Thursday, May 6, 2010

Mrs. Lydia Ann Pero

Mrs. Lydia Ann Pero, wife of John Pero, died on August 7, 1855, at the age of 25. She is buried in Block 10 of Oakland Cemetery.

Lydia's tombstone features a daguerreotype of the young husband and wife.

The following inscription is found on Lydia's tombstone:

Benevolent she lived; Virtuous she died,
Now lies at rest, her infants by her side.

Yet of dear wife, thy spirit lingers near,
Will listen to thy husband's lonely tread?
And watch the silent, lonely pensive tear,
Which drop to consecrate thy dreamless bed?

Her life was like the dew drop,
Which glistens on the rose
Her spirit like the timid dove
In heaven has found repose.

Records found in the book CEMETERIES OF ERIE COUNTY, compiled by Marjorie Loomis Cherry in 1935, also lists the names of two infants born to John and Lydia Pero. They are buried next to their mother, but their tombstones have not survived. The children were named Aghea or Aghsa Pero, a baby girl who died on July 21, 1849; and Martin Pero, who died on April 14, 1852.

These cemetery records show that one young family had a great deal of sorrow and heartache in a short amount of time. Census records show a John Pero who moved to Fremont, Ohio, and lived a long life. He remarried and had more children. To date we do not have enough information to be sure that this is the same individual who buried his wife and babies at Oakland Cemetery in the middle of the nineteenth century in Erie County, Ohio.


Gale Wall said...

What a beautiful stone.

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thanks so much! I was very happy to find the daguerreotype still visible after all these years.

Brett Payne said...

Thanks for sharing this Dorene. I'm intrigued to see a photograph on such an early gravestone, although of course it may have been erected some time after her death. In 1855 photography was, while a little past its infancy, perhaps in its teenage years, so I would have thought it rather unusual to see a photographic portrait on a tombstone.

Is it really a daguerreotype, or something printed on glass or a ceramic surface? A small magnet will provide the answer as daguerreotypes were printed on metal sheets.

Regards, Brett

Dorene from Ohio said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dorene from Ohio said...

I am not positive if it is truly a daguerreotype or not. The information which stated that it was one was from a book written in the 1930's. Sometime I will go back out and try the magnet test.
Thanks for your input! As you can tell, I am very much a beginner in photography.

Brett Payne said...

Hi Dorene. I don't mean to doubt you, or the book. I was just curious. It makes sense that it was a daguerreotype, because a collodion positive format would likely not have lasted as well as this. However, if it was another type printed on ceramic or glass, then perhaps one might suggest it may have been copied from an original daguerreotype at some later stage.

If you do make a return visit, I wonder if you would mind taking some more detailed photographs of the image and surrounds, please? Perhaps shots from a couple of different angles would help, as a daguerreotype is usually not very clear from a full on viewing angle, but really comes to life when viewed at an angle. It would be an interesting image to research and perhaps feature on Photo-Sleuth at some stage.

Regards and best wishes, Brett

Dorene from Ohio said...

My camera is not too sophisticated...but I will take
some more photos of it soon.

Brett Payne said...

What was I thinking???!!!! You would not expect daguerreotypes to be magnetic because they are on copper plates. It is ferrotypes aka tintypes that are magnetic. Sorry about that slip up.

Regards, Brett

Joan said...

Dorene and Brett,
Just following your conversations was an education. Thanks for really talking about the gravestone and photograph.

Dorene from Ohio said...

My focus is usually on the "story" of the person who has been honored by the tombstone. I am not so well-versed in gravestone studies or photography. I am learning a lot by
being a Graveyard Rabbit:)

T.K. said...

This is a fascinating gravestone, Doreen, and as Joan said, both the post and the comment thread were very interesting. It would be fun to read more about it at Photo-Sleuth if Brett is able to find out more.

Jeffrey Smith said...

I've seen a few daguerrotypes mounted on tombstones, back in Pennsylvania, but never one quite this well preserved. Not nearly as many of them, or even of tintypes, out here, but I've noticed a lot of empty niches that may have held them.
There's a paragraph on the subject in this article.
"Another popular use of daguerreotypes was for photographing the dead and also for mounting on tombstones. Often one of the first persons called in the event of a death, especially of a child, was the daguerreotypist, so the parents would have a remembrance of the lost child. Some family portraits show a mother or father holding a daguerreotype of a deceased child. If a person had to be buried before a photograph could be obtained, bodies were occasionally exhumed to be photographed later when a photographer was available. A daguerreotype was often mounted on the tombstone in a moisture-proof case. A Columbus firm, World Manufacturing Company, offered "the Indestructible Monumental Photograph Case," (Henisch 184). One advertisement read, "Your duty to your beloved friends and relatives remains unfulfilled without having placed one of these beautiful cases upon their monument, so that you and your friends might often see them as they were known on earth "(Henisch 184-85)."

Dorene from Ohio said...

Thanks for the link to the article!

I would never have guessed that a company from Columbus would have advertised an Indestructible Monumental Photograph Case, at such an early date!