Cast iron grave markers
were used in many countries, we have seen one with a Celtic Cross
in Australia. These grave markers were inexpensive and
easily obtainable. The top image shows a cast
iron marker with two hands clasped which represents farewell, and
a palm tree pinnacle which represents Christs victory of
). On the lower part of the marker, there is a hand with the
first or index finger pointing upward while the other digits and thumb are closed.
This symobol represents pointing upward to Heaven and Eternity, while under
the hand there appears to be a wheel, possibily the Wheel of Life.
The two cast iron markers in the images directly
above were found on the property below the St. Mary Magdalene
Catholic Church Cemetery in Bolinas,
Marin County, California. The two markers were probably
discards from that cemetery. The cemetery is
in good condition and it appears that some of the current markers are replacements.
USA Quartermaster General Montgomery C.
Meigs, in his annual report of 1866, proposed
an economical solution for durable grave markers. He stated,
A design has been adopted for a small cast-iron monument, to be protected
from rust by a coating of zinc, to have in raised letters cast in
the solid, the name, rank, regiment and company
of each soldier or officer. One of these will be placed at the foot of every
grave and will remain when the
wooden headboards decay and perish.