Figure 1. Cotterill monument. Rock Creek Cemetery, Washington, D.C. Photo: author.

A pine wreath bound by a ribbon frames a medallion featuring an infant in a blanket sleeper (with butt flap) saying prayers. The mop of hair seems to me to signify a male child in the era around 1900, though this marker has been customized to commemorate a female.

NOW I
LAY ME
DOWN TO
SLEEP I PRAY THE
LORD MY
SOUL TO
KEEP

MARIE COTTERILL
1891 – 1899

The plaque is securely set in a concrete base, but lawn mowers over the years have struck the bas relief repeatedly, leaving gashes and worn areas where the relief was highest.

Pure sentiment here in a generic (though, as noted, customized) monument. I would compare it to a sympathy card, though I will repeat here, as I have argued more fully elsewhere, banality of sentiment does not give us leave to assume that the sentiment in question was not sincerely felt.

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

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