August 27, 2006

The angels category here is one of the most popular, so I thought I would add another winged messenger to the website. This one is from Mount Olivet Cemetery in Wheat Ridge, Colorado.

Angel from Mount Olivet Cemetery, Wheat Ridge, Colorado


Military Grave Markers

August 26, 2006

Headstone of WWI veteran, George T. Sims (1895-1969)Here are three examples of standard upright marble VA military grave markers that you might find in national or private cemeteries. These measure approximately 42″ x 13″ x 3″. Some of the newer ones are made of granite. Many have an optional religious symbol at the top of the marker (like the cross in the example at right). For a list of these see the Veterans Affairs website: Emblems of Belief on Government Headstones and Markers.

The two examples below are for pre-World War I grave markers. On the left is the headstone for the infamous cannibal, Alfred Packer, who was a Union Civil War veteran. On the right is one for a Spanish American War veteran. Note the way the name and regiment are enclosed in a shield on both of these markers – this was used for Union Civil War and Spanish American War soldiers. Some Confederate Civil War veterans have a symbol of the Southern Cross of Honor on their grave markers.

For help finding military records and indexes online see: Military Records and Indexes on the Internet, which includes some listings for Civil War cemetery burials.

Photos: Alfred Packer’s grave marker is from Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado; the other two are from Fort Logan National Cemetery, Denver, Colorado.

Gravemarker for Civil War veteran, Alfred PackerGrave marker for Spanish American War veteran, Charley W. McHugh (1874-1954)

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

Eastern Star

August 24, 2006

Order of the Eastern Star cemetery symbol - fatalThe Order of the Eastern Star (OES) is a female companion organization to Freemasonry. Men who are Master Masons may also join. Their primary symbol in cemeteries is a five pointed star with a tip pointing down, representing the Star of Bethlehem. In the example at right the letters are FATAL, which stand for Fairest Among Ten-thousand, Altogether Lovely.

Photo: from the gravestone of Fred M. Moore (1878-1949) and Maria A. Moore (1879-1933), Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado

In the example below each symbol within the star is an emblem for the Biblical heroines Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha and Electa, whose stories inspire character building lessons.

Eastern star with symbols of Biblical figures Adah, Ruth, Esther, Martha and Electa.

Photo: from the headstone of Hannah Meyer (1874-1930), Emanuel at Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado


August 23, 2006

IHS is a monogram of the name of Jesus, derived from the first three letters of the Greek version of his name: Iota, Eta and Sigma. Sometimes you will see the three letters IHS superimposed on each other, creating a symbol that looks a bit like a dollar sign ($). The Roman version is IHC.

IHS (Jesus) - Christian cemetery symbol

Photo from the gravestone of George Traut (1883-1965) and Mary Traut (1883-1951), Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado.

Riverside Angel

August 21, 2006

Angel with cross from Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Photo from Riverside Cemetery, Denver, Colorado

Odd Fellows

August 21, 2006

Odd Fellows - Three Link Fraternity - Cemetery Symbol

My favorite name for a fraternal association is The Independent Order of Odd Fellows (IOOF). The Odd Fellows purchase cemetery plots so you will often see many deceased members of this association buried near each other. Their primary symbol is three chain links joined together. In the picture above the number 30 is the lodge number.

Sometimes the chain links will encircle the letters F, L and T like in the example below. These stand for friendship, love and truth.

3 chain links - friendship, love and truth

Top photo: Fairmount Cemetery, Denver, Colorado
Bottom photo: Littleton Cemetery, Littleton, Colorado