Strange Stones –
Hartland Cemetery

Strange Stones #1

Have you ever seen a tombstone symbol that made you stop and pause? I LOVE visiting cemeteries and looking at old stones, but when I first saw this downward pointing finger that looked like it was forever chastising Chauncy L. Crouse on his own tombstone, I chuckled and was a little confused. I was used to seeing carved hands and fingers pointing up, not down. The symbol looks like it’s saying, “You see this here guy, Chauncey? He’s not going up to Heaven, he’s going the other way!” Most hands carved onto tombstones point upwards, signifying a return to Heaven, so why did this symbol look like the total opposite of that?

Turns out there was nothing notoriously bad about Chauncey L. Crouse. He and his brother were instrumental in establishing the town of Hartland, Michigan, and putting aside the land for the cemetery. The downward pointing hand can symbolize an unexpected or sudden death on some stones, but Chauncy died of cancer of the mouth and throat on September 5, 1873, at age 67. His death probably wasn’t unexpected. For Chauncy, the symbol most likely represents the “hand of God” coming down from Heaven to bring him home.

The “American Biographical History of Eminent and Self-Made Men, Michigan” stated, “He began his career without money or friends, and, at his death, both as regards to wealth and position, ranked as one of the most successful men of his day.”

Hartland Cemetery earned a Michigan historical marker in 2006.

The cemetery is located at 10101-10199 Henry, Hartland, MI 48353.

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