Monday, May 10, 2021

a Cradle Grave with a sad story


Made a quick visit to Shockoe Hill Cemetery today. As I was heading out, I saw this beautiful grave. Cradle graves were quite popular during the 19th and early 20th century. They fit the iconography of rural cemeteries that emphasized resurrection with imagery of loved ones sleeping. The cradle grave also fit in the design of rural cemeteries as the interior was intended to be filled with flowers and plants, and shout out to board members of Friends of Shockoe Hill for doing a great job keeping up these flower beds. You'll notice some weeds on the outside but I assure you those are bulbs that have already bloomed in that flower bed.

This is the grave of Fannie Ann Gary and her daughter, Fanny Louisa Gary. I've probably walked by it a dozen times and even seen the marker before but today, it called to me and I stopped to notice the details. The grave is breathtaking with intricately designed flower motifs (with flowers mostly hanging and facing downward) all around the grave. Each type of flower had its own meaning. Lilies represent the resurrection, and roses represent youth, love, and beauty. All the symbolism is clear when you take a moment to understand the story. 

Fannie Ann Gary died on March 21, 1858. An epitaph for her infant daughter, Fanny Louisa Gary, who was just a few days old, is on the foot stone. The baby would pass away on April 3, 1858 having lived only 15 days. Ms. Gary had had two children prior to young Fanny but only one brother was living when the baby was born. He would die within six years of his mother and sister's death, before he was even ten.