Figure 1. Barr monument. Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, PA. Photo: author.

In Memory of
ALEXANDER Pa. [above line: TERSON] BARR
Who departed this life
November 20 – 1795 in
the 49 year of his age
He liv[ed] [— — —] died.

The inscribed surface of this stone directly faces a very mature tree such that it cannot now be read while looking straight at it. (figure 1). However what arrested your humble author’s progress through his Harrisburg Cemetery photographs was the supralinear supplement to the name. Someone wanted to make it darn clear that the name was not ‘Peterson’ or ‘Philipson’ (or ‘Pratt’ or ‘Paltrow’ or ‘Powhatan’, or . . . ).

Figure 2. Barr monument. Detail of inscription. Harrisburg Cemetery, Harrisburg, PA. Photo: author.

The cutter evidently wanted to render the whole name neatly within one line of text, cutting a small capital ‘A’ beside the P of the middle initial to make the point about the name. That expedient didn’t cut it! So, under orders, I presume, he made a second pass and filled out the name above the line. In any event, the supplement was cut by the same hand as the main text, I think.

What of the final line? I’ll check again if someone’s come through with a weed whacker next time I’m in Harrisburg. In the meantime: “He lived well until he died”? “He lived blamelessly until he died”? “He lived a PATERSON until he died”?

Published by gsb03632

A college professor living in Scranton, PA

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: