Issue 191
February 2019

Gravestone for Don Gibson (1928-2003)
Singer and Songwriter. Legendary musician who wrote such country classics as
"I Can't Stop Loving You," "Sweet Dreams," and "Oh Lonesome Me."
Sunset Cemetery, Shelby, North Carolina.

We will be visiting Sunset Cemetery during the AGS Annual Conference this June.

Photo by June Hadden Hobbs.
The Association for Gravestone Studies (AGS) was founded in 1977 for the purpose of furthering the study and preservation of gravestones. AGS is an international organization with an interest in gravemarkers of all periods and styles. Through its publications, conferences, workshops and exhibits, AGS promotes the study of gravestones from historical and artistic perspectives, expands public awareness of the significance of historic gravemarkers, and encourages individuals and groups to record and preserve gravestones.   

If you're not an AGS member already, we want you to join! If you become a member, you will receive:
-The  AGS Quarterly                                                       
-The next published issue of  Markers
-Discounts on AGS publications
-Discounts on AGS conferences
-News and Notes about Chapter meetings

To join, renew, or for more information, visit

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Did you know that the AGS now has nineteen chapters? Our state and regional chapters work as local extensions  of AGS and thus, provide meeting and workshop opportunities at the local level.

Consider attending a meeting in your area. Here is a list of our current chapters and who to contact for more information.

Alabama - Ian Brown, Ann Marshall

Pacific Northwest & Canada -  Lisa Mary WichowskiJudy JuntunenKristy Lommen

Southeastern New England -  Cheryle Caputo Southeastern New England Facebook page

Texas -   Perky Beisel 

Virginia -   Martha Wiley

Washington DC Metro Area: Margaret Canilang ,  DC Metro Chapter Facebook page  

Western New England -  Bob Drinkwater, Andrea Carlin  

Past AGS Conference program books have been digitized and can be viewed on the UMass, Amherst Library website:

Also, some back issues of the  AGS Quarterly and  Markers can be viewed here: 


In This Issue:
Shop AmazonSmile

Did you know that you can shop online and know you are helping support AGS? AmazonSmile is a simple and automatic way for you to do so every time you shop, at no cost to you.
AmazonSmile donates .5% of all your eligible purchases to support AGS when you select the Association for Gravestone Studies as your charity of choice!
It's easy to help. Go to and use your usual Amazon login information. All of the millions of products eligible for charitable donation credits carry the AmazonSmile logo. 
AGS Office is Moving

The AGS Office is moving! We are relocating from our Munson Street office in Greenfield to 278 Main Street in Greenfield, next door to where the office was located 10 years ago.

The board decided to downsize our space, as much of our archives has moved to UMass, Amherst. The new space consists of two rooms, one for our office, the other to process incoming materials donated to the archives.

We will be there as of April 1st.  
2019 AGS Annual Meeting and Conference 

AGS holds an annual conference every June. Held in a different location each year since 1978, the conference features lectures, demonstrations, exhibits, conservation and documentation workshops, classroom sessions, slide presentations, and guided cemetery tours. 

Our 2019 Annual Meeting and Conference will be held at Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, North Carolina on June 25-30. Join us!
**Please note that this is a week later than our usual conference dates.

Click here to see a video about Garder-Webb University. Questions? Contact: .

Our keynote speaker for the first night of lectures will be folklorist, Appalachian culture specialist, poet, singer, and banjo player Joyce Compton Brown.  

Here is one of her poems from the spring 2018 edition of  Wild Goose Poetry Review:


That is no country for old men. The young
In one another's arms, birds in the trees...
'Sailing to Byzantium'
W.B. Yeats
An awful lot of old people
die in April, Rudy said.
April's a hard month.
Well, why wait till April?
I said. The goldfinches are
in glory on our feeders,
the Boston ferns are hanging
on porches, and wrens are nesting
in their fronds. Swallowtails are
dancing on the pale and fragrant
lilacs, and we can sit out on the porch.
Seems like April just goes back and
forth, rain and chill, heat and breeze,
back and forth, nothing steady,
Rudy argues. And already I see
my cousin speaks truth,
though his university
has been the family farm,
his text the ancient stories
of fathers and mothers,
tombstones studied
on Sunday afternoons,
damp canopies sheltering
recitation of liturgies,
the knowing that warm bones chill,
old oaks fall in spring storms.


Our 2019 logo, a stone attributed to James Sloan, at
Steele Creek Presbyterian  Church Cemetery in Charlotte. 

Photo from  The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry (Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts)  by Daniel W. Patterson.
2019 AGS Conference: Call for Papers 

Proposals are solicited for scholarly papers, 20 minutes in length, to be presented during the lecture sessions, June 25-30. Please send an abstract of your paper (no more than 250 words) along with a brief biography (2-4 sentences) to Lectures Coordinator,  no later than March 1.
2019 AGS  Conference: Call for Proposals for Participation Sessions

Proposals are solicited for participation/class sessions of 45 minutes in length. These sessions are not for presenting research papers, unless the paper is about how to do a particular type of research using the presenter's research as a case study. We encourage panel discussions and will allow more than one time slot if needed. Send a description of your session along with a biography to:   Judy Juntunen,  by March 1.
2019 AGS Conference Scholarship for Students  

STUDENTS: Have you been doing research on gravestones, cemeteries, or a closely related topic?  Would you like an opportunity to attend the next Association for Gravestone Studies Conference and Annual Meeting as a guest of AGS?  Enter the AGS Student Scholarship Competition.

The next AGS Conference will be held at Gardner-Webb University, Boiling Springs, North Carolina, June 25-30.
Requirements: The applicant must be a graduate or undergraduate student at an accredited college or university, as well as a member of the Association for Gravestone Studies. A student membership is just $25 per year and includes the next published issue of  Markers, four issues of the  AGS Quarterly, and more. 
Application: Each applicant should submit a proposal for a twenty-minute presentation: a scholarly paper suitable for delivery at an academic conference, or a report of comparable quality on an on-going research project, to be presented at the Friday evening lecture session. PowerPoint is the preferred presentation medium.  

Each entry should include the title, a summary or abstract and a PDF of the PowerPoint program, as well as a letter of recommendation from an academic adviser. Your entry should consist of a cover letter, with attachments, emailed to .
The award will cover registration and activities fees, plus room and board for the full conference (about $525) and will include a cash prize of $200, which will be presented at the conference.
Deadline: March 31, 2019
Address all questions to the AGS Office,  
Ideas for Silent Auction at this year's AGS Conference

We are seeking donations for our Silent Auction to be held at our annual conference this June in Boiling Springs, North Carolina. Cemetery and gravestone-related items and books or items of value are welcome. The auction is our biggest fundraiser. Please start thinking about items you'd like to bring or donate. 

Questions? Contact the Conference Planning Committee at: 
AGS Western New England Chapter, Spring 2019 Meeting

Saturday, April 27th , 10 AM at the Downtown Campus of Greenfield Community College, 270 Main St.
CALL FOR SPEAKERS -- If you would like to do a presentation (20-30 mins.), during the morning session, contact Bob Drinkwater: or (413) 549-0581.

After lunch, we plan to visit one (or more) cemeteries in Deerfield and vicinity.
AGS Northeast New England Chapter, Spring  Meeting

2019 Spring Meeting  of the Northeast New England Chapter  of The Association for Gravestone Studies  at Evergreen Cemetery Portland, Maine.

Date: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Time: 10 AM to 3 PM
Place: Wilde Memorial Chapel,  672 Stevens Avenue, Portland, Maine 04103

This event is FREE, and a light lunch will be provided. Expenses will be covered by the voluntary donations of attendees, and the difference (if any) will be underwritten by several individuals. Further details of the programs will be announced. 

If you would like to present a paper, please reply by Sunday, March 24th to with your contact information and a brief description of your presentation. There are limited spots available this year!

If you are able to attend the meeting, please RSVP by Thursday, April 18th to or by indicating you are going on the Facebook Event page at
Southeastern New England and Cape Cod Chapter, Spring Meeting

Save the Date for the Southeastern New England and Cape Cod (SNECC) Chapter's Spring Meeting. We will be meeting in Providence, RI at the North Burial Ground from 10-3 on  May  18th. More information will follow soon.

AGS Texas Chapter, Conference

Join us in Historic Downtown Plano for the 2019 Texas Association of Gravestone Conference. Details coming soon!

Saturday, May 11, 2019 at 9 AM - 3 PM
Interurban Railway Museum
901 E 15th Street, Plano, Texas 75074

Request from the AGS  Markers  Editor

We are currently seeking article submissions for the 2020 issue of Markers, the scholarly journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies. 

The subject matter of Markers is defined as the analytical study of gravemarkers, monuments, tombs, and cemeteries of all types and encompassing all historical periods and geographical regions. Markers is of interest to scholars in anthropology, historical archaeology, art and architectural history, ethnic studies, material culture studies, American studies, folklore and popular culture studies, linguistics, literature, rhetoric, local and regional history, cultural geography, sociology, and related fields. Articles submitted for publication in Markers should be scholarly, analytical, and interpretive, not merely descriptive or entertaining, and should be written in a style appropriate to both a wide academic audience and an audience of interested non-academics. 

Authors are encouraged to send a query email outlining a project before sending a manuscript. Queries and submissions to Markers should be sent to  Editor Elisabeth Roark at , before June 1, 2019
Seminar: "Lichens, Biofilms, and Stone"

August 11-17, 2019

"Lichens, Biofilms, and Stone" is an advanced training seminar for conservators--a  seminar for professional and aspiring conservators and preservationists with an interest in stone monuments, sculptures, and buildings.

The seminar draws participants from throughout North America and beyond. 

AGS members receive a 10% discount.

Instructors: Judy Jacob, Senior Conservator, National Park Service (NY), and Michaela Schmull, Director of Collections, Farlow Herbarium, Harvard University (MA)

Offered by the Eagle Hill Institute, which is on the coast of Maine between Acadia National Park and Petit Manan National Wildlife Refuge.

University students receive a 10% discount (20% discount with a faculty member letter of recommendation).

Connecticut Gravestone Network Symposium

Saturday, March 30th
Saint Sebastian's Church - 155 Washington Street, Middletown, CT 06457

Bring your questions - Learn how to preserve your history - Visit with Exhibitors


Welcome by Ruth Shapleigh Brown

"Beginners Basics and Should we be Reburying in Old Places" Ruth Shapleigh Brown

"How sacred are our grave spaces? Who moved (or removed) Grandpa? Navigating the legal and ethical challenges and where do we go from here" Attorney Cheryl Jansen and Lisa Burghardt; genealogist and co-owner of Artista Studios & Monument Works

"Middletown Old Burying Ground Association and Town Cemetery Records" Augie DeFrance

"Cemetery Conservation, where it was, where it is now, and where it is going" Robert Mosko

"3D LiDAR: New Technology in Your Old Burying Ground" Thomas Elmore, Founder of The GeoNAV Group, LLC

For more information:  CGN Symposium
Cemetery Disruption Survey

After Louisiana's experiences with disaster-related impacts to cemeteries in recent years, we are conducting research into methods by which regulators and first responders can be more prepared. Part of that research is to assess the types of cemeteries and damage that may have occurred in different locales. The information will be used to assess the geographic scope of the problems that Louisiana experienced and may become part of larger published works. Unless respondents want to identify themselves, the survey is completely anonymous. We would greatly appreciate it if the AGS membership would take about 5 minutes to complete a brief survey located at

We really appreciate everyone's time and help. 

Ryan M. Seidemann, RPA
Chief, Lands & Natural Resources Section, Civil Division
Office of Attorney General Jeff Landry
New Website: William G. Pomeroy Foundation

The William G. Pomeroy Foundation is excited to announce that they have launched a redesigned website at It offers a modern look and feel, with streamlined navigation, fresh content and several new features.  Highlights include:
The William G. Pomeroy Foundation's signage program (the New York State Historic Roadside Marker Grant Program) gives grants to erect markers at historically important locations. 501(c)(3) organizations in New York are eligible grant recipients.
Blog Post: "African American Women at Congressional Cemetery"

This is part 2 - part 1 was posted in last month's e-newsletter.

African American Burial Grounds Network Bill

From the Society for Historical Archaeology:
Historical archaeologists are the ones who most frequently come into contact with burials from the African American past. From the First African Burial Ground in NYC to community cemeteries around the country, historical archaeologists have time and time again been brought in to deal with human remains when developers discover an unmarked burial ground on their project site. That is why the SHA developed and presented guidance on abandoned burial grounds on our website, and why we have promoted and sponsored legislation to provide documentation of African American burial grounds and training and support to their communities. We are very pleased to announce that the African American Burial Grounds Network Act has been introduced in the House of Representatives by Rep. Alma Adams (NC) and Rep. Donald McEachin (VA).  We encourage you to reach out to your Congressional representatives and voice your support of this legislation. 

From the National Council on Public History:  Legislation proposed to support historic African American burial sites.  

Congressional representatives from Virginia and North Carolina have introduced the African American Burial Grounds Network Act in the US House of Representatives. The legislation, which has support from national and local preservation and history organizations, calls for the addition of an African American Burial Grounds Network to the National Park Service. If enacted, it would create a nationwide database of historic African American burial sites and provide resources for education and preservation. .  
Video: Cemetery Detective

Check out this recent video by the Cemetery Detective.

Sandstone Grave Markers and Cemeteries of Sewanee, Tennessee

Montgomery Preservation Inc. Receives Award

Article:  Cemetery Lovers by Tina & Dale Utter

Cemetery Lovers  is a column featured in the Sidney, New York  Tri-Town News It is written by AGS Members Tina and Dale Utter.

This article is about reading gravestones.
Article: "The Grave of Morgan"

This article is posted on the Atlas Obscura website. 

A simple stone remembers one of the most menacing horses in the Swedish military. 

Article: "Karl Marx's London Tomb Vandalized"

This article is posted on the Washington Post website.

Article: "This ill-fated tomb was party central for a generation of Northern Virginia teens"

This article is also posted on the Washington Post website.

Article: "New Zealand's biggest cemetery close to full"

This article is posted on New Zealand's Stuff website.
Article:  "Key West Cemetery: Where Last Words Are Sometimes One-Liners"

This article is posted on the WLRN website.

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