Tri-Counties Genealogy & History by Joyce M. Tice
A Pictorial Catalog of
Commemorative Flagholders & Plaques
 of Organizations & Military
Memorial of the Woodmen of the World
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Commemorative Plaques & Flagholders
 of Military and Organizations
as Photographed by Joyce M. Tice 

Woodmen of the World


See also Article about a couple who travel the West photographing WOW tombstones - Aha! I am not the only one with strange habits.
This Woodman of the World Memorial dated 1914
is the first I have run across. Sometime in 1999 we had 
discussion about the WOTW on the Tri-County mail list.
Since that time I have photographed many log and tree
shaped concrete markers. They were very popular
from about the 1880s to the 1910s. I do not believe
that most of them have anything to do with the W.O.T.M.
as none have any insignia indicating it, and some of them
actually have a lot of other identifying membership symbols.

This one, however, is clearly a W.O.T.M. memorial and is
clearly marked as such. At the base is a fern and Calla Lily, 
or possibly Anthurium.. Among the many log markers I have
photographed, both the fern and the Calla Lily are frequently
used at the base, but unless I can determine that they are 
emblematic of the W.O.T.M., I have to assume they just fit 
with the woodland theme of the log or tree stump marker. 

The Woodmen of the World, founded in 1890, was a
fraternal insurance society for persons over age 16.
The three founders had been members of an earlier
organization called Modern Woodmen of America,
which was also a fraternal insurance organization. In
1962 it absorbed the Christians' Mutual Benefit Society,
and in 1965, the Pike's Peak Mutual Benefit Society. 
Source: Axelrod, pp. 264-265.

Subj:  Burial Customs-Woodmen of the World
Date:  11/11/2001 6:31:03 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: (Raul Garza)

                          LENEROS (WOODMEN) BURIAL CUSTOMS
           Hispanic Customs in Kingville, Kleberg County, Texas
                              By: Raul G. Garza
                              Woodmen since Aug. 1941

NOTE:  I did not know until I was a mature Adult that in this area of  the United States the Woodmen Fraternity was divided into two sections:  The White and the Mexican.  I should have expected this since my town was segregated into the White, Mexican and  Black Communities.

A great Majority of the Hispanics wee insured in the WOW early in life. You will find many men and women in their 70"s and 80"s who are still Woodmen; and have been Woodmen for 50-60-70 years.  Origninally the majority of the people in this area were Catholic so burial rituals were closely connected to the church. This is what i remember from my early childhood experience because my mother passed away when i was about 5 or 6 years old.

Hispanics did not take their deceased ones to a funeral home.  The wake or evening service was held at the deceased's home.  The biggest room, usually a cominbation living room anbd bedroom was used.  The Funeral Home provided the old type wooden folding chairs.  If the deceased was a  female Woodman Lady, the Woodmen women would take over all necessary things; i.e.preparation of the body after it was brought in from the funeral home; preparation of the food, conducting the Rosary, helping the priest at the services at home.  The Male Woodmen would be in a khaki type uniform. with a web belt and their Wooden Axes. The men would stand guard by the coffin on an hourly  shift.  The following day they would accompany the coffin to the church and the cemetery the following day.  They would form in pairs and the coffin would pass by them to the final burial place.  As soon as the coffin passed the first pair they would all raise their axes in unison.  When the coffin was placed on the burial pedestal, the men would place their axes in front of them like an honor guard does today.  They would keep this position until the rituals  were completed.  The last ritual was by the Field Representative which we called "The Secretary."  The arch was formed again while he passed by to say the rituals from the WOW Manual.  The last people to pass under the arch was the family as they left for home.
  In many cases if the home was close to the church and the cemetery, the  Male Woodmen would form the procession and walk to the church and the cemetery.  If these two places were far, someone would have a stake truck and load all the men there.  Then only the honor guard type rituals were conducted.

The only difference between a female Woodman's and a male Woodman's funeral rituals were that the men would also post two honor guards at the entrance
to the house and march back and forth; they also acted as greeters into the room where the body lay in state.

This was a very impressive ceremony; the men were somber faced, in respectful behavior, and took their break only when relieved.  For men the guard ritual lased all night until the end of the funeral the next day. For women, the ritual of the honor guard usually ended at midnight. You must remember that the wake service at the homes was a customary practice before Hispanics were able to have services at the Funeral Homes.

Subj:  W.O.W. Monuments
Date:  8/5/2001 5:55:53 PM Eastern Daylight Time
From: (Billy J.Foster)

Read with interest about this monument.  There is at least one of this type located in the Old Simpson Hill Cemetery located near Glass, Obion Co., Tn.  another of  a different type also a Woodman marker in the same cemetery.
The one is of a Richard Wright and I have a picture of about 100+ people gathered for it's unveiling cir.1913.  There are men in uniform and others holding what appear to be wooden axes.
I have been attempting to contact the local Woodman rep to possibly learn more about this event.
For more information about this cemetery, look under Simpson Hill Cemetery at the Obion Co. cemetery website.

Billy J. Foster

Introduction on Flagholder Section Warning on Sale of Cemetery Memorabilia Obtaining Present Day Flagholders

Published On Tri-Counties Site On 06/05/2003
By Joyce M. Tice

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