This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Funerary sculpture

Having looked civic sculpture and collegiate sculpture, I thought it would be fun to look at funerary sculpture, or the sculpture one can find in cemeteries (or graveyards, to use the more earthy word). Our first cemetery, Weston, is a little disappointing in terms of the amount of funerary sculpture, but there two very nice monuments.

The most impressive is in the old section of the cemetery, a woman on a column marking the grave of John Makeever and his two wives.
John Makeever was one of the leading citizens in early Rensselaer. He built a large hotel in Rensselaer, which no longer stands, and had his fingers in a variety of business dealings. So it is no surprise that his cemetery monument is one of the most impressive in Weston Cemetery.
In the background of the picture above and to the right of the Makeever column, you might be able to see a marker with a portrait on it. It is the marker for Israel Washburn who lived from 1838 until 1903. He was a medical doctor who practiced in Rensselaer from 1877 until 1903. His son, Ira Washburn, was also a doctor and my guess is that he built the large house that that is located just north of the Iroquois River along Grace Street. It was built around 1910 and after his death it was purchased by Saint Joseph's College and used for a few years as student housing, but is now again a private residence.
A bit to the north of the Makeever column is a marker that looks like a tree. Being desperate for anything that looked like sculpture, I included it. There are at least two other tree-trunk markers in this cemetery. A bit of Internet research revealed that the tree trunk was a marker for children or people who died very young.
West of the creek and along Bunkum Road is this small sculpture.
Here is the close up. I do not know what meaning it has.
Finally, the sculpture that I like best other than the Makeever sculpture is this recent and delicate angel.

(Karen, you did a good job in selecting this monument for your mother.)

There are many more interesting things to explore in Weston Cemetery, but I think we will travel out to Mount Calvary Cemetery before we spend more time at Weston.

Meanwhile, if you want to explore cemeteries online, you might try www.findagrave.com

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