31 January 2012

Tombstone Tuesday: Come Ye Blessed

M.P. Beck (1860-1920) is buried in Killeen City Cemetery alongside her husband, Samuel Vivian Beck (1859-1931). Her gravestone is a beautiful podium bearing a closed book, with an open gate motif on its front above the epitaph.

This open gate iconography was evidently a popular choice for Central Texas graveston
es of the early twentieth century. I have seen and documented several in cemeteries around Killeen. Once, I mistook the open space in the middle of a particularly weathered example for a willow tree (a much rarer image in this area). Most depict an open gate with a a star in the sky on the far side of the gate. The image symbolizes the gates of heaven, open for the faithful to enter (hence the caption above the gate, "COME ALL YE BLESSED.")

Atop the podium, the closed book is a slightly less common (though not unheard of, by any means) sight in Bell County, especially in combination with the gate. Open books are slightly more common than closed ones, but either usually represents the Bible.

I am still trying to identify the plant whose branch adorns the sides of the podium. Does anyone out there have any suggestions?

Samuel Vivian Beck died eleven years after his wife, and his gravestone sits alongside hers, smaller and much simpler in a more modern style (although plenty of gravestones from the 1930s still bear more of a resemblance to Mrs. Beck's than to Mr. Beck's; the 1930s seem to have been a period of transition in gravestone art, although my evidence for that is strictly anecdotal so far).

Mrs. Beck's epitaph is weathered with age, but it still says:

M.P. Beck
wife of
S.V. Beck
Feb. 10, 1856
June 16, 1920
Gone but not forgotten

1 comment:

  1. Nice webpage. There are nearly identical "Come Ye Blessed" graves stones from the lat 1800's/early 1900's in Mt Eden Cemetary in Washington County, Indiana.