Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tombstone Tuesday - October 20, 2009

While these people have no connection to my family I thought I would add it anyway as an interesting side note.  Yesterday was one of our few Indian summer days of this fall so I stopped on my way home from my PMP Study Group session at two interesting cemeteries along Illinois Route 176 and took some pictures of some interesting tombstones.  I have not added them to findagrave.com yet but I will.  The first cemetery was Ivanhoe which dates back to 1852.

As you can see there are many old stones and this is a very well mantained cemetery.  It is beautiful on a fall day.  I found some interesting tombstone style which I have never seen before. 

These are metal tombstone monuments for the wives of John Ragan.  Hannah Ragan died at the age of 32 in 1847 and Hepsibah died in 1884 at the age of 80. These monuments are beautiful  and so well preserved.  Granite stones which date back to 1870's may not be legible.

 In all of my years of investigating cemeteries, I had never seen a metal monument.  So I got on the internet and did a bit of reserach.  These metal stones are cast from zinc.  Zinc forms a coating of zinc carbonate which when exposed to the weather, is rust resistent but turns to this light blue hue.  Two men were creditied with the perfecting of casting these types of monuments in 1873, they were M.A. Richardson and C.J. Willard.  They did not have the capital to start a factory so they contracted with W.W. Evans.   Evans eventually gave up on the idea and sold the rights off to Wilson, Parsons & Company of Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

These monuments were available from 1874-1914. The government took over the factory during WW1 for the manufacturing of munitions.  After the war the demand for the metal monuments was never revived. The company was dissolved in 1939.  Several subsidiaries operated the midwest, one opened in Detriot in 1881, called Detroit Bronze which operated for 4 years before closing.  In 1886 in Chicago, American Bronze opened. It operated for 23 years before closing in 1908. In Des Moines, Western White Bronze Company operated for twenty two years, closing in 1908.  Thanks to Mark Culver for his article on "Metal Monuments of Greenwood Cemetery"  which helped me to learn about the origins of these beautiful monuments.

This is also a metal monument from the same Ragan family plot. The next Photo is of rounded top stones which I thought were unique too.  I do not recall seeing stones that were this thick with rounded tops before.

This is the Traut Family Plot.  The first stone is for Catherine Ann Traut who died at the age of 90 years old on January 13, 1904.  The middle stone was for Michael Traut who died November 26, 1880.  The last stone is for John H. Traut, son of Catherine and Michael Traut who died in 1871 at the age of 25 years and 10 months.  These stones a very hard to read as compared to the metal ones which we looked at earlier.  I hope you enjoyed your fall tour of the Ivanhoe cemetery as much as I did.

Many of the Genealogy Blogs do a article on Tuesdays called Tombstone Tuesday so I thought I would join them since I am so interested in cemeteries.  Northern Illinois has some interesting old, unique cemeteries which I like to visit so I will take you along!


  1. Janet, I have roamed many cemeteries looking for ancestors, and know that these are really beautiful pictures in a beautiful cemetery. I've been in many not nearly so well maintained. I don't think I've ever seen metal markers such as these. Thanks for posting.
    Ida Madison

  2. You are welcome, Ida. Thanks for reading!


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