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Category: Cemeteries & Symbolism

What Does a Sunrise or Sunset Symbolize on Headstones?

This week’s cemetery symbols topic: Just like several other cemetery symbols posts on my site, this one was inspired by graves I saw in Aurora, Texas. Today I’ll be answering the question: “What does a sunrise or sunset symbolize on a headstone?” Is it a Sunrise or a Sunset? When you see a sun on a headstone, the first thing you might wonder is, “Is this a sunrise? Or is this a sunset?” The answer is yes! And by ‘yes’ I”m not just being a wiseacre. What I mean is that this is a dual symbol. It actually represents both a sunrise…

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Historic Graveyards: What Does a Cube Symbolize on a Headstone?

Cubes are not merely decorative It’s easy to overlook the meaning behind simple shapes on historic headstones, and even to assume they are merely decorative. Sometimes, of course, that is the case. After all, a cube is not all that complex or particularly exciting to look at. Even so, when featured at a gravesite, there is often a symbolic meaning behind it. I recently came across this particular cube while exploring the historic graveyard up in Aurora, Texas and decided this week’s cemetery symbols post would answer the question, “What does a cube symbolize on a headstone?” What does a…

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The Quirky Grave of Anthony Bascilli in Thurber, Texas

Anthony Bascilli was a quirky guy! One of the most mysterious burial sites in historic Thurber Cemetery is the grave of Anthony Bascilli (1855 – 1932.)  Even in life, Anthony Bascilli had his quirks. According to Jeff Walker at the Texas Tabernacle blog, this Hungarian immigrant sometimes amused himself by getting drunk and tossing off half-sticks of dynamite while strolling the back roads of Thurber, Texas. Bascilli worked in Thurber’s coal mines, so I suppose access to dynamite was easy. And you’ve got to get your jollies somehow, right?   Anthony Bascilli’s elaborate burial plans What really sets Anthony Bascilli apart from other…

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St. Anthony of Egypt – Patron Saint of Gravediggers

St. Anthony’s feast day is January 17 For this week’s cemetery post, I decided to write about Saint Anthony of Egypt. Why? Because not only is his feast day January 17th, but he just so happens to be the patron saint of gravediggers. I figure that also makes him the patron saint of those of us who enjoy exploring historic graveyards! Non-Catholics celebrate feast days, too I’m not Catholic, but plenty of non-Catholics celebrate feast days. Case in point: St. Patrick’s Day. No one bats an eye if you’re a protestant, Jewish, or even an atheist who decides to drink green beer…

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Amazing Postage Stamp Mural in Eastland, Texas

  East/west…whatever! The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my quirky travel guide to offbeat and overlooked day trips near Dallas and Fort Worth: Despite being named “Eastland” this quirky little town is actually located in west Texas. (Meanwhile, the city of West, Texas is located in the southern portion of our state. Go figure!) Anyway, in the 1920’s Eastland was a lively boomtown thanks to the oil industry. These days, it’s a sleepy little city with a population hovering near 4,000. And unless you’re from this neck of the woods, you’re probably not aware of Eastland’s two most…

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Historic Texas Graveyard: Thurber Cemetery 

This week’s feature: Thurber Cemetery The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my quirky travel guide to offbeat and overlooked day trips near Dallas and Fort Worth: This week’s featured graveyard is Thurber Cemetery. Part of what makes it such an interesting place to explore is the unique history of the area, so here’s a brief overview:   More than a Smokestack These days, Thurber’s 128-foot brick smokestack is the only thing most people notice as they whiz through this ghost town on their way to Abilene. It’s all that remains of the power plant which, in 1895,…

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New Headstone for Aurora, Texas UFO Crash Space Alien Grave

50 Years before The Roswell Incident The following is an adapted excerpt from Unexpected Texas, my quirky travel guide to offbeat and overlooked day trips near Dallas and Fort Worth: You’ve probably heard of the alleged spaceship crash from 1947 that took place in the desert of New Mexico. Known as “The Roswell Incident” this is arguably the most famous case in UFO history. Yet here in Texas, there exists an alleged spaceship crash – complete with an alien body – which took place 50 years earlier! So imagine how excited I was to find out that I live a…

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Why is Xmas Short for Christmas? (Hint: It relates to #historic #cemetery #symbols )

All roads lead to Greece When researching the meaning behind historic cemetery symbols, I often joke that “all roads lead to Greece.” Here’s a good example: While looking into the meaning of the XP symbol that is such a common sight in historic cemeteries, I had a realization. Xmas is perfectly respectful An XP symbol on a headstone is a Christian symbol. Since Christ’s name starts with the letters X and P when spelled in Greek, XP is often used as shorthand for “Christ.” (I will go into more detail about the XP symbol in a future post.) That’s when…

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Para Mysteries: Mortsafes & Caged Graves

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol post is about mortsafes and Resurrectionists. The topic was inspired by my friend, Teal Gray, when she told me about the mysterious Caged Graves of Catawassa. In fact, Teal and I will be discussing everything in this post during a one-hour radio show, as you can see in the graphic below:    Historic Cemeteries: Who were the Resurrectionists? These days, people often make arrangements to donate their body to science…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Monkey Grave at an Upscale Restaurant

2 Graves at an Italian Restaurant? Voted #3 in a list of the Top 10 Iconic Streets in the USA, Worth Avenue is an upscale shopping street in the resort town of Palm Beach, Florida. So why are there two graves on Worth Avenue – one for a monkey and the other for a dog – tucked away in the courtyard of an Italian restaurant? Jazz Age eccentric: Addison Mizner It all starts with Addison Mizner (1872-1933) a quirky architect who settled in South Florida in 1918 after having lived all over the world, including China, New York, Guatemala, Alaska, and…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Disgraced Widow’s Revenge

The Tale of Annie & Sidney Saunders For Valentine’s Day, I bring you this tale of a lovelorn widow tormented by malicious gossip, who used her husband’s grave to set the record straight: In the late 1800’s, Sidney Saunders was a wealthy grocer and saloonkeeper in Monroe, Louisiana. Like any successful businessman, Mr. Saunders had detractors. In his case, many townspeople suspected that the bulk of his fortune came from illegal channels, including brothels and gambling. But the gossips really had a field day when Sidney Saunders left on business and returned with Annie E. Livingston on his arm. Although they claimed…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: Why these Men are Literally Chained Together in Death! #history #cemetery #symbols

Strange and unusual historic grave in Jefferson, Texas For this week’s Historic Cemetery post, I’m sharing the story behind a grave marker that is quite strange and unique. In fact, I’ve never come across a similar arrangement. If you have, please let me know! East Texas Frenemies Although they lived roughly 80 years before the word was coined, it’s hard to think of a better example for the word “frenemy” than the lives of Jesse Robinson and Bill Rose. The two men lived in the east Texas town of Jefferson, where Bill Rose ran a blacksmith shop. As for Jesse Robinson,…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Pine Needles & Pine Cones Represent? #cemetery #symbols #history

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol: Pine Needles and Pine Cones. While I often notice a variety of evergreens planted in the country graveyards I visit here in Texas, pine needle and pine cones are symbols I don’t see engraved on headstones as often as other trees – such as the oak tree, for instance. Pine trees: Immortality While it’s true that many coffins have been made from pine, from what I’ve read, this has more…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Daffodils Represent?

Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week Last week’s post was about the symbolic meaning of lambs, which are quite a common sight in historic cemeteries. This week, however, I wanted to talk about the symbolism of something less commonly seen on cemetery headstones: Daffodils. What do Daffodils symbolize? Just because it’s a bit rare on headstones, doesn’t mean this gorgeous blossom lacks symbolic meaning. Since they are some of the first flowers to bloom each spring, daffodils are the birth flower for those, like me, who were born in March. In fact, spring has many symbolic associations, such as new…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lambs Signify?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is the lamb. What does it symbolize when you see lambs on grave monuments? Symbolic Meaning of Lambs Since ancient times, lambs have been used in sacrificial ceremonies. So as a symbol, lambs represent innocence and sacrifice. The lamb may also be a reference to a passage in the Bible (John 1:29) where John the Baptist calls Jesus, “the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Meaning of Oak Leaves & Acorns

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Oaks – America’s National Tree Oak leaves and acorns adorn many tombstones in historic cemeteries in the USA, but even today, oak trees are appreciated and admired for their many special qualities. Not only were they voted America’s favorite tree, but in 2004, the U.S. Congress signed a bill making the Oak America’s National Tree. So what make the oak tree so special to Americans? For one thing, the oak is the most widespread hardwood tree in the USA, with…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does the DAR emblem represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week: the DAR emblem This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) emblem: Daughters of the American Revolution symbology: When you see a Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) emblem on a grave, it means that the woman buried there was a member of this service organization. The only way to be accepted as a member of DAR is to have direct lineage to to an ancestor who…

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10th Annual Saints & Sinners Tour in Fort Worth, Texas

Oakwood Cemetery’s Saints & Sinners Tour What do you get when you combine live theater, regional history, and a beautiful Texas graveyard? Why, the Annual Oakwood Cemetery Saints & Sinners Tour, of course! Yes, folks, the North Fort Worth Historical Society has knocked it out of the park again – and by “park,” I mean beautiful historic grounds of Oakwood Cemetery. Each year, members of the North Fort Worth Historical Society choose notable figures from Oakwood Cemetery’s residents to “bring to life” through well-researched performances spaced throughout the grounds. (To read about last year’s cast of characters, check out my photo…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: The “Vein of Love” & the Meaning of Left and Right

Symbolic Meaning of Left & Right For this week’s Historic Cemetery Symbols post, we explore: The Meaning of Left and Right, and the Vein of Love! Left and Right on a Headstone Married folks often share a headstone, and when they do, most of the time you will notice that – as you stand facing the monument – the wife’s name will be on the left, and the husband’s name will be on the right. In the same vein (pun intended, but you’ll have to read the rest of this post to get it!), if you’ve ever attended a traditional Christian…

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Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does Corn Symbolize?

Historic Cemetery Symbol of the Week This week’s Historic Cemetery Symbol of the week is Corn: The Symbolic Meanings for Corn When you see an ear of corn on a headstone, you may be standing at the grave of a farmer. In fact, it was an old country custom to send sheaves of corn, instead of floral bouquets, to a farmer’s family upon his passing. There is more to the symbolic meaning of corn, however, than simply indicating a person’s occupation. In the Bible, the word “corn” is used for grains, in general, and is used symbolically to indicate spiritual…

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