an original composition, but Father Pitt does not consider that likely. From the meter he suspects it is an old hymn, but it must be a relatively obscure one. Any help in identifying it would be appreciated.



Ahlers Obelisk, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

Obelisks in their simple form are timeless. The base may give a clue to the date, but this is a particularly simple and timeless design for a base. The obelisk stands in a plot of matched graves, of which the earliest dates from 1879; so we may take that as a rough date for the monument

J. M. Rohmann Monument, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

A very odd Gothic monument, looking a bit like a squashed canopy tomb with a Gothic mushroom cloud erupting from the center. The cemetery records laboriously compiled by volunteers list a John Michael Rohman (so spelled, with one N) who died at 65 in 1924 and associate him with this monument. He might have been a son or grandson, but Father Pitt would be willing to bet a shiny new dollar that this is not a monument from 1924; if he had to guess, he would say it came from the 1880s.

Johann Heinrich Zellmann Monument, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

Exceptionally fine lettering on a monument whose style old Pa Pitt will call German Baroque. The epitaph, unfortunately damaged, is a variation of a popular German epitaph found on many tombstones:

Here in this rose-garden
Will I await my wife and children.
…children, do not pass by
….that I am your father.

Walter Monument, St. John’s Lutheran Cemetery (Spring Hill)

A set of rustic boulders, with a bronze relief depicting a weeping angel (Doctor Who fans will be pleased) overcome in the middle of his harp-playing. Unambiguously male angels are actually rare in monuments around here; and although this was probably a monument-dealer’s stock monument, the bronze relief is a fine piece of work.

Blendinger Monument, Spring Hill Cemetery

Hope holds her ever-present anchor and points upward. The statue is only fairly good, but the Gothic base is really splendid, wealthy in well-harmonized detail.

The Blendingers had five children who died before their parents, the oldest one at ten or eleven.

Christian Zies Monument, Spring Hill Cemetery

A fairly lavish monument for a German hilltop cemetery. The style could be described as Victorian Corinthian. Christian Zies died in 1874, and that may be about the date of this monument; but it could also be a bit later.

Satanists (which is to say drunken giggling teenagers) have vandalized this and a few other monuments in the cemetery, but the stone will long outlast their paint, which is wearing off.