William Harris Tantum IV

William Harris Tantum IV
Courtesy of Titanic Historical Society

William Harris Tantum IV (1930–1980), a publishing company executive, was a co-founder and former president of the Titanic Historical Society.

Born in Trenton, he resided in Lower Makefield, Pa., before moving to Greenwich, Conn., and it was there that he became acquainted with Edward S. Kamuda who had founded the Titanic Enthusiasts of America some years earlier.

Given Tantum’s flair for publicity, he was one of the co-founders of the Titanic Historical Society as a successor and the driving force in that organization achieving national acclaim.

He encouraged Robert D. Ballard, Ph.D., to search for R.M.S. Titanic, which foundered after striking an iceberg on April 14, 1912, but died five years before the ship was discovered in the icy waters of the North Atlantic in 1985. In recognition, however, a plaque was placed at the site the following year. The inscription reads: “In memory of those souls who perished with the ‘Titanic’ April 14-15, 1912. Dedicated to William H. Tantum IV, whose dream to find the ‘Titanic’ has been realized by Dr. Robert D. Ballard. The officers and members of the Titanic Historical Society Inc., 1986.”

He was a graduate of Valley Forge Military Academy and Pennsylvania Military College (now Widener University), and retired a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.

Tantum IV is interred in Section B, Lot 416-418, in the Zerman-Tantum family plot.

The Monument for Welling G. Sickel

Sickel Monument in Riverview Cemetery, Trenton, N.J.
One of my research interests is the histories of monument companies, and the study of the monuments they created and the individuals that were memorialized.

I recently came across an article in the August 25, 1912, issue of the Trenton Evening Times that described how the well-traveled Welling G. Sickel (1858–1911), a wealthy rubber manufacturer and mayor of Trenton from 1897 to 1899, had visited the Vatican Museum while touring Italy with his wife Margaret (1858–1931) where they both admired the sarcophagus of Lucius Cornelius Scipio Barbatus that was on display. After her husband’s death, she decided to commemorate his life with a monument modeled after the sarcophagus they had so admired many years earlier for the family plot in Section U, Lot 81-84, here at Riverview Cemetery.

Henry R. Haven and the Baltimore Riot of 1861

Henry R. Haven, ca.1910
Henry R. Haven (1842–1914), a confectioner by trade, and for a time borough clerk and councilman in Chambersburg, was a veteran of the Civil War serving in both the army and navy.

Shortly after the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860, eight southern states seceded during the next five months—South Carolina on December 20, 1860, Mississippi on January 9, 1861, Florida on January 10, Alabama on January 11, Georgia on January 19, Louisiana on January 26, Texas on February 1, and Virginia on April 17.

Virginia’s secession following the bombardment of Federal soldiers at Fort Sumter by Confederates on April 12 and the president's call for troops on April 15, only served to heighten the divided loyalties of Maryland which had business, cultural, and social ties to both North and South.

With the call for troops, Haven enlisted as a private in Company G of the Sixth Regiment of Massachusetts Volunteers. On April 17, the regiment assembled at Boston and boarded trains for Washington, D.C., by way of New York, Trenton, Philadelphia and Baltimore. Arriving at Baltimore’s President Street station on April 19, the troops marched in formation along Pratt Street toward the Camden Street station where they were to again board trains and continue on to the capitol.

Isaac Broome’s Baseball Vase

Base-Ball Players vase, designed
and modeled by Isaac Broome
for Ott & Brewer

A year before the nation’s centennial, Joseph Ott and John Hart Brewer, proprietors of Ott & Brewer’s Etruria Pottery Works, engaged the services of sculptor Isaac Broome (1835-1922) to create a series of works in Parian bisque porcelain for the forthcoming exposition.

As The Pottery and Porcelain of the United States (Barber 1893) notes, “One of the most spirited designs of the series is the base-ball vase, which was suggested by Brewer and worked out by Broome. It is suggestive throughout, in all of its harmonious design, of the American national game. From a pedestal rises a gradually tapering vase, of which the lower portion is formed of a series of bats banded together by a strap, while the upper portion is embellished with figures of ball-players in low relief. The cover represents a base-ball, surmounted by the American eagle, and around the projecting ledge of the base are arranged three players [a pitcher, a striker, and a catcher] in life-like attitudes. The modelling is faultless and the figures are full of action.”

Broome created two identical Base-Ball Players vases for display at the Centennial Exhibition, which opened in Philadelphia on May 10, 1876. The pair was displayed in Ott & Brewer’s exhibit in the manufacturers’ ceramics area in the Main Exhibition Hall but within a month, owing to their popularity, one of the vases was moved to the Art Annex which was constructed adjacent to Memorial Hall to accommodate an overwhelming number of art submissions. This marked the first American ceramic work to be recognized not simply as a ceramic figure, but as a sculptural work of art.

Sometime afterward the first vase, now in the collection of the New Jersey State Museum, joined Brewer’s private collection; the second vase was given as a trophy to the Detroit Wolverines for their defeat of the St. Louis Browns in the 1887 World Series and is now in the collection of the Detroit Historical Museum.

Both vases have been reunited for the second time (the first being an exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in the 1980s) and are the centerpiece of New Jersey on Display: World’s Fairs and the Garden State, an exhibition at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton that opened June 21 and runs through January 4, 2015.

Broome is interred in Section B, Lot 396.

Edited September 30, 2014.

An Unusual Motif of Cattail and Sneezeweed

Monument for Mary H. Multop and Ada L. Kenner
Folks taking a casual stroll on the grounds will sometimes pause to take a closer look at a monument with an unusual motif of cattail and sneezeweed, both of which are widespread throughout the United States and can be found along the high tide margin of the wetlands in the Trenton-Hamilton-Bordentown Marsh just south of the cemetery.

It memorializes Mary H. Multop (1847-1909), wife of Peter Multop, and their 17-year-old daughter Ada L. Kenner (1888-1905), wife of Charles Kenner Jr.

The Common Cattail, or Typha latifolia, is the most common species of cattail. They have flat blade-like leaves, a dense, dark brown flowering spike, and reach a height of five to ten feet. Sneezeweed, or Helenium autumnale, is a member of the genus named by Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus in honor of Helen of Troy. With yellow, daisy-like flowers and slightly serrated, six-inch-long lanceolate leaves, they reach a height of three to five feet.

The monument is located in Section K, Lot 904.