While visiting Wayfare Primitive Baptist Church in Echols County, Georgia, I found this cast iron grave marker for the first time. I do not recall seeing them before this visit. The combination of headstone and foot stone made of metal was interesting to me. I noticed the patent date and researched who owned the patent.
James K. P. Shelton patented this marker in 1887 while living in Gaston, Alabama. The empty frame used to contain glass because Shelton thought it would be a safe way to keep a person’s photo. Unfortunately, the glass idea did not work. In one article, it mentions that at least in one county, no fully intact marker has been located. Based on what I’ve found online, I couldn’t find a documented one where the glass is intact, so if you ever see one, photograph it.