B.P.O.E.: Benevolent Protective Order of Elks
F.L.T.: with each letter in a link of a chain: Friendship, Love and Truth (see I.O.O.F.)
F.O.E.: Fraternal Order of Eagles
G.A.R.: Grand Army of the Republic. It was an organization of Civil War Union Army veterans.
I.O.O.F.: International Order of Odd Fellows (see F.L.T.).
V.D.M.: verbi Dei minister (Minister of the Word of God).
W.O.W.: Woodmen of the World. Upright tree stump markers are typical of the fraternity.
Relect carved on a woman's headstone: she died a widow.
Consort: she outlived her husband.
Some examples of engraved symbols include:
Anchors and Ships: Hope or Seafaring profession
Arches: Victory in Death
Broken column: Loss of head of family
Broken ring: Family circle severed
Bugles: Military (see Trumpeters)
Butterfly: Short-lived; early death
Candle being snuffed: Time, mortality
Compass and Square: Masonic emblems
Corn: Ripe old age
Cross: Symbol of Christian hope
Crossed Swords: Officer in the military
Doves: The soul, purity, innocence, gentleness
Father Time: Mortality, The Grim Reaper
Flowers: Brevity of early existence, sorrow
Flowers: Condolence, grief, sorrow
Flying Birds: Flight of the soul
Fruits: Eternal plenty
Garlands: Victory in death
Hand of God Chopping: Sudden death
Hands of God Chopping: Sudden Death
Handshakes: Farewell to earthly existence
Harp: Praise to the Maker
Hearts: Blissfulness or love of Christ
Hourglass with wings: Time flying; short life
Hourglass: Swiftness of time
Ivy: Friendship and immortality
Laurel: Fame or victory
Lily or lily of valley: Emblem of innocence and purity
Morning glory: Beginning of life
Oak leaves and acorn: Maturity, ripe old age
Open book or Bible: Deceased teacher, minister, etc.
Palm Branch: Signifies victory and rejoicing
Picks and shovels: Mortality
Portals: Passageway to eternal journey
Rose in full bloom: Prime of life
Rosebud: Morning of life or renewal of life
Roses: Brevity of mortal life
Sheaf of wheat: Ripe for harvest, divine harvest time
Shells: Pilgrimage of life
Stars and stripes around eagle: Eternal vigilance, liberty
Suns: The Resurrection
Torch Inverted: Life extinct
Tree stump with ivy: Head of family; immortality
Trumpeters: Heralds of the resurrection
Urn with flame: Undying friendship
Urn with wreath or crepe: mourning
Willows: Emblem of sorrow
Winged effigies: Flight of the soul
A cenotaph is not a grave marker at all. It is a monument erected in memory of someone who died elsewhere, perhaps at sea.
If you have questions or problems with this site, email the County Coordinator. Please to not ask for specfic research on your family.