WILLIAM PITBLADDO, Green-Wood Cemetery

by Kevin Walsh

I have been thinking more and more about where I’ll end up.

My late uncle’s family has a plot in St. John’s Cemetery in Middle Village, Queens, a cemetery that has a number of mob figures like John Gotti interred within. I have begun to formalize the process whereby a plot will be set aside for me. I think my presence there might serve to spiritually sanitize the place, though my detractors may nod sagely when I wind up next to the mobmen. My uncle himself was a WWII veteran and rests in Calverton in Suffolk County. My parents are in St. Joseph’s in Troy, New York, where my mother is from, but the plot is full, they tell me.

In late September I visited Green-Wood for the first time in over a year, and comfortably wandered around. I say “comfortably” because I am always at ease in Green-Wood, a tribute to the tranquilizing effect its designers intended. I was going to return in October and November. Perhaps I’ll resume this month or next.

One gravesite caught my eye, that of William Pitbladdo, whose wife, Cherry Humble, is also interred in the plot. Now there’s a great pair of names. Pitbladdo (1806-1870) was a Scottish immigrant and a cemetery monument builder. In fact he owned a business on 25th Street and 5th Avenue, next to the old Weir greenhouse that the Cemetery has spent 4 years converting into a visitors’ center. The Cemetery, on its website, has a photograph of the Pitbladdo monument business. In fact, Green-Wood knows quite a bit about the Pitbladdo business and has in its collection the company’s order book, seen at the link. Pitbladdo offered tombstone repair, carving, ornamentation and lettering as well as tombstone fabrication. His firm designed and built many of the monuments found in GWC.

Check out the ForgottenBook,┬átake a look at the gift shop, and as always, “comment…as you see fit.”


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