Wednesday, October 22, 2014

A Graveyard Tour & Some Interesting Motifs

Last Saturday friends and I FINALLY went on the graveyard tour of the First Presbyterian Churchyard in Morristown, NJ. Every time we talked about going there was a major climatic event to deal with like Superstorm Sandy or a freak October snowstorm but this year the weather was on our side and we weren't disappointed.

The cemetery is tucked behind the First Presbyterian Church "On the Green" in downtown Morristown. 

A map of the cemetery and the names of everyone interred are on the church's website here. I'm always on the lookout for gravestones with interesting motifs so here are a few that I found and photographed.

The oldest stone in the cemetery is that of Mrs. Abigail Goble who died in 1742 at the age of 62 years. Her gravestone features a Felled Tree With Ax where the hand of God extends from a cloud in the upper right hand corner. "Memento Mori" or Remember Death is inscribed along the top curve. 

"Here lies inter'd ye body of ye widow Elizabeth Lindsley. . . "   


Oops! The carver ran out of space for the last two letters of ElizabeTH so he added them above the 'e.'

Lovely flourishes or curlicues and a leafy vine adorn the gravestone of Harriet and Theodore Briant who died in 1833 and 1824.  

"Here lies Interr'd the body of Prudence Wife of Joseph King Who departed this life Feb. 2, 1746 aged 25 years. . . " This pear-faced soul effigy with crown and wings was most likely the work of Uzal Ward a carver from Elizabethtown, NJ. 

One of the most popular motifs in the 17th & 18th centuries was the Death's Head or Winged Skull as seen on Hannah Lyon's gravestone in 1763. 


Welcome to Heaven.

Rising Sun or renewed life on the gravestone of Elizabeth Stiles 1792. 


At the end of the tour we went back through the church to take another look at the beautiful Tiffany windows. 

This one depicts George Washington receiving Communion in the church orchard in the Spring of 1777.

Cemetery Project Updates :)

Yay! I've reached over 10,000 memorials on Find A Grave and am still working on the Woodlawn Cemetery Project along with other volunteers. To date we've entered over 80,000 names with a goal of 250,000.

Happy Wednesday!

Copyright 2014, Barbara Schaffer



  1. I am interested in effigies. A few years ago I came across a metal marker at a yard sale. It had clasped hands and some laurel leaves and letters on it.
    I did some research and found it was an insignia for a fellowship, or lodge.
    I found this and thought you may find it interesting.
    Farewell to earthly existence. Also unity. Often used as a Masonic and I.O.O.F. symbol. Deborah, a website visitor, told me that in the Native American culture clasped hands represent a Delaware grave.

  2. I thought the Pierson gravestone was a good example of clasped hands. And thank you for telling me about the meaning of clasped hands on Native American gravestones :)