Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tree Shaped Tombstones-Some really sad ones

Oh, its rather fun to gad about cemeteries.  Off on a hunt, peering through natural trees trying to find the false ones.  Looking for whimsical flourishes carved into the stone.

Sometimes you forget that there was a real person associated with each marker, and that their passing was usually a sad occasion.  And sometimes a tragic one.



This caught my eye from a distance.  A chair made in the style of the classic tree shaped tombstones.  So what is happening here....


It was where a grieving widow sat and looked upon her husband's grave.


Hermann Grote must have been a pretty good guy.  The odd symbols on the marker probably reflect some sort of lodge membership, perhaps Knights of Pythius?


William Tucker died at age 19.  His family had high hopes for him.  The inscription reads:
OUR WILLIE BELOVED SO DEAR/HOW MANY HOPES WE BURIED HERE
Not great verse, but how heartfelt.....


From a distance you would not guess the sadness in this humble marker.  But zoom in close...


I would have to scrape off moss to be sure-and I won't do that-but it seems to have a word ending in ..OTIE and then WEE BABY.

I thought that was about the saddest tombstone I had ever seen, but then I ran across this one in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  Infant mortality was a fact of life in times past, but Mary Braley died in 1905 at age nine.

Her tombstone reads, Beloved one farewell.

And here is Mary's hat.


3 comments:

Pia Pearl said...

Woodmen of the World

Have you ever been to a cemetery and seen a tombstone shaped like a tree trunk or a tree stump? If you have, what you saw was a Woodmen of the World tombstone. This fraternal organization began in 1883 as the Modern Woodmen of America and became a benefit society. Around the turn of the century, a new group evolved, called the Woodmen of the World. The benefit society became involved with selling insurance, and members received a death benefit and the opportunity to have one of the special stones purchased and set on their graves. The distinctive markers came in many shapes, sizes and designs. If one of your ancestors was a member of Woodmen of the World, you might want to contact the company (which is still in existence) at http://www.woodmen.com/ to determine if they have any records on file relating to your ancestor.

Pia Pearl said...

Woodmen of the World

Have you ever been to a cemetery and seen a tombstone shaped like a tree trunk or a tree stump? If you have, what you saw was a Woodmen of the World tombstone. This fraternal organization began in 1883 as the Modern Woodmen of America and became a benefit society. Around the turn of the century, a new group evolved, called the Woodmen of the World. The benefit society became involved with selling insurance, and members received a death benefit and the opportunity to have one of the special stones purchased and set on their graves. The distinctive markers came in many shapes, sizes and designs. If one of your ancestors was a member of Woodmen of the World, you might want to contact the company (which is still in existence) at http://www.woodmen.com/ to determine if they have any records on file relating to your ancestor.

Tacitus2 said...

Pia
My interest is not personal in the sense of having any relatives, that I know of, buried under one of these. Just an artistic and historical whimsy. Only a small percentage of the "tree" tombstones bear markings or either of the Woodmen organizations. Some predate the founding of either. And the Woodmen, especially the M W of A, often left their mark on non tree tombstones. So I consider the connection to be at best loose. I suppose I will contact them one day. My local library has the archives of an area chapter from this era, might make an interesting read on the topic...

Thanks

Tacitus