Wells Family Genealogy

The study of my Family Tree

21 June 2011 – Gravestone Symbolism June 21, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — jgeoghan @ 7:45 pm
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I thought I’d talk about some of the different symbolism that I’ve been seeing on a lot of gravestones here in Orlando tha past year.

Below is one from Woodlawn Cemetery in Gotha, FL.  It is a Masonic Symbol.  According to www.masonic-lodge-of-education.com/masonic-eye.html  ” The All Seeing Eye, like many other Masonic symbols, has been borrowed from the past from the nations of antiquity.   Hebrews and Egyptians:  Both the Hebrews and Egyptians appear to have derived the use of the Masonic Eye from the natural inclination of figurative minds to select a human organ as the symbol of its closest matching function…much as the foot denotes swiftness, the arm, strength and the hand, fidelity

Sword, Crescent and Sphinx is the symbol of the Shriners (The Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine).  This group, founded in 1872, can be joined once the member has become a Master Mason.

From: www.masonic-lodge-of-education.com/square-and-compasses.html … “The Square and Compasses(or, more definitively,…a Square and a set of Compasses which are joined together…each leg of the compass pointing in opposite directions) is the single most universally identifiable symbol of Freemasonry.  Due to slight Masonic jurisdictional differences around the world, this symbol does not always look exactly the same to all Freemasons.  Some jurisdictions call this symbol the Square and Compass, (non-plural) and a few jurisdictions omit the “G” at its center.  But, no matter its slightly different look, all Freemasons are in unison as to what this symbol means to them within the fraternity. The Letter G stands for “Geometry”, which is the mathematical science upon which Architecture and Masonry were founded.


B.P.O.E with an Elk stands for the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, a Fraternal Organization.  Here is their website: http://www.elks.org/

F.A.T.A.L. (With a five pointed star) is the symbol of the Order of the Eastern Star.   The letters stand for their motto of “Fairest Among Thousands, Altogether Lovely”  Their Website: http://www.easternstar.org/  This is what their website says about them: “What It Is:  The Order of the Eastern Star is the largest fraternal organization in the world to which both women and men may belong.  Worldwide, there are approximately 1 million members under the General Grand Chapter.  Eastern Star is a social order comprised of persons with spiritual values, but it is not a religion.  Its appeal rests in the true beauty of the refreshing and character-building lessons that are so sincerely portrayed in its ritualistic work.  A deep fraternal bond exists between its members.  It is the wholesome relationship of sisterly and brotherly love brought about through high principles exemplified in our lives which makes us near and dear to each other.

This is a knights Templar symbol.  “IN HOC SIGNO VINCES”.  On the Grand Standard of a Commandery of Knights Templar these words are inscribed over “a blood-red Passion Cross,” and they constitute in part the motto of the American branch of the Order. Their meaning, “By this sign thou shalt conquer,” is a substantial, but not literal, translation of the original Greek. (http://www.masonicdictionary.com/inhoc.html)

Double-Headed Eagle – Scottish Rite Freemasonry.  The double-headed eagle symbol is for the Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry. The number 32 inside the triangle represents the 32nd degree of the Scottish Rite. The Latin motto, “Spes mea in Deo est,” means “My hope is in God.”

 Here’s some information on this branch of Freemasonry from: www.scottishritecalifornia.org/scottish_rite_degrees.htm

  “The local Scottish Rite organization, called a “Valley,” confers the 4th through 32nd degrees in degree-conferring meetings. The Scottish Rite is sometimes called the “college of Freemasonry,” because it uses extensive allegory and drama to emphasize the message of its degrees. The degree work may, but not necessarily, be completed at one time.      The Scottish Rite shares the belief of all Masonic organizations that there is no higher degree than that of Master Mason. The degrees are in addition to, and in no way “higher” than, those of Blue Lodge, or Craft Lodge, Masonry. Scottish Rite degrees simply amplify and elaborate on the lessons of the craft, providing further knowledge of Masonry, the building of the Temple, and ancient religions, with memorable lessons ranging from the days of chivalry to modern times.

Scottish Rite Degrees:      The Degrees of the Scottish Rite are one-act plays often staged with costume, scenery, special effects, and the full rigging of any production. Their purpose is to examine different philosophies, ancient religions, and systems of ethics. Through all of these, people have tried to answer certain universal questions. The Degrees of the Rite do not tell a person what he should think about these questions. Instead, they tell him about what great thinkers and civilizations of the past have thought, and they try to create a situation in which the candidate or Brother can gain insight. Agreeing with Socrates that the unexamined life is not worth living, the Rite helps with this self-examination by providing reference points.

Here’s an interesting on denoting a member of the Florida Peace Officers Association.

Above and below are examples of the symbols of the Woodmen of the World, a fraternal organization.  www.woodmen.org/  . 

” Dum Tacet Clamat” “Though silent, he speaks” In cemeteries throughout the west, Dum Tacet Clamat is written on hand-carved gravestones paid for by an insurance company called the Woodmen of the World. In an era where people had no other form of insurance, they made sure that their ultimate resting place would have an appropriate marker.” (http://hughgrahamcreative.com/2007/04/03/dum-tacet-clamat/)

Loyal Order of Moose (LOOM) is a fraternal organization.  P.A.P stands for their motto: Purity, Aid and Progress.

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2 Responses to “21 June 2011 – Gravestone Symbolism”

  1. This is so interesting! I’ll have to do similar research on my next visit to one of the graveyards here in Sao Paulo. Although I’m sure the symbolism here is much different.

  2. Wendy Says:

    Thanks for posting this guide. I think I have seen all of these symbols but I’ve lumped them all together as Masons. Now I know the difference and will pay more attention when I photographing graves (also for FindaGrave)


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