Tombstone Tuesday: Christopher G. LYNCH

This elaborate tombstone in Easton, Md.’s Spring Hill Cemetery caught my eye because of its blueish hue, which stood out from the granite and marble surrounding it, and because of of its elaborate carvings:

The inscription on his stone indicates that Lynch fought as a Confederate soldier in the Civil War as part of the Chesapeake Battery of the Maryland Artillery.

Lynch’s gravestone is a veritable sampler of cemetery symbolism. The cannons on the stone may be meant to commemorate his military service. The anchor could have several meanings. According to this site on gravestone symbols, the anchor could mean hope or eternal life and/or could indicate the deceased was a sailor or even a Mason. According to the Association of Gravestone Studies (yes, there is such a thing; link opens a PDF), the anchor may also symbolize strong faith or steadfastness.

The wreath of flowers could mean victory or honor. The gravestone also features a bundle of wheat and a Lily of the Valley; the former represents harvest and the later, innocence or purity.

Tombstone Tuesday: Edward R. TRIPPE

Taken at Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md.:

The inscription at the top reads In Hoc Signo Vinces:

The phrase means “by this sign thou shalt conquer,” and it is used by the Knights Templar among others.

Somewhat Wordy Wednesday: Mind the Gap

This is a gap in the fence that separates the Tylor House in Easton from its neighbor to the south. Rumor has it that two sisters once occupied the Tylor House and the residence next door and left the gap in the fence to make it easier to visit one another. The footsteps in the snow in this pic were left by the mailman. These days, he’s the only one to make use of the pass-through.

When Wilson Tylor built the Tylor House, the parcel of land that it sat on was pretty large. That parcel has since been divided into other lots. Did he build a house on the adjacent lot for one of his daughters? Or was it a subsequent owner and her sister that were neighbors? I’ll need to do more digging into the history of both properties to find the answer.

Tombstone Tuesday: The Cannons

This headstone, found in Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md., is interesting to me for a couple of reasons: the symbols accompanying the husband’s name and the lack of a death date for the wife (and I’m pretty sure she’s dead, otherwise, she’d be 132 years young).

I did some preliminary searches and was not able to find information about Mary Virginia Kirk Cannon’s death. Some might suggest that perhaps she remarried and was therefore buried with the subsequent husband. However, she would have been 81 when Everett Cannon died — that doesn’t completely rule out another marriage, but I think it diminishes the likelihood quite a bit.

There are other possible scenarios — perhaps she moved far away before she passed and was buried elsewhere. Or perhaps her family couldn’t afford to have her stone engraved with her death date.

Turning back to the symbols on the grave. The one on the left-hand side represents the Shriners, a group of Master Masons. The symbol on the right-hand side looks like the Rotary wheel symbol to me. I’d never seen either symbol on a grave before.

Shriner's Symbol

Rotary Wheel

Tombstone Tuesday: John J. JUMP

Tombstone for John J. JUMP

I saw this unusual tombstone for John J. JUMP at Easton’s Spring Hill Cemetery a couple of weeks ago. I originally thought he may have been a sailor, because the wheel on his tombstone sort of resembled a ship’s wheel, but this may not be the case. In researching symbols on tombstones, I learned that a broken wheel can simply signify a life cut short.

John J. Jump | Born Oct. 26, 1847 | Passed from Earth to Heaven | Dec. 6, 1882 | Aged 35 years

That would certainly be the case for Jump, who was only 35 when he died.

Tombstone Tuesday: William Shepard and His Many Wives

I returned to Spring Hill Cemetery in Easton, Md., over the weekend and happened upon a row of graves that turned out to be for one man, his three wives and one of his sons:

William H. Shepard (Jan. 28, 181?-Jan. 8, 1869)

Rebecca A. Thompson (Jan. 21, 1819-Aug. 14, 1849)

Isabella V. Thompson (Jan. 20, 182?-March 21, 1858)

Elizabeth A. (Aug. 12, 182?-Aug. 11, 1892)

William W. Shepard (July 31, 184?-June 4, 187?)

Unfortunately, many of the dates are wearing away and were too difficult for me to discern. I haven’t been able to find much out about the Shepards and the Thompsons. In the 1850 U.S. census on Ancestry.com, Isabella appears in William H.’s household with two other Thompson women and his children. I don’t think she is William’s wife yet (it’s only a year after Rebecca passed away) — Isabella’s name isn’t immediately after his in the schedule, as one would expect if she were the wife. Her last name is listed as Thompson and not Shepard.

I find it interesting that the Thompson women have their maiden names listed on their tombstones. I wonder if Rebecca and Isabella were sisters. It is probable that they were related in some way, and I don’t think that was unusual back then. My guess is that when Rebecca married William, she brought family members with her to live with them. When Rebecca passed away, William married one of those relatives (I haven’t been able to find proof any of this yet, it’s just a hunch).

I’m wondering if Elizabeth A. took Shepard’s last name as her own and that is why there is no other surname on her tombstone. She was not one of the Thompson women living with Shepard up to this point. Even though she survived into the 1890s, I’ve been unable to find her in any of the censuses so far. She would have been in her 50s when William H. passed away. I don’t know how likely it is that she would have remarried, but I suppose it’s possible.

William (senior, I’m assuming) is listed as a slave owner in 1860 according to the slave schedules in the U.S. census that year. In that year, William H. is living with three daughters and still has a Sarah Thompson living with him. It doesn’t appear that Elizabeth was on the scene yet.

William W. can be found living with his father in 1850, but by the 1860 census he is apprenticed to a master painter and is living with him and his family instead.

52 Weeks To Better Genealogy – Challenge #2

I’m lucky that the Easton branch of the Talbot County Free Library system houses the county’s Maryland Room. I’ve used the Maryland Room several times to access resources like county land records, the vertical file, rare biographies and more.

Talbot County has a rich history and this is reflected in the Maryland Room’s collection, which features manuscripts by James Michener (author of Chesapeake) and also papers related to Frederick Douglass.

The Maryland Room also houses photo collections, genealogies, map collections and ephemera representing the region’s history. It is an impressive archive and worthy of a visit to see what’s there even if you don’t have a particular project to work on.

I’ve gotten to know the Maryland Room’s librarian, Becky Riti, as she has helped me with my research projects many times. I was able to return the favor earlier this year by helping her to scour the vertical file and local history books for Easton history tidbits to be included in the town’s tricentennial calendar (2010 marks Easton’s 300th anniversary).

Early History of the Tylor House

The Tylor House, Built in 1888

The Tylor House located on South Washington Street in Easton, Md., was completed in 1888 by Wilson Tylor and his wife, Elizabeth Needles Tylor. The alley behind the house is named Tyler’s Lane, most likely after the property. The family name is spelled both Tylor and Tyler in various records.

Wilson Tylor was born in June of 1856 and died in 1941. He was the editor of the Easton Gazette, predecessor of the Easton Star-Democrat, from 1885-1912. In a May 2007 column in the Tidewater Times, Harold W. Hurst called Tylor “a dignified and learned man, he made his paper into one of the most respectable and influential publications on the Shore.”1 Tylor was raised in Denton, Md. He wrote the column “Denton 70 Years Ago” for the Denton Journal.2

After Tylor retired from the Easton Gazette, he operated a small printing press in a meat house on the property on South Washington Street.  He filled in the names of graduating seniors on diplomas for the Board of Education.3 Perhaps the structure in question is the shed that remains on the property today.

Historical marker for the Third Haven Meeting House

Tylor and his wife were Quakers. Wilson Tylor was at one time in charge of the Friends’ School in Easton. He and his wife are buried along with several of their relatives on the grounds of the Third Haven Meeting House, located only a block away from the Tylor House on South Washington Street.

Wilson M. Tylor Headstone

Elizabeth N. Tylor's Headstone

More can be learned about the Tylor family in The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, by Laurence G. Claggett. The book is available at the main branch of the Talbot County Free Library in the Maryland Room. Claggett was the Tylors’ grandson. Sadly, he passed away earlier this year.

An extended family history about the Tylors’ ancestors also was written by Claggett. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca (2008) is also available at the main branch of the Talbot County Free Library. Tylor claims that his mother, Rebecca Morgan Huyck, was a grand-niece of Betsy Ross (a.k.a. Elizabeth Griscom), who famously sewed the first American flag.4

On page 74 of The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, there is a photo of the Tylor home*. It appeared much as it does today, except the front porch extended across the length of the home. The book says:

“In 1887, they bought a tract of land from Brookletts Avenue to the old railroad tracks on which they built the large Victorian… The house cost slightly less than $5,000.”5

After the Tylor children were grown and moved away, the house was divided into two parts. The Tylors occupied one part with, according to Claggett, “the north half being occupied at times by Capt. Frey, the Martin McHales, the Willard Daves, the C. Leslie Hammonds, among others.”6

After the Tylors passed away, their children sold the home to Mary Clough, who divided it into apartments.7 The property was and often still is used by nurses working at the hospital across the street.

Outlines of the house can be found in Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps starting in the year 1919. The lane behind the house was already called Tyler’s Lane according to that year’s map.8 The property has had three different house numbers since then.9

The Tylors are found listed at the property in the 1930 U.S. Census. The house at the time was valued at $20,000.10

Tylor House Front Porch Pillar

*Photos of the home may also appear in Quakerism on the Eastern Shore by Kenneth Lane Carroll and 75 years of caring: a history of the Memorial Hospital at Easton, Md., 1907-1982 by Dickson J. Preston (p. 173). Both of these books are also available at the Talbot County Free Library in Easton.

More details about the Tylors and how I performed this research project can be found here at my blog (use tag: Tylor). Interested in having me research your property? Email me.

All photos and text by Melissa Corley (c) 2009. All rights reserved.

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Source List

Claggett, Laurence G. The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County. Easton: Self-published, 1989.

Claggett, Laurence G. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca. Easton: Self-published, 2008.

Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. ProQuest. Digitial images. http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : 2008.

“Eastern Shore Newsmen: 1830-1980.” Transcript by Tidewater Times, at“Tidwater Times,” Tidewater Times. http://www.tidewatertimes.com/HaroldW.Hurst-May2007.htm : 2007.

Maryland. Talbot County. 1930 U.S. census. Digital images. HeritageQuest Online. http://persi.heritagequestonline.com : 2009.

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Reference Notes

  1. “Eastern Shore Newsmen: 1830-1980.” Transcript by Tidewater Times, at “Tidwater Times,” Tidewater Times (http://www.tidewatertimes.com/HaroldW.Hurst-May2007.htm : accessed 10 October 2009); citing original publication in Tidewater Times, May 2007.
  2. Laurence G. Claggett, The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County (Easton: self-published, 1989), 73.
  3. Ibid, 74.
  4. Laurence G. Claggett. Two Lives Entwined: Jonathan and Rebecca (Easton: self-published, 2008), 80.
  5. Claggett, The Tylors of Talbot and Caroline County, 74.
  6. Ibid.
  7. Ibid.
  8. Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. (ProQuest, 2008), 10, “Sanborn Maps of Maryland, Easton, May 1919”; digital images, The Sanborn Company (http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : accessed 10 October 2009).
  9. Digital Sanborn Maps 1867-1970. (ProQuest, 2008), 14, “Sanborn Maps of Maryland, Easton, January 1927”; digital images, The Sanborn Company (http://auth.esrl.org:2248/ : accessed 10 October 2009).
  10. 1930 U.S. Census, Talbot County, Maryland, population schedule, Easton City Ward 4, p. 182 (stamped), enumeration district (ED) 21, sheet 10-A, dwelling 246, family 282, Wilson M. Tylor; digital image, HeritageQuest Online (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com : accessed 10 October 2009); citing National Archives and Records Administration microfilm T626, roll 879.

Tombstone Tuesday: Find-A-Grave

This past weekend, I took my first volunteer photos of a gravesite for another user of the Find-A-Grave web site. For anyone who is interested in family history but hasn’t been to this site yet, I highly recommend you give it a visit.

On this site, which is free to join/peruse, users can post photos of gravesites of family members and others, along with biographical information. It’s a treasure trove for genealogists. I’ve found several unknown-to-me relatives by browsing relatives of ancestors with memorials on the site.

Users can build virtual cemeteries on the site, which can contain memorials for relatives, etc., even if they are actually buried in many different cemeteries. This is a handy way to keep track of far-flung ancestral burial sites.

I visited Woodlawn Memorial Park in Easton, Md., Saturday to take gravesite photos at the request of another user. If you live far away from the burial site(s) of family members, you can make a similar request of others in the area of the cemetery where your relative is buried. Their photos may allow you to “visit” a grave you may not otherwise have the chance to see.

Headstones often have quite a bit of information that can be handy for family history research (birth and death dates, names, nearby graves of relatives, etc). However, these facts should always be confirmed using other records as mistakes are often made in the production of headstones.