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News & Views of Phillips Since 1976
Monday July 15th 2024

Great Granddaughter ”˜Uprights” Legacy and Its Marker for Another Century

By Sue Hunter Weir

Setting grave markers is a tough business. Wrestling blocks of stone that weigh several hundreds of pounds into place requires muscle and planning. Ensuring that the stones are level when the ground is uneven is tricky and tree roots don”'t make the job any easier. On Sunday, August 22nd, staff from Grave Groomers, a local restoration company, set about repairing the marker for Lina Quam.

Mrs. Quam”'s marker is in the center island of the cemetery. Someone (it isn”'t clear who) planted a tree between her marker and the marker directly north of hers. It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. But over a hundred years later, the cottonwood is still there and still growing. As the tree has grew, its widening trunk caused the top of Mrs. Quam”'s obelisk-shaped marker to list, and within the last five years toppled it altogether.

Mrs. Quam”'s great-granddaughter commissioned Grave Groomers to restore the marker, a job that was easier said than done. At first glance the base of the marker, which was pressed up against the base of the tree, looked as though it was about four to six inches high, but looks can be deceiving. When John Peterson and his staff tried to lift it out, they found that at least eight inches of the base was below ground. They were able to pry it out, taking care not to chip the stone, and move it a slight distance from the tree by hand, but it required a winch to lift the stone high enough to make sure that is was perfectly centered on its new concrete base.

The second piece of the marker was smaller but needed to be handled with even greater care. Decorative carving and routing, to say nothing of a century of weathering, has made the stone more fragile than it was a hundred years ago. The risk was that the stone would split apart into layers. Although it was small enough to be put in place by hand, it still required two pairs of hands to position it on the base.

The last piece of the marker, the “tower,” was lifted into place by hand, and the job was almost done. All that was left was to clean off many decades”' worth of dirt. One hundred and five years after it was first set, the marker Mrs. Quam”'s marker is perfectly straight and as clean as the day that it was placed on her grave.

Mrs. Quam died September 7, 1905, from acute nephritis (kidney disease). She was 42 years old. Her husband and three young daughters survived her. To see her marker, drive or walk out to the loop at the end of the cemetery”'s only road. You can”'t miss it, it”'s the one by the big tree.

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One Response to “Great Granddaughter ”˜Uprights” Legacy and Its Marker for Another Century”

  1. Phil Blommendahl says:

    Thanks for the article. There is never a marker that is unimportant or that should ever be forgotten. Any time I can,I pull weeds or do what little thing I can do to keep someones name and memory eternal.My family rest above ground in a Mausoleum,but many of our friends lie in lawn property and care is ok but not consistent. There is a section of our local park here that is kind of like old home week of those who made up the best part of our lives and all of them deserve our remembrance and their resting places our care when we can.We are fortunate to have an organization like Grave Groomers to help keep our memories living and our Memorial Parks lovely as they should be. After time passes the pain of the loss is often replaced by the joy of happy remembrances.May Linda Quam’s memory now continue to be eternal.

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