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Tag: history

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,…

Understanding Cemetery Symbols: Book & YouTube Series Trailer by Tui Snider

Book Trailer & YouTube Series Trailer Yee haw! I finally made a video for Messages from the Dead: Understanding Historic Cemetery Symbols. The video is actually a two-for-one deal. It’s a Book Trailer *and* a YouTube Series Preview all in one. About the book: If you are a genealogist, taphophile, history buff or paranormal researcher, you might enjoy my upcoming book, Messages from the Dead: Understanding Historic Cemetery Symbols. Basically, it’s a field guide explaining the meaning behind historic cemetery symbols. About the YouTube Series: Each episode of my YouTube series will focus on the meaning behind one historic cemetery symbol or interesting graveyard…

#Review Log Cabin Guest Haus in Cisco, Texas

Weekend getaway in West Texas Last weekend, my husband, father-in-law, and I had a weekend getaway at the Log Cabin Guest Haus in Cisco, Texas. [Please note: While our lodging was provided free of charge and this post may contain affiliate links, the opinions expressed here are wholly my own.] Historic cabin purchased on eBay! This historic log cabin dates back to the 1840’s but it was not built here in Texas. BnB hosts, John and Mary Kay Williamson, purchased the building on eBay, yes, eBay! I had no idea you could buy a house on that site, but there…

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…

Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins

Memorial Day’s Surprising Origins Did you know that Memorial Day began as a remembrance for Union soldiers who lost their lives in the American Civil War (1861-1865)? After World War I, this federal holiday was changed to honor all men and women who lost their lives in any US military conflict. Before that, Memorial Day was all about the north. Decoration Day Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day. The word “decoration” refers to flags and bouquets with which citizens decorated the graves of fallen soldiers.  This name wasn’t changed until after World War II. Why is Memorial Day in…

Photo Essay: Worth Avenue in Palm Beach, Florida

Worth Avenue: Iconic Shopping Street 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. People watching & pedestrian friendly With names like Gucci, Tiffany & Co., Giorgio Armani, Neiman Marcus, Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Saks Fifth Avenue, the businesses lining Worth Avenue read like a veritable who’s who of luxury shopping. But don’t let that scare you off! People watching on Worth Avenue is just as fun as window shopping. On the day we visited, I saw men, women, and even…

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…

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…

5 #Quirky Facts about Santa Claus – from Terrorism Plots to Bank Robbery #history #santa

Big Santa is watching… You’ve probably been aware of Santa Claus since you were a toddler. Simply knowing a big, bearded guy at the North Pole has the OCD super power ability to not only see your every move, but to determine whether your collective annual activities should be labeled “bad” or “good,” probably even influenced your behavior from time to time. For instance, once when my nephews were 3 and 5-years-old, I overheard them squabbling in their bedroom. I was just about to step in when the older one said, “We’d better quit fighting.” “Why?” “Because Santa is watching.” Needless…

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…

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…

History, Haunts & Legends Paranormal Conference in Jefferson, Texas

What is Jefferson’s History, Haunts and Legends? History, Haunts, and Legends (HHL) is a one-day paranormal conference held in Jefferson, Texas twice a year: once in the spring and once in the fall. Jodi Breckenridge, who leads the Jefferson Ghost Walk, created this event in 2006, and it has steadily gained momentum ever since! Historic Cemetery Symbols Talk I’m so excited to be giving my Historic Cemetery Symbols presentation at History, Haunts, and Legends on November 7, 2015. I absolutely love the town of Jefferson and have been dying to attend HHL, but it’s just never worked out for me in…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Cypress Trees Mean?

Cypress Trees in Cemeteries See that tall, skinny evergreen tree on the left in the photo below? That’s a cypress tree. If you are interested in historic graveyards, then you should leaarn to be on the lookout for these! Cypress Trees: easy to ID & helpful for finding your way! Not only are historic cemetery symbols featured on headstones, certain trees have symbolic meanings, too. Even if you don’t think you are good at identifying plants, there is at least one tree that you really should become familiar with: the cypress tree. And lucky for us, it’s quite easy to…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What does *this* boat mean?

Thank you, readers! If you’ve been following my series on the meaning of historic cemetery symbols, then you know each week I share a quick explanation for that week’s graveyard symbol. In the book that I’m writing, however, which is a Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism, I dive much deeper into the meanings behind each symbol. I also learn a lot from the conversations that each of these posts spark – either from blog commenters here, replies on Twitter, and the emails that I’ve been getting. So, I wanted to give a hearty shout out to all the readers out…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What Weeping Willows Mean

Inspired by a Newsletter Subscriber! This week’s historic cemetery symbols post was inspired by an email from Bill Dodds, a reader who subscribes to my weekly author newsletter. Like me, Bill enjoys traipsing through historic graveyards and taking photos of interesting headstones. Bill lives in Massachusetts, and he had a question about the symbolic meaning behind Weeping Willows: “As far as i can tell it started to appear on stones in the 1820’s and had about a 50 or 60 year run before it more or less disappeared again.” What do weeping willows mean on a headstone? I’m still researching…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: Fairview Cemetery in Gainesville, Texas

Graveyard Symbols in Fairview Cemetery, Gainesville, Texas I’m playing hooky this week! Rather than talk about one particular historic cemetery symbol, I’m going to talk about a historic graveyard that I visited last week. If you’re on my weekly newsletter, or you’ve seen me elsewhere online, you’ve probably heard me talking about how excited I was to be giving my Historic Cemetery Symbols presentation at the Santa Fe Depot in Gainesville, Texas as part of the Hill House Manor Paranormal Expo sponsored by ASAP Entertainment. The entire event was a blast and a half, and my talk went well. People…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: What do Lilies Represent?

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does a Lily symbolize when it’s carved on a headstone? You’ve probably heard folks refer to someone as having a “lily white reputation,” right? Lilies are not only white, but they symbolize purity. That’s why being “lily white” means you are as clean and chaste as they come. In the context of a headstone, lilies may also refer to the soul’s return to a state of purity and innocence in the after life. Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism: I…

Historic Cemetery Symbols: The Acronym “HTWSSTKS” & Its Meaning

FREE Cemetery Symbols Guide: Would you like a FREE guide to historic cemetery symbolism? If so, click the image below: What does HTWSSTKS stand for on a headstone? When it comes to historic cemetery symbosl, acronyms are used as a form of shorthand. There’s only so much room on a headstone, after all. (Speaking of acronyms, in an earlier post, I explained the surprisingly upbeat meaning behind the rather dire-sounding acronym, FATAL.) HTWSSTKS is an acronym with connections to the Masonic Temple, specifically Royal Arch Masons. The letters stand for, “Hiram, Tyrian, Widow’s Son, Sent to King Solomon.” Of course, now…

Paranormal Expo: Hill House Manor in Gainesville, Texas

Unique Paranormal Event in Gainesville, Texas I’m honored and excited to be giving a talk on Historic Cemetery Symbols during a unique paracon at the end of this month. Simply called “Hill House Manor,” this event combines the fun of a paranormal expo with the thrill of ghost hunting at historic haunted sites. Fun Filled Weekend If you’ve ever been to a paranormal expo before, you know the drill. You spend the day listening to fascinating speakers share paranormal expertise. You cruise through vendor booths, mixing and mingling with like-minded souls, while loading up on interesting books, crystals, jewelry, and…

Cemetery Symbols: What do Half-Carved Stones Represent?

Cemetery Symbol: Why do these headstones look half-finished? No, the monument maker didn’t get fed up and quit halfway through the job. When you see a half-carved headstone such as these, it represents the transition from life into death. Additionally, half-carved stones convey the idea that while we may accomplish many things during our time on earth, we have even more to learn and do in the afterlife. So headstones like these symbolically remind us not to place too much importance on what we do or don’t achieve during our life because we still have much more “polishing” to do…