Cenotaphs at Mount Auburn Cemetery

July 1, 2012

by Natalie Wampler

CONSTANTINE F.

Adopted son of
Joseph W. &
Eliza W. Newell,
died on a visit to his
native City, Smyrna,

Sept. 4, 1848,
Aged 33 yrs.

 

*Constantine P. Newell’s cenotaph at lot  1971 Hibiscus Path

With so many rich layers at Mount Auburn, it can be easy to miss the subtle clues an inscription is sharing with you. In the inscription above, it is noted that Constantine died in Smyrna, but it does not mention whether he is interred at Mount Auburn. In truth, Constantine is not buried at Mount Auburn. The stone on Hibiscus Path which bears his name is a cenotaph, a monument commemorating someone whose remains are located elsewhere. In a place like Mount Auburn, cenotaphs serve as a testament to the strong desire to honor loved ones in a way that is befitting of such a beautiful and inspirational landscape.

Through the Monument Inscription program we continue to be surprised by the number of cenotaphs discovered. Oftentimes the cenotaphs commemorate people who died in battle or in a far away land, as a young child, were lost at sea, or passed away before the founding of Mount Auburn.  Sometimes an inscription is forthright and explains that the person being commemorated is not buried at Mount Auburn, as is the case for W.H. Carey’s monument.  Whereas in other instances, there is no indication that the person memorialized is not actually buried at Mount Auburn.

MEMORIAL
OF
A BELOVED BROTHER.
WHOSE REMAINS
ARE DEPOSITED AT
GREENWOOD CEMETERY.
A NATIVE OF BOSTON.
AN ADOPTED CITIZEN OF
BROOKLYN, N.Y.
OBT. FEB. 27, 1861.
AGED 63.

                                    * W. H. Carey’s cenotaph, lot 118 Beech Avenue pictured above                                     
 

Several cenotaphs at Mount Auburn are well known. For instance, the plaque at lot 1286 Pine Avenue for Robert Gould Shaw Jr. who commanded the 54th regiment in the Civil War, fell at Fort Wagner, S.C. and was consequently buried there on July 18, 1863 is an excellent example. Other notable cenotaphs are the Naval Monument for the U.S. Exploring Expedition that can be found at 8999 Central Avenue, in addition to the monument for Benjamin Franklin that was erected by Thomas Dowse at lot 1810 Gentian Path.  Perhaps one of the most highly visited cenotaphs is the one for Margaret Fuller Ossoli at lot 2250 Pyrola Path.

This article originally appeared in the July 2010 Friends of Mount Auburn electronic newsletter.

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