A couple weeks back I posted the picture to the right here and waxed on (for what must’ve felt like forever) about how sometimes there’s just things that I can’t seem to find an answer on, and it makes me somewhat sad…or something like that. Honestly, I just didn’t feel like going back and reading through all that drivel.
After a friend of the blog (and me personally, of course) posted that she had a few pictures of similar tombstones to facebook from her trip to Louisiana, I found myself even more intrigued about the whole thing. I mean, I had kind of assumed there was just some local stone-smith (or whatever they’re called) who had a short-lived occupation as fancy headstone maker. The fact that similar items could exist on the other side of the nation pretty well nipped that idea in the butt.
Last night I finally had time to sit down and look through her photos and found an additional clue…the letters W and C kept appearing on them.
That, paired with some recurring imagery somehow reminded me of the Masons. Doing a bit more digging, and some random typing into google to try to get it to finish me sentence with the words I was looking for, brought me to finding out about the Woodmen of the World. Turns out, these folks are (more than likely) the ones responsible for these amazing pieces of death-related rockwork. And it looks like there’s plenty of them all around the nation.
As something of an off-shoot of the Masons, they managed to do something that would allow themselves to be remembered for quiet some time, place headstones in cemeteries all across the nation that would cause people to perk up and take notice. I’ve seen pieces that are more beautiful that these, most definitely. I spent some time in a couple cemeteries when I was in Germany and those images still float to the top of my mind on a relatively regular basis. But these little wood stumps are so different that one can’t help but wonder where the heck they came from.
Of course, the Woodmen appear to have become much less than I’m assuming their founder had hoped, as they now serve as a Life Insurance company (or so they say…) but they’ve definitely made a mark.