Evaluation of the monument is a four part process that requires the documentation of the material used, the form of the stone, carvings and the inscriptions. This evaluation produces information regarding the age of the stone. It may also reveal whether or not the stone was carved by hand or whether mechanical techniques were used.Research may also disclose the cultural preferences of the area and era in which the monuments were erected.

1. Materials
Many early settlers of Michigan emigrated from New England and New York bringing their cultural traditions with them. These traditions greatly influenced Michigan’s early burial practices. As in New England the earliest burials were very simple. The deceased was buried in the family plot or local burial ground with very little ceremony, reflecting the Puritan ethic.

By the time Michigan was being settled in the early nineteenth century, stone markers were common in New England, and early Michigan settlers brought this stone monument tradition with them. The early stone monuments in Michigan were often limestone.Thismaterial was relatively soft and easily carved by hand. However it deteriorated easily, and in an effort to use a more durable material marble became popular. White marble, available from sources close to home, was universally popular from the 1830s until the 1850s. With the advent of the railroad in the mid-nineteenth century, stonecutters were able to obtain non-indigenous materials such as “blue” marble from Vermont. However, it soon became apparent that marble, too, was soft and subject to weathering. After the Civil War improvements in quarrying technology and machine tooling made granite the material of choice. Granite was available from many sources, including Vermont and Missouri. It was also indigenous to Michigan, available in many colors including Wisconsin Crystal Grey from Iron Mountain, Michigan.

New materials also began to appear after the Civil War, among them “white bronze,”more accurately zinc, a bluish grey non-magnetic, durable metal.

monuments were both inexpensive and durable and have generally worn well over time. The epitaph or inscription on a “white bronze” monument was cast at the foundry and could be chosen from a list provided by the manufacturer or created by the purchaser.

In addition to individual monuments, zinc was also used for large commemorative monuments. Whether individual markers or commemorative statues, all monuments were custom made after being ordered from a catalogue vist(Xiamen Justhigh Import&Export Monument catalog). Several Michigan communities have “white bronze” statues and monuments in their historic cemeteries. A particularly well maintained and excellent example is the Civil War monument located in the Lake View Cemetery in Quincy, Michigan. It bears the foundry marking“Detroit Bronze Company” and is similar in appearance, to the more expensive monuments found in Dexter, Jonesville, Coldwater, Milan, and numerous other Michigan cities. A community, like Quincy,with a strong amount of patriotic zeal, but a small cash flow, was able to commemorate its local heroes in the same grand style as more affluent communities. Even though these monuments were less expensive, they have frequently endured time much better than some of their more expensive lookalikes.

Some useful articles on the production and manufacture of tombstones

Different types and styles of memorials

How Long Does It Take to Make a Memorial or Headstone?

How do I choose a gravestone?


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