Master of Arts (MA)
Geography and Anthropology
In 1966 James Deetz and Edwin Dethlefsen illustrated how changes in tombstone iconography could be correlated to the spread of changing Puritan beliefs about death. This thesis addresses the possibilities that the adoption of Victorian tombstone style and iconography can be used to trace the spread of Victorian ideas. The theoretical arguments on funerary behavior and attitudes toward death as well as the development of the Victorian cemetery and its association to the rural cemetery movement are discussed. In addition, Victorian styles in funerary architecture and iconography are defined. As originally addressed, the problem involved establishing that adoption of Victorian elements in the cemetery was simultaneous across the South or finding a time lag between adoption on the Atlantic coast and use in Grace Episcopal Churchyard Cemetery in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The Churchyard at St. Helena's Episcopal Church in Beaufort, South Carolina, formed the Atlantic Seaboard end of my work. Further study revealed that more was at work in the selection of tombstones in the nineteenth century than availability. I discovered anomalies in each of the two churchyards. In St. Helena's, parishioners had rejected Victorian tombstones in favor of maintaining tradition. Low monuments with ledger stones were used well into the last of the nineteenth century. In other locales, these monuments were considered passé by 1850. The possible reasons for this rejection of Victorian cemetery monuments are discussed. In Grace Churchyard I found that many of the more elaborate Victorian monuments were from a northern marble company, Enochs of Philadelphia. Equally elaborate work was available from Kursheedt & Bienvenu of New Orleans and Rosebrough of St. Louis. However, despite the obvious unpleasant northern association following the Civil War, the citizens of St. Francisville continued to purchase monuments from the firm's branch in Bayou Sara, a thriving port at the foot of the bluff on which St. Francisville sits. The Enochs' name is on monuments dating from 1849 to 1887. Enochs' monuments are found in six cemeteries along the Mississippi River, but in Philadelphia the company is almost unknown.
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Colquette, Marian Patricia, "Graceful death: the use of Victorian elements in Grace Episcopal Churchyard, St. Francisville, Louisiana and St. Helena's Churchyard, Beaufort, South Carolina" (2003). LSU Master's Theses. 2951.