In pre-Christian times the oak was the tree of life worshipped by Druids. It is also considered the tree from which the crucifix was made, and therefore symbolizes the renewal of life. As a hard wood representing stability, strength, endurance and longevity it is often found on military graves and near children’s graves in pioneer cemeteries.
The most common representation of the oak tree are the leaves and fruit of the oak, the acorn. They symbolize maturity and old age.
Ye young ye fair your rosed cheek may promise you old age But yet a few more setting suns & death may you engage.
Although the image below does not display the symbol of the oak tree or the acorn, I thought it appropriate to this post with its message of endurance and longevity. The grave is located at West Burying Ground in Litchfield, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Here Lies The Body Of Mrs. Mary, Wife Of Dn John Buell Esq She Died Nov 4th 1768 Etatis 90 Having Had 13 Children
101 Grand Children
274 Great G. Children
22 Great G. G. Children
410. Total 336 Survived Her
The unbearable grief of losing a child was commonplace in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the Holmes family of Glastonbury was dealt an unfair share of grief when they lost four sons in the span of two months. The Holmes children’s grave is located in Eastbury Cemetery, Glastonbury, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Four profile heads divided by the tree of life are carved across the top of the stone. The tree of life contains 13 branches; 4 of which have been cut short. The shortened branches on the right and the three heads with right facing profile symbolize those who died in 1795. Burridg, the left facing profile, who died in 1794, is represented by the shortened branch on the left.
This monument is erected to the memory of four lovely / And promising sons of Mr. Appleton & Mrs. Lydia Holmes / Appleton died Feb 24th AD 1795 / In the 9th year of his age / Ozias died Feb 23rd AD 1795 / In the 7th year of his age / Burridg died Dec 20th AD 1794 / In the 12th year of his age / Calvin died Feb 25th AD 1795 / In the 12th year of his age.
Ye living mortals see in earthly Bloom Four lovely of springs lie beneath this tomb. The Afflicted mother weeps from day to day, To see those lovely branches torn away. But whilst you weep the Lamb of Calvary slain Feeds the young branches which shall sprout again. Whilst God the FARTHER who all heaven supplies Shall wipe the sorrow from the parents eyes.
REBECCA GIBSON PARK
Buried in Burgess Cemetery, Grafton, Vermont, U.S.A., Rebecca Gibson Park, mother of 15 children of whom only one survived infancy, died in 1803 at age 40. She shares a headstone with her husband.
In Memory of Mrs. / Rebecca Park Wife of / Mr. Thomas K. Park / Who died Septr. 23d / 1803 in the 40th year / of her age.
Behold and fear as you pass by,
My fourteen children with me lie,
Old or young you soon must die,
And turn to dust as well as I.
The children are also remembered on their father’s gravestone. In Memory of / Thomas K. Park Junr. / And thirteen Infants, / Children of Mr. / Thomas K. Park and / Rebecca his wife.
Youth behold and shed a teer. Se fourteen children slumber here. Se their image how they shine. Like flowers of a fruitful vine.
The stone arch above Thomas’ inscription contains an engraving of the tree of life with 12 branches. At the top of the tree and at the end of each branch is a circular non-smiling face. The arch above Rebecca’s inscription contains a large non-smiling face within a rectangle surrounded by a weeping willow. A small arch joining the headstones contains a non-smiling face.
On 31st October 1780, Salla Barns, age 18 years, and her infant died during childbirth and are buried in Somers, Connecticut, U.S.A. She was the wife of Dr. Samuel Barns.
Remember friends the solumn Hour. I was a Mother and a Tomb: In Dreadful pains a Corps I bore; And soon a Corps myself became.
Lucy Maynard died in 1793 and is buried in the Old Cemetery, Mendon, Massachusetts, U.S.A. Sic transit gloria mundi (Latin phrase meaning Thus passes the glory of the world)
SACRED / to the memory of / Mrs. LUCY wife of / Mr. William Maynard / who departed this life / on the 26th of Jan / 1793 aged 55 years / 2 months and 12 days
An amiable Mother a loving wife, Who of the small-pox departed this life. Now beneath these clods Lies awaiting the call Of Christ her savior.
HANNAH & MARY ROBINSON
In Myles Standish Burying Ground, Duxbury, Massachusetts, U.S.A. is a memorial to a mother and daughter who drowned while travelling from Duxbury to Boston.
Here lyes the Body of / Mrs Mary Robinson, / Daughter of the Reverend Mr John / Robinson of Duxbury / & Mrs Hannah his wife, / drowned with her mother / in the passage from Duxbury / to Boston, September 22nd, 1722 / Aetatis (Latin phrase meaning at the age of) 16 / Then they are quiet, because / they are at Rest. Psalm 107 30.