Restoration of the Tattersall Monument

Among the monuments cited in Riverview Cemetery’s nominating documents for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places was a narrative description and image of the Celtic Cross on the Tattersall plot:

Tattersall: James C. Tattersall (1872-1932), president of The Tattersall Coal Company, is interred in Section R, Lot 75-76 ... The monument (Trenton Evening Times, April 19, 1921, p. 12) on the plot is a replica of the St. Martin’s Cross located at Iona, Scotland, and was carved from blue-white granite quarried in Westerly, Rhode Island, by Alexander McDonald Co., Trenton, and Cambridge, Massachusetts. The firm also carved the individual lawn level markers of a complementary style.

Tattersall Monument, 2015

Himalayan Pine, or Pinus wallichiana

Often described as one of the most beautiful of all the pines, the Himalayan Pine, or Pinus wallichiana from the earlier P. excelsa, is native to the high mountain valleys of not only the Himalayas, but the Karakoram and Hindu Kush mountain ranges which extend across parts of Afghanistan, Bhutan, China, India, Myanmar, Nepal, and Pakistan.

Although the tree grows to a height of up to 150 feet in the wild, in cultivation it usually attains a height of up to 90 feet with a spread of 35 feet. It has gray-green needles that are eight inches long and produces slender cones that are six to ten inches long.

Seeds were introduced to England in 1827 by Nathaniel Wallich, a Danish botanist for whom its present botanical name is derived, and the tree became available to the European nursery trade in 1836, and thence to North America.

Himalayan Pine at Main Gate
“Among the numerous members of the pine family, it would be difficult to find one more beautiful and useful than the Himalayan [Pine],” noted nurseryman Joseph Meehan in the trade journal Park and Cemetery (1896). “There are but few others possessing the many good points of this one, and it is no wonder that it is such a universal favorite.” As the tree ages “there is rather more of a drooping tendency in the branches, and it is this, with its beautiful needles, which gives it such a charm. On large grounds, it is much in place in certain positions, and for cemetery planting it is unequaled.”

Riverview Cemetery’s single specimen, a stately tree that’s weathered many a winter, stands just inside the main gate to the west and was likely planted at the turn of the last century.

Alexander McDonald Company

For much of the first half of the last century, the monumental works of Alexander McDonald Company were located just outside the gate of Riverview Cemetery, next door to the old superintendent’s house and office, and it was here that its many artisans and carvers turned out all manner of memorialization in stone from simple headstones to elaborate monuments for the city’s burgeoning population.

The office and display of Alexander McDonald Company
on Centre Street and stone-yard on Second Street as they appeared in 1921

Alexander McDonald was born April 28, 1829, in Aberdeen, Scotland, and emigrated to the United States in 1852. Arriving in New York City, he made his way to Albany, N.Y., and finally to Cambridge, Mass., where in 1856 he established a monumental firm bearing his name opposite the entrance to Mount Auburn Cemetery. After retiring in 1887, his son Frank R. McDonald took over the day-to-day operations and the firm continued as Alexander McDonald and Son.

The Northern Red Oak, or Quercus ruba

Among the 500 trees comprising 71 species at Riverview Cemetery is a majestic specimen of Northern Red Oak, or Quercus ruba, which can be found along Myrtle Avenue in Section E near the southern boundary of the grounds.

Known for its brilliant red fall color, the tree is native to the eastern and central United States; its range extends into Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana to the south and Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska, and Minnesota to the west. It can reach 60 to 75 feet in height with a crown spread of 45 feet at maturity when open grown, and the oblong-shaped leaves are five to eight inches long with seven to 11 bristle-tipped lobes.

Our tree has a 60-inch caliper as recorded by B.W. Bosenberg and Company, landscape architects based in Far Hills, N.J., which translates to a circumference of nearly 16 feet. The Sunday Times-Advertiser of December 12, 1915, notes that “due to his extensive knowledge in the care of trees, [Isaac] Stephens was given entire charge of the planting of all the trees in Riverview Cemetery, of which he was one of the founders,” likely making it among the earliest planted on the grounds after the Cemetery’s incorporation on February 28, 1858, a feat all the more remarkable as I am told it survived a lightning strike a number of decades ago.

The Sojourn of Catharine Maloney

A “receiving vault” is a structure designed primarily to hold the bodies of the deceased during the winter months when the ground is too frozen to dig graves. They were also used to store a body that is to be transported elsewhere or a family mausoleum is to be constructed, and a notable instance of the latter is the sorrowful story of Catharine Maloney, daughter of Philadelphia capitalist Martin Maloney, whom found temporary rest in Riverview Cemetery’s receiving vault at the turn of the last century.

Born on November 11, 1848, Martin Maloney emigrated with his parents and siblings from Ballingarry, Ireland, when he was a young boy. He worked in the coal mines around Scranton, Pennsylvania, with his father, afterward apprenticing himself as a tinsmith, coppersmith, plumber and gas-fitter. He organized the Hyde Park Gas Company, the nucleus of a system that eventually provided gas to Scranton and surrounding areas, and subsequently organized the Maloney Oil, Gas and Manufacturing Company.

Maloney married Margaret A. Hewitson on December 31, 1868, and together they had seven children. All but three daughters—Margaret, Catharine (Kitty) and Helen—passed away in their younger years.