Many of the marble stones from the latter half of the 1800’s through the early 1900’s were signed by stone carvers or monumental companies as a form of advertisement or a way to take credit for the beauty of the monument. Sometimes monument companies located at the entrance of cemeteries usually provided the majority of the stones in that cemetery. In that case, the company may not have signed the stones they created.
Most signatures on the stones were not carved very deeply and were carved in much smaller lettering than on the main stone so they can be difficult to find today. Many times an apprentice or less experienced stone carver would be responsible for carving the company/carver name onto a the bases.
You will usually find the signatures on the base(s) of the cemetery stones. If the stone does not have a base, the signature might be found near the bottom of the main body of the stone. Unfortunately, many of our old marble stones have been broken off at the base just above the signature, so they are no longer readable.
All of the early cemetery stones on which I found signatures were the early marble stones in northern California, the only area that I have surveyed so far. I have not found any signatures on granite or any other types of stones. There is a granite stone in the Davis Cemetery in Yolo County, California, on which there is a discreet piece of metal placed at the back of the stone near the bottom. Below is a photograph of that stone. In the section following the images of the “signed” granite stone, you will find examples of signatures on marble cemetery stones from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s.
Note: If you are interested in learning more about the individual parts of the cemetery stone monuments, you can visit “Headstone” on Wikipedia.