Monday, July 15, 2013

Tree Shaped Tombstones - Genuine Woodmen Versions

Despite what you may read here and there on the internet, most "tree shaped tombstones" had nothing to do with the Woodmen of the World organization.  You see lots of "trees" with no Woodman designation.  And you also see a wide array of standard tombstones featuring the Woodman logo.  But when the two occur together it is probably not entirely coincidental, the Woodmen did have a burial benefit that would permit buying a fancier marker.  And I have noted a slight tendency for Tree Shaped Tombstones to be associated with fraternal lodges generally.

Here are a few specimens of "genuine" Woodmen trees:

This one is from the Pioneers Cemetery on south Lake Street in Minneapolis.  Here is a close up of the Woodmen logo, which does not seem to be aging well.  Is urban air quality next to a busy street hard on these?

And another specimen from Western Wisconsin.  Note that both of these are a sort of composite tree, combining a stack of logs with a mid sized stump.  

Different logo too...

In addition to the similar, but not identical style I suppose you could note that both of these tombstones were for fellows with very Scandinavian names.   But that probably just reflects demographic reality of the upper midwest.  The next example is an interesting one...

It qualifies as a "tree shaped tombstone", albeit a modest single log version.  But note that the M.W. of A. was a different organization from the W.O.W, even though they were founded by the same individual.  The story of how the Modern Woodmen of America parted company with the Woodmen of the World is found here.

And here is another Modern Woodmen tree.  This is a seriously over the top specimen I found in a cemetery in St. Paul, Minnesota. Axe, hammer (or gavel?) splitting wedge, ropes, a bird, just an awful lot going on here.  I found some other remarkable specimens in this location, more on this as the week goes on.

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