I saw this old Quaker Meeting house in Orange County Indiana, last month on my way to Kentucky for a music festival. I judged by the Greek Revival style that the building probably dated to the 1840s or 50s, so I did a quick u-turn to explore. I discovered an old graveyard behind with several old siltstone or whetstone makers dating from the early1850s. Geologist Dick Powell, I had taught me a little about this distinctive stone once quarried in Orange County and its popular use for gravestones. However, whetstone was a primarily used as sharpening stones, which was an early Indiana export.

The durable stone produced beautiful makers, with sharp details, compared to the sandstone, limestone and marble stones of the same period. Nevertheless, whetstone, as this stone demonstrates, was prone to layers of the stone splitting or flaking away over time.

This stone carved for Joel Lindley in the 1850s shows a stylized rose as the primary motif on the marker. Some contend that the term “consort means that a couple were a common-law marriage). However, Ancestry.com shows that Joel and Mary Lindley were married in Orange County. The 1850 Census shows that Joel had two children Anna and Joseph, but there were three other adults also living in his home in French Lick: Virginia Suel (25), Alfred Hatiway (22) and George Suel (20). Joel’s wife Mary’s maiden name was Mary Ann Sewall, so probably the “Suel’s” were her relatives.

One can imagine that the single rose represents the love of the two.

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2 Comments on A Greek Revival Meeting House & A Whetstone Grave Marker

  1. Gail Ginther says:

    The graveyard at Hopewell Presbyterian in Preble Co OH has quite a few of these siltstone markers–and they do stand the test of time marvelously. Obviously, there must have been a local source of stone. The old quarry for the area lies between that church and Oxford, OH. I wonder if that was the source.

  2. Jon Kay says:

    Actually, there are large whetstone quarries in Orange County, but they exported a lot of it. Here is a post about a Ohio siltstone marker: http://gravestoned.blogspot.co.....-home.html

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