I have repeatedly gushed my admiration for the artistry of gravestone cutterClarence B. Best. In William Chapel church cemetery, I noticed two headstones bearing the distinctive work of another artist, this one unknown. He worked in concrete, incising narrow, upright letters with oversized serifs into the face of each marker. These markers, created during the decade after World War II, also feature highly stylized floral designs.
William Wells July 30_1886 Oct. 25_1946 Gone But Not Forgotten
I’ve written about the artistry of Clarence Best‘s distinctive grave markers and the markers I’ve dubbed Concrete Stipple Style. Another common school of gravestones found in Black Wilson County cemeteries is one I’ll call Anchor-and-Ivy. The basic form: a concrete monolith with rounded top; a panel featuring an anchor and ivy vine; deeply stamped letters in a strongly serifed, all-caps font similar to Century Schoolbook; tight line spacing; and irregular indentation. They also often display lengthy, if formulaic, epitaphs.
The headstones below are found across Wilson County, though I’ve seen the style as far afield as southern Wayne County. Were they the work of a single artist or workshop?
Renda wife of James Green. Died June 2, 1908, Age 47 Yrs. Gone to a brighter home where death cannot come.
W.S. Ward. Born Apr. 12, 1901. Died Jan. 12, 1929. Another link is broken in our household bank, but a chain is forming in a better land.