by Vernon B. Paddock
On a number of the marble gravestones in the Fort Hill Cemetery are engraved symbols. There is a good variety of these engravings throughout the cemetery. The question is: “What do they mean or symbolize?” I did some research and even though there is no exact answer to each one, my findings have come to the general idea of what each one represents.
ACORNS AND OAK LEAVES
Acorns represent that the individual lived a long life or symbolizes strength, honor, endurance and solid development.
John Cooper (1800-1860)
An American flag symbolizes the deceased was a military veteran and died in battle.
Lieutenant Arthur Whitney (1840-1863)
A book may symbolize a book of life. It can also represent the death of a young person whose story of life was not fully written or scriptures, as a sign of faith.
Austin Briggs (1786-1862)
Lemuel Clark Davis (1822-1915)
Robert A. Carroll (1816-1854)
A flying dove may represent the Holy Spirit. The symbolism of a dove with an olive branch in its mouth may represent divine peace or hope. An ascending dove may represent the soul rising to heaven.
Hettie L. Lindsey (1856-1859)
Jennie M. White (1860-1861)
Louisa Whitney (1846-1857)
Marie Antoinette (Marble) Freeman (1828-1854)
Virginia M. Wright (1855-1860)
FINGER POINTING UPWARD
The symbol of a finger pointing upward may represent the soul of the departed has risen and for the loved ones to look up to heaven. It may also represent the relationship the deceased had with others and with God.
Frank S. Wright (1852-1859)
Martha E. Whitney (1842-1860)
Thomas Baker Crosby (1793-1872)
Horatio N. White – “Gone Home” (1827-1862)
Lena C. Race – “Gone Home” (1867-1873)
FLOWERS OR PLANT BUDS
Flowers may represent a full bloom of life when the individual became deceased. A plant bud may represent that life was not in full bloom often appearing on the gravestones of children.
Lettie Willson (1866-1868)
Jane Wilson (1840-1891)
Eddie H. Lindsey (1857-1858)
A handshake may mean a final farewell to an earthly existence or an eternal bond between the living and the dead. It may also indicate God is reaching out for the deceased or a welcome to the heavenly world.
Jared M. Crosby (1822-1863)
John Sayles (1815-1879)
Subrina (Washburn) Goodale (1786-1851)
A lamb represents innocence and purity and is common on children’s gravestones. The lamb is a symbol of Christ.
Charles and Russel Thrall (1848-1848)
William Burgess (1849-1849)
Lillies symbolize innocence, purity and chastity.
Alice B. Combs (1871-1873)
The military shield was used to mark the graves of Civil War Union soldiers and Spanish-American War dead.
James H. McMillen (1839-1895)
An olive branch may symbolize peace in that the soul has departed in the peace of God. An olive tree may represent longevity, fertility, maturity, fruitfulness and prosperity.
Isaac Kingman (1776-1867)
Mercy E. (Bigelow) Kingman (1772-1867)
The poppy flower is associated with sleep and death.
Infant Son Paddock (?-1904)
WEEPING WILLOW TREE
A weeping willow represents sorrow or mourning. It symbolizes the drooping spirits and hearts by those that have lost a loved one of the family.
Ann Cooper (?-1850)
Asel C. Granger (1828-1872)
Delia Hanna (Caswell) Edwards Owen (1813-1887)
Hiram Briggs (1814-1855)
Infant Son Morse (1851-1851)
William Devoe (1829-1856)
(with dove and olive branch)
Elizabeth L. (Crosby) Marble (1828-1855)
George W. Case (1793-1853)
Warren Scovill (1798-1844)
Clarissa “Clara” (Denney) Davis (1795-1856)
Lemuel Davis (1789-1856)
There are a few symbols that I have not been able to distinguish the meaning.
Jeremiah P. M. Fuller (1837-1860)
Mary Goodale (1818-1855)
Merritt C. Booth (1858-1858)
William Robert “Robert” Paddock (1827-1904)
Nancy S. (Stickney) Paddock (1834-1911)
John Cooper (1800-1860)
- BillionGraves website. Understanding Cemetery Symbols, Part I: https://blog.billiongraves.com/understanding-the-cemetery-symbols-on-your-ancestors-gravestones/
- BillionGraves website. Understanding Cemetery Symbols, Part 2: https://blog.billiongraves.com/understanding-cemetery-symbols-part-ii/
- Stqry website. Symbols on headstones, and their meanings: https://discover.stqry.com/v/symbols-on-headstones,-and-their-meanings/s/11754a94-ed4e-4862-86f6-303c44847d3b
- ThoughtCo. website. Photo Gallery of Cemetery Symbols and Icons: https://www.thoughtco.com/photo-gallery-of-cemetery-symbolism-4123061
- stoneletters. Flower symbols and meanings on gravestones: https://stoneletters.com/blog/flower-symbols-and-meanings-on-gravestones#