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.

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.

Robert and Abigail Hopper Monuments, Bethany Cemetery

A pair of matched urn-topped ,marble monuments—matched, but not quite. It looks as though Robert’s heirs could not get exactly the same design when he died three and a half years after his wife. The epitaphs were clearly inscribed by different artists. (The tree in the background had just fallen the night before Father Pitt visited, fortunately doing no damage to the monuments.)

The epitaph:

Dearest Mother, thou hast left us,
And thy loss we deeply feel;
But ’tis God that hast [sic] bereft us.
He can all our sorrows heal.

The epitaph:

It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road,
And midst the brotherhood on high
To be at home with God.

Richard Coulter Tombstone, Bethany Cemetery

IN
memory of
RICHARD COULTER
who departed this life
May 4th 1821, Aged 22 years
——— Long, long expected home, and lo:
Home he has scarcely come,
Till he is summon’d and must go
To his eternal home.

This is a fairly well-preserved tombstone from nearly two centuries ago, and that is of course interesting enough. The most interesting thing, however, is the poem, which is from a collection of poems by the very obscure James Meikle, this one being headed “On a gentleman who died after his return to his family from foreign parts, after an absence of twelve years.” The poem itself is dated 1768, but it was kept in manuscript until after the poet’s death in 1799. The only edition of the posthumous poems of Meikle Father Pitt has been able to find is one published in Pittsburgh in 1819, two years before the death of Richard Coulter; so that we know with near certainty that whoever specified the epitaph on this stone had read it in this particular book.