Monday, February 23, 2009

"He sleeps beneath his native earth"

The pottery marker below was made for eighteen year-old Stephen D. Loyd in 1880 by his father, William Payne Loyd, or perhaps by his older brother, William Dickinson Loyd. Both father William and son William were potters and had patented this particular type of tombstone, made from pottery clay, in 1879. Actually, according to Stephen's tombstone, he was eighteen years, six months and three days old at the time of his death. He was the youngest child of William and his wife Thursa. Just a year later, his brother William Dickinson Loyd also died. The brothers are buried next to each other.

This verse appears on Stephen's marker. From my research it does not appear to be original as the verse shows up on other cemetery markers throughout the country, and I even found it in a 1909 newspaper published in New York with the verse attributed to "a friend." It must have been a tedious process to stamp or imprint the words onto the marker, and I wonder if some sort of lead types were used, similar to the old typesetting ways of newspaper printing back then. This is the only cemetery in which I have found such verses on the Loyd markers. Like the decorative motif at the triangular top of the marker, the verses are unique.

In the photograph of the full grave, you can see the footmarker which is labeled S.L.L. for Stephen Loyd's initials. I don't know what the middle initial stands for; Stephen was named after his uncle, Stephen Carroll Loyd, who is buried in the Pine Springs Cemetery near Detroit, Alabama, with a Loyd pottery marker. The tombstone gives Stephen L. Loyd's date of death as March 26, 1880. Interestingly, the 1880 census includes his name in his parents' household although a line is drawn through it. The date at the top of the census page is June 15, 1880.


Don Dulaney said...

Mona, Do you know when the pottery style markers originated? You may have said and I missed it. And did you say the markers became popular because of the cost?

Janice Tracy said...

I enjoyed your story about this unique pottery marker and its beautiful verse.

Mona Robinson Mills said...

Thank you, Janice. These are certainly one-of-a-kind markers. Don, it's hard to say exactly when the pottery markers began being produced. You can't really go by the date on the marker, because many people bought markers years after their loved ones died. Affordability was a big draw for the markers. That and the convenience of obtaining them locally.