Monday, August 5, 2013

Jonathan Hand Osborn: Stonecutter

This is a follow-up to my April post about gravestones that were signed by 'The Osborn Brothers.'

Jonathan Hand Osborn was born in Elizabeth, NJ, on February 22, 1760 the son of Jonathan and Abigail Osborn of Scotch Plains. At the age of 16 he enlisted in the Revolutionary War and served two years as a drummer for which he received a yearly pension of $85 beginning in 1831.


The signature of Jonathan Hand Osborn at age seventy-two as found in his Revolutionary War Pension Record dated August 17, 1832 on

I'd like to thank Robert Lenahan for sharing the following photographs that he took at the Presbyterian Church Cemetery in Westfield, NJ. Note the various ways Jonathan Hand Osborn signed his work.   

Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Eliakim Smith 1785:

cut by Jonathan Hand Osborn S.P.

This stone is erected
to the memory of Mr.
Eliakim Smith who
Died April 11th 1785
in the 67th year of
his age

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Note the 'ES' monogram in the center of this elaborately carved signature 'cut by Jonathan Hand Osborn Scotch Plains, NJ.'  The placement of the signature (at the top rather than at the bottom of the stone) may at one time have been a way for Jonathan to advertise his work.

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Hannah Willis 1777:

In memory
of Hannah Wife of Tho
mas Willis who died July
ye 8th 1777 Age 66

                        J Hand Osborn 

Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Unlike many signatures that are in the lower right corner of the stone at ground level, this variation of Osborn's signature is in the lower third of the stone on the right.  

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

 The gravestone of Noah Miller 1802:

In memory of
Noah Miller who
died Nover 2d 1802
aged 37 years 2 mons
& 23 days

Let not so many tears fall from my friends
Live holy happy God will recompense
Into your bosoms all your love again
And your affections whilst I did remain

                                      J H O

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Simply signed 'JHO' beneath the epitaph.

  Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Phebe W. Crane 1820: 
to the memory of
Phebe W. wife of
Ezra Crane Esqr
who died Sepr 4th 1820
aged 45 years 6 mons & 11

She was virtuous and chaste through life
A tender mother & beloved wife
With sympathetic tear her eyes would flow
And gladly relieved all others woe.

                                                            Osborn S. Plains
Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

This signature 'Osborn S. Plains' is similar to the one below but note the difference in the small 's' in Osborn.

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

The gravestone of Cortland Radley 1821:

[Sacred to] the
memory of
Son of [John] and
Phe[be] [Rad]ley who
died Novr 18, 1821
[aged] 23 years


                                                Osborn SPlains

 Photograph © 2013 Robert Lenahan

Of further interest:

The Presbyterian Church of Westfield  

The Presbyterian Church Cemetery

The Osborn Cannonball House

If you have time, you might enjoy watching this documentary about the Osborn House. 

Copyright 2013, Barbara Schaffer



  1. Another example can be seen is the grave marker for Phebe Davison (d. 1798) in the Mt Bethel Church cemetery in Warren Twp. He signed that stone along the top, curved.

  2. Thanks for the info. I see there is a photograph of her gravestone on Find A Grave. It is a beautiful example of Osborn's work :)