Category Archives: Vernacular Headstones

Lowery Cemetery-Laurens County, Georgia

This cemetery was at the end of a very long dirt road. I had put it on my list to visit after seeing an image of Matthew Cadwell’s marker. His epitaph reads, “Killed by lightning upon his horse.” I do not see it often, but I like documenting markers whenI do find ones that share how a person. It made be seen as macabre, but it has a bluntness that I appreciate.

Additionally, the cemetery had several folk headstones that seemed to be made of sandstone. Time is making them fade quicker than most markers.

Mathew Cadwell, 1858-1888
Silas Browning, 1819-188?
Teresa A. J?, 1878-1885

Martha Griffin Marker at Brownoh AME Church-Calhoun Falls, South Carolina

The marker of Martha Griffin (1874-1933) utilizes marbles set in concrete for a handmade headstone. Folk art headstones using marbles can frequently be found in rural church cemeteries.

Oakwood Cemetery-Spartanburg, South Carolina

Founded in 1883, Oakwood Cemetery is the final resting place for many prominent members of Spartanburg. The cemetery is often referred as “Hell’s Gate Cemetery” for the oft-reported paranormal phenomena. Some claim a woman in white walks the grounds. It’s often listed as the most haunted cemetery in South Carolina.

The cemetery was vandalized, and a skull was removed from a coffin. It was returned a few weeks later.

It’s a lovely smaller town cemetery with some Victorian monuments.

The cross that greets visitors
Carrie Harris marker in Potter’s Field
A memento left on a child’s grave in Potter’s Field
The crown of thorns on a wooden cross with no name
Floyd family marker
A view of the cemetery
The Converse family plot marker

New Hope AME Church and Cemetery-Atlanta, Georgia

Located in Buckhead, the New Hope AME church is an anomaly compared to the exclusive homes that run along Arden Road. The vernacular church resembles many Black churches in rural Georgia with the central gable and tower. The church was founded in 1869 by newly freedmen and women. James H. Smith, a white Buckhead farmer, donated three acres of land to the congregation to build a church and a school.

The original church building was destroyed by fire in 1927. The current building consists of a 1928 basement and a 1936 sanctuary.

The school burned in 1942.

The cemetery’s earliest burial is 1889. Since the cemetery photos were taken, the cemetery has been restored.

Cliff Nelms (d. 1967)-This is an unusual marker that I believe is handmade.
James R. R. Maddox (1850-1913)-The overlapping Vs likely represent a Masonic organization.
Albert Daniel (1887-1904)
Ada Newton-One of the handmade markers by artist Eldrin Bailey