Tag Archives: Poster Style

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.

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Maria Garrard Tombstone, Bethany Cemetery

MARIA
Wife
of
JOHN GARRARD
DIED
Aug 2, 1848(?)
Aged ? Yrs.

A good example of what old Pa Pitt calls the “poster style,” with each line in a different style of lettering. The limestone has softened too much for us to read the whole inscription. It looks as though there may have been a second name below the main inscription—perhaps an infant child.

Father Pitt usually makes legibility his priority in photographing old tombstones, but the situation of this one, with the fallen tree behind it, demanded a more artistic treatment.

White Family Plot, Oak Spring Cemetery

Oak Spring Cemetery in Canonsburg has a number of slab stones elevated into table-like structures—an arrangement common in some old cemeteries. Obviously the props under these stones are newer than the stones, but they may have replaced older ones that were original. Old Pa Pitt simply doesn’t know whether these slab stones were always elevated or whether graveyard caretakers elevated them later, when they began to vanish under the ground.

SACRED
to the
MEMORY OF
SAMUEL WHITE
Who departed this life
May 12th 1837, In the
82nd year of his
age.

Samuel White, Sr. was a veteran of the Revolutionary War. He married a considerably younger woman named Mary:

SACRED
to the
MEMORY
of
MARY WHITE
wife of
SAMUEL WHITE
DIED
JUNE 12th, 1841 in the
76th year of her age.

In the short time between the death of Samuel in 1837 and the death of Mary in 1841, a new fashion in tombstones had swept over Western Pennsylvania. Samuel’s is a simple slab stone of the sort that had been made here since the late 1700s, but Mary’s is in what Father Pitt calls the “poster style,” with each line in a different style of lettering, like an advertising poster of the same era.