Back in the ‘80s I started up a little newsletter, Grave Matters, “A Newsletter for Civil War Necrolithologists” ( a term I think I coined). I ran it for a few years, sending out four quarterly issues to eventually more than 300 subscribers across the county—and indeed the globe (Canada, Australia, Africa and Australia). But then I moved on.
Somewhere along the way I lost all of my copies, but last year a friend, Mike Morgan of Franklin, Tennessee, most generously sent me copy of our complete file (1985-91).
From them come some necrolithic pearls, such as this one from vol. II, no. 2 (Fall 1986), on the gravestone of Confederate Brigadier General States Rights Gist.
Gist, if you’ll recall, was one of the Southern officers mortally wounded in the charge at Franklin, Tennessee on November 30, 1864. His remains were eventually buried in Trinity Episcopal Churchyard in Columbia, South Carolina.
But somebody got his name wrong, as his headstone is inscribed:
OF BRIG. GEN.
STATES RIGHT GIST
BORN IN UNION DISTRICT, SO. CA.
SEPTMEBER 3rd 1831.
KILLED IN BATTLE AT FRANKLIN, TENN.
NOVEMBER 30th, 1864.
As General Gist’s biographer, Walter Brian Cisco (1991) observes, a lot of people got his middle name wrong (“the most common mistake changed ‘Rights’ to ‘Right’”). Worse still, the writer of Gist’s etched headstone inscription at Trinity, was the General’s brother.