visiting the dead

sunday 26 february
headstone of a great grandfather

salem’s pioneer cemetery. sunday feb 19, 2012.  nic kneeling in front of his ancestors.

charles pigler

here is the stone for the patriarch of the family, charles pigler. note the broken, flat top of the monument. several years ago, on another occasion to visit, nic found the heavy round marble top broken off & balancing precariously on its perch. fearing some other might take it, nic took it instead, & it is now a cherished artifact in our studio.

in loving memory of

charles pigler


apr. 5, 1892;


62 y’rs 4 m’s &

5 dys.

walter's stone

next to charles lies little walter. a sad story with no words but these:


son of

charles & susan


born 14 may 1887

died 14 july 1889

on some future visit nic plans a rubbing to decipher the final four lines, which here time has rendered unreadable.


on the south side of charles’ headstone, his wife susan’s inscription:




july 15, 1854


may 18, 1934

tho she lost walter, their son of 2 yrs, she survived  80 years & is commemorated on the side of charles’ slab of stone.

susan s. stegmire, her maiden name.

pigler family plot

horst spandler, a beat scholar, musician and friend in germany informs us that pigler does not have anything to do with pigs.

i guess that’s a relief. pigler means, he says, lives on a hill. salem’s pioneer cemetery is on a hill off south commercial and hoyt.

The earliest death celebrated in the cemetery is reportedly that of the methodist missionary david leslie’s first wife, Mary A. Kinney Leslie,  in 1841.


mother. a small rounded stone. is it for susan? most likely so. we saw several other stones among family plots exactly like this one, small, hunched stones inscribed mother.

my uncle chet (chester) murray died this february 15. he is the last of a line of my mother’s siblings.

he was 95.

nic made me this valentine for the 14th. i dedicate it to my uncle chet.

inside our hearts

RIP piglers: charles, susan, walter & RIP my own dear uncle chester murray.

peace & love,



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