Walker Mausoleum, Highwood Cemetery

In-ground burial vaults like this had gone out of fashion in most of our cemeteries by the late nineteenth century, but there are two later ones in the Highwood Cemetery. This one, with its rustic stone, is indescribably picturesque and looks like a relic of some vanished ancient culture, but it probably dates from about 1880.

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Mary and Samuel Stewart Monuments, Bethany Cemetery

These matching monuments have been a little damaged by time, but still make an impressive pair. Mary’s has a profile vignette that looks as though it is meant for a portrait of the deceased. Small as it is, it is a fine piece of work.

In Memory of
SAMUEL STEWART
who departed this life
March 25, 1855,
Aged 74 years
6 mos & 3 days.

MARY STEWART
Consort of
SAMUEL STEWART
who — — —death
— — from — —
Sept. the 2, 1842,
In the 61st year
of her age

Father Pitt was not able to read the entire inscription. In fact Mary’s monument is covered with inscriptions on all sides, most of which seem from the form of them to be poems or hymns, but which have been made illegible by the gradual erosion of the marble. We can, however, read the signature of the artist: “Ed. WILKINS PITT.”

On the back of the monument is another profile, smaller and much more eroded than the one on the front:

Father Pitt suspects that it may represent a son who died in childhood.

Master of the Italic Dates

Father Pitt is being a little facetious in bestowing the title “master” on this particular craftsman. He is not exceptionally good. We name him, as usual, from a readily identified feature of his style: he always carves the date in italic letters. And it is interesting to see his work in two different cemeteries, fairly far apart. Above, John Frew’s tombstone in the St. Clair Cemetery, Mount Lebanon. The unusual inset name is unique in what Father Pitt has seen of this craftsman’s work, and he suspects it represents, not an aesthetic decision, but an embarrassing correction of the deceased’s name. William Frew‘s, below, is more typical.

Now here are several tombstones in Hiland Cemetery, north of West View. Note that the name “Richey” or “Ritchey” is spelled two different ways, suggesting that John Frew’s tombstone is not the only one in his career where our artist misspelled a name.

Wallingford-Davison Family Plot, Allegheny Cemetery

A family plot with a romantic Gothic marble monument, now illegible but still grand in its way. It was once surrounded by an iron fence, but like almost all such fences it has been removed to make life easier for groundskeepers.

We can see where the iron fence once fitted into the stone gateposts.

Note the rusty remnants of an iron gate.

The Poster Style in Bethel Cemetery

EDWARD H. KELLEY,
DIED
May 27, 1849,
In the 41 year
of his age.

In the 1840s and 1850s the style of tombstone old Pa Pitt likes to call “poster style” became popular—a style that resembles printed posters of the time. The stone is usually limestone, which is soft and easily eroded; so that many of these stones are almost illegible now.

Bethel Cemetery has a good collection of poster-style tombstones, and this article will serve as a good introduction to the style.

ELIZABETH MISSKELLY
DIED
Aug. 7, 1847
in the 90th (?) year…
[the rest is buried]

HANNAH SAWYER
DIED
Nov. 2, 1849,
In the 19 year
of her age.

MARY ? SAWYER
DIED
March 22, 1849
In the 15 year
of her age.

ABAGAIL
Wife of
JOSEPH WOODS
died March 20, 1850,
in the 35 year of her age.

Also an Infant son…

MARY —?
daughter of
J. & A. WOODS
died Jan — 18—?
Aged 1 year…

Died May 23, 1848
Mrs SARAH WOODS
WIFE OF
Mr. JOHN WOODS
in the 34 Year
of her age.

SARAH HICKMAN
DIED
Jan 18, 1848…

ANN,
wife of
THOMAS MORROW,
died July 26, 1849,
in the 37 year
of her age.

ELIZABETH, PA.

MARY,
WIFE OF
THOMAS MORROW
BORN
MAY 18, 1810,
DIED
MAY 26, 1858.

JAMES KIDDOO
DIED
Sep. 20, 1823
in the 61 Year
of his age.

We can see James’ wife Mary’s stone leaning against his; she died in 1847, and James’ stone was probably ordered at the same time as hers, since it is definitely in the style of the 1840s rather than the 1820s.

Robert and Sarah Johnston and Their Daughters

Robert and Sarah Johnston had two daughters who died within weeks of each other in 1848, doubtless of the same disease. Each was given a splendid tombstone in the engraved-title-page style that was popular for expensive tombstones in the 1840s.

Robert and Sarah themselves got this rich pink obelisk. Their son Robert and his wife are buried next to them.