Thursday, December 1, 2011


I spotted this graveside medallion the other day on a walk through my
local cemetery:
This was by a grave of a married couple. It denotes a member of a Lodge of
Rebekah, the female branch of the International Order of Odd Fellows. The
bird is a dove , a symbol of peace, and the moon and stars stand for the Divine
order of the universe. The FLT in the chain are the Three Links of Friendship,
Love and Truth, and the R stands for the Rebekahs.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WILLIAM F. BARLOW 1873/1874-?

This oversized urn has fascinated me since the first time I noticed it at the
Mt Vernon Cemetery in Abigton, Ma. It is actually a planter and at one time
had some shrub or plant growing in it. The only information on it is the plate
on the brick base: William F. Barlow Jr.

I haven't found much information on Mr Barlow but what I did find at a
Rootsweb page might explain the bricks. At Michael Damon's Damon Tree
there is a listing for William F. Barlow Jr who married a Nellie Damon in
North Abington on 27Mar 1881. There is no date or place of birth given
for William but he and Nellie had a son, Allen. William's occupation is given
as "Architect". Perhaps that is the reason for the bricks?

I checked Ancestry and found William on the 1920 Federal Census as
a widower living in nearby Brockton, Ma. His son Allen was living with him
and was 18 years old.  William was 46 and he was born in Rhode Island.

Then I looked for an earlier Census record and found William on the 1880
U.S. Census for Newport Rhode Island.. He was living in the household
headed by his grandparents Moses and Rebecca Barlow. Moses' gave
his occupation as boat builder. William Barlow Sr. lived there as well
and was a 36 year old house carpenter. There is a listing for a 30year
old daughter Maria but it's possible she was William's wife and William
Jr's mother since both William's are listed as sons.

I haven't found a death record yet but now I know a bit more about
the person buried under that unique memorial.

Sunday, October 9, 2011


Front side:
Ira Carver
Susan C. Ames
Ira Lysander Carver

Right Side:
George William Hight
Member of Company O
44th Regiment
Massachusetts Volunteers
His Wife
Lucy Barstow Carver

Back Side:
Lucius Carver
Born in Marshfield 1840
Enlisted in Boston 1863
Assigned to Michigan 7th Cav
As private. Promoted to Serg.
Co. M. Serg Major of the Reg.
And Lieu, Co.M. Killed in action
At Front Royal Va. Aug16 1864
A brave heroic soldier
Courteous and manly

Left Side:
Allyne Cushing Litchfield
5th Michigam Cavalry 1862
Liutenant Col.
7th Michigan Cavalry 1862
7th Michigan Cavalry 1864
Brevet Brigadier General
Volunteers 1865
"For gallant
And Meritorious Service"

I took these pictures at the Marshfield Hills Cemetery in August.
I hadn't read the inscriptions when I took them but when I was
transcribing them for this post I was overcome with curiosity. The
7th Michigan Cavalry was commanded by George Armstrong Custer.
How did two men from Massachusetts end up serving in his command?

My answers came in two different places online. The first was a website for
the Litchfield-French papers 1862-1918 at the William L. Clements
Library at the University of Michigan. (The French is Litchfield's son-in-law
Roy  A.French). A short biography told me Litchfield was born in Hingham
Ma in 1835 and working in the lumber industry in Michigan when the war
broke out which is how he wound up in the 7th Michigan Cav in 1862.
His connection to the Carvers was his wife Susan who was sister to
Lucius Carver. It wasn't uncommon in the Civil War for family members
to serve together in the same units so Litchfield might have arranged to
have his brother-in-law assigned to his so he could keep an eye on the
younger man.

The second spot where I found more information was the book
HISTORY OF AND BY MEMBERS OF THE Seventh Regiment MICHIGAN VOLUNTEER CAVALRY 1862-1865 COMPILEDBY WILLIAM O. LEE Late Q. M. Sergeant-Co. "M" (published 7th Michigan Cavalry Association detroit, mich. [no pub date given])
at the Internet Archive there is this short self written account by
Allyne Cushing Litchfield of his Civil War experiences:
Born July 15th, 1835, at Hingham, Plymouth County,
Mass. ; enlisted at Georgetown, Ottawa County, Mich.,
August 14th, 1862, as Captain in Co. "B," 5th Michigan
Cavalry; was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel,7th Michigan
Cavalry, November 14th, 1862 ; commissioned Colonel March
20th,1864, and mustered as Colonel to date May 15th,1865.
Horse killed at Gettysburg, and falling on me severely
jammed me, but not so as to prevent my continuing on duty
with the Regiment. Was taken prisoner on Kilpatrick's Raid
at Atlee Station on railroad, about seven miles from
Richmond, March 1st, 1864, and was in close confinement
with five other officers and four colored soldiers until
July 15th, 1864. For the last six weeks of this time we
were put on one-third of a prison ration; was then sent
to Macon, Ga., from thence to Charleston, S. C, thence
to Columbia, S. C, where for five and a half months we
received no meat whatever; was paroled for exchange March
1st, 1865. Brevet Brigadier General United States Volunteers
March 3d, 1865, for gallant and meritorious service.
Mustered out as Lieutenant Colonel May 21st, 1865;
mustered as Colonel May 22d, 1865, and mustered out
as Colonel May 26th, 1865. (pp26-27)

He also had this to say about the death of his brother -in-law:
I was terribly shocked when in prison at Charleston, S. C, to read 
in the New York Times the account of his death in the Battle of
Front Royal, Va., the following August, from which place I tenderly
removed his sacred remains to the village church-yard of his native 
town. (p32)
And that village churchyard was the Marshfield Hills Cemetery where
a century after Allyne Litchfield's death I took my pictures.

Monday, September 26, 2011


One of the things that I noticed when I first started taking cemetery photos
were the assorted medallions placed near gravestones. So I thought I'd feature
some here from time to time. Due to the recent rash of thefts of such items
from cemeteries I won't disclose the location of these items to protect them from
metal thieves.

This first one has the initials I.O.R.M. which stands for the Improved Order of
Red Men. This was a fraternal group organized back in the late 19th century that
claimed it was descended from the Sons of Liberty from the American Revolution.
The Indian theme was based on the Boston Tea Party when the Sons of Liberty
disguised as themselves as Indians,

"No 153" is the lodge of which the deceased was a member.

When I researched this medallion I thought I'd read about the I.O.R.M.
somewhere before and a quick google search reminded me of where it had
been: an article on Heather Wilkinson Rojo's Nutfield Genealogy about the
Boston Tea Party that you can read here!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


When I visited the Marshfield Hills Cemetery two weeks ago I saw what
for me was an unusual tomb. The inscription over the entrance reads
"Friend Tilden !879 "  There are two panels of inscriptions at the entrance,
one that apparently broke free and then split in half. Only the bottom of
that panel is visible; the larger top half is leaning face first against the
entrance. The part I'd never encountered before are the headstones lining
the entranceway. They are for the same people listed on the tomb panels.
 Is it possible that Friend Tilden or his family had the remains of his 
parents and other relatives moved there from their original resting places
and included the original headstones in the move?

As I said, it's the first time I've seen something like this. But I'm still a
relative newbie in exploring cemeteries. Has anyone else ever seen
this sort of arrangement in their own explorations?

Monday, August 29, 2011


Many of the oldest trees in any neighborhood can be found in the local
cemeteries. Because of their age and height they are at risk in severe
weather and several trees at Mt Vernon Cemetery here in Abington
suffered damage during Tropical Storm Irene.

What was striking about it was the type of damage. Officials had warned
that because of the heavy rain trees would be pulled out by the roots by
the high winds. Such was not the case here where it looks like the trees
were snapped or split by the force of the winds.Luckily it did not
appear that any headstones were damaged by the fallen tree trunks.
I hope the same is true in the other cemeteries I've photographed over the
previous months.