Mound View Cemetery

I love cemeteries, y’all know that. They’re peaceful and no matter where they’re located they’re almost always devoid of all people. Last week after visiting the Knox County Poorhouse I headed to Mound View Cemetery. It didn’t seem like it would be that big of a cemetery. My main reason for going was to search for a headstone I had seen a photo of online that read “Little Men”. I really really love headstones that say things that are a little bit out of the ordinary. Upon a little bit further research I found that these “little men” were actually the Wild Men of Borneo. I didn’t really know too much about them but I felt like I had heard that name before so I was definitely interested in finding the headstone.

Hiram and Barney were two mentally disabled brothers from Knox County. They were apparently sold to Doctor Warner in 1852 by their desperate mother after the passing of their father. Hiram and Barney were given new names, Waino and Plutanor, and a sensational back story about being from the island of Borneo, where they had been captured after an intense struggle. They were each around 40 inches tall and weighed about 45 pounds but could perform feats of great strength such as lifting heavy weights, and wrestling with audience members on stage. It is said that they could each lift around 300lbs on their own. They eventually became involved with P.T. Barnum and his traveling show. During their 25 years with him the pair made over $200,000 which in that time was an incredible sum of money.

I’m very interested in sideshow history and any headstone I can find information on is pretty cool my book, so this was definitely an awesome find. I’m actually surprised it took me this long to hear about it. I’m curious who chose to put “little men” on their headstone though. “Wild Men of Borneo” seems like a better fit if that’s what they went by…

The Wildmen of Borneo, Waino and Plutanor, Mound View CemeteryMound View Cemetery, headstonelife extinguished, headstone symbolism

Anyway, before even being able to find their headstone I was already more than impressed with this cemetery. It was easily in my top ten, mostly because it was absolutely teeming with symbolism! Lots and lots of older headstones have symbols on them. It’s nothing new for me. Over time I’ve become familiar with many of them. Some are so common I don’t think anything of them when I see them but everywhere I looked in Mound View there were symbols! It ended up being the majority of what I photographed.

I’m going to list a few of my favorites, see if you can find them in the photos…
anchor – hope or eternal life
arch – the passage to heaven
dove – peace, messenger of God
hand pointing up – hope for heaven
lamb – innocence, often found on the gravestones of children
upside down torch – the end of life, or a life extinguished
willow tree – perpetual sadness or mourning
wreath – victory in death

We have some really incredible cemeteries in Ohio, like this one. The one thing we don’t have going for us is that we aren’t very old, at least not compared to some other parts of the US that are a little further east. Symbols on graves aren’t all that popular anymore and haven’t been for a while so there are tons of them I’ve never actually seen in person. That’s not to say they aren’t in my state, I may have just not found them yet. I even have a list of symbols I’d love to find. Ranking high near the top is a skull and crossbones, just because it seems so stereotypical and like something that would a Halloween decoration instead of a real headstone, I guess. Thinking about finally finding one gets me all excited. Heading east this year is a must!


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  • Dude you have GOT to come up here and go to Forest Hills. Google Image search and you will DIE (no pun intended but pretty great).
    I recently visited another cemetery on Memorial Day and found a stone that said “I’d rather be skiing” which is so epic.
    Unrelated: I need an archway monument I think. Re: Harry Potter BEYOND THE VEIL.

  • This is an amazing post! I completely agree with cemeteries having a secluded feeling about them, in a way it's a charming feature! 👻 I was just talking to my boyfriend about wanting to head to a cemetery, I can use your post as leverage! The symbols are so cool! Have you seen any Masonic ones or odd fellow ones, they have really interesting symbology of their own that gives an eerie feeling in a grave. Great find! (Also your post about posting what you want, hell yes! I like the "weird" ones)

  • Thanks for sharing about the symbols. I will be on the lookout for them now that I know what they mean. You should check out my post on Chicago's Calvary Cemetery. One of the coolest that I've been too!

    I want to go down to New Orleans and explore the above ground cemeteries. I know they can be pretty tourist-y, but we just don't have enough mausoleums in the Midwest. They have always fascinated me the most.

  • What an interesting story of Little Men. I seriously love how curious you are with headstones but if you weren't then you wouldn't be coming home with great stories!

  • That's such an interesting story about the "Little Men". I love learning the history behind headstones. We have a pretty good local cemetery in my town and I like to go and search for interesting people from the city's past. I wasn't aware of what all the symbols meant, they're so pretty and intricate!

  • Ohh!! Gravestone symbolism is really something I'd like to see more of; the little lambs were adorable. However I couldn't make out what the symbol on the seventh photo was… Also I loved the Carrie headstone!

  • Oh, what beautiful photos. I love cemetaries too – they're so peaceful and beautiful and I also like that they're usually empty. I recently went to the Necropolis in Glasgow. Have you seen it? It's incredibly cool. My friends think it's weird and morbid but, whatever. I love the white stones you've photographed and it's amazing that you've managed to find out a little more about these intereting people from the past from their headstone!

    Jessthetics xx

  • this looks like such a neat cemetery! headstones with symbols or something more curious are my favourite, and it's always great to find out stories behind them! i feel like i've seen quite a few with a skull and/or crossbones in england as well:-) xx

  • Where I live in Russia there is a mix of Christianity and Islam. I saw my first Islamic cemetery which wasn't much different except all the tomb stones were slightly different. I didn't get a good look though because I was on a bus. I also saw another cemetery in my city for the first time and all the grave plots had cages over them. It was so strange. It was hard to see though because every thing was covered in so much snow. Also, in Vietnam they just bury people in tombs above the ground and you'll be driving through the country and you'll see tombs in all the most random places. It's kind of interesting but also kind of creepy. You should definitely go abroad. I think you'd find burial process of other cultures interesting!


  • Oh, also there is a little tiny cemetery somewhere on Mentor Road (not Mentor Avenue) if you are traveling south towards 44. If you are on Mentor Ave you will turn onto Chillicothe Road then onto King Memorial which will turn into Mentor Road. First of all, there is an amazing view if you drive north of Lake Erie. When I used to cater for Boston Market I loved delivering that way because I loved the few heading back. I don't know if it would be worth the trip from Cleveland, but you might want to go if you are already out that way. I also don't know if it's private property. It's really small but quaint. I always wanted to stop and look at it just because it looks so interesting. The front of it has a small gate if I remember correctly. You might have seen it but I just thought of it so I thought I'd let you know!