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A Founding Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Let's talk of graves and worms and epitaphs.



Mourning Card

Dicy Cannon

This is a category of Cabinet Card known as a Remembrance/Mourning/Funeral Card/Obituary Notice. I purchased the card in an antique store in Montana because of the unique name of the deceased - Dicy Cannon. Dicy sounded very southern to me and I wondered how her mourning card was for sale in Missoula, Montana.

This card measures 4 ¼ X 6 ½. It is a black card mount printed in gilt with round corners and gold edges. THE CARD READS:

Dicy Cannon,
Died April 15, 1908.
Age 78 years.

Gone but not forgotten

A precious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.
God in His wisdom has recalled,
The boon his love had given,
And though the body slumbers here,
The soul is safe in Heaven.

Copyright 1904 by H.F. Wendell & Co., Leipsic, O.


Dicy Cannon was born Dicy Smith, 16 November 1829 in Dixon, Dawson County, Georgia. She lived with her parents John and Mary (Mollie) Smith until she married Moses Columbus Cannon, 3 October 1850 in Lumpkin County, Georgia.

In 1860 Dicy and Moses are prosperous farmers in Sanford, Georgia. They have three children; James (8), David (4), and Mary Ann (1). On 13 October 1861, Moses enlists in the Confederate Army, Company L, 38th Infantry Regiment Georgia. For the next three years he is involved in many of the famous battles of the Civil War; Fredericksburg, Chancellorsville, and Gettysburg. The records indicated he was still on active duty as of 1864 when he was promoted to Full 4th Sergeant.

By 1870 the farm has increased in value and Dicy and Moses have added two children, Jane (10) and William (3), to the family. All five children are living and working on the farm.

1880 finds the family farming in Coal Mountain, Georgia. Only Mary Ann and William are living at home. James has married and left home, David occupies the farm next to his father with his wife Malinda, and Jane's whereabouts are unknown.

Big changes have occurred by 1900. On 19 June 1900, seventy-five year old Moses is living with his son James in Sanford, Georgia on what appears to be the original family farm. Occupying the family home are James' wife Emily and their four children. Moses is listed on the census as married but is not living with Dicy. She is living in Montana with their youngest son William. David and his wife Malinda and their four children have moved to Ravalli County, Stevensville, Montana where William and Dicy are found. William is farming, but David is working as a teamster.

On 24 August 1901, Moses dies in Georgia and is buried in the Liberty Baptist Church Cemetery, Dawson County, Georgia. Seven years later on 15 April 1908, Dicy dies in Montana and is buried in the Maplewood Cemetery in Stevensville.

In 1910 James is found living with his wife Emily and daughter Anna in South Seminole, Oklahoma just down the road from their son Wallace and his family. William and David continue to live and work in Stevensville until their deaths. Also buried in the Maplewood Cemetery in Stevensville, Montana is Mary Anne Cannon. I have no information to substantiate that this is Dicy's daughter, however, she is of the correct age.

Invoking that six degrees of separation rule, my son is now living in Stevensville, Montana and has agreed to go to the cemetery to try to find Dicy's grave.


The three most common types of mourning cards are (1) the obituary notice, printed in gilt, on a black card mount, with or without a portrait; (2) the memorial card, usually with an oval portrait, surrounded by a printed wreath, generally with the name of the deceased and dates of birth and death, sometimes with a vita printed on back; (3) a portrait mounted on a card with a rectangular or oval heavy frame printed in black, usually with name of the deceased.

Dicy's mourning card is a combination of the obituary notice and the memorial card. It has no photograph, is black with gilt lettering, lists the name, age, and date of death, and is surrounded by a wreath. It was printed by H.F. Wendell of Leipsic, Ohio, a well-known producer of mortuary cards.

Harry F. Wendell started in business in 1888 in Leipsic, Ohio, and within three years his was the largest business of its kind in America. Wendell had formerly been the publisher and editor of the Leipsic Tribune and was a member of the City Council. He led a very busy life holding the following offices: Vice President and Director of the First National Bank, Secretary and Director of the Dollar Oil Company, Secretary and Director of the Putnam Hosiery Company, President and Manager of the Wendell Printing Company, President and Manager the Carriers Greeting Company, Secretary of the Board of Trade, and President of the Law and Order League organized to promote the moral welfare of the city. Whew!

There were eleven styles of cards advertised with a selection of forty-six different verses in six languages.

Dicy's sons would have sent for the cards by mail order after having made their choice. Wendell's was a mail order business including a form with each of their catalogs. It is unknown if the family had requested a catalog or if the funeral home provided the information to the family. Wendell's also sold envelopes so that the family could have mailed the card to James in Oklahoma.

One entire section of the Company's pamphlet is devoted to satisfied customers. I was very taken by the comments of H. W. Musselman of Silverdale, Pennsylvania. "Cards received safe and sound. Expect to send another order later on."

The card that was chosen was No. 2 in the catalog, as shown below.

Style No. 2

Size 4 ¼ X 6 ½ Round Corners Gold Edges

The above is a very attractive card. An open book lies at the bottom and palms appear at the sides. A beautiful wreath of flowers encircles the name of the departed. Two beautiful doves appear at the top. Two verses may be used without extra charge by omitting the book. Finished in gold or silver. The words, “our Dear Father,” are not printed unless ordered, and may be changed to “our Dear Mother,” “Our Dear Son,” or any other wording. Any berse in this catalog may be used. Cards may be black, white or assorted.

Price – One Card 20c. 2 for 35c. 4 for 50c. 6 for 65c. 8 for 75c. 10 for 90c. 12 for $1.00. 15 for $1.20. 20 doe $1.40. 25 for $1.75. 35 for $2.30. 50 for $3.00. 75 for $4.00. 100 for $5.00. 150 for $7.00. 200 for $8.00. Postpaid.

The above style may be had 6x91/4 inches in size at the following prices: 1 for 35c; 2 for 55c; 4 for 75c; 6 for $1.00; 10 for $1.45; 12 for $1.60; 15 for $1.90; 20 for $2.25; 25 for $2.80; 35 for $3.75; 50 for $5.00; 75 for $6.75; 100 for $8.00; 150 for $12.00.

(Using the Consumer Price Index, one $0.20 Card in 1908 would cost $4.65 in 2007.)



Darrah, William C.
Cartes de Visite in 19th Century Photography. Gettysburg: Darrah, 1981.
Linkman, Audrey. The Victorians, Photographic Portraits. London: Tauris Parke Books,1993.

McCulloch, Lou W.
Card Photographs, A Guide To Their History and Value. Exton, Pennsylvania: Schiffer 1981.
Mace, O. Henry.
Collector's Guide To Early Photographs.Iola, Wisconsin: Krause, 1999.
Nickell, Joe. Camera Clues. Lexington, Kentucky: University
Press of Kentucky, 1994.


1860 U.S. census, Dawson County, Georgia, population schedule, Crossville, p. 88, dwelling 11, family 11, Moses C. Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication M553, roll 119.

1870 U.S. census, Forsyth County, Georgia, population schedule, Coal Mountain, p. 513, dwelling 108, family 692, Moses Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication M593, roll 146.

1880 U.S. census, Forsyth County, Georgia, population schedule, Coal Mountain, p. 455, dwelling 116, family 116, M.C. Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T9, roll 147.

1900 U.S. census, Dawson County, Georgia, population schedule, Sanford, p. 287, dwelling 180, family 183, James T. Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 191.

1900 U.S. census, Ravalli County, Montana, population schedule, Stevens Township, p. 59, dwelling 167, family 169, Wm. E. Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T623, roll 914.

1910 U.S. census, Ravalli County, Montana, population schedule, Stevens Township, p. 217, dwelling 156, family 164, Wm. E. Cannon (Head); digital images. Heritage Quest (http://persi.heritagequestonline.com/ : retrieved 23 May 2008); citing NARA microfilm publication T624, roll 833.

Marriage Records:

Dodd, Jordan. Georgia Marriages to 1850 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1997. Original data: Electronic transcription of marriage records held by the individual counties in Georgia.

Military Records:

Historical Data Systems, comp.. American Civil War Soldiers [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: The Generations Network, Inc., 1999. Original data: Data compiled by Historical Data Systems of Kingston, MA.

Reproduced from an article in Shades of The Departed.

The Last Word - John D. Davies

Many friends of Mr. John D. Davies of the Times-Herald, Chicago, deeply regret his sudden death, which took place October 15th, 1895, by being struck unawares by a train at South Evanston.

Mr. Davies was born in Wales about 1865. He came to America when about seven years old with his parents and settled at Shawnee, O. Working in the mines until 22 years of age, he then took a course of education at Lebanon College.

Afterward he taught school for a year in South Dakota; thence Coming to Chicago five years ago, he was engaged with the City Prees Association one year and then became a reporter on the staff of the Times-Herald.

His parents being dead, Mr. Davies and his two sisters lived together in their home in Chicago. Funeral services were held Oct. 16th in the main rotunda of the Grand Central Station prior to the removal of the body for burial to Shawnee, O. Rev. John C. Jones of the C. M. church, conducted the services, assisted by Rev. John Wynne Jones, of the Episcopal church.

The Choral Club of the Cambrian Society sang several selections, among them being "O Fryniau Caersalem," with the tune Crug-y-Bar. The Second Regiment band, present, in honor of the deceased, also played some appropriate pieces, among them being Ellis Brooks' "Dust to Dust."

The remains were taken for burial to Shawnee, where interment took place amidst general manifestations of deep grief and sorrow on the part of his early friends and acquaintances. Mг. Davies was a young gentleman of many excellent qualities of mind and heart, and was highly esteemed by all who knew him.


The Cambrian. Utica, New York: T. J. Griffiths. 1896.

Unknown Epitaph

An Epitaph A Day
Keeps Death's Spectre Away

"This world is but a fleeting show.

And no wise man regrets it:

For man wants little here below.

And generally he gets it."


The Cambrian. Utica, New York: T. J. Griffiths. 1896.

And When I'm Dead

And When I'm Dead Dead And Gone
I Will Not be 240 Pencils Left
To Carry On!
To Carry On!

Jean - Yves Baxter, on his Genealogy Blog wrote an article titled "Unusual Christmas Gifts For The Genealogists." And he wasn't just whistling Dixie. He searched the web and found several unusual gifts for the genealogists, unusual is an understatement. I know, he called them Christmas gifts, but I can't.

The first gift on the list caught my attention immediately. Carbon Copies, a rather attractive pencil box that holds 240 pencils made from human remains. Carbon Copies is part of a Post Mortem Research project by Nadine Jarvis. Through her work Nadine hopes to "challenge our archaic post mortem traditions and to offer proposals for alternate treatment for our deceased."

Nadine says:

I have been designing urns that lengthen death ceremony to give more time to come to terms with loss. My motivation for this project was my interest in the death and decomposition of materials and how the degradation of materials could be used to aid the grieving process."

Nadine has created a Bird Feeder, a biodegradable project she calls Rest In Pieces, the pencils of Carbon Copies, and a work in progress called Scatter (use your imagination).

Carbon Copies
The Pencil Box

As for the Carbon Copies pencils, they can only be removed from the box one at a time. Each is gold stamped with the name of the body of ash that created them. The pencil box is also a sharpener, returning the ash to the box and transforming it into an urn. It has its own little ash counter letting you know how many pencils are left.

Let me just say, interesting idea Nadine, but I would only be a pencil if I could control what was being written.

Jean-Yves, thank you for your most unusual suggestions and Merry Christmas?

Nadine is an artist living and working in London.

Jean-Yves is a perfectly normal looking GeneaBlogger.


The Last Word Wednesday

St. Louis, Missouri

Mr. James Barker, of St. Louis, Mo., passenger and ticket agent of Missouri, Kansas & Texas Railroad, died in San Antonio, Texas, January 30th, 1903, was in public life one of the most successful and most widely known railroad men in the country, and in private life, one of the most enthusiastic amateur photographers.

Almost as soon as developments in photography placed it within the reach of amateurs, Mr. Barker became an enthusiast. It was not a passing fancy. The only effect of the passing of years and the oncoming of age was that he derived even greater satisfaction from following his photographic bent.

He had a collection of 20 cameras. No new thing in cameras came out that he did not have before it had been many days upon the market. While he prized the improved cameras, he had an affection for the old ones, which had been with him on many a trip, and he did not part with them.

At his home at 5889 Clemens avenue he had a private studio. Until his health became poor in the recent past he attended personally to every detail of the work of developing and printing the pictures he had taken.

Mr. Barker was 63 years old. Besides his wife, he leaves three daughters and a son.

A California Gold Digging

An Epitaph A Day
Keeps Death's Spectre Away

From a California gold-digging;

In memory ov
John Smith who met
wierlent deth near this spot
18 hundred and 40 too. He was shot
by his own pistill;
It was not one of the new kind,
but a old fashioned
brass barrel, and of such is the
Kingdom of Heaven.


Kippax, John Robert. Churchyard Literature. Chicago: S.S. Griggs & Co. 1877.

Epitaph - John Irving

An Epitaph A Day
Keeps Death's Spectre Away

At St. Martin's-iu-the-Fields, London: —

" Sacred
To the Memory of JOHN IRVING, Esq.
of Sligo, Ireland,

Surgeon to his Majesty's Forces,
Who died on the 22nd of April, 1810,

Aged 33 years;

A victim, like thousands of our
Gallant Countrymen,

To the fatal consequences of the
Unfortunate Expedition to the Schelt,

Commanded by John, Earl of Chatham."


Tissington, Sylvester. A Collection Of Epitaphs and Monumental Inscriptions. London: Simpkin, Marshall & Co. 1857.