Along the River Bed
by: Eric Miller
Cemeteries are like books with magnificent stories to tell, but some tributes to our
ancestors can be found in the most unusual places. The Cemetery Trail this month
brings us to west bank of the Allegheny River near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
During certain months of the year, a rock breaks through the water surface
and reveals part of an inscription, most of which is buried below. When the water is
still, the complete inscription is revealed, complete with spelling errors. "James Law
was droned here 1898, 10 years old."
Records from a local cemetery confirm that James Law did drown in the river
and was buried in a section known oddly as "Strangers' Ground." This could signify that
Law did not actially live in the area. Perhaps the Law family was visiting when the
Further inspection into young John's records revealled there was a month lag between
his death and burial. This raises still more questions. Did his family have a distance to
travel for the burial? Or was the body lost for a time and discovered and buried later? Was
is during this time that his name was carved in the rock?
We'll probably never know. In contrast, inscribed for astronomer and lens cutter John
Brashear near his tomb inside the Allegheny Observatory are the words, "We have loved the
stars too fondly to be fearful of the night."
Please visit with us next month as we make another stop along The Cemetery Trail.
Return to the Cemetery Trail home page
Eric Miller writes frequently on urban issues and lives in San Francisco. He
is the webmaster of http://home.earthlink.net/~urbancentury and is a partner
in the soon to launch New Colonist (newcolonist.com), a web publication for
urban residents. His articles have appeared in San Francisco Downtown, The
Pittsburgh Tribune-Review and other publications. He can be reached by
e-mail at email@example.com.