Monday, May 11, 2015

Sunset becomes the lady

It's not clear how many photos I've taken of the "Bates lady," a classically draped young woman atop a plinth erected by Benjamin Franklin Bates during the mid-1880s to mark the grave of his recently deceased wife, Emma. But she's probably my favorite memorial in the Chariton Cemetery. So I had another go as the sun was setting yesterday on a generally cloudy Mother's Day.

Now I've got to remember to go back when the sunset is a little more colorful.

Although it's a little too dark to see the detail in this image, the monument itself is loaded with classical imagery. The urn at the young lady's feet symbolizes death, "urn" derived from the Latin "uro," meaning to burn --- a symbolic container for the mortal remains of the deceased.

She is holding a laurel wreath in her right hand, and the wreath is an ancient Greek symbol of victory. Together, the two testify to victory over death.

Bates, if you know anything at all about Chariton history, is a name that you'll recognize. He was an early hotelier and builder of the Bates House hotel, once located on the current site of Midwest Heritage bank. The Bates home was to the west, sandwiched between the hotel and the railroad tracks.

B.F., as he's mostly known, remarried after Emma's death and outlived her by nearly 30 years. His inscription on the south face of the stone is far simpler. Also buried on the Bates lot, at the lady's feet under a small granite stone, is their adopted daughter, Augusta Bates Buchanan (1877-1950).

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