MADISON, GA'S HISTORIC CEMETERIES

Artisans

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

stone cutter.  ​

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. 

Resources:

Artope, Thomas Edward (sic) death certificate ancestry.com

The Atlanta Constitution June 12, 1901  

The Eastern Reflector July 3 1903 Greenville, SC

Findagrave. findagrave.com

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                   

                                                                                                                                                       www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/wamo/stones.pdf

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

US Census

The Watchman and Southron April 8 1903 Sumter SC