MADISON, GA'S HISTORIC CEMETERIES
ARTOPE & WHITT
by Patsy Harris, Buckhead, GA
The Artope marble and granite dynasty began with James B. Artope who was born in 1809 in South Carolina. At about 26 years of age he opened his own marble business in Macon, GA, which, later under his son and then grandson, expanded with branches in North and South Carolina.
His signature can be found on many stones in Macon's Old City Cemetery.
In the nearby Marshallville Cemetery is this tombstone (right) signed by
J. Artope for a 1837 death.
In 1850 the census recorded him as a marble factor in Bibb County, GA.
His wife Susan, also born in South Carolina, was a year younger. Living with
James and Susan were their six Georgia-born children and four teenage
male apprentices. Son Thomas Artope (1833-1900), at 16, was listed as a
In 1848, work had started in Washington DC on the Washington National
Monument obelisk. Artope was commissioned by the Masonic Grand Lodge
of Georgia, based in Macon, to carve its marble and gold leaf donation to the
monument's interior walls. The 2-foot by 4-foot slab of Georgia
marble was installed at the 140-foot level in the early 1850s (right).
Nearly 200 of these commemorative memorials were placed in the
monument. The marble for the memorial from the State of Georgia
came from the Artope quarry in Gilmer County, GA.
James Artope brought at least one son into the business by 1869, when
the business was known as J. Artope & Son. The signature of Thomas
B. Artope, b. 1833, is found on many tombstones beginning in the late 1870s in Georgia, and in 1879 Tom advertised in the local paper as T.B. Artope.
James died in 1883 and was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery, Macon. His wife's obit-
uary in 1901 noted her husband as "the pioneer marble and monument dealer in
Georgia." The business carried on.
The Jasper County News reported in 1892 that Tom Artope had furnished window
and door sills for the new Bank of Monticello building.
Tom died in 1900, and while the company had already been using the name Artope
& Whitt for several years, in 1901 his son Thomas Edwin Artope, David S. Whitt
as general manager, and A.L. Whitt incorporated as Artope & Whitt in Macon. The
company expanded to offices in North Carolina and South Carolina. In 1902 a trade
magazine said the company in Macon had 35 employees with a weekly payroll of
$325-$350, including a designer and Italian sculptor. The company was "equipped
with the latest pneumatic and electric machinery."
The company fabricated the lovely tombstone (right) for Lucy Beckham, who died in
1898 at the age of 33, mother of five. She was buried in Madison's New Cemetery.
In 1905 Artope & Whitt was contracted for Macon's statue to honor the Women of
the Confederacy, and in 1906 the Sparta newspaper noted that Thomas Edwin Artope was president of the Georgia Quincy Granite Company in nearby Sparta.
Artope & Whitt can be found in extant newspapers through 1909, and it is not know when the company was dissolved. David Whitt died in 1936 after many years as president of the Montgomery Marble Works in Alabama, and Ed Artope died in Macon in 1931. All the Artope family was buried in Rose Hill Cemetery there.
Artope, Thomas Edward (sic) death certificate ancestry.com
The Atlanta Constitution June 12, 1901
The Eastern Reflector July 3 1903 Greenville, SC
The (Macon) Georgia Telegraph June 12, 1849
Granite. Published by A.M. Hunt, Boston, MA. January 1902.
Jacob, Judith M. "The Washington Monument A Technical History and Catalog of the Commemorative Stones." 2005
The Jasper County News May 19, 1892
Macon City Directories. ancestry.com
The Madisonian April 25, 1902
The (Milledgeville) Southern Recorder May 1, 1838
The (Macon) Southern Tribune October 9, 1850
The Sparta Ishmaelite April 6, 1906
The (Macon) State Press January 26, 1858
The Watchman and Southron April 8 1903 Sumter SC