The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry

The True Image: Gravestone Art and the Culture of Scotch Irish Settlers in the Pennsylvania and Carolina Backcountry

by Daniel W. Patterson
     
 

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A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of three generations of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel

Overview

A thousand unique gravestones cluster around old Presbyterian churches in the piedmont of the two Carolinas and in central Pennsylvania. Most are the vulnerable legacy of three generations of the Bigham family, Scotch Irish stonecutters whose workshop near Charlotte created the earliest surviving art of British settlers in the region. In The True Image, Daniel Patterson documents the craftsmanship of this group and the current appearance of the stones. In two hundred of his photographs, he records these stones for future generations and compares their iconography and inscriptions with those of other early monuments in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Scotland.
Combining his reading of the stones with historical records, previous scholarship, and rich oral lore, Patterson throws new light on the complex culture and experience of the Scotch Irish in America. In so doing, he explores the bright and the dark sides of how they coped with challenges such as backwoods conditions, religious upheavals, war, political conflicts, slavery, and land speculation. He shows that headstones, resting quietly in old graveyards, can reveal fresh insights into the character and history of an influential immigrant group.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Patterson's loving attention to the stones and his remarkable use of primary documents to understand them create a history of life on the Carolina frontier that is, to use a pun, 'close to the ground' and true to the image.—North Carolina Historical Review

Patterson's book, with its remarkable detail and groundbreaking approach, opens the door to viewing memorials as valuable assets in studying the history of those who may have left little else behind.—South Carolina Historical Magazine

Successfully demonstrates the rich historical ethnographic potential of blending different approaches to create a world and a sense of the everyday lived experiences of its inhabitants.—Benjamin Staple, Material Culture Review

A well-written, delightfully vivid depiction of the history of Presbyterian funerary art. Historians, geographers, and lay people interested in family histories will find the book inviting and a rewarding read.— Journal of Southern Religion

The True Image may be the first comprehensive history book of an ethnic population that is based on the material culture of gravestones.—AGS Quarterly

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807837535
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
10/08/2012
Series:
Richard Hampton Jenrette Series in Architecture and the Decorative Arts
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
496
File size:
16 MB
Note:
This product may take a few minutes to download.

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
Describes with clarity a great tradition, sets it in historical context, and accomplishes an historical ethnography of Scotch-Irish Presbyterians. Patterson has done a tremendous job in bringing this fascinating story and these important works of art to light.—Henry Glassie, Indiana University

Meet the Author

Daniel W. Patterson is Kenan Professor Emeritus of English and Folklore at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is author or editor of nine books, including The Shaker Spiritual, Sounds of the South, and A Tree Accurst: Bobby McMillon and Stories of Frankie Silver.

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