Mt. Nebo Faces

In Carlton, Alabama there’s Mount Nebo Church – it’s pretty much in the middle of the forest, and it’s not very easy to find. At the end of the road is a gate, so you’ll need to leave your car there to walk up to the cemetery and church.

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

The cemetery has some interesting monuments:

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

But the thing that makes this place so special is that some of the monuments have death masks. They were made by Isaac Nettles, Sr.

This monument is for his wife.  I think her name was “Korean”.  The faces that appear here are not of her but of their three daughters:

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

It’s a little hard to make out, but it says “Mother was born Jan 1894 (???) died July 6, 1933”.  I may have not made that out completely correctly but I think that’s it.

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

Mt Nebo Church Cemetery, Carlton AL

There are a couple of monuments Mr. Nettles was supposed to have done that I could not find.  

The way Isaac Nettles did these death masks is that he had the people – while they were still living – press their faces in a box of sand.  From that impression he would pour concrete and use paper and wire to make the finished mask.

The monuments have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.
Last year, the county newspaper had an article about a man’s dog digging up a bust similar to the ones at Mt. Nebo.  There may be more in other parts of the county that just aren’t well-documented…

Leave a Reply