Recently, we were in Charleston, South Carolina and I snapped these pictures in a very old churchyard.
I have seen many tombstones with angels on them, especially in New England, but these, with what appear to be portraits, really caught my eye. They were grouped together in one area...the oldest part of the cemetery. The stones were in bad condition, so it was difficult to read them so I could not tell if they were related.
Perhaps it was comforting to those who came to visit these souls, to see the likeness of their family member or friend right there in front of them as they paid their respects.
If anyone knows more about this type of tombstone, I'd love to hear from you.
Happy New Year!
Since posting these photos I was able to find out that these tombstones are, indeed, called portrait stones. However, they are not true likenesses of the deceased...more like a representation. Carvers used "portraits"...often carving the same signature face over and over...the same one for men, woman and child...only changing details to suit the individual being depicted. So, although they are called portraits, they were not meant to be a true likeness of the deceased.
This info was found in the essay, Early American Gravestones, by Jesse Lie Farber