Monday, June 14, 2010

The Morrison - Sarpy Cribs

This information is taken from Soul in the Stone Cemetery Art From America's Heartland by John Gary Brown and was accompanied by a great photograph.
"A memorial to the Morrison brothers recalls their short lives as invalids, one confined to a wheelchair and the other to his crib. The chair's wheels are broken by design, but the meaning is not altogether clear.  They may symbolize broken lives and impermanence of all earthly things.  On the other hand, they could represent the child's freedom from his earthly prison of pain and illness.  This striking but quickly deteriorating monument is at Calvary Cemetery in St. Louis.  The impact of this image is unusually morose for an American monument..  The children's eyes seem to be full of uncomprehending terror, bringing to mind the bitter, nihilistic makers that haunt some of Europe's metropolitan cemeteries."
I was so intrigued by the photograph and the description of this specific monument I had to go see it for myself. I definitely wasn't disappointed.  My photos are not the best, it was over cast and rainy when I went.

I would have loved to see these in their glory days.  I bet they were quite impressive.


  1. These are truly magnificent examples of why I find monumental masonary so fascinating and appealing, especially when it depicts it's owners so uniquely and individually.
    It tells so much more than an inscription can and the fact that it's two young brothers, makes it even more poignant.

  2. STOP IT! I want to go to Bellefontaine. I passed up the chance driving back from KY when my son deployed to Afghanistan. We flew out there and drove his truck back. I was too sad to stop and enjoy this cemetery.

  3. So sad! My kids would only allow me 1/2 hour at Bellefontaine and another half-hour at Calvary, so I missed out on seeing these stones. Thanks for sharing! ~Jacquie Wilson

  4. I hate to burst anyone's bubble, but they are brother and sister, not two brothers. The little girl, Julia Olivia Sarpy Morrison, is the one in the crib. She died around 1870, at age 18 months. Her brother, John B. Sarpy Morrison, died around 1876, aged 5. In her autobiograpy, their mother, Adele Sarpy Morrison, described Julia as having violet eyes with black lashes. For the five years after John B's. death Adele went to Calvary every day to visit them. She would bring toys to place on the graves and had a covering erected over them in bad weather.