William H. Reynold’s tombstone, Clear Creek, Monroe County Indiana

In the Clear Creek Cemetery, just south of Bloomington, Indiana there are three distinctive gravestones, each of which are shaped like a blacksmith anvil with a hammers resting atop the limestone marker.  I believe these stones, were locally crafted, probably for blacksmiths who worked for the quarries producing and repairing tools.  Two of the stones sit side by side and were made for two brothers: E.C. “Ed” Douthitt (1885-1949) and W. E. “Jack” Douthitt (1900-1947).  On his 1918 draft registration card, Charles Edward Douthitt is listed as a blacksmith working in Bloomington, Indiana as a blacksmith for the Consolidated Stone Company.

 

E.C. “Ed” Douthitt tombstone, Clear Creek, Monroe County, Indiana

The third stone was a more elaborately carved marker for W. Reynolds (1864-1944). Like the pair of stones for the Douthitt brothers, the Reynolds stone included a blacksmith hammer, as well as a half round swag, used in making  chisels and bits for the quarrymen. The anvil, of the Reynolds’s stone also shows the straps holding the anvil in place, rendering the stone as a realistic replica of working blacksmith’s anvil. The stone was carved for William H. Reynolds, who was listed in the 1900 census as a quarryman, however by 1910 he and his son Curtis identified themselves as blacksmiths. While Reynolds trade was listed as blacksmith on the census, in the “General Nature of Industry” column of the cencus report, it states “Quarry.” In fact, most of the laborers listed on the page worked either in a quarry or in a stone mill, which means that he lived a stone workers community.

 

W. E. “Jack” Douthitt tombstone, Clear Creek, Monroe County,Indiana

Folklorist Warren Roberts briefly mentioned these stones in his 1978 article “Tools on Tombstones: Some Indiana Examples” which was published in the journal Pioneer America (10:1; 106-111).  While Roberts pointed out the work of blacksmiths in the limestone industry, he failed to cite or explain his research methods.  I wrote this blog to move beyond general conjecture and provide the necessary evidence to illuminate the meaning invested in these three stones.

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