Thursday, August 2, 2012

The Sandstone Portrait of Martha Parratt

This stone, erected just a little over a decade after the Rural Cemetery was consecrated, is rather unusual in that it features a portrait in carved in sandstone.  While this red-brown stone was popular for monuments during the Cemetery's early years (and there are still older examples in the Church Grounds), it was never as popular as white marble for likenesses and, in fact, is the only sandstone portrait here.

The portrait is located on the eastern face of the stone.  Because sandstone is fairly soft and does not weather well, the face is somewhat worn, but one can still see the details of the young woman's then-fashionable hairstyle.  The simple carving style and the erosion give the portrait a rather folk-art feel.  Below the portrait, a worn inscription notes this was headstone was originally erected in memory of Martha Parratt who died on June 7, 1856.  She was twenty-nine years old, the daughter of Jonathan and Sarah Parratt.

Other members of the Parratt family are interred beneath the same stone, but they do not have portraits.  They include Hannah Parratt (1833-1914), Ann Parratt (1829-1909), and Jonathan Parratt (1801-1885).

There is also an inscription on the lower portion north face in memory of Jonathan's wife, Sarah (died 1871).  It reads:

No verse of praise write on my tomb/Since there is a judgment yet to come/Leave all to God who justly knows/And more than we deserve bestows.

The 1860 census notes that Jonathan Parratt was a farmer and native of England residing in nearby Watervliet.

The monument is elegantly topped with a urn draped with floral garlands. 

The Parratt plot is located along the same grassy edge of the North Ridge as the Captain Wooley monument and the massive marble stone marking the relocated Halenbek graves.

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