Charlotte Canda

canda-dewittI’ve visited this site several times, and have always been amazed. It’s so huge and ornate, and there’s so much to look at.  No amount of picture-taking ever seems to do it justice. Who in the world would deserve such a 3-ring circus of a monument?

According to Wikipedia:

Charlotte Canda (February 3, 1828 – February 3, 1845), sometimes referred to simply as “Miss Canda”, was a young debutante who died in a horse carriage accident on the way home from her seventeenth birthday party in New York City. She is memorialized by a Victorian mausoleum in Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, New York by Robert Launitz and John Frazee. The ornately and expensively decorated monument attracted thousands of visitors to Green-Wood Cemetery in the late 19th century.

This story is even better on the Green-Wood Cemetery Web site. Apparently she was sketching out some elaborate plans for the gravesite for her aunt when she died, so her father went ahead and used them for her grave, adding her initials and a bunch of other personal touches, like figures of her pet parrots. There’s a life-sized statue of her, and she is adorned with 17 roses around her head, one for each year of her life.

She was engaged to a Frenchman named Charles Jarret at the time of her death. He was so grief-stricken that he committed suicide a year later. Sheesh! OK, you win, Charlotte Canda. You do deserve such a dramatic monument.

UPDATE: After reading all this, I visited again. I couldn’t find any parrots in the monument(as described on the Green-Wood web site), but I did find the fiancé’s grave. It is right next to hers.

John F. Delaplaine

John F. Delaplaine held the title of the Secretary of the American Legation in Vienna for many years. This legation was first established in 1838, so I’m assuming Mr. Delaplaine was one of its first ministers. He maintained lavish homes in both Vienna and New York.

While Mr. Delaplaine doesn’t have a Wikipedia entry, I did manage to find out quite a bit from digging around in the NY Times archives. As inscribed on his grave, he was a very wealthy man who left almost all of his money to charity. He notes in his will that his family possessed “ample wealth and whose happiness would not be increased by their receiving more than I have given them.” Oh, BURN.

He was also a lifelong bachelor who filled his two homes with “fine pictures and costly bric-a-brac” (accurate or not, I am picturing Liberace’s mansion). He was well known for his fabulous dinner parties with “Princes and Archdukes and lesser nobles”. When he died in Vienna in 1885, he was surrounded only by his servants, which the NY Times describes as being “all male, who were nearly as well-known to the Viennese as their venerable master.”

I wish I could find a picture of him. He sounds fabulous.

In an April 4, 1884 article, the Times reports that he became “mentally impaired” and convinced that he was poor and a burden on his friends. “To guard against this event, he procured 6,000 florins and put it into a belt which he strapped around his waist.” The article goes on to propose that Mr. Delaplaine be “formally declared a lunatic.” Sad.