Sunday, December 14, 2014

Rock Cairns

Rock Cairns

In my travels I have encountered graves covered with stack stone. These type of grave covers are referred to as rock cairns in A Guide to Common Alabama Grave Covers (
Rock Cairn - Mt. Pleasant UMC Franklin County, Alabama
Most of the time I know enough about the local geology to determine if the stones are local or from somewhere else. Sometimes the rock appears to have been quarried and shaped and other time it appears that it was picked up and used as is. At Mt. Pleasant United Methodist Church and Macedonia Baptist Church in Franklin County, Alabama the slabs used to construct the cairns appear to come from the limestone rocks formation that are  exposed in the floor of Moulton Valley.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Fossil Head Stone

Fossil Head Stone:

This is a first for me. It is located in the cemetery of Goldmine Church of Christ in Marion County, Alabama.

This area of Alabama is famous for petrified wood (

Tons of this is for sell on the internet.  This must be the grave of a serious fossil hunter!!!

Saturday, August 17, 2013

White Bronze or Zinc Markers

I have encountered white bronze grave markers in several locales. The one here is located in Salem Cemetery on Highway 36 in Upson County, Georgia (N32 58.783 W084 12.127)

Inscription Front Panel

Anne Antoinette Lindsey
Wife of Fielding F Matthew
Born Feb 26 1823
Died June 24 1905

Inscription Back Panel
Field Friar Matthews
Born Jane 8 1815
Died Nov 19 1891

From: Sickness and Death in the Old South,, accessed August 17, 2013

“White Bronze” grave markers are actually made from zinc. The fancy white bronze name was a marketing ploy to make the zinc material sound more attractive. The white bronze markers came from the Monumental Bronze Company, Bridgeport, Connecticut and its later subsidiaries. The markers were sold nationwide. General timeframe for these markers is 1870s to 1912. 
         The colors can be pale grey to a very pale baby blue. The markers are hollow so there will be vertical seams at the corners. There are stories of how gardeners hid garden tools in tall white bronze monuments and how outlaws hid their loot in them. 
         Sometimes poor quality repairs are made to zinc markers by using steel screws, usually as replacements for missing screws. The steel screws can rust and cause discoloration. These zince markers have stood the test of time better than their neighboring contemporary stone markers eaten away by lichens and mosses.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Tents in Walker County, Alabama

Location: Chickasaw Cemetery
Highway 118
Carbon Hill, Walker County, Alabama
N 33° 52.658              W087° 29.567

Date of Visits: October 28, 2012

On a low hill above Highway 118 outside of Carbon Hill, Alabama is the Chickasaw Cemetery.  In this cemetery there is a style of tent cover unlike any I have seen. The head and footstones are hipped low to the ground. The hips seem to serve as supports to the sheets of the tent. There are quite a few other hipped headstones in the cemetery, but their tent sheets are gone. 

Monday, September 19, 2011

Tent Graves/Triangular Slab Grave Covers

Location: Arkadelphia Baptist Church, Cullman County, Alabama

There are 13 tent graves in this cemetery. The earliest burial of this type was in 1863 and the latest in 1878. It appears that all were derived from the same stone/rock formation...a reddish sandstone.  The letters and pattern of carving are very similar. It seems that one man or one group carved all of the head stones.
Jane Clark

Monday, April 4, 2011

McMillian Burial Ground

This cemetery is located in downtown Vidalia, Georgia. There were two wooden markers in this cemetery.  A historical marker erected by the local Sons of Confederate Veterans mentions that wooden makers were once prevalent in the cemetery. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Slot and Tab Tombs

I mulled over what would constitute the subject of my first blog for a while before settling on the slot and tab tombs I encountered last week in White and Lumpkin County Georgia.   These are burial boxes that seem to be  limited to a few counties in Georgia, one county in South Carolina, and one county in Alabama.

The following description was taken from Tom Kunesh's very informative website (

: an oblong horizontal lid (ledger stone) made of local soapstone (local greenish-grey soft chloritic schist) with two slots cut into it, through which the vertical head and foot stones are fitted, called a 'through mortise-and-tenon joint' in woodworking. The ledger stone is thus suspended over an internal empty cavity by the weight-bearing shoulders of the head- and footstones, and by either (a) long cut stone blocks (squared-stone-logs) approximately 5"x5"x(~length of body), stacked one on top of the other equally on each side, or by (b) one-piece side slabs, to create an above-ground stone box monument that resembles a tomb. The body is presumably underground since no remains have been seen inside exposed internal cavities.
166 found to date in 'Upland South folk cemeteries' almost exclusively in rural northeast Georgia around Wahoo.   ethnicity: English & Scotch-Irish and predominantly Baptist.   dates: 1848-1889.
presumably locally quarried & carved.

I located these tombs at Shoal Creek Baptist Church in White County, and Brown's Chapel and Mt. Gilead Historic Cemetery in Lumpkin County.