Thursday, March 5, 2009

PhotoStory Friday: Old Gravestones


PhotoStory Friday
Hosted by Cecily and MamaGeek


Meet James and Elizabeth Stephens. They've been here in the Lone Fir Pioneer Cemetery for more than a century.

I saw this headstone years ago and have always been fascinated by the carving and by the epitaph on the back:


Nothing about the Lord or Heaven, those sentiments you'd expect to find on a nineteenth century headstone.



They were obviously well-to-do; this headstone would have been quite expensive in its day.


I've done a little bit of research on the Stephens's - well, on James, since there's little information about Elizabeth. He made his first fortune in the California gold rush before moving to Portland. He owned a large tract of land on the east side of Portland (then a separate city, East Portland), owned a regional cider mill and the first regular Willamette River ferry. The ferry service "monopolized cross river traffic for many years. All challengers were successfully thwarted, on occasion by use of a shotgun" (Merchants, Money and Power, E.K. MacColl). I thought Stephens had such a benign look on his face, but he seems to have been quite a tough businessman.


I love the detail in the carving.







James and Elizabeth. holding hands for eternity.



His father's tombstone seems like a bit of an afterthought.


We live on Stephens Street.
.

11 comments:

magiceye said...

incredible!

Jientje said...

What a great story, I loved it!! I love the engraving at the back of the gravestone.

Wayne said...

what a great carving. just alittle scary though and I dont know why but pictures are amazing..

great photo friday

Serena said...

These old gravestones are phenomenal! I love to check out old graveyards...hmm maybe that's creepy, but this is fantastic...thanks for sharing the research

Izzy 'N Emmy said...

A fabulous PSF!! And what a great adventure to take. It's a beautiful piece of work and I enjoyed reading about it, thanks for sharing!

Shellie said...

That is fascinating! I love that tombstone. Way cool, as well as the story behind the people.

MamaGeek @ Works For Us said...

Those are amazing. The history behind those are so incredible!

kaye said...

great story, and the pictures were amazing. Old graveyards have many stories to tell.

Chris said...

That is absolutely FASCINATING -- I love the history!

I have never seen a headstone like that.

Linda said...

I love old gravestones, too, and you found such a unique one. Love the story behind the family.

Carrie and Troy Keiser said...

What an awesome headstone! It is very cool thanks for sharing it and what you've learned about this couple.

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I've been retired since November, 2008. I've been spending lots of time taking photos, singing and teaching singing, and hanging out at home. I highly recommend retirement!