Tombstone Tuesday: Hole-in-the-Wall Cemetery

On the way to southern points on the Eastern Shore, I always pass this tumbling-down church and graveyard on Route 50 near Trappe, Md. I finally pulled off the road to explore it this past Saturday. The sign on the corner reads “White Marsh Cemetery,” but Google Maps has it listed as “Hole-in-the-Wall Cemetery.” Funnily enough, the name does not come from the appearance of the existing building.

The building is the remains of a church dating back to the 1600s. Interesting stories about the church can be found on the Haunted Eastern Shore Facebook page. Many of the graves have stones with dates in the 1700s including a vault in the floor of the church holding the remains of a parish rector and his wife.

The cemetery is still in use by another church and there are many recent graves there. Below are photos of some of the older graves, many of which are succumbing to nature in varying degrees:

Tombstone Tuesday: The HILL Family

Dear Reader: Do you think you are related to the individuals listed in this post? Please drop me a note! I love hearing from cousins and others researching my family!

After receiving a couple of vital records pertaining to my family, I was able to delve a bit deeper into my dad’s mother’s side. Her death certificate revealed the full names of her parents, neither of which I had prior to last week. Once they were known, new information became available.

While searching on FindAGrave, I came across the grave site for my great-grandfather William Boyd HILL. The marker indicates that a number of Hills are buried at the same spot in addition to a gentleman I believe to be related to my great-grandmother Martha Alcorn SIMPSON (Martha A. Hill on the stone).

The photo posted on FindAGrave is in shadow and I haven’t had luck discerning all of the dates on the stone. Still, I’m ecstatic to have found this stone online and thankful that it’s there at all. Luckily, Philadelphia’s not too far of a drive. Someday soon, I hope to make it up there to see the stone in person.

Follow Friday: Family Tree Magazine Top 40 Blogs

This week, Family Tree Magazine published its list of the Top 40 genealogy bloggers. I highly recommend checking out the complete list, but I especially vouch for the following list members. I’ve come to know them well over the past several months via their blogs and on Twitter:

footnoteMaven

GeneaBloggers

Genea-Musings

George Geder

Tracing the Tribe: The Jewish Genealogy Blog

The Family Curator

AncestStories

Be Not Forgot

Herstoryan

Little Bytes of Life

Our Georgia Roots

We Tree (special props to Amy for being a fellow AIIP member!)

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.

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

(Un)dead Follow Friday

Their focus is on the dead, but their tweets are quite lively. For this week’s Follow Friday recommendations, I thought I’d highlight those who specialize in cemeteries — news surrounding them and their preservation.

Some may find it creepy that there are those of us who enjoy wandering around graveyards, but every stone tells a story and beneath each marker lies someone’s ancestor. They should not be forgotten.

Follow CemeteryMan101 for the latest news involving cemeteries across the country and the world. From preservation to management to history, he scours the news for reports on burial grounds.

Follow jackrobinson181 to learn about his latest forays into cemetery preservation, especially African-American burial sites. His mission is very worthwhile and his posts are always interesting, often with photos and/or movies accompanying them.

Follow southerngraves for interesting posts on a variety of cemetery-related topics from the U.S. South, including recommended reading and history. Bonus points for being a scrapbooker too!

Follow fairangels for updates on the Online Searchable Death Indexes (his creation) and some beautiful photography, along with other links of interest to genealogists/historians.

Finally, visit Cemetery Curiosities for a unique view on graveyards, specifically those mementos left behind by friends and relatives at the gravesites of their loved ones. These artifacts can offer an interesting view on someone’s life and their relationships with others.

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.