Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, South Carolina, 1695–1802


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About the Book

“Here lyes Buried the Body of MARTHA PERONNEAU…Departed This Life December Ye 14th 1746 Aged 13 Years.” Such an inscription was typical of 18th century grave markers in Charleston, South Carolina. Many epitaphs went on to reveal much more about the deceased: personality, religious beliefs, career accomplishments and social position. Attention to social matters was a natural part of life in Charleston, where descendants of the city’s 17th century British founders sought to recreate the class-conscious culture of aristocratic England. The merging of this culture with influences from French Huguenots, German Lutherans, Scottish Presbyterians and Spanish Jews led to funeral practices unique in the American colonies.
Focusing on pieces created between 1695 and 1802, this volume offers a detailed examination of the tombstones and grave markers from 18th century Charleston. It discusses not only the general trends and the symbolism of the period’s gravestone art—such as skulls, portraits, ascending souls and stylized vegetation—but also examines specific instances of these popular motifs. Tombstones from Charleston’s oldest and most significant churches, including the Circular Congregational Church, St. Philip’s Anglican Church, the French Huguenot Church and the First (Scots) Presbyterian Church, are explored in detail. The work looks at how Charleston gravestones differed from funerary art elsewhere in the American colonies and reveals them to be some of the earliest examples of American sculpture. A guide to colonial gravestone symbols and a glossary of relevant Latin terms are also included.

About the Author(s)

David R. Mould is the Assistant Administrator for Public Affairs, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and a former journalist. He lives in Washington, D.C.

Internationally published photographer Missy Loewe is the Academic Dean at the Washington School of Photography. She lives in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Bibliographic Details

David R. Mould and Missy Loewe

Format: sewn softcover (7 x 10)
Pages: 287
Bibliographic Info: 270 glossy photos, glossary, appendices, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2006
pISBN: 978-0-7864-2569-3
eISBN: 978-1-4766-0992-8
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments      viii
Author’s Note      ix
Photographer’s Note      x
Preface      1
Introduction      3

1. Old Charleston’s Historic Graveyards      7
2. Colonial American Gravestones      11
3. The Circular Congregational Churchyard      27
4. St. Philip’s Churchyard      112
5. The French Huguenot Churchyard      154
6. St. Michael’s Episcopal Churchyard      163
7. The Unitarian and St. John’s Lutheran Churchyards      173
8. The First (Scots) Presbyterian Churchyard      187
9. Baptist, Jewish and Roman Catholic Graves      200
10. Who Carved Charleston’s Tombstones?      208
11. Preserving the Past      237

A. Events That Shaped Charleston, 1600–1800      249
B. Colonial Gravestone Symbols      255
C. Glossary of Gravestone Inscriptions      261
Notes      267
Bibliography      271
Index      273

Book Reviews & Awards

“An interesting addition…useful”—The South Carolina Historical Magazine.