Thursday, August 18, 2011

Henry McCauley's Hands--Waverly Hall Cemetery

Waverly Hall Cemetery
GA Highway 208
Waverly Hall, Georgia

Lately I've been travelling to Columbus, Georgia for work. Once I've finished the work, I've set out to photograph the nearby cemeteries. Columbus' Linwood Cemetery is marvelous and features some incredible funerary art, some of it by local stone carver Henry McCauley. McCauley's work, described in Mary Jane Galer and Linda Kennedy's book on Linwood Cemetery as "museum quality," also appears in the cemetery in Waverly Hall, just down the road.

Working between 1856 and 1879, McCauley produced a number of exquisite monuments. Among them, two monuments in Waverly Hall Cemetery featuring beautifully carved matrimonial hands. These hands, common in Victorian grave symbolism, symbolize holy matrimony. Two hands joined together commonly appear in the symbolism and may have a variety of meanings; but in this case with gender-specific cuffs indicates matrimony.

Both monuments are fairly similar and the Lowe Monument appears to have had a column similar to the Crook Monument. There is a rounded column base on top of the Lowe Monument with a notch in the top for attaching the column. It's interesting to note that, according to the Linwood Cemetery book, McCauley started working in 1856, as the deceased all died prior to that. Of course, sometimes it would take years to get a permanent marker. Both monuments are signed, "H. McCauley, Columbus."

There is also a bit of difference in how the hands are carved. The hands on the Lowe Monument, in my humble opinion, are a better effort and more natural. The fingers appear more relaxed than the stiff fingers on the other monument. Also, note the wrinkles and folds of skin on the thumb on the Lowe Monument, detailing absent from the Crook Monument. The inclusion of a double heart above the hands on the Lowe Monument emphasizes the matrimonial nature of the joined hands.

The Crook Monument erected for Maj. Osborne
Crook, d. 15 October 1851 and his wife, Elizabeth
C. Crook, d. 25 October 183[?]9. Photo 2011,
by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
One pair of hands on the Crook Monument. Photo 2011, by
Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
The opposite side of the Crook Monument. Photo 2011, by
Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.
The Lowe Monument, note the natural stone
foundation and coping. This was erected for
General Henry H. Lowe, d. 8 July 1854 and
his wife Mariah H. Lowe, d. 27 November 1852.
Photo 2011, by Lewis Powell IV, all rights

The hands and hearts from the Lowe Monument. Photo 2011,
by Lewis Powell IV, all rights reserved.

McCauley's signature from the Lowe Monument. The Crook
Monument is signed, but the signature could not be clearly
photographed. Photo 2011, all rights reserved.
Galer, Mary Jane and Linda Kennedy. Historic Linwood Cemetery.
     Charleston, SC: Arcadia, 2004.

1 comment:

  1. It's sweet seeing the hands holding along with a heart on the headstones. Most of the ones out here have head shots but I love the hands holding through eternity. Lovely photos...