York Town Square

Part of the USAToday Network

Dover’s Baughman Memorials met request for marker inscription: ‘He joked. She laughed.’

Dover, Pa.’s, Baughman Memorial Works has been around since 1875, spanning five generations – with a 6th generation working his way in. Donald Baughman told a recent meeting of the South Central Pennsylvania Historical Society that the business is the oldest of its type in York County, Pa., and one of the oldest in Pennsylvania. This photograph came from the Baughman Web site. Background posts: Dover’s Baughman Memorials craftsmen: ‘Sum up decades of living in a few letters and numbers’ and Each month, three free history presentations offered to York countians and York County’s Pinchgut vs. The Gut.

Donald Baughman provided a high-tech look at his hands-on cemetery marker business at a recent South Central Pennsylvania Genealogical Society meeting.
But that hands-on business is become increasingly high tech.
Don Baughman’s (pronounced “Bockman”) Powerpoint presentation showed the evolution of his business from the hand etching of names and dates into whatever fieldstone was available to color etching of elaborate scenes on the sides of granite markers.
The presentation indicated a change in York County, as elsewhere, in which public demand causes a change from a one-size-fits-all-approach to business to a smorgasbord of services. And it shows a change in affluence. People can now afford such choices.
Some notes from his presentation:

Delta slate and Dover Township sandstone were examples of the type of local stones used in York County. Fieldstone gave way to Vermont marble, which gave way to the more durable granite. Steel chisels and wooden mallets gave way to pneumatic tools and the sand blasting.
– Before forklifts and other mechanical devices, planks, rollers and tripods were needed to move the larger monuments. Assessing the size of some of the larger markers, Baughman was “not sure how they did it.”
– An average monument today weighs about 1,500 pounds.
– The Baughmans originally used horse-drawn conveyances to carry stone from York railroad stations to their Dover shop. The first truck – a Maxwell – took care of that job in the 1920s.
– Baughman’s now uses a motorized hoist with a 37-foot reach to move markers into place. When asked what he does if a gravesite is 38 feet, he answered that he moves the truck a little closer.
– Craftsmen have constructed roses, angels, praying hands, dogs, footballs, soccer balls, a flower basket and stained glass windows – something that has meaning to the families – to monuments.
– Baughman received an odd request from one customer to inscribe the exact date of his death. “It was creepy,” he said.
– One family asked for – and received – the following wording on its monument: “He joked. She laughed.”
– As for the Baughman family, five generations of burial sites are covered with monuments from Baughman Memorials.

Other York Town Square posts with Dover ties: Jeff Koons, Ray Krone, Daniel Drawbaugh, Jeb Stuart, John Kuhn , Scott Strausbaugh and the intelligent design case.
Also: John “Clarkie” Souza, Cate Reinart (mother of Nick and Drew Lachey), long trumpeter Bill School, rock group Blind Melon’s Chris Thorn, Jeff Koons, Part II, Gov. George Leader, weightlifting guru Bob Hoffman.