I am amazed but not surprised by the number of people who love the tree stones. I remember the first time I found one. There, amid a mixture of short stones, flat stones, intricate sculpture and obelisks, set an unassuming limestone tree stump. Touching, yet solid and dependable, maybe a true adaptation of the person resting below.
As the tree gravestones became more popular, the Sears and Roebuck catalogue and Montgomery Wards catalogue offered them for sale to the general public. A tree stone marker does not necessarily mean that person was a member of MWA or WOW. Only if the organizations initials or symbols are located on the stone does it indicate that the deceased was a member of one of these organizations.
Tree stones vary in size and height from tiny children’s stones, just a few inches high, to soaring 10 to 12 feet high tree trunks. All have intricately carved detailing at the base, and many ties around the trunk. You could request certain elements be added to a stone to better tell the story of the deceased. Many local stone makers could incorporate these carvings on the tree stone, making them very individualistic.
Symbols found on the tree stones include axes, mauls, wedges, any type of tool used in woodworking, flowers, vines, animals, chairs, buckets – anything that helped tell the story of the person buried there.