Fraternity of Knights

It is not difficult to find symbols of fraternities within a cemetery, and most of these fraternities required from their members a belief in a higher power. Less common than the Masonic, Woodsmen of the World, or International Order of Oddfellows symbols are the ‘Knight” Fraternities of which I highlight only a few.

The Knights Templar, a Catholic military order was founded in 1119. Famous for their military prowess in the Crusades the majority of the order was non combative.  symbol consists of a cross within a crown inside a Maltese cross, with the Latin phrase, “In Hoc Signo Vinces.” The phrase means “in this sign you shall conquer”.

knightstemplar

The Fraternal Order of the Knights of Pythias is an international fraternity that promotes universal peace. It was founded in Washington, DC during the Civil War by Justus H. Rathbone. A heraldic shield with a suit of armor or letters F C B indicate a member of the Knights of Pythias.

The Knights of Columbus is the world’s largest Catholic fraternal service organization. Founded by Michael J. McGivney in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1882, it was named in honor of the explorer Christopher Columbus to provide a Catholic alternative to secret societies and to support the families of men who died while working in factories. The present day Fraternity is engaged in local and global charities inside and outside the Catholic church.

Knights Columbus

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Jewish Symbols

The six-pointed star known as the Star of David was not adopted internationally until the late 19th century and has no actual symbolism.

Two Hebrew letters representing Po Nikbar translated as Here Is Buried may be found in the center of the star.

po nikbar

The following Hebrew letters are found inscribed on headstones to represent the phrase: May His/Her Soul Be Bound Up With The Bond Of Life.

bond of life

A Menorah represents divine wisdom. The nine branch version is commonly recognized in association with Channukah and the miracle of a one day supply of lamp oil lasting nine days. The seven branch Menorah is more commonly found on gravestones and represents the seven days God created the world (Exodus:25).

The image of hands touching at thumbs with forefingers joined represents members of the priestly tribe of Aaron. It symbolizes a benediction or blessing by a Cohayn priest.

The last image depicts a Tzedakah box. In Judaism, Tzedakah refers to the religious obligation to do what is right and just, considered to be one of the three main acts that can annul a less than favorable heavenly decree.

Jewish cemetery in Otwock (Karczew-Anielin)

Sword Symbolism

The Sword is symbolic of courage; justice; martyrdom; military or warfare.

upright

Rest my son in thy far off grave.
You died for your country like a hero brave.

In the days when the sword was a principle weapon of battle they were often regarded as magical objects with supernatural properties. Warrior tombs feature swords as a mark of the dead’s profession or as a sign that the deceased was cut down in battle. A broken sword represents a life cut short.

 

Crossed swords commemorate a high ranking military person; or a life lost in battle. They are often seen on the gravestones of veterans, especially officers.

Windsor - Sword side of monument

  • An inverted sword is symbolic of death in battle; a relinquishment of power; or victory.
  • A sword within its sheath represents temperance.
  • Archangels sometimes carry swords as a symbol of God’s Judgement in the life to come.
  • A superstition predicts death if a sword falls from its scabbard.
  • An oath made on a sword was as binding as one made on a Bible.

Triller Family

The Triller family was originally from Warren County, New Jersey, USA, and the family name was Driller. William Driller and his wife Mary (Maria) had 10 children. Sarah who was the 7th child and 5th daughter was born on 5 Dec 1790 in Knowlton Township, Warren Co. Her gravestone is located in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Note that in the early 19th century, the years, months and days were recorded on gravestones. Her burial there in 1856 may be explained by the adventures of her elder brother, Philip, who is listed in the “Annals of the Forty”, No. 9 (1958), pp. 24-25.

Oakville_1790

Philip Triller was born about 1754 and was the son of William and Maria Triller. He married Mary Catherine Young and they lived in Knowlton township, Warren County, New Jersey, where their children were born and baptized in the first German and English congregation in that township.

In 1805 Philip and his wife and children left New Jersey and journeyed to Canada, where his wife’s sisters and her brother had previously settled. They travelled with three wagons, two four-horse teams and one two-horse team. The roads were so rough that it sometimes took six horses to draw one wagon over the mountainous country. They stopped at The Forty (Grimsby) and stayed near Green’s mills for a year before moving to Trafalgar Township, Halton County.

In that time Philip, with his sons and son-in-law, sawed a great quantity of lumber for building purposes, and this was floated by raft along the shore of Lake Ontario to the Twelve Mile Creek in Halton near Bronte.

Philip owned 1000 acres of land between Burlington and Bronte, and it is said built the first mills on The Sixteen. He and his wife, Catherine, lie buried in an old Burying Ground on the shore of Lake Ontario near Bronte.

Dust To Dust

In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Genesis 3:19

These images show nature absorbing our bodies back into the earth, slowly eradicating the markers that record our existence.

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Lord, plant my feel on higher ground.IMG_0036

While they lie in peaceful sleep
Their memory we will always keep.

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Time passes, memories last.
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