Tombstone Makers by Karen Hansen


by Karen Hansen

Do you marvel, as I do, at the workmanship that we see in many of the old monuments in our cemeteries? How did they ever manage to create them without modern tools? These are a few articles that tell about headstones.

“There are quite a number of our readers who like to get tombstones to place on the graves in memory of dear departed friends, but do not get them because they do not know the best place. G. G. Hall, of Atlantic, has been in the monument and headstone business for a number of years, and will give his patrons the best work at the lowest figures, and at the same time warranting satisfaction. He has recently received a car load of fine marble right from the quarry, and is prepared to put up work at the very lowest figures. Address or call on G. G. Hall, Atlantic, Iowa.” (The Walnut News, August 29, 1878)

“The friends of any soldier who died during or since the great civil war, can secure headstones for the graves of their departed friends who so gallantly battled for the right, by addressing or applying to W. L. Williams, Com. John A. Dix Post, No 13, G. A. R., Walnut, Iowa.” (The Walnut News, June 12, 1879)

“A Prominent Firm.

There are monument builders and tombstone makers but we know of no fairer dealers in that line than the Atlantic Marble Works. They make to order just as you dictate and they use only the best material. Their shops at Atlantic are always a busy scene.—the finest workmen of the land chiseling the rough marble from Vermont and Italian quarries into beautiful artistic shapes. Grant & Wortman are the proprietors of these works and will give you any information you ask. Mr. S. E. Grant was up this way this week personally superintending the setting of fine monuments for George Kreamer, Mrs. W. A. Stonebrook, H. B. Hellyer, Henry Heckmen, in the Exira cemetery and for Rev. Berry at Bethel church and Peter Axelsen, Sharon cemetery.—Audubon County Journal.

The above clipping is a very proper endorsement of one of Atlantic’s most reliable firms. The business at Grant & Wortman’s shops is increasing very rapidly. They have just received two cars of marble from the quarries and have shipped a car of finished work into Audubon county.—Telegraph. (The Walnut Bureau, May 11, 1894)

While John Blackmore was transferring a body, in the graveyard, from one lot to another, he found thirty snakes clustering around the box in which the coffin rested. Two of them were rattlesnakes and the rest the common garter snakes. Thus the serpent, which caused the fall of man, follows him unto, and even into the grave, and man, the noblest of earth’s creatures, becomes the food of the vilest of the worms of earth.” (The Walnut News, December 8, 1882)