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  • Writer's pictureNancy Rogers

Naval Death

I selected this memorial because it’s beautifully carved and very touching. The deceased is Lieutenant Joseph Davidson Blake who died on July 5th, 1864 at the age of 33. Lieutenant Blake was a member of a very prominent family in Charlotte, and his memorial is in Settle’s Cemetery, the city’s oldest.

naval theme is the dominant one, here. But there is more going on than that. In Christian iconography an anchor represents hope, a mooring, a safe haven. Hebrew 6:19 reads: This hope we have as an anchor, both sure and steadfast…

Lieutenant Blake’s cause of death at such an early age is also of interest. Below the picture graph on his memorial stone, it states that Blake died of disease during his naval service, which could have been from practically anything from typhoid to malaria. I found more online, however. He didn’t die of either; Blake died of pneumonia.

There’s one more interesting thing that I learned online that you’d think would have been on his memorial stone. Blake graduated from the US Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD, but at the beginning of the Confederate War, he left the US Navy to join the Confederacy. In tiny letters near the top of the memorial stone, it reads: “died in the service of his country. CSN,” Confederate States Navy.

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