Graveyards and Cemeteries at PCA

One presenter:

Looking at the Freethinkers who came from Germany to Texas when the Republic of Texas existed.

Freethinkers were not necessarily intellectuals because intellectuals cannot be stone masons and some of these people were.  (How is that for intellectual snobbery?)  Very interesting linguistic rabbit trails, though.  Why did the Commanche refer to a German man in Spanish?  (Bilingual Commanche, trilingual German?)

 There was also some interesting art/discussion about the romantized emigrant experience.

Another speaker

Dead babies aren’t pretty, so rich people immortalized their dead children in paintings that showed them alive. Sarah Peale painted dead children as they had been in life.  People who own the paintings don’

t necessarily want them to be of dead children, though they would certainly be dead now. 

I learned a lot about representational meanings in memorial paintings.  There is a book called Flora’s Dictionary published in 1836 which discusses the language of flowers.

It can be downloaded here.

A different speaker

Spiritualism became a part of Christianity (rather than Christianity already having had elements of spiritualism), according to this speaker.  Iconography and terminology could be very interesting.  The Gates Ajar was the name of a book published in 1868 and also a type of iconographic image which purportedly argued for spiritualism.  (Because we couldn’t be imagining pearly gates or the gatekeeper in the house of the Lord with that image.)  Interesting language: being translated, becoming part of the spirit life.  Different euphemisms, reflecting a different belief system for the dead.

A different speaker

Bishop’s grave in Vermont.  Very iconographic.  Family wanted to be buried there and snuck the dead bodies of their own into the graveyard and buried them.  There were eight steps leading to the bishop’s memorial, one for each decade he lived.  The piece was on three granite pieces, for the trinity.  Etc.  The most interesting piece was an East side, which held a tree of his life.  Two severed leaves stand for dead children.  Amorphous leaves are in-laws.  Tiny tendrils are grandchildren.  Very interesting iconography, created by his son.

One note on the family was the aunt’s grave was significantly better marked than the mother’s.  Was something going on with that?  (This is my question based on my great-great-grandfather’s experience of sleeping with both his wife and his sister-in-law and abandoning his wife and six children in Texas while taking his sister-in-law and one of his newborn’s (hers) back to Tennessee with him.)

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