Friday, August 6, 2010

Gravestone of the Day: Olney Winsor

Olney Winsor, 1837, North Burial Ground, Providence, RI
Sacred to the Memory
who died March 15, 1837,
in the 84th year
of his age.

He sustained through life
the character of a sincere Friend,
an affectionate Husband & Father,
an active & intelligent Citizen,
a true Patriot & an honest Man;
fuly believing
the truths of Divine Revelation,
his life was regulated by its precepts,
& his death
cheered by its promises.

The Tingley brothers stones in Providence don't have the same personality as the hand-carved stones, but I still find them appealing. The slate is so fine, the letters are so precise, and everything is so well preserved. They always draw my eye.


Jim Blachowicz said...

I believe the Tingley brothers did hand-carve their stones, though it is indeed hard to believe when faced with the precision we find on them (in their decorative elements too). I've not seen any evidence that machine-carving was introduced this early; do you know any?

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

Nope, I was just inferring, but I'll trust you on this one! I haven't seen any of the Tingley records or anything — I was just going from the style, the volume of text, and the multiple fonts/typefaces. If they were doing that by hand, I am 100x more impressed.

I thought there were some machine-carved stones in Plymouth by the 1830s, though. No? When is the earliest you have been able to document mechanized cutting?

Jim Blachowicz said...

I haven't seen ANY reference to or evidence of machining of lettering... but that's most likely because I haven't looked into stones much past 1870. Yet even then (and probably well beyond), I think the lettering was still all by hand (which doesn't mean that guides/stencils of some kind weren't used). Maybe there's a monument manufacturer out there somewhere who can clue us in??

Caitlin GD Hopkins said...

I would have thought that the government-issue stones from the 1860s were machine-cut, but it's possible that they are just cut from a template and the work was actually done by hand. I don't really know the answer to this question, but now that it's on my radar, I will be on the lookout for clues.