When Jonathan Reed’s wife, Mary, died in 1893, the widower didn’t want to leave her side. In fact, he was so devoted he moved in to her tomb, where he lived (with a parrot) for over 10 years.
Reed had his Mary’s casket transferred to the vault, where he installed an empty casket in which he would eventually lie. He then settled into what became his second home. Domestic furniture stood in the vestibule, a wood stove provided heat, and scattered about the vault were a clock, some urns filled with flowers, photographs, paintings on the wall, a deck of playing cards, Mary’s half-finished knitting, and the family’s pet parrot (first alive, later stuffed). As word of Reed’s story spread, company began stopping by. Around 7,000 people stopped by in the first year alone.
Witnesses said he ate all of his meals there and held imaginary conversations with his wife. According to the New York Times article, published in March of 1905, “Mr. Reed could never be made to believe that his wife was really dead, his explanation of her condition being that the warmth had simply left her body and that if he kept the mausoleum warm she would continue to sleep peacefully in the costly metallic casket in which her remains were put.” The article also states, “According to his friends, he really believed that his wife could understand what he was saying to her.”
Reed died in 1905 and was finally interred with Mary — you can read his New York Times obituary here.
The Haserot’s Angel.
More commonly known as “The Rusty Angel”, “The Guardian Angel” or “The Angel of Death Victorious.”
The angel holds something, that many people mistake with a sword; but actually, he’s holding an upside down torch, symbolizing a life extinguished.
Lake View Cemetery’s (Cleveland) most famous piece of graveside sculpture stands atop the grave of Francis Haserot and his family, and was sculpted in 1924 by Herman Matzen.
Click the pictures for high resolution
Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809-1892)
“Come not when I am Dead”
Come not, when I am dead
to drop they foolish tears upon they grave
To trample round my fallen head
and vex the unhappy dust thou wouldst not save.
There let the wind sweep and the plover cry;
But thou, go by
Child, if it were thine error or thy crime
I care no longer, being all unblest:
Wed whom thou will, but I am sick of Time,
And I desire to rest
Pass on, weak heart, and leave me where I lie;
Go by, go by.