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Hand Carved Slate Tombstones
Hand Carved Slate Tombstones, Plaques, Reliefs or Quotes, all carved with a chisel and mallet
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The Gregory family of Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania wanted a design for their 10 year old son Montie that included some of his favorite things. This is what we came up with with the family, that included Montie's Whippet Dog, Dino, his Playstation Controller, Soccer Ball, Army Helmet, and Book. Montie's own signature was also included borrowing it from one of his school papers.

This Stone has now been set in the oldest Presbyterian Church Yard in Lancaster Co, being organized about 1721, Donegal Presbyterian Church.
I use only the best slate in North America, Buckingham Slate, from Virginia. It is a true Unfading slate that has been quarryed since the late 1700's and even Thomas Jefferson Used it for his building projects. Buckingham Slate is used on Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. and The Smithsonian Castle.
One of the first Americans to recognize the value and architectural beauty of slate in the United States was that master architect Thomas Jefferson. Geologist W. Rogers reported to Virginia Legislature that, "In texture, density and capacity of resisting atmospheric agents, it can scarcely be excelled by a similar material in any part of the world." He further recorded the use of Buckingham® Slate (still serviceable today) on the University of Virginia, specified by Thomas Jefferson for roof covering.
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18" x 30" x 3"
Blue/ Black Slate, Edisto Island, SC
The Lindsay family wanted a stone that blended with stones already in the cemetery, mainly stones carved by Thomas Walker of Charleston, SC , active from 1793-1838. The stepped typanum was typical of his style. Elizabeth had a bachelors degree in music therapy and was passionately literate, knew her Shakespeare, her Bible, and her modern authors, very well.
10" x 12" x 1"
Blue/ Black Slate, Maryland
This is a copy of an original slate tombstone for Mary Owen 1749, Charleston, SC. It was carved as a gift from David R. Mould to Missy Loewe, authors of the famous book, " Historic Gravestone Art of Charleston, SC 1695-1802". The original was likely carved by William Codner of Boston.
24" x 36" x 1.5"
Blue/ Black Slate, Mount Joy, Lancaster Co, PA
The Gregory family of Lancaster Co, Pennsylvania wanted a design for their 10 year old son Montie that included some of his favorite things. This is what we came up with with the family, that included Montie's Whippet Dog, Dino, his Playstation Controller, Soccer Ball, Army Helmet, and Book. Montie's own signature was also included borrowing it from one of his school papers.
12" x 12" x 1"
Blue/ Black Slate, New Market, VA
A Small Gravestone for a special Virginia Cat, who was from the county in VA where I get my slate from, Buckingham. The owner designed the stone totally by herself! It turned out great!!
12" x 24" x 1.25"
Blue/ Black Slate, near Vonore, TN
david@pumpkintownprimitives.com
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         Up until about a hundred years ago stones were cut by hand with a chisel and mallet. By God's grace I am endevouring to bring back slate stones to our church yards. Look Soon for the Grave of the Unknown Confederate Soldier on Secession Hill in Abbeville, SC. Monuments can last many lifetimes. Possibly 400 years or more! Longevity is Comparable to Granite, but with better detail, and more character. Works include the Secret Garden Stone on the Reedy River Childrens Garden near the Falls Park in the Historic West End, Greenville, SC. Let me carve a stone for you that will make a bold statement and last many generations!

         Slate will hold a legible inscription for centuries, usually retaining the mallet tap marks in each letter that is cut. Hand cut slate tombstones are very rarely carved in SC. The Lord allowed me the priviledge of taking stone cutting classes by a grant from the SC Arts Commission. These classes were near Providence, Rhode Island where a few artisans still cut these stones by hand. Slate is very impervious to weathering, that is why shingles of slate are used on court houses and very "high style" buildings. My ancestor Andrew McComb carved the Indian Massacre Grave stone of John C. Calhoun's grandmother around 1785. It is still located in Troy, SC over 210 years old and is very readable!
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SC Arts Commission Grant Recipient - 2014 Early American Life Magazine Craftsman
David has been selected as one of America's Best, & Listed in Early American Life Magazine, in the Directory of Traditional American Crafts, August issue, 2014, page 66. The judges are Museum Curators, and Historic Material Culture Professionals from all across the US.
Gallery of Stones
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23" x 36" x 3"
Blue/ Black Slate, Pennsylvania
Carved front and back for husband and wife, this stone utilizes a traditional Roman letter which never goes out of style. The simple scroll pattern framing both sides are derived from 18th Century Gravestones here in South Carolina.
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An introductory guide and study resource for understanding the process of Eighteenth Century Gravestone carving, as well as a primer to help identify stone carvers of Colonial Era Gravestones. Gillespie has taken signed stones and used identifying features of those stones to help attribute works of unsigned stones. The layout and easy reference numbers make this an interesting and valuable tool.
David Gillespie's Book “A Brief Treatise on Tomb and Grave Stones of the Eighteenth Century.”, is used by Scholars, Tour Guides, and Historic Sites to bring about a clearer understanding of 18th century gravestones, and the carving process.
“A Brief Treatise on Tomb and Grave Stones of the Eighteenth Century ” is being carried by distinguished sites
and bookstores such as;

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Sample Page
Examples
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Pumpkintown Primitives
- R. Alan Stello, Jr. , Author of Arsenal of History: The Powder Magazine of South Carolina, Director,The Powder Magazine, Charleston, S.C.
“A brilliant historical presentation connected by an under-appreciated colonial craft.”
“This book is a refreshing look at early gravestones from a stonecutter’s point of view. Adding a carver’s perspective and insight is a welcome addition to the body of gravestone literature.”
 -Lynette Strangstad, Author, A Graveyard Preservation Primer.
“David Gillespie’s Tomb and Grave Stones of the Eighteenth Century is a gem! Clearly written and beautifully illustrated, the book provides an excellent introduction to the art of colonial gravestone carving.”
-Dr. Richard Veit, Co-Chair, 2012 Association for Gravestone Studies Conference, Monmouth University, West Long Branch, N.J.
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