Monday, September 22, 2014

Baby Monster

Saar Pioneer Cemetery is located in King County, Washington and is home to a rather unique tombstone that has gripped the Pinterest world in its clutches.  It is the tombstone of Baby Monster.

Baby Monster was born on October 23, 1888 and passed away on February 3, 1889, not long after his/her third month of life. One does not normally expect to see such a tombstone with the words BABY MONSTER spelled out so clearly, especially in such a quaint, older cemetery.  This is something creepy...this is something Halloweeny...this has to be a joke, right?

No, its nothing like that.  It's simply a sad reminder that death does not discriminate and at one point in our nation's history, the infant mortality rate was through the roof.  Frankenstein Jr. does not rest in the cemetery, nor does this stone mark the grave of a deformed or handicapped child.  The word, 'Monster,' is simply a surname.  This "shocking" revelation can be backed up by the fact that Baby Monster was buried with a man named John C. Monster.  The elder Monster was born in 1851 and died in 1890.  More than likely John C. is the baby's father as they share the same fact, his name is listed directly above the baby's...a clue that is conveniently cropped from most of the photos of the Baby Monster tombstone.

According to Find-a-Grave researchers, John C.'s wife was Anna Marie Nelson Monster.  Anna was born in 1861 and died in 1920.  She is apparently buried in the same cemetery, but in an unmarked grave.  However, she is memorialized on a public tombstone honoring others buried in the cemetery without markers.  Sadly, there are two more members of the Monster Family buried in unmarked graves.  One is a female born in January of 1912 without a death date listed.  The other is a male born 9 months later in October of 1912 who died at the age of 2 days old. 
Photo  by Find-a-Grave contributor, Billie Sorrels

It's an extremely sad circumstance and one is left wondering why Baby Monster wasn't given a proper name on his/her tombstone, even after three months of life.  It's possible that this tombstone was erected or carved well after the two people it memorializes had passed away...and the person simply didn't have a record of the name of the baby.  Or, it could have possibly been because the child had never been baptized, and thus, never had a Christian name given to it. With such a high infant mortality rate at that time, it wasn't unheard of to wait several months before giving a child a proper name.  Either way, if you find yourself roaming around Saar Pioneer Cemetery, stop by the Monster grave, not to gawk, but to pay your respects to a life taken so soon...and if you see anyone on social media freaking out about it, feel free to send 'em the link to this blog post!

Update October 2018:  This photo is making its rounds again, with some added misinformation.

Again, 'Monster' is a family surname; in this case it does not indicate whether or not the child was handicapped or deformed.  As I said before, if you see someone in a Facebook group or other social media platform sharing this graphic, feel free to refer them to this blog post...or at least let them know the truth.


  1. Due to the high infant mortality rate in the past, some families chose not to name children until they were at least two years old.

  2. Frankenstein was the creator, not the creation.

    1. Good lord. I am quite aware of that. However, I chose to use facetiousness in creative licensing.

  3. Thank you so much for this information. I was curious. Because I was thinking that if the "Monster" were not a Surname then perhaps the Baby had a deformation medically as was also the Case back then.

    But it is now not weighing so heavily upon me to think my second thought. I was best friends with a two year old boy that had Elephant Man's Disease. His name was Andrew. He lived to be fifteen before passing. Still miss him these 30 + years later. This is where my second thought came in to play at.