May 23, 2007

Example of a treestone from Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Treestones are basically grave markers in the shape of a tree. Often they will look like tree stumps or logs. Some will have branches. They are usually associated with the Woodmen of the World, and their various associated groups, although using tree-shaped grave markers pre-dates the organization. The treestones of Woodmen will usually include their symbols, and they might be inscribed with “Dum Tacet Clamet” (“though silent he speaks”), or “here rests a Woodman of the World.” Trees, branches and leaves are common symbols of nature in cemeteries.

According to Douglas Keister’s Stories in Stone, treestones were derived from the Victorian rusticity movement, and at one time could be ordered from the Sears and Roebuck catalog.

Photo: the tombstone of Alfred J. Day, Jr. (1892-1908), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Women of Woodcraft

September 9, 2006

Women of Woodcraft was a female auxiliary to Woodmen of the World (WOW), which was founded in 1897 by Joseph Cullen Root. Women of Woodcraft covered the nine states of the Woodmen’s Pacific Jurisdiction: California, Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. In 1917 Women of Woodcraft changed their name to Neighbors of Woodcraft (NOW). In 2001 NOW returned to its roots and merged with WOW.

Women of Woodcraft cemetery symbol; photo by Joe Beine

Photo: from the headstone of Nettie Curran (1881-1916), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Woodmen of the World

September 1, 2006

Woodmen of the World (WOW) is a fraternal organization founded by Joseph Cullen Root in 1890 in Omaha, Nebraska. Root had earlier founded another fraternal organization known as Modern Woodmen of America (MWA). The organization offers insurance to its members and helps those in need.

In cemeteries you will sometimes see gravestones with “Here Lies a Woodman of the World” engraved on them. Usually these will be accompanied by a symbol like the example below. Logs, along with axes and other woodworking tools, are common motifs. Sometimes the grave markers themselves will be in the shape of logs or tree stumps. These are called “treestones.” The symbol below includes the Latin Woodmen phrase “Dum Tacet Clamat,” which means “Though Silent He Speaks.”

Woodmen of the World cemetery symbol - Dum Tacet Clamat

Photo: from the headstone of James Stewart (1856-1908), Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Knights of Pythias

August 24, 2006

Knights of Pythias cemetery symbolThe Fraternal Order of Knights of Pythias is an international fraternity that promotes universal peace. It was founded in Washington, DC during the Civil War in 1864 by Justus H. Rathbone. The letters F, C and B stand for Friendship, Charity and Benevolence.

The three symbols on the headstone below are (left to right): Knights of Pythias, a Christian monogram for Jesus, and the Modern Woodmen of America (the original name of the Woodmen of the World).

Knights of Phythias, IHS (Christian monogram), and Modern Woodmen of the World

Photos: Green Mountain Cemetery, Boulder, Colorado