Monday, May 25, 2009

Woodman of the World Marker in Maine

While out shooting images for a new online friend on May 25, 2009, my husband and I stumbled across a trophy I’ve been searching for in Maine for years...a Woodman of the World marker. It is located in a small cemetery on the Etna-Dixmont town line in Maine.

When traveling in Washington state, I was able to photograph a large number of this style of marker but this is the first I’ve found in the state of Maine, where Woodmen of the World (WOW) was not as popular a fraternal order.

Today, WOW is known pretty much as an insurance company but in the early years, it was a fraternal order that included a pledge among members to care for each others families in the event of the breadwinner’s death. Benefits included a gravestone provided by WOW. Popularly, these are seen as evocative and almost monumental “tree stump” markers but the organization provided a number of other markers, as well.

The inscription reads: Camp 64 Here Rests a Woodman of the World Dum Tacet Clamat Bernard J. Shay Beloved husband of Annie B. Shay 1856 - 1915. Annie B. Shay 1849 - 1931.

Less realistically carved bark than the Maine stone, this stone is located in Conconully, WA. The inscription reads: Here Rests a Woodman of the Worldm Dum Tacet Clamat, John E. Goggins, Born July 28, 1874, Died Oct. 21, 1907.

Bearing only the WOW insignia, this stone located in Loomis, WA also varies from the popular tree-stump motif. Here Rests a Woodman of the World Wm. H. McDanie Nov. 8, 1856 Aug. 10, 1916.

Located in Republic, WA, this tall tree-stump stone is typical in design to what one would expect to be marked as a Woodman of the World stone. In this case, there is no insignia included on the marker. This points to the popularity of the rustic tree stump motif, even among those who were not members of the fraternal organization.

The inscription reads: Thomas Reaney, Ap. 16, 1830, Feb. 24, 1903; Catherine Reaney, Aug. 16, 1828, Sep. 16, 1914

For a comprehensive article on the WOW monument program, please see: “The Woodmen of the World Monument Program,” Anne Stott in Markers XX: Annual Journal of the Association for Gravestone Studies, Richard E. Meyer, editor, Greenfield, MA, 2003.

1 comment:

  1. I live in Ohio, and these are some of my most favorite grave markers to find. I hope you do more papers on the different grave markers and what their markings mean. They tell you something about the life of the person at rest there. If you know what the stones are saying, and I want to learn.