Young and Felton, carvers

As a side project I’ve plotted out the rough (very rough) distribution of stones carved by two of my favorite gravestone carvers, William Young (aka the Thistle-Carver of Tatnuck) and the Ebenezer Felton. I’d like to include notes about identifying carvers in my graveyards book, so I figure I’d better learn to identify them myself first. I like these particular carvers because they are idiosyncratic. Young’s work is amateurish, irregular, and has a very personal touch. Felton, while being more regular, is very different than almost any stones I’ve encountered (though the Sikes family shares some similar qualities). Out of curiosity I plotted out what cemeteries – roughly – that these carvers have stones at. For a start I used the Farber collection, since it is easy to search and sort, though I have made some additions based on my research. The photos are taken from Farber, since my files are currently buried in my office.

Here is a sample stone by Young: As you can see, the human head is very crudely rendered, almost abstract. Still, I find it charming.

Probably the best source on Young is Forbes’ Gravestones of Early New England and the Men Who Made Them though she was writing in 1928; there is also a good profile in Markers #4 starting on p. 138. See the complete set of Farber images here.

Here is his map.

As for Mr. Felton, here is a sample:Wacky, no? Flying hair, mouthless face, almost like an alien.

The best source for Felton is a short piece in Markers #4, p. 169; here is the Farber images for Felton.

Here is the Felton map:

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