Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Forest Hill: Oakey marker

Nature's destructive forces at work

The Oakey obelisk is one of many deteriorating markers within Forest Hill Cemetery, and also one of few made of sandstone. A stonecutter by profession, one would have thought William Oakey (1824-1892) would choose a more durable stone for the family plot, but there you have it. As you can see, there is a vertical crack dividing the marker, a huge chunk is missing near the top, and the words faded and near impossible to read . You'll also note a pointed piece near the base, which once sat atop the obelisk. There are many markers in such condition -- or worse.

There are two schools when it comes to dealing with old tombstones such as this, ones either fallen or deteriorating. Some believe they should be left to fate and the elements, that no repairs, or attempts to right or repair them, should be taken. Others believe that every effort should be made to preserve and protect a marker, and that one in great disrepair should be fixed or replaced, so as not to lose the vital family history carved in it.

The Oakey obelisk was on this year's “Talking Spirits” tour as an example of not only a marker that is deteriorating, but also one replaced by descendents. The family did not, however, choose to remove it, but left it standing to fall as it will. One can only hope that when that day comes, it doesn’t take out the newer marker standing behind it.


Amanda Brice said...

Your blog is awlays so interesitng Heather!

Heather said...

Thanks, Amanda - as is yours! *g*