Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Comb Grave Cover - Etowah County, Alabama

Bristow Cemetery

Location: N 34° 11.888     W085° 57.343
Alabama Highway 227/Duck Springs Road

This is an old cemetery in Will's Valley that I visited in December of 2011. Will's Valley is consider a valley of the Ridge and Valley Ecoregion. It is considered a district of the Cumberland Plateau Physiographic Region. 

There were comb grave covers from the 1870's in this cemetery. There are also several end pieces from combs that are missing their covers. 

Griffith, G.E., J.M. Omernik, J.A. Comstock, G. Martin, A. Goddard, and V.J. Hulcher. 2001. Ecoregions of Alabama. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR.

“Cumberland Plateau Physiographic Section.” Encyclopedia of Alabama, November 30, 2016. http://www.encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-1301.

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Comb Graves - Lamar County, Alabama

Year ago I would encounter the tent-like grave covers in my travels in Alabama and Georgia. I learned that these type of grave covers are called Comb graves. 

Descriptions  of Comb Graves:  

  • A stone structure built over an in-ground grave that is triangular in shape. It most often consists of two rectangular sandstone slabs placed together to form a gabled roof over the grave. 
  •  slabs of rock (or other materials) that cover the length of the graves. The stones lean against each other to form inverted v-shapes, like the gables of a roof.                                                     
The greatest concentration of these graves can be found on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee. The Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee                    

The comb grave below is found in the Sizemore Cemetery of Lamar County, Alabama. This is in the Fall Line Hills of the Alabama Coastal Plain. 


Alabama Historical Commission,  Guide to Common Alabama GraveMarkers, www.ahc.alabama.gov.

Griffith, G.E., J.M. Omernik, J.A. Comstock, G. Martin, A. Goddard, and V.J. Hulcher. 2001. Ecoregions of Alabama. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory, Corvallis, OR.

TSLAblog. “Comb Graves of Tennessee.” Library & Archives News: The Tennessee State Library and Archives Blog, January 1, 1970. http://tslablog.blogspot.com/2015/12/comb-graves-of-tennessee.html.

Comb Graves Encountered:

Arkadelphia Baptist Church                 Cullman County

Sizemore Cemetery                              Lamar County

Chickasaw Cemetery                           Walker County

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 (www.preserveala.org).
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 (http://mcrocks.com/ftr06-2/StreeterNovember06.html).

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, http://www.tngenweb.org/darkside/white.html, 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

Comb Grave Covers - 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

Comb Grave Covers - Cullman County, Alabama

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