Henry Huls Snr. Tombstone, Peters Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

A newly identified work by the Master of the Robinson Run Reliefs, all of whose trademarks are visible here: the thistle decoration flanked by flowers, the fan patterns in the corners, and even the curled tail on the top of the lower-case g in age. Henry Huls was a private in the Revolutionary War; he is identified here as having served in the Washington County Militia, but that could only have been in the last few months of the war, since Washington County itself was formed in 1781.

David Philips Tombstone, Peters Creek Baptist Church Cemetery

Captain Philips, who fought in the Revolution, lived to see the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. He is identified as Revd. Philips on his tombstone, and he is buried in the Philips family plot, which is still separated from the hoi polloi by a metal rail. From this one stone we identify a new Master in our collection of folk artists who produced tombstones here two centuries ago: the Master of the Curly Numerals, identifiable by the curled decorations on his numbers. Note also the fine curly script of “The Revd.”

Some Amateur Tombstones in Brush Creek Cemetery

HERE
RESTETH IN GOD
CHRISTINA WEGL
WAS BORN 23 MAY 18—
DIED 23 DEC. 1811

[The birth date is obscured in the picture. Sorry about that.]

Is “amateur” the word we are looking for? There are tombstones in the Brush Creek Cemetery that are remarkable works of folk art—and then there are these, some of which appear to have been made by craftsmen who were quite good at scratching letters in stone, but none of which seem to rise to the level of professional stonecutting.

There were a fair number of Germans among the early settlers. Some of the families have some of their tombstones in English and others in German. Father Pitt earnestly solicits corrections to his German translations.

J. W.
B. 1718
D. 1802

The plaque gives the name of this Revolutionary War veteran as John Wagle; he is buried near Christina Wegl, and Wagle and Wegl are almost certainly different ways of spelling the same name.

IN
MEMORY
OF
PHILIP SMITH
HE WAS BORN 1743
AND DIED 1824
AGED 76

HERE LIES
LUDWIG KAEMMERER
DIED JANUARY
21ST 1808 AGED
90 YEARS

Old Pa Pitt is assuming that the line over the M indicates a doubled letter.

HERE LIES
MAGDALENA
KAEMMERIN DIED
JUNE 12th IN THE
YEAR 1794 AGED 26

If this was installed when Magdalena died, then this is one of the earliest legible tombstones in the area.

IN
MEMORY
OF
LUDWIG
KEMERER Junr. HE
WAS BORN AD 1749
DEPARDET THIS
LIFE 1817 AGE —

This seems to be the work of the same stonecutter—perhaps a family member—who did the two German stones above. Note the different spelling of “Kemerer” in English.

HERE LIES
J. CONRAD SCHIDLER
HE & ELISABETH HIS
WIFE BORE 10
CHILDREN HIS PARENTS
ANDREAS & MARGARET
HE DIED APRIL 20th
1796 AGED 58 YEARS
Text John Chap. II V. 25

PAUL EBERHART

ELISABETH
LINSENBIGLER

Thomas and Jennet McNary Grave, Oak Spring Cemetery

An elevated slab for a Revolutionary War veteran and his wife. The two inscriptions were certainly done by the same craftsman, but from subtle differences in the thicknesses and forms of the letters it looks as though they may have been done at different times, suggesting that Jennet’s was added to Thomas’ already existing stone.

IN
Memory of
THOMAS Mc NARY Esqr.
Who departed this life on the
9th of July A.D. 1820 in the 76th
year of his age.

IN
Memory of
JENNET Mc NARY
Consort of
THOMAS Mc NARY
Who departed this life on the
15th of April A.D. 1828 in the 84th
year of her age.

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.