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- from the Texas Declaration of Independence, 2 March 1836
 

 


Headstone Emblems



Aaronic Order Church
Agnus Dei - represents the lamb of God
Alpha and Omega - First and last letters of the Greek alphabet. Symbolizes the beginning and the end.
American Legion - Found on graves of people who were American Legion members, an organization for veterans.
Anchor - Hope or eternal life. Often on sailors' graves. Anchors are also a Masonic symbol for well-grounded hope, therefore they are often found on Masons' graves.
AMORC - Ancient Mystical Order Rosae Crucis - also called Rosicrucian Order,
A.O.U.W. - Ancient Order of United Workmen, a fraternal benefit society.
Atheist
Bahai - a monotheistic religion
Beehive - Often used by the Freemasons. It symbolizes faith, education, and domestic virtues.
B.P.O.E. - Benevolent Protective Order of Elks, a fraternal organization.
BRC - Brotherhood of Railway Clerks
BRT with a Train - Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen. A fraternal organization for men who worked as trainmen.
Buddhist
Christian and Missionary Alliance.
Christian Reformed Church
Christian Church
Church Of World Messianity
Clasped Hands - Farewell to earthly existence. Also unity.
Cohanim Hands - Hands with thumbs and sometimes forefingers joined. This is a Jewish symbol that represents members of the priestly tribe of Aaron.
Colonial Daughters of the 17th Century - An organization for women who descended from an ancestor who rendered service in the Colonial wars from 1607 to 1699.
Community Of Christ
Crown and Cross - Symbolizes both victory and Christianity. Also, this symbol sometimes denotes a member of the York Rite Masons.
CSA - Confederate States of America
Daughters of the American Revolution - founded in 1890
Daughters of the Confederacy -
Daughters of Rebekah
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War - May 30, 1885
Daughters of the Nile
Daughters of Pocahontas

Daughters of the Republic of Texas

 

Degree of Pocahontas - organized in 1885, it was taken from the celebrated character in Native American history, Pocahontas, whose brief life presents a touching and beautiful picture of grace, beauty, and virtue as well as constant friendship to the palefaces.  The Degree of Pocahontas (D of P) patterns itself after the virtues of this Native American princess — those virtues of teaching kindness, love, charity, and loyalty to one's nation. The Degree of Pocahontas is the Women's Auxiliary of The Improved Order of Red Men.
Eagle, Double-headed - A Masonic symbol, symbolizing a 32nd degree Mason.
Eastern Star - women's auxiliary to the Masonic Lodge
Eckankar
Episcopal Cross
Eye - Usually found in a triangle or within a sunburst. This is a masonic symbol.
F of A - Foresters of America, a fraternal society founded in 1895 that provided life and disability insurance to its members. Usually contains an eagle, crossed flags, and a deer. Their motto was Liberty, Unity, Benevolence, and Concord.
F.A.T.A.L. - Motto of the Order of the Eastern Star; stands for "Fairest Among Thousands, Altogether Lovely."
Father Time and the Weeping Virgin - Masonic carving. The carving consists of a weeping virgin holding a sprig of acacia in one hand, and an urn in the other hand. A broken column is in front of her. Father Time is behind her, attempting to untangle the ringlets of her hair. It symbolizes that time, patience, and perseverance will accomplish all things.
FNDOZBTKC/AMRY - designation that was given only to females of Mason members, popular during the mid-1800's to early 1900's in southern states.  The designation of FNDOZBTKC/AMRY, was a degree conferred in the US on wives, daughters, sisters, or mothers of Masons to secure them, by investing them in a peculiar mode of recognition, the aid and assistance of the fraternity, along with a secret sign of recognition.  The mark was AMRY encircled by FNDOZBTKC.  As written in John 12:15 - Fear Not Daughter Of Zion Behold The King Cometh, and AMRY being an anagram of Mary
F.O.E. - Symbol of the Fraternal Order of Eagles, a fraternal organization.
Grand Army of the Republic - fraternal organization of honorably discharged Union Civil War veterans. Some of their rituals were based on Freemasonry. The GAR was founded in 1866 by Benjamin Franklin Stephenson in Decatur, Illinois. By 1890 they had 409,000 members. The GAR was involved in charity and politics, and they lobbied for soldiers homes and pensions. They also began the tradition of Decoration Day on May 30th, now called Memorial Day.
Greek Cross
Hand Holding Heart - symbol used by the I.O.O.F (Independent Order of Odd Fellows) and Masons, both fraternal organizations. It symbolizes charity.
    
Hand Pointing Up - Hand pointing up to heaven.
Hand Pointing Down - The hand of God descending from heaven.
Hand writing - Writing names in the book of life. Can also be found on writers' graves.
Hebrew Words - Hebrew words for "Here Lies."
Hindu
H.T.W.S.S.T.K.S. = Hiram The Widow's Son Sent To King Solomon, which is ...the Mark Master Degree of Royal Arch Masonry The Mark Master Degree is believed to have originated as a ceremony of
registering a craftsman's mark in those years distinguished by operative craft masons and their temple building. It was later developed into a full-fledged degree by the Masonic fraternity as we know it today, Some scholars say it was the earliest degree and may predate all others by many years. It is highly regarded by students in all Masonry, teaching lessons that have proven of value in all walks of life. Some Grand Lodges place so high an eminence on the Mark Master Degree, that they confine it to the jurisdiction of a separate grand body, the Grand Lodge of Mark Masters.
Humanist Emblem of Spirit
Improved Order of Red Men - founded in 1765 and was originally known as the Sons of Liberty. These patriots concealed their identities and worked "underground" to help establish freedom and liberty in the Early Colonies. They patterned themselves after the great Iroquois Indian nation and its democratic governing body.


Independent Order of Odd Fellows - also known as "The Three Link Fraternity" which stands for Friendship, Love and Truth. Many times the FLT will be found on a flag holder or on the tombstone with each letter in a link of a chain. This is actually the described logo for the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F.).  Probably the only fraternal organization that offers a death benefit to its members and actually has developed, supported, and maintained their own cemeteries and homes for the aged.

Crooks - Shepherds crooks, usually found on graves of Independent Order of Odd Fellows members. Symbolizes the opening of earth to the heavens.

International Order of Odd Fellows
International Order of Rainbow Girls
Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii
Jr. OUAM - The Junior Order of United American Mechanics. It is the oldest fraternal order that is still active in the United States. It was founded in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1853.
Knights of Columbus - Oct. 2, 1881, a small group of men met in the basement of St. Mary’s Church on Hillhouse Avenue in New Haven, Connecticut. Called together by their 29-year-old parish priest, Father Michael J. McGivney, these men formed a fraternal society that would one day become the world’s largest Catholic family fraternal service organization.  These men were bound together by the ideal of Christopher Columbus, the discoverer of the Americas, the one whose hand brought Christianity to the New World. Their efforts came to fruition with the incorporation of the Knights of Columbus on March 29, 1882.
 
Knights of Pythias - an international, non-sectarian fraternal order, established in 1864 in Washington, DC, by Justus H. Rathbone and was the first fraternal order to be chartered by an Act of Congress. 
Konko-Kyo Faith
KOTM - Symbol of the Knights of the Maccabees, a fraternal organization.
L A to B R T
Laborers Joiners Club
Amputated Limb
Lutheran Cross
Lyre - Often have a broken string, symbolizing the end of life. Lyres are usually found on the graves of musicians.
Masonic Lodge -
Menorah - A menorah, which is a candelabra with seven branches, is a Jewish symbol. It usually marks the grave of a righteous woman.
Monstrat Viam - Sunburst with star and cross, Monstrat Viam.  Symbol of the First Corps of Cadets, now the 211th Military Police Battalion. "Monstrat Viam" is Latin for "It Points the Way."
Moon - Rebirth. A crescent moon and star symbol like the one pictured here is also a symbol of Islam.
Moon with Seven Stars, the letter "R", and a dove - Symbolizes a member of the Daughters of Rebekah, the female auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.
Mormon (Angel Moroni)
Mortar and Pestle - Usually found on the gravestones of pharmacists, and sometimes doctors.
Music - Usually found on the graves of musicians. The music can be from a song the musician wrote, or it could be the deceased person's favorite hymn.
Muslim
 
Native American Church of North America
OES - Order of the Eastern Star, a fraternal organization for women.
Order of Ahepa
Order of the Sons of Temperance - Triangle with a star in the center - a fraternal organization that promoted the temperance movement (abstinence and prohibition of alcohol). Usually seen with their motto: Love, Purity, Fidelity.
O.S.C. - Order of Scottish Clans. A fraternal and benevolent society that was founded in 1878. They provided life and disability insurance to Scottish immigrants and their descendants. They became a part of the Independent Order of Foresters in 1971.
P.A.P. - Loyal Order of Moose (LOOM), a fraternal organization. P.A.P. stands for their motto: Purity, Aid, and Progress.
Past Master of Eastern Star
Pitcher - Often found on graves of prohibitionists. Represents virtue and control.

If it is found on a Jewish grave, it symbolizes a Levite, a person who was responsible for cleaning the hands of the Temple Priest.
P of H - Patrons of Husbandry, also known as the National Grange. An agricultural organization.
PLEF - Symbol of the Pythian Sisters, a fraternal organization for women. The letters PLEF stand for their motto: Purity, Love, Equality, and Fidelity.
Presbyterian Church of USA
Presbyterian Cross
Professional Engineer
Royal Arch Masons (RAM) - Triangle with three T's joined at base
Rebekahs - Odd Fellowship became the 1st national fraternity to include both men and women when it adopted the beautiful Rebekah Degree on September 20, 1851. This degree is based on the teachings found in the Holy Bible, and was written by the Honorable Schuyler Colfax who was Vice President of the United States during the period 1868-1873. Odd Fellows and Rebekahs were also the first fraternal organization to establish homes for our senior members and for orphaned children.
Royal Neighbors - In November 1888, Marie L. Kirkland put a notice in her local paper, the Daily Nonpareil, of Council Bluffs, IA, to call a meeting of the wives of Modern Woodmen of America members to arrange a social.  Nine women, including Mrs. Kirkland, met and formed a "ladies auxiliary" to Modern Woodmen Camp 171.  However, within a year the group reorganized as a social organization, with a constitution, rituals and articles of incorporation, and renamed itself Royal Neighbors of America.
Russian Orthodox Cross
Saint Aldemar Commandery - A Knights Templar organization. Masonic.
Scales - Often marks the grave of someone who was in the legal profession. Sometimes seen with a statue of Saint Michael, which symbolizes his duty of weighing the souls of the departed.
Seicho-No-Ie
Serbian Orthodox Cross
Shriners - Sword, Crescent, and Sphinx - Symbol of the Shriners (The Imperial Council of the Ancient Arabic Order of the Nobles of the Mystic Shrine). The group was founded in 1872, and is only open to 32nd Degree Master Masons and Knights Templar members.
Sikh
Snake wrapped on a cross with "In Hoc Signo Vinces" - The Masonic brazen serpent, a symbol of the 25th Degree Masons.
Soka Gakkai International - USA
Sons of the American Revolution - organized on April 30, l889
Sons of Confederate Veterans -
Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War - creation of the Grand Army of the Republic which was formed in 1866. Wanting to pass on its heritage, the GAR in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania created a Corps of Cadets in 1878 which later became the Sons of Veterans of the United States of America. The SV units functioned much as National Guard units and actually served along with state militia during the Spanish American War. In 1904, the SV elected to become a patriotic education society and in 1925 changed its name to Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
Star, Cross, and Shepherd's Crook - Symbol of the White Shrine of Jerusalem. Often seen with the phrase "In Hoc Signo Spes Mea," which translates to "In this Sign (the Cross) is my hope." A society for women who are related to (through birth, marriage, or legal adoption) to a Master Mason in good standing. Founded in 1894.
Star of David - also known as the Magen David or Shield of David expresses a spectrum of meanings from the spiritual to the practical. It seems to interlock two triangles forming a strong hexagonal structure. Some view the two opposing triangles politically: representing the unceasing conflict within and surrounding the Jewish nation. Others perceive it to represent the sacred union of opposite energies or Yin Yang.
Sufism Reoriented
Tenrikyo Church
TOTE - Symbol of the Improved Order of Red Men, a patriotic society.
UDC - United Daughters of the Confederacy
UVL - Union Veterans League, an organization for Union Civil War veterans.
Unitarian Church
United Church of Christ
United Church Of Religious Science
United Methodist Church
United Methodist Clergy
United Moravian Church
Veteran of the Cross - A veteran member of the Methodist Church.
WBA - Woman's Benefit Association, a club for women that provided life insurance. Part of the Order of the Maccabees.
Wicca-Pentacle
Woodmen of the World (WOW) - one of the first fraternal benefit societies in the United States. Founded in Omaha, Nebraska, on June 6, 1890, by Joseph Cullen Root.  You will find many decorative WOW headstones throughout Texas.
Woodmen of the World (WOW) - Women
W.R.C. - Women's Relief Corp. It is the female auxilary for the Grand Army of the Republic.
XP, overlapped - The Chi-Rho, one of the oldest Christian symbols. XP are the first two letters of the Greek word for Christ.
York Rite of Masonry - Triangle with square, spade, and keys



Links to many known gravestone emblems & symbols:

Approved gravestone emblems of the United States Department of Veterans Affairs

Arlington National Cemetery Emblems

Headstone Abbreviations

Cemetery Art and Symbolism

Abbreviations on Gravestones

Gravestone Motifs & Their Meanings

Gravestone Symbolism

Guide To Gravestone Carvings

How To Interpret Gravestone Motifs


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