Tag Archives: Symbolism

James Graham Kenan Mausoleum-Wilmington, North Carolina

This is the stately plot of the Kenan family. Outside of the mausoleum, there are family members buried in the large circular plot. It is located in the Oakdale Cemetery. The winged cherub at the top of the mausoleum represents innocence.

Piney Woods Primitive Baptist Church Cemetery-Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia

Fulton County

Founded in 1852, the Piney Woods Primitive Baptist Church is located in the crossroads town called Rico, which now makes up the town Chattahoochee Hills. It has a mixture of box slab crypts, seashell-covered graves, field stone markers, and traditional late 1800s headstones.

The church moved from the site by 1856, but the cemetery remained active until 1900. One side of the cemetery contains burials with no markers. It’s believed they are for men and women born into slavery of the church’s founders and the town of Rico.

The seashell-covered graves were a Southern phenomenon. In the Christian tradition, they represent a person’s travels through life, and the final passage involves crossing water into the promised land. An article that provides further details can be read here.

Flannery O’Connor at Memory Hill Cemetery-Milledgeville, Georgia

Flannery O’Connor (1925-1964) was an American writer for her novels and short stories. Her final resting place is next to her parents in Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, Georgia. Despite being born in Savannah, Milledgeville was Flannery’s home. Her family moved there when she was fifteen and lived there until her passing at 39. Her childhood home and the family farm, Andalusia, still stand in Milledgeville.

Whenever I’ve visited her grave, there have been flowers and other mementos. When I took this photo, someone(s) had left behind coins as a sign that someone visited. The IHS symbol stands for Iesus Hominum Salvator, which means Jesus, savior of mankind, or it can stand for the first three letters of Jesus’s name, iota eta sigma.

New Park Cemetery-Fort Gaines, Georgia

Founded in 1860, New Park Cemetery is one of the early cemeteries in Fort Gaines, Georgia. The cemetery contains many examples of markers representing the years it’s been active. One of the more unusual aspects of the cemetery is that there is a Victorian gazebo built in 1880 that sits atop a Native American burial ground, believed to be at least 1000 years old. Like the Kolomoki Mounds, it is believed this was built by the Swift Creek and Weeden Island people.

An example of the iron work in the cemetery.
Col. James Bennett, 1800-1860. The hourglass with wings symbolizes that our time on earth is limited.
Designed by C. W. Morris, the gazebo was built on top of a Native American mound in 1880. This photo is courtesy of the Digital Library of Georgia. When I visited, I did not realize the gazebo was more than a place for reflection, so I did not photograph it. The gazebo reminds me of the Sautee Nacoochee Indian Mound outside of Helen, Georgia.

The Morales-Arlington Tomb at Metairie Cemetery, Louisiana

Josie Arlington was a well-known madam in New Orleans. Before her death, she purchased this plot in Metairie Cemetery and commissioned to have this tomb built. Upon her death, she was briefly interred and then removed to an unknown burial plot when her family fought over her estate.

Jose Morales, a local lawyer, bought the tomb for his wife and children. This stirred controversy among community members, and her tomb attracted attention. At one point, a red light was installed close to her tomb and it looked like the tomb was on fire. The light was later removed.

To date, the Metairie staff have not revealed where Josie is buried.

This tomb and sculpture are listed as part of the Smithsonian’s Save our Sculpture! project and is listed on the Inventory of American Sculpture.

Whiting Clock Monuments-Mobile, Alabama

Mobile County
Abby Ann Whiting, 1820-1866
James Whiting, 1828-1870

Both monument stand next to each other with the words, “Erected by their mother.” Their mother, Susan, passed away in 1876. The poignant angel weeks and the clocks, with their hands inching towards midnight, illustrate Victorian iconography.

These monuments can be found in the Church Street Graveyard in Mobile, Alabama. While a small cemetery, there are many interesting monuments contained within its walls.