Known Tombstone Carvers

of Pennsylvania

A Project of  the PAGenWeb Archives

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These pages seek to identify and document the known tombstone carvers in the state of Pennsylvania, from all time periods.  If any one has any information about additional tombstone carvers to be included, or have additional information to add to an existing carver,  please feel free to contact Ellis Michaels or Bill Plack

William Nash & Alexander M. Craven

The Robbstown Sculptors

Westmoreland County

(Biographies and Photographs contibuted by Bill Plack)


William Nash

     According to the newspaper ad above, William Nash commenced the business of stone cutting in Robbstown, Pennsylvania (known today as West Newton) in 1824. The two earliest stones I have found by him were obviously back dated. They were both signed “Wm. Nash, Sculptor, Robbstown, Pa.” and dated 1813, eleven years before the ad appeared. Incidentally, he was one of the very few tombstone carvers that I have ever seen that called himself “sculptor”. It seems that his career in Robbstown was of short duration since the latest stone I have found signed by him was dated 1826. It is possible, of course, that he continued later than that and simply stopped signing his stones but it appears more likely that his business was taken over by A.M. Craven.

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Known Examples of

William Nash's

stone carvings

Old Salem Cemetery

Derry Township, Westmoreland County, PA




Unity Cemetery

Unity Township, Westmoreland County, PA


Rehobeth Presbyterian Cemetery

Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, PA



Alexander M. Craven

     Alexander M. Craven probably began carving tombstones in Robbstown around 1830. The date is hard to determine since his early stones were also obviously back dated. Two that I have seen were dated 1819 and 1823 and he was born in 1810, which would have made him a very young stone carver indeed. While his simpler stones were signed “A.M. Craven, s.c.” (stone carver), he later followed Nash’s example by signing some of his more elaborate stones as “sculptor”. Since the 1830 Vanmatre stone shown below is so nearly identical to William Nash’s McClelland stone, shown above, I assume that the pattern or design for this stone was provided by Nash. The Niccolls and Roatharmel stones, below, may have also been Nash designs. Craven probably went back to using the more modest “A. Craven” signature on the 1832 Niccolls stone only because he did not have space for the more elaborate signature panel.

     Craven’s career was cut short by his death at age 33 in 1843, two years after the death of his young wife, Margaret. They are buried in adjoining graves in Fayette City Cemetery, Washington Township, Fayette County, under modest tombstones, Margaret’s presumably carved by Alexander.

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Known Examples of

Alexander M. Craven's

stone carvings

Sewickley Presbyterian Cemetery

South Huntingdon Township, Westmoreland County


Rehobeth Presbyterian Cemetery

Rostraver Township, Westmoreland County, PA



Redstone United Methodist Cemetery

Washington Township, Fayette County, PA


Margaret Vanmatre headstone

Margaret Vanmatre footstone


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Tombstone Carver Page maintained by Ellis Michaels

this page was last updated 27 Apr 2011

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