Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Angels in Heaven, and in Stone

I have been racing through projects, being productive and getting things done around here for a couple of weeks now.  On Monday, I felt I deserved a day off ... so I loaded up the dogs and headed two hours west of here to Staunton, Virginia (pronounced STAN-ton, not STAWN-ton), to visit Thornrose Cemetery.  I had never been there before ... and ya'll already know how much I love exploring a good cemetery.

According to information on their web site, Thornrose Cemetery was designed in 1849, because the only other cemetery in town, at Augusta Parish Church, was full.  The first burial at Thornrose took place in 1853.  Old cemeteries like this contain a wealth of beautiful monuments with wonderful sculpture.  What I noticed most at Thornrose were the Angels.

Vickie Louise  /  daughter of
S. & E. P. Campbell
Aug. 12, 1943  /  Sept. 25, 1950
Budded on Earth  /  to bloom in Heaven
Each of the angels is unique.
Patricia Ann  /  daughter of
Jack & Beulah Peterson
Sept. 4, 1955  /  Mar. 26, 1970
(I didn't photograph the inscription on this one ... rats!)
Standing before these statues, and seeing the names and the dates, I can barely imagine the grief of the families who commissioned these angels in memory of their children.  It is strangely uplifting to see that these children are memorialized in such a beautiful way and that they will be thought of by all who see these angels.

Liggan H. Cox  /  Died Nov. 9, 1883  /  Aged 2 Mos.
Everett S. Cox  /  Died Aug. 15, 1887  /  Aged 2 Yrs. 6 Mos.
Mamie Corina Cox  /  Died Aug. 3, 1889  /  Aged 10 Mos.
Frederick  /  Feb. 8, 1907  /  July 15, 1907
Randolph  /  May 10, 1909  /  July 6, 1909
Virginia May Serrett  /  May 10, 1903  /  Oct. 21, 1918
Plot sales and burials continue at Thornrose Cemetery.  I found one relatively-modern grave with an angel statue.  The carving is just as fine as on the older angels, though the color of the marble is still white and new looking.  This lovely little angel will develop a beautiful patina with the passage of time and the effects of weather.
Brenda Lee Ayer
March 16, 1960  /  August 31, 1976
There are other statues at Thornrose besides angels.
It is common to see lambs on the memorials for children.  Never before have I seen a lamb like this one, sleeping with his head down.
The most unusual monument I saw was this one ... a statue of a dog, waiting patiently for his mistress.
I went to Thornrose Cemetery in search of the roses that I was told were once there.  Tomorrow, I will show you what I found.


  1. So lovely and such a beautiful way to mark their resting place.

  2. When you see graves where there is a list of children's names you wonder how the parents ever coped with such loss. The dog statue reminds me of stories you hear about dogs refusing to leave their owner's grave.

  3. I love that you find these amazing cemeteries to visit. Those angels are so sweet and so sad. So much loss. Still the peacefulness comes through. Thanks for taking us with you. Linda

  4. I enjoy cemeteries and find them fascinating places to visit. Wish more headstones in these modern times would use angels.

  5. I have always loved walking through old cemeteries and I am fortunate that J likes doing this, too.

    What gorgeous memorials to so many lost children...

    You might like to visit this blog and see two very unusual grave markers. I found these when I lived in Montezuma, Ga. The stories are so sad.

    I loved this post and cannot wait to see the roses you found!
    Have a great day, Connie.
    Smooches to all your *kids*!
    xo, misha

  6. These are beautiful, in a sad way. It always grieves me to see the children and babies, taken so young. You expect the older ones, but not the young ones. Too bad the newer angel has already lost a hand. And the multiple children... I can't even fathom that.

  7. What a wonderful posting....wish we were closer so I could say meet you there! I can't imagine the heartbreak of loosing children in such succession, I'm counting my blessings right now. Can't wait for the next installment of Thornrose Cemetery!


  8. Love this post, makes me think of my childhood in Pennsylvania when as kids we played in the cemetery...even brought flowers we found there home to our Mom...we didn't know any better! She needless to say wasn't happy once she figured it out!

    Now I'm in Southern Calif. where cemeteries are a rare sight...certainly not beauties like this one you've shared with us today, what a beautiful and rich place to visit!

    Thank you for that little walk down memory lane!

  9. These are lovely. Sad, but lovely. I can only hope that putting their own special angel, lamb, or dog on the grave comforts the family in some way. Thanks so much for showing us these beautiful statues.

  10. I just came upon your blog. I was thinking about my sister on what would have been her 54th birthday and decided to do a search. The picture you took of her headstone with angel came up! I was excited to see it as it has been some 16 years ago since I last visited her grave. The angel is Italian marble that my parents had picked out. The base it sits on is Vermont marble that was chosen from a place very close to where my parents grew up at in Vermont. I was only 5 years old when my sister died. My family migrated south 4 years after this and live in Alabama. Again, thanks for the beautiful picture you posted!

  11. Todd, thank you for telling me the story of your sister's angel! I write and publish in the relative solitude of my own world, and it is very rewarding to know that the online trail I leave behind is sometimes found and followed by passersby at times when they need it.


Thanks for stopping by and reading what I share. Comments are welcome and very much appreciated. Spam and trolls are not!

Related Posts with Thumbnails