Today’s post is about one of the most popular monuments in the Green Lawn Cemetery of Columbus, Ohio. It’s not one of my favorites, but it’s been coming up an awful lot for the last couple weeks, so I thought I’d post about him. Let me open ‘er out by quoting an AP article featured in the Columbus Dispatch in December. (Original/complete article can be seen here:
As a light snow fell yesterday at Green Lawn Cemetery, someone made sure 5-year-old George Blount was dressed warmly. George, who was decked out in a Santa hat and plaid scarf, has been a fixture at Green Lawn since 1873. For years, visitors have decorated his grave site, which is marked by a life-size stone statue of a young boy. No one who works at Green Lawn knows who decorates the grave. Sandi Latimer, volunteer coordinator at the cemetery, said George’s grave is near the back, making it easy for decorators to slip in unnoticed. . . . Latimer affectionately refers to him as “Georgie” and says his grave is a frequently requested stop when she conducts tours of the cemetery. . . . Linda Burkey, the cemetery’s general manager for 13 years, said that as long as she has been there, George’s grave has been decorated. “Out of all the other graves, his is the most decorated,” Latimer said as she removed the hat and scarf. She said she has to remove the items because they can hold in moisture and harm the statue. Yesterday, stuffed animals lined the base of the marker. Water guns, action figures and Hot Wheels cars were scattered around, as well. A fresh candy cane rested in his lap. “I’ve found all kinds of things: Mardi Gras beads, baseball caps — even sunglasses on him in the summertime,” Latimer said. Gary Best, a German Village resident, was there yesterday, walking his dogs, Gabriel and Wheezer. “I think it’s interesting that, after all these years, people still put stuff out there,” he said. “It’s a sad story, and I guess people are just fascinated with that.” Latimer added: “Almost every cemetery has something that plays on the heartstrings of the public. And here, it’s little Georgie.”
Now, “Georgie” hasn’t been of a lot of interest to your local Headstoners here, for whatever reason. He is buried in a part of Green Lawn we don’t traverse much. The first time we came across him, we didn’t know there was any kind of a story about him. I just remember exclaiming because the statue held an A&W root beer can. The picture on the right here of George with the flowers is one of my favorites, though. This I find tasteful and even pleasant. (I have a long rant at the bottom about people leaving junky stuff on this grave; if you’re likely to be offended by that, please skip over that part and have a great day!) As just a quick side note, I would point out that the Headstoners are not aware of any ghost stories or hauntings in association with this grave stone.
Now, the story of George goes back 137 years–as of this Sunday, actually.
“Little Georgie,” as some refer to him, was the only child of Eli and Sarah Blount. Eli was the owner and proprietor of the American Hotel in downtown Columbus. On 7 February 1873, the family was getting ready to go out and little George, only 5 years old, decided that the fastest way to get downstairs was to slide down the bannister. Sadly, the railing broke and George fell; he died eight days later,
writes Amy Crow of Amy’s Genealogy, etc., blog. She adds, in a nice touch, I think, ”People regularly leave toys at his grave. . . . It’s almost as if he’s been adopted by countless people in central Ohio.”
A Little Boy Falls Over Stair Bannister at the American House and is Fatally Injured — His Death this Morning.
This community will be painfully shocked at the announcement that little George A. Blount, only child of Colonel Blount, proprietor of the American House, has died from fatal injuries received by falling over the stairway banister from the second to the first floor, striking his forehead on a heavy iron stove hearth at the bottom of the staircase hall. The accident occurred on Friday, the 7th inst., and death ensued this (Friday) morning, eight days of intense anxiety to the parents and friends having elapsed between the fall and it’s fatal effect. A similar accident happened to the child about one year ago. Since that time the watchful eyes of his parents and the hotel employees have been constantly upon him to prevent a repetition of the accident; but, notwithstanding all the case that could be taken, it came when least expected, and at a moment when the household was enjoying the best pleasures of life, health, happiness and prosperity.
Mr. Blount had ordered a carriage for his wife, who was going out to ride, and she, with her son, started for their private apartments from the office floor. The little boy, it seems, had forgotten something in the office, and suddenly remembering that fact at the room door, dashed down the stairs as his mother entered the apartment, taking a ride on the smooth bannister rail as the quickest means of reaching his destination.
Mr. Cashatt, clerk in the office, heard the sound of the fall, as did a porter in another room, and both hastened to the spot the porter reaching the helpless and bleeding form first. Mr. Blount was there in a moment, and carried his boy up stairs, where he remained until death came and relieved him from suffering.
Doctors Loving, Smith and Frankenberg were called, and the latter remained in constant attendance while life remained, administering such relief as was suggested by the associated physicians. The child was unconscious part of the time, partly from the effect of choloform and partly from the injury, and when the fever in his body touched the brain convulsions folloed. After four o’clock P. M. Thursday he became entirely oblivious to all that occured in the room, and remained in that condition until he died. He must have fallen head foremost, as the greatest injury was upon the head. A cut across the forehead and a large black bruise over the left eye were the only contusions on the body. The bruise closed the left eye, and it remained closed, except upon one or two occasions when it was opened only for a few minutes.
The face of the child was familiar to many who have been guests in the house, and among attaches he was a general favorite. Everybody called him Georgie, and all who knew him, with the very extensive circle of acquaintances enjoyed by his father and mother, will deeply sympathize with the parents in this sad bereavement. His age was five years and five months.”
Now that I’ve told you, or rather, reported to you George’ s story, I have just a couple of observations, though, of my own; perhaps not in the typical tone one hears in association with this monument. First of all, I note that in the article, it states that young Master Blount here has the most decorated monument in Green Lawn cemetery. This is true–but only because, for some reason, they have waived their decorating policy for him (or rather, for the people who leave stuff there). Point 9 in their regulations states, “No toys, lawn ornaments or frivolous decorations are permitted.” And they are removed from other graves–not Georgie’s. (I approve wholeheartedly of this rule, BTW; I’ve been to cemeteries that don’t have similar requirements and some graves look like somebody’s yard sale, cheap crap everywhere. Geeze, guys.) Yes, I said “junk” on the statue. It’s fetishism, people, this piling up of stuff on a grave of someone who cannot possibly by of any relation whatsoever. And it’s tacky looking. (I said I liked the flowers! They’re cute. I don’t mind tasteful things–I mean, I’m the girl who bought a ceremic hedgehog to put on the grave of a great-grandfather I never met. Maybe one or two little toys would be appropriate, but all this junk? Like a kid born in 1867 would understand what half that stuff even was.)
My second point may offend some people, but I’m looking at what Latimer said about objects such as hats and scarves trapping moisture and damaging the statue. In that case, allow me to call it vandalism. Now, I will only hold that charge of vandalism if the people responsible for putting hats and scarves on him have since December never picked up a newspaper (many Ohio papers carried this AP story) and missed the fact that these seemingly harmless decorations cause damage to the statue. But the winter pictures of Georgie you see here were all taken a month after this article ran, and you notice he is hatted and scarved again–and if the person who restored them read the article, then shame on him or her! This is by no means my favorite monument in Green Lawn, but if people keep acting silly about it, it’s not going to be there for future taphophiles to enjoy. How’d you like to show up at Green Lawn one day to see little Georgie’s head cracked in half? Or his head in his lap? Come on, folks. Let’s be sensible. Remember being sensible?