I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, September 23, 2016
Ferdinand Cross – Bedford Indiana Limestone Carver
Cross was born in Flemingville, New York to John and Sophronia Cross, a
stone-carver and his wife, in December 1838.Cross followed in his father’s footsteps and became a stone
carver. Ferdinand spent several years in New York State before moving to
Chicago. He moved to Bedford, Indiana “Limestone Capital of the World” in the
1880s where he started his own monument business.
Ferdinand's Carving Tools
took John A. Rowe on as his business partner and the two established Cross
& Rowe Monumental Works. The men specialized in carving gravestones from
Bedford stone. The stone was pliable and easy to work with when first quarried.
Once the shape was carved, the stone was placed outside to harden in the air. Today
many of these monuments can still be found in the cemeteries located throughout
Lawrence and Orange counties in Indiana.
1886, Ferdinand traveled to Orange County in search of a place to build his
home and studio. He came upon a natural ravine enclosed on three sides with
rock formations and a small cave completed the space. Ferdinand was delighted
and set about building a home near what he now referred to as Cross’s Cave.
relocating, Ferdinand tackled the challenge of carving people and animals in
situ in the surrounding limestone cliffs. Visitors and locals alike were
delighted to come across a carving of owls, eagles, monkeys, snakes and lizards
nestled among the rock formations. One of his most remembered carving was a
life-sized herd of cattle standing by an old well.
Cross Cave Ready For Visitors
and his wife Everilla welcomed guests from the French Lick Springs Hotel with
what became their famous fried chicken dinners. For the price of a meal, guests
could meet the artist, visit his studio and explore the cave.
died in May 1912. As a tribute, fellow stone carvers crafted his ornate tree
stone monument complete with chisels and mallet – the tools of this trade –
cast aside at the bottom of the stone. Ferdinand was buried in the Sulphur