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 stayed active close to 1900. One side of the cemetery contains burials with no markers. It’s believed they are for men and women who were born into slavery of the founders of the church 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 articles that provides further details can be read here.
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.
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.
This markers contains a great deal of imagery. The broken column represents a life cut short. The hourglass serves as a reminder as that life on earth is short. The angel with staff represents Father Time. A fuller explanation is that the symbols collectively communicate the story of the Weeping Virgin.