Der Steinmetz

North of Downtown Evansville, in what was once known as the area of Lamasco, Locust Hill Cemetery sits high along rolling hills next to Kratzville Road. The property was the former homestead of the Robert Smith family in the mid 1800s, but once it changed hands to the Kirkpatrick family, a plot was sectioned off to create a small cemetery for friends and neighbors. The land was deeded to the City of Evansville in the late 1800s.

Among Locust Hill’s dips and hills rises the Preher monument. Twisting up from the back of the cemetery, the marker of Henry and Linna Preher is nestled in Section 24, one of the older parts of Locust Hill.

The monument features a square base, indicating dates for the couple in German, while the top features a cross and what appears to be a military star. Carvings include intricate leaves and a Greek key pattern found on the top and base, while the curved spine of the monument displays delicate ivy and hearts.

“I have been in many cemeteries around the U.S. over the past decade, and I don’t recall seeing another stone similar to this one,” says Superintendent of Cemeteries Chris Cooke.

Not much can be found in the cemetery records of the Prehers, he adds. According to the Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library’s Browning Database, Henry passed away on June 13, 1909, in Owensboro, Kentucky. Linna passed July 10, 1934 in St. Louis at her daughter’s home.

Internet searches provide possible clues into Henry’s occupation — Find A Grave (a website often used by those searching for burial plots of family members from across the country) offers the following information provided by a user: Henry was a German stonemason (steinmetz) who was a member of the crew that built the Old Courthouse located in Downtown. It also suggests he carved many tombstones.

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