Monday, November 1, 2010

Tombstone Tuesday - Amazing What 100 Years Can Do!

The top photo was taken sometime around 2008 and the bottom one was taken in 1913. The bottom picture is easy for me to date (it came from the "unknown" album I mentioned in an earlier post) because it shows the fresh grave of my 2nd great grandmother Mary Quirk nee Lee (1846-1913). Also in the above picture is her husband William Quirk (1840-1902) to her left, her daughter Ella Quirk (1872-1941) to her immediate right, and her parents, Edward Lee (1819-1904) and Susan Lee nee Phillips (1821-188?) are next to Ella.

What I find interesting when comparing the two pictures is how much has changed. Ignoring my poor angle in taking the top picture I made note of two significant changes:

1) The section marker next to William's gravestone has sunken by an enormous degree, and

2) The circled gravestones are missing in the current picture! Perhaps something happened to them and they needed to be replaced. I wouldn't be able to tell from the picture if they had a flat stone, although it would be worth mentioning that the majority of stones in this cemetery are not flat markers.

You can certainly notice how my ancestors' stones are holding up. I can't tell the year of death for Susan because the stone for her and her husband has been swallowed by the earth to the point of covering it. It appears to be 1882 from the close-up I have, but I need to get documentation from the church still.

Tombstones sinking, missing and leaning. It makes me a bit sad, but must be expected to some degree. This is a coal mining town. Churches have been swallowed up by subsidences before in the Hazleton area! I should be delighted that they are still there at all. The earth eventually reclaims everything when left alone.


  1. That is interesting! It makes you wonder how many of our ancestors have stones that have somehow been "reclaimed" by the earth.

  2. It's also a bit odd that the marker right next to William has sunken so low, but his tombstone hasn't. I can see those markers throughout the cemetery in the "old" picture and none of them are that tall in the new one. Perhaps it wasn't nature and it was the church that adjusted the section markers, but there's no denying the rest of the changes. I expected additions...not deletions!