Victorian Metal Monuments

I hadn’t thought to do research on the Zuver memorial, but my cousin was doing a bit of digging and told me to do a search for the Monumental Bronze Company in Bridgeport, Connecticut. He told me it would be fascinating and it is. They seem to be, from others research, the only company that manufactured this type of monument. It is entirely made of zinc but looks like bronze. There is a terrific article on them here which has several pictures of the different styles of monuments that were sold.

  

Just by chance a postcard from the Monumental Bronze Company is for sale on ebay. I have borrowed a copy of the postcard because it’s style is a perfect match to the Zuver monument and included it in along with the Zuver photos. During the Victorian period these markers were very popular. The panels that attached with the family names could be personalized and were then bolted on. The metal was sandblasted in order to give it the look of granite. They were then painted with a chemical that gave it the blue-grey stone color.

 

In this article that I found, the writer mentions that the monuments ran out of favor and some cemeteries banned them completely.

 

 Listed on the Zuver Monument are:

 

 

 George Emery Zuver 1820 -1911

 Susan Goodman Zuver 1819 -1900 wife of George

 William James Zuver 1843 – 1862 died in the Civil War

 John Franklin Zuver 1847 – 1865 died at 18 unmarried

 Ann Eliza Zuver 1845 – 1865 died unmarried

 

 

 

I wonder who erected the monument. From documentation sent to the war department in 1901 after Susan Goodman Zuver’s death, George Emery Zuver was attempting to get the mother’s pension of his son William James (James William) who died in the Civil War. His claims at the time were that he was destitute, that his land was worthless and he had no income of his own to support him.

 

"State Of Pennsylvania/County of Venango

 

In the matter of the application of – George E Zuver, father of James W Zuver, late of Co. H 134th Penna. Infantry for a father’s pension. No. of Application “731916.”

 

Personally appeared before me, a Justice of the Peace for the State and County aforso which on Mar. 30th 1901, George E Zuver, aged 81 years, whose P.O. address is Pleasantville P.O., Venango Co., Pa; who having been duly sworn according to law doth depose and say: I am the surviving father of James W. Zuver late of Co. H. 134th Penna Vols. Infty. Susan Zuver was my wife and his mother. I was married to her on Apr. 7th 1842, and we lived together as husband and wife until her death in Nov. 20th 1900. Our surviving children are George Q Zuver, born Apr. 7th 1849, whose present P.O. Address is Plumer P.O., Venango Co., Pa., Mary M West, born Sept. 20th 1851, whos P.O. Adddress is Bradford, McKean Co., Pa., Lewis W Zuver, born July 17th 1854, whose P.O. Address is Pittsburgh Penna, Susan J Arnold, born March 9th 1856, whose P.O. Address is “Bruin P.O., Butler Co., Pa.,” Thomas W Zuver, born Jan. 17th 1859, whose P.O. Address is Pleasantville P.O., Venango Co., Pa., and Leander L Zuver, born Oct. 10th 1861, whose P.O. Address is Pleasantville P.O. Venango Co., Pa. None of these children or any other person or persons was legally bound to support me in the year 1900. The preacher and all the guests at our wedding on Apr. 7th 1842, are now dead. I send the testimonials of witnesses who were at the infare or reception right after our marriage, – which was held at my father’s house, – and who saw us there together as husband and wife together and have known u through many years in the same relation. This is the very best I can now do, – as there is no record of our marriage save that written by my own hand in our family bible. My son James W Zuver, upon whom his mother and my wife drew pension (Mother’s Pen. Act 319213) from Oct. 11th 1890, until her death on Nov 20th 1900 was born on July 12th 1843, and was our first born son. My wife died without a Last Will and Testament so that now I have only dower right in what belonged to her.

 

We were both of us assessed with $2640 worth of property in 1900 But $1800 of this is for oil wells belonging (except for loyalty) to other parties, – the owners paying under the leases the additional taxes beyond the value of the land for agricultural purposes. Our royalties from oil in 1900 were $89.01 – as the oil wells produce comparatively but little oil, and of this sum I used $26.01 in the payment of money taxes, – leaving me $63 of income in 1900 from this source. From other sources my income (and our income when my wife was yet living,) – was very slight perhaps not more than $25 more in the year 1900. I do not keep any horses and only one cow and a few chickens. I am too old and feeble to do any hard work. Our place is cut up by the lines of rods used in pumping the oil wells – so that it is worth very little now for farming purposes.

 

What I ask for is the transfer of the pension paid to my wife, – for both of us – to myself for the little while I have yet to live, – because I really need it and because my first born son would, were he living now, be worth manifold more to me than the gratuity from the Government, I am now asking for. The title of but 6 acres of our land was vested in me personally – all the rest belonged to my wife at her death. As assessed to us, we have about 45 acres of land, – really we only have about 36 acres and a good deal of that is wild rocky, unimproved land – I should say that it is not worth more than $20, and acre, – so that what really belongs to me by deed is worth at the outside about $120, and my dower [illegible] in the rest, the use of 1/3 or $200 a year, I mean the use of $200 a year is what my dower right is worth. Our personal property is out of style and most of it has been in use a long time and if  [illegible last 2 lines]

 

George E Zuver  [Seal]”

 

Was this erected by his children following his death or by George, himself, following the death of his wife and then his plate was added later? Could it possibly been erected after the death of his 3 children before his wife died? From his scathing obituary title of “Was Once Wealthy” it makes you wonder where the money came from, if he was broke when he died and his descendants not all that pleased with the handling of his finances prior to his death.

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