Friday, January 24, 2014

THE MOST PHOTOGRAPHED MONUMENT IN ROSEHILL CEMETERY - Frances Pearce Stone

I have mentioned before that historic Rosehill Cemetery in Chicago is filled with many magnificent monuments.  I have featured several of the most memorable monuments in past posts in this blog.  But there is one monument that can only be described as "exquisite" and is, by far, the most often photographed monument in Rosehill - the monument to Frances Pearce Stone and her infant daughter:


The internet being what it is, there is as much erroneous information out there about this monument, as there is correct information.  The purpose of this article is not only to acquaint you with this beautiful piece of funerary art, it is also to present the correct facts about this monument and its history.

The monument marks the final resting place of Frances Manette Pearce Stone (1835-1854) and her daughter Frances Pearce Stone (1853-1854).  Let me first correct the most-often reported fact about the mother and daughter:  neither the mother Frances, nor the daughter Frances died in childbirth.  But before we get into that, let's go back a little further to see what we can learn.

Frances Manette Pearce (the mother) was born June 29, 1835 in Middlesex, New York to Samuel Pearce (1792-1874) and Eliza "Betsey" nee Larned (1799-1876).  Frances was the only daughter of Samuel and Betsey, but there were four brothers:  William Larned Pearce (1816-1871), Myron Larned Pearce (1821-1914), John Irving Pearce (1827-1902) and Samuel Darwin Pearce (1829-1862).  Samuel Pearce (the elder) was a farmer, and a native New Yorker, tracing his lineage back to Revolutionary War patriot Michael Pearce who fought under Colonel John Waterman of Rhode Island.  

The 1850 US Federal Census shows fifteen year-old Frances living in Phelps, New York with her parents and her brother Myron.  William had already moved to Joliet, Illinois to try his hand at farming.  John and Sam had moved to Chicago - John was a hotel-keeper and later a banker, and Sam's occupation was unknown.                       

Horatio Odell Stone was born January 2, 1811 in Victor, New York to Ebenezer Stone (1771-1843) and Clarissa nee Odell (1774-1811). Horatio had three siblings:  Warren Stone  (1799-1867), Hiram Hoyt Stone (1800-1891), and Thankful Ann Stone (1807-1861).  Horatio's mother died just forty-five days after he was born.  Some sources say that his father ultimately remarried, but I could not find any evidence of this. Ebenezer Stone was a wheelwright by trade.  Like the Pearces, the Stones also relocated to Chicago, where Horatio pursued a career as a grocer, dry goods seller and Land Agent.

Horatio Stone married for the first time to Jane A. Lowry (1813-1851) in about 1833.  They had two daughters:  Samantha (b. 1834) and Agusta (b. 1838).  Unfortunately Agusta died on Christmas Day, 1839, and Samantha died four days later on December 29, 1839.  Jane Lowry Stone herself died on November 11, 1851.   

Horatio Stone went on with his life, and married seventeen year-old Frances Manette Pearce on September 21, 1852 in Clifton Springs, New York.  It is not known whether they met in New York or Chicago, where both had connections.

Frances became pregnant in late 1852 and in July, 1853 gave birth to a daughter, who they named Frances Pearce Stone, after her mother. Tragically, Horatio's second wife Frances died on March 12, 1854 in Chicago.  Frances did not die giving birth to her daughter - little Frances was eight months old when her mother died.

To compound the tragedy, little Frances died in May of 1854, when she was only ten months old.

We have few records from this period that could give us causes of death or other information.  Unfortunately all these records burned in the Great Chicago Fire of October, 1871.

Frances the mother and Frances the daughter were buried in the Chicago City Cemetery, where Horatio's first wife and children were buried.  Jane Stone's grave marker is lost, but here is the marker for little Samantha and Agusta:


In his grief, Horatio decided on a more elaborate memorial for his teenaged wife and infant daughter.  He commissioned a sculpture from noted sculptor Chauncey Bradley Ives from Rome, Italy (not Charles B. Ives as is often reported).  The sculpture of a reclining mother and child was completed in Rome in 1856:

C.B. IVES, Roma 1856

and then shipped to Chicago, where it was placed over their graves in the Chicago City Cemetery:


Another myth debunked:  In researching this article, I read that this sculpture was a replacement for an earlier one that was being shipped to Chicago on the RMS Lusitania.  The story is, that when the ship was sunk the original sculpture went to the sea bottom where it rests to this day.  The problem is, the Lusitania was launched in 1907 and sank in 1915, long after this sculpture was carved.  (Don't believe everything you read on the internet...).

In the late 1850s, Chicago decided to close the City Cemetery and relocate the buried remains to other cemeteries farther away from the downtown area.  If you want to read a fantastic history of the Chicago City Cemetery and the removal of (most) of its graves, go here: http://hiddentruths.northwestern.edu/

Horatio Pearce wisely realized that for the remains of his loved ones to be moved correctly, he needed to make the arrangements himself.  On October 22, 1861, the Chicago Daily Tribune reported:


After the bodies and the monument were moved, it was decided to cover the sculpture with a glass enclosure to protect it from Chicago's heat, cold and wet.  If it had not been covered, I doubt that there would be much left to admire today.

Photos do not do it justice, but let's take a look at this magnificent memorial:
















   

The side panels are here:


and the best I can figure out, here is what they say:


There is also a rumor, passed along on many different "haunted" websites that this monument is haunted as well.  Here's one:

According to legend(!), on the anniversary of their deaths, a white haze fills the glass box that has been placed over the monument as the mother and daughter reach out from the other side to the husband and father who was left behind.

There are a couple of problems with this "legend":

1.  Frances the mother and Frances the daughter did not die the same day
2.  The husband and father that was left behind is left behind no longer - he died on June 20, 1877 - so shouldn't the mists have ended at that time???
   
With Chicago's changeable weather (sometimes as much as a seventy degree swing within 24 hours) it is possible that the air in the enclosed glass box could be either warmer or colder than the outside air, thereby causing a mist or fog to form inside the glass enclosure - but not just on the death anniversaries.

What of Horatio O. Stone?  What happened to him after the deaths of his second wife and third daughter? He went on to marry again - on November 10, 1855 to Elizabeth Anna Yager (1839-1913).  They had three sons and a daughter who all lived to adulthood:  Horatio Odell Stone (1860-1912), Carl Donner Stone (1870-1907), Althea I. Stone (1870-1953), and Robert Stone (1878-1947).

Horatio Odell Stone died on June 20, 1877 in Chicago, at the age of 66.  

He is buried next to the beautiful monument to his wife and daughter at Rosehill:


Here is the write-up about his funeral from the Chicago Daily Tribune of July 23, 1877:


May Horatio Stone, and all his spouses and progeny, rest in peace.


7 comments:

  1. There are really a lot of things we can learn from checking to our history. I love the way you present your thoughts and experience. Keep it up!

    Milspouse

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    1. Thanks for your kind words. Stay tuned - lots more stories in the queue...

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  2. Wonderful post! I have taken photos of this, myself (although they are nowhere near as beautiful as yours) -- and I was amazed that this is still in such good condition.

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    1. Thank you. It is breathtakingly beautiful. I can't imagine the skill to take a cold piece of marble and infuse it with life like Chauncey Ives did. The sculpture is actually getting quite dirty, although you really can't tell from the photos - and the metal from the frame of the glass is staining the marble below it with the runoff of water - that is starting to show, especially if you compare it against the City Cemetery photo. Someone needs to replace the cover with one that doesn't stain, and also have the sculpture cleaned professionally. The monument is actually owned by the heirs of Horatio Stone, not by Rosehill - but I doubt either one would be willing to pay for what needs to be done. In the meantime we can enjoy the beauty of this amazing work of art.

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  3. Poignant post of such a young mother and child and beautiful photos too....

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  4. I was searching for something else, when I found this blog post. A lovely read and insightful to the history of the people behind it. Wonderfully written and beautiful pictures.

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  5. Hi im related to this person I believe :) I was actually hoping you might have more information on horatio or his father or siblings.

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