At our older cemeteries tombstones of metal have weathered better than tombstones of soft stone.
For example, even though its top is missing, this unusual cast-iron grave cover at Pioneers Rest remains sharp in its detailing. Inset in lower right shows what the top may have looked like. Joseph R. Abrams, a civil engineer, patented cast-iron grave covers in 1873. Similar to a stone headstone, a flat cast-iron marker (also missing from this grave) at the head of the grave cover contained the name and pertinent dates of the occupant.
Cast-iron grave covers were often used for the graves of children, and the top often featured a sleeping child.
In the 1880s headstones of cast zinc (also called “white bronze”) were popular. This bas-relief, featuring a dove and chalice, is on a cast-zinc headstone at Pioneers Rest.
This is the cast-zine headstone of Gustavus and Abigail Everts at Pioneers Rest.
Gustavus A. Everts actually was born in 1797, not 1790, during the first year of John Adams’s presidency. His wife Abigail was born three weeks later.
Gustavus A. Everts was a lawyer, retired by the 1880 census. (Note that the census enumerator was Wallace Hendricks. Now notice the second entry down. Yes, Wallace Hendricks, nineteen, son of Eliza Hendricks and grandson of Everts, enumerated himself.)
In 1845, while living in Fannin County, Gustavus A. Everts had been a delegate to the Republic of Texas convention on annexation and a state constitution in 1845.
Details of the Everts tombstone. A bas-relief of an angel escorting the departed across the water to the Beyond on a boat with a burning torch on the bow was common on cast-zinc tombstones. People sometimes ordered cast-zinc tombstones and their adornments from a catalog.
At Pioneers Rest, the cast-zinc monument of the family of Jesse Shelton Zane-Cetti (1844-1922). .
And he was one of the city’s early real estate dealers. In 1874 he partnered with J. C. Brewer and H. H. Lawrence. This particular parcel of land was a fair buggy ride from town: The L. Cohen survey was on Marine Creek just west of the south end of Meacham Field.
Close-ups of the Zane-Cetti family monument. Anchors and sheaves of wheat were common in tombstone iconography. And note another boat to the Beyond.
The Zane-Cetti monument was cast by the Monumental Bronze Company, which specialized in cast-zinc monuments between 1875 and 1912.
The cast-zinc tombstones below, like cast-iron grave covers for children, remind us that life in the nineteenth century was fragile for the very young.
At Pioneers Rest, the family monument of father Herman Eberling and three children.
In the 1877 city directory, baker Herman Eberling is listed below bartender James Earp, brother of Wyatt. Eberling later was proprietor of the Southern Hotel.
In the 1880 census Herman and Babette Eberling had five children.
But three of Herman and Babette Eberling’s ten children died before the age of one.
At Handley Cemetery is this tombstone erected in 1898. The inscription on the rear is based on a poem attributed to Martha Jane Welch Dunn in 1896:
We miss thee from our home, dear,
We miss thee from thy place.
As shadows o’er our life is cast,
We miss the sunshine of thy face.
We miss thy kind and willing hand,
Thy fond and earnest care.
Our home is dark without thee.
We miss thee everywhere.
At Oakwood Cemetery is a row of four small cast-zinc tombstones. Below are the paired fronts and backs of the four.
Again, three children died before the age of two. Cast-zinc tombstones weathered well but were hollow and brittle: Both tiers of the base of mother Lou E. Loving’s tombstone are shattered.
Husband and wife Richard and Lou Loving and children were living in Sherman in 1880. Lou, mother of Burts and Gracie, died at age twenty-seven a month before Burts died.
Because Emma Standley’s headstone is beside and so similar to the three Loving headstones, Emma was possibly the child of Cornelia Loving Standley (1851-1926), who was possibly the sister of R. W. Loving, husband of Lou E. Loving. Cornelia and R. W. are buried nearby. That would make Emma a cousin of Burts and Gracie.
And, once again, note the boat to the Beyond on the back side of little Burts Loving’s tombstone. The escorting angel ferried a lot of young passengers in the nineteenth century.