Monuments in the Cemetery

The earliest gravestones in the cemetery, those moved from the old Croton Valley Meetinghouse, are rough slabs of local fieldstone, in keeping with the Quaker preference for simplicity. Some are blank; others are incised with crudely carved initials. They serve only to mark the graves.

In the 19th century, even the Quakers shifted over to professionally carved monuments. Initially, the favored material was marble, which was associated with the democratic ideals of ancient Greece and Rome. But as the decades passed, it became increasingly clear that marble weathered poorly, and that the carefully carved inscriptions were likely to dissolve into illegibility. So, late in the century, there was another major shift, to durable granite, which has become the standard ever since.

Gray Williams
December 9, 2013