Heath MacAlpine submitted this article about his experience visiting the gravesites of the Chief Engravers of the United States Mint. Thanks! -Editor
How interesting to view the photographs of William Barber and his wife Anna, and how generous of the Barber descendants to share them. Seeing them
reminded me of the ANA summer show in Philadelphia in 2012. In addition to collecting medals, I'm also a cemetery buff, so I decided to combine the two hobbies
that year. I took a day to visit the graves of several of the Chief Engravers of the United States Mint.
I found George Morgan and James Longacre at The Woodlands Cemetery, while Barber's son Charles was interred at Mount Peace Cemetery. Longacre's memorial was
very grand, Morgan's very modest, and Barber's somewhere in-between. William Barber, though, was at Mount Moriah Cemetery.
Mount Moriah was a grand 19th century cemetery and the final resting place of many historic Philadelphians. Unfortunately, it had fallen on hard times in
the second half of the 20th century. The owners gradually stopped maintaining whole sections of the property, finally abandoning it altogether. Trees, chest
high shrubs and grasses had taken over, submerging all but the tallest monuments. Barber was somewhere in this sea of vegetation.
I did some research and reached out to the Friends of Mount Moriah Cemetery, a volunteer group that has been waging a long and successful campaign to gain
oversight of the property and begin reclaiming it from the wilderness it had become. Rob Hobdell, one of the volunteers working with the group, was able to
locate the grave and to run an industrial strength mower through the encroaching plant-life prior to my arrival. He then escorted me to site.
Barber and his wife are buried under a 7 foot by 3 foot granite slab. Two of their children, Mary and Florence, share the grave with them. There's nothing
on the slab or at the site to indicate Barber's numismatic connections, no sign of 20 cent pieces or trade dollars. Rob and I explored some more until a nest
of yellow jackets sent us on our way.
I thanked Rob and the other volunteers and gave the Friends an example of the Grant Presidential medal done by Barber as a token of my appreciation. In
checking current satellite pics of the location on Google Maps, it looks like the Friends are keeping that section mowed these days, making visiting easier. If
you want to go, Barber was at N 39.93596 W 075.24033 the last time I saw him.
Thanks for the report. Sorry to hear that news, but glad to hear some volunteers are working on the site. -Editor
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
PHOTO OF ENGRAVER WILLIAM BARBER FOUND
Wayne Homren, Editor
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