Week #26 Genealogy Prompt – Visit a Cemetery

Amy Coffin at We Tree has a writing prompt for every week this year. This week’s suggestion is to write about a cemetery visit and particularly an unusual grave monument. On Memorial Day 2009 I went with my brother & sister-in-law and my daughter and son-in-law to visit the IOOF Cemetery in Noble, Oklahoma. We visited the graves of my grandson as well as those of my mother, father and paternal grandparents. After that, we went to the directory and searched for graves of other paternal family members. Three of my father’s brothers and two of their wives (the third wife is 102 and still quite perky in a rest home) are buried there as well.

As we walked the cemetery, I found two monuments that were either unusual or interesting.

2009 Mem Day Int Inset Dr. ParkerThe first monument marks the grave of Dr. F. L. Parker who lived from 1876 until 1914 (though his birth date is clear, the month of his death is not – it actually looks like the abbreviation for Monday). His rank (Sergeant) in the regular army is noted on the monument as well as his title of doctor. Because of the 1914 date and military rank, I assume he may have died in action during World War I, though there is no direct reference to that.

Monument Inset

This monument is both unusual and interesting; it is a pillar-type monument with an inset toward the top of the pillar. The inset appears to be an oval-shaped photograph transferred to ceramic tile (in excellent condition), inserted in a metal frame and inset into the monument.

The inset picture is of a covered two-horse-drawn carriage and a man, apparently on prairie land. I wonder if the man in the inset is Dr. Parker. Although is is not very clear, it is possible there is something – perhaps a medical bag – in the left hand of the man in the inset.

The second monument was probably not so unusual as interesting – at least in the sentiment expressed on it. Because I am a musician and always appreciate the impact music can make on and in a life, I loved the thought:

How Sweet the Music Was

How Sweet the Music Was

It’s interesting there are no full names or dates of the lives of the people represented – only the sentiment, “How Sweet the Music Was.” This thought is accompanied by the carved picture of a couple on a tree swing overlooking a home with shrubs and what, based on the clarity of the rays of the sun (as well as the fact that as you look at the monument you are facing east), I assume is a rising sun rather than a setting one. There are also music notes scattered across the monument. All in all, this is a monument of hope and joy – a shared life well lived with the hope, even expectation, of more to come.

3 Responses

  1. Donna,

    Generally speaking, and from my 16 years of experience in the cemetery business, there are no first names or birth/death dates on the Underwoods monument because they are still living. It appears that the Underwoods did not want their first names or dates added to their monument until the time of need. Many people feel weird if they have their monuments or memorial makers (flat) set and it has all their information on it prior to death. Many cemeteries and people order monuments or makers pre-need (prior to death). (Ordering now and setting saves money due to the rising cost of granite and bronze) Some people want everything on it except, of course, date of death. Others are like the Underwoods. When the one or both passes on to be with the Lord the engravers will etch the information on the granite monument when notified by the family. I, too, like the engraving on the monument.

    • ilene, I appreciate your insight based on being involved in the cemetery business. I didn’t even think about them still being alive, even though I had just walked away from the monument that includes a spot next to her husband for my 102-year-old still-living aunt.

  2. Those really were interesting to see and it is amazing how well preserved that photo is.

    I still have that really odd (read ugly) headstone that maybe I’ll post someday.

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