Today I share this beautiful photo of what is called a treestone. They were very popular during the Victorian era, roughly 1880 to 1905. This is a particularly good example, that includes much symbolism. Let’s start at the top of the gravestone. Do you notice the letters ‘M’ ‘W’ and ‘A’ on the tools? Those letters stand for Modern Woodsman of America, the original name of Woodsmen of the World. The tools – an ax, wedge and beetle – are the tools used by woodworkers. Beetles, also known as mallets or hammers, are made of wood and are used to help seat joinery together, shift posts or beams, or drive in pegs.
At the bottom of the stone are ferns. From Stories in Stone, A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography, it says, ‘Ferns are generally found in the deep forest only by those who have honestly searched. They symbolize humility, frankness and sincerity.’
Just by the symbolism of this stone you know this person is well loved – the additional carving would have been expensive. Now we’ll look at the name and dates – Grover C. Anthony, June 11, 1888 – October 25, 1909. A young lad of 21 years. How his parents must have grieved when he passed away at such a young age. Typhoid fever was the disease that took this young man so early.
In the 1900 census of Allen County, Grover, aged 11, lived with his parents. George, 52, and Minerva, 49. Siblings George, 29; James, 17; Dora, 15; Thurman, 9; and Homer, 8, completed the household. Minerva’s maiden name was Mayhew. She descended from a long line of Mayhew’s that came to Allen County about 1804. In 1849 the family donated land for Stony Point Church and Cemetery, Methodist Episcopal Church South.