Friday, April 26, 2013

The Osborn Brothers - Stonecutters

As a follow-up to my 'Signed by Carvers' post in February, I wanted to share some photographs that were sent to me by Robert Lenahan, a gravestone enthusiast, like me. In fact, this may turn into a series of posts over the next few months. The following pictures show the work of two brothers, Henry and Jonathan Hand Osborn, who were stonecutters in Woodbridge and Scotch Plains, NJ. Their carvings include monograms, floral motifs, winged cherubs, and often signatures.   


Gravestone of Phebe Fleming, Rahway Cemetery, Rahway, NJ, cut by Henry Osborn (1770-1839). Note the signature at the bottom in between two flowers. 

In Memory of Phebe
Daugh’r of Daniel ~
Moore & wife of John
Fleming who deceas’d
March 10 1790 Aged
20 Years & 9 Mon’s.

                                                            Cut by Henry Osborn Woodbridge


Gravestone of Naomi Carll, Rahway Cemetery, Rahway, NJ, cut by Henry Osborn:

Sacred to the memory of
Mrs. Naomi Carll
wife of the Rev’d Buckley
Carll who deceas’d Aug’t
28th 1804 in the 35th year
Of her age ~

Her heaven born examples, as a loving wife, a
faithful and endearing friend, and an eminent
christian, all combined to render her an honour to
her sex, a blessing to her partner, and in
her death much lamented by him and the
people in his charge.
                                                Cut by Henry Osborn 


Gravestone of David Stewart Elmer, Presbyterian Church, Westfield, NJ, cut by Jonathan Hand Osborn (1760-1846) of Scotch Plains:

[David Stewart]
Son of Doct’r
Philemon & Catherine
Was born May 27th
Sept 28th
AEtatis 22

                                                         Osborn S. Plains 

I found this article in the New Jersey Journal, Elizabethtown, NJ, Oct  16, 1793:

Five D ~~~~~~
Stolen on M~~~~~~~~Sep-
tember, a dark brown HORSE, four years old
last grals [?], 14 1/2 hands high, trots and canters well,
has neither brand nor mark, only a thin small tail.
Whoever will secure the thief in any jail so that 
he may be brought to justice, shall receive the above
reward; and if the horse is recovered, and notice
thereof given to the owner, so that he may be had 
again, shall be paid a generous reward, exclusive of 
all reasonable expences.
N.B.  It is supposed there was taken with the
above described horse, a saddle part worn, without
a cropper, and a bridle with plated buckles.
Scotch Plains, October 8, 1793. 

 And this notice of his death from the Centinel of Freedom, Newark, NJ, March 24, 1846:

 Another Revolutionary Soldier Gone--At Scotch Plains,
on the 12th instant, JONATHAN HAND OSBORN, in the
87th year of his age.

Here is the link to a photo of his gravestone.

This last gravestone is that of Mary Hetfield, also at the Presbyterian Church, Westfield, NJ, cut by H O. It is unclear whether the initials H O refer to Henry Osborn or his brother, Jonathan Hand Osborn, who also signed his work Hand Osborn or even H. Osborn.

 In Memory of
Mary Wife of
Matthias Hetfield
She died May the
12th 1791 In the
59th Year of her
Spectators here you see
My body wrapt in clods [?]
Soon we shall equal bee
Entomb’d beneath this sod
                                                    cut by H O

Note the gravestone of Sarah Dixon with these initials on my February post. This signature H + O is similar yet different than the one above it. Could it be one of the Osborn brothers?

More to come . . .

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer
Photographs by Robert Lenahan

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