Tag Archives: Woodmen of the World


A common symbol on gravestones trees have different interpretations on what they represent.

  • The tree is a symbol of life; regeneration, regrowth and renewal
  • It reflects human fruition or frailty
  • Like a tree, man reaches towards Heaven
  • The tree can also represent man’s sin with reference to the Garden of Eden
  • Trees also represent knowledge, life, and time.

If a tree is felled it reflects death and mortality .


A tree trunk denotes the brevity of life, and the number of broken branches can indicate deceased family members buried at the site.

A severed or broken branch symbolizes a life cut short.


Each species of tree has a symbolic meaning:

  • CEDAR TREE   Consecration; Length of days; Strong faith; Success
  • CYPRESS   Death; Eternal life; Hope; Mourning; Sorrow; Roman symbol for mourning
  • DOGWOOD   Christianity; Divine sacrifice; Resurrection; Triumph of eternal life
  • EVERGREENS   Immortality
  • HAWTHORN   Hope; Merriness; Spring
  • HOLLY    Foresight
  • MULBERRY    I will not survive you
  • OLIVE TREE   Healing faith; Peace
  • OLIVE BRANCH   Forgiveness; Humanity; Peace
  • PINE    Fertility; Fidelity; Regeneration,
  • YEW   Eternal life; Immortality; Sadness
  • WILLOW   Human life

A sprouting tree represents a new beginning in the afterlife.

Sometimes the gravestone may be replaced with a ‘tree stone’ in the shape of a tree stump or log sculptured to resemble wood. This symbol is mostly used by the Woodmen of the World Fraternity.

Campbellville B Ground

When the trunk is leaning it represents mourning. Sometimes a tree stump will be shown with an ivy plant. It often relates to a premature death but can also represent immortality.

Tree Stumps

The imagery of a tree stump suggesting that the deceased’s life had been cut short was popular in the late 19th century. The number of cut limbs protruding from the trunk may indicate that there are also members of the same family buried at that location. Names are sometimes engraved on the cut edge.

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Logs were occasionally used to memorialize children’s graves.

The tree stump may also be a physical support for sculpture. Ivy clinging to the side of the tree stump stands for steadfastness, memory, and faithfulness. The lily at the bottom signifies life sprung anew, that eternal life which many hope find after their earthly lives are over.


The tree stump is also a recognized icon of the fraternity, Woodmen of the World (W.O.W.) Originally an insurance company that insured workers in dangerous occupations the policy included a grave marker in the form of a tree. The icon or trademark often carved into the front of the gravestone indicated equality. It is accompanied with the Latin phrase, Dum Tacet Clamat, meaning Though Silent He Speaks.

Kitchener Mennonite6

A stump displaying a dove with an olive branch represents peace, an axe and wedge indicates craftsmanship.


Women of Woodcraft was the female auxiliary to Woodmen of the World.

Capture women

Remember friends as you pass by
As you are now so once was I
As I am now so you must be
Prepare for death and follow me.