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To encourage and support the preservation, maintenance, and study of Maine's old cemeteries and their records.


Visit the Waterhouse Symbolism Newsletter online for a growing library of articles/images on the meaning of symbols used in our cemeteries and elsewhere.

24 photo(s) Updated on: 06 Mar 2016
  • Improved Order of Red Men
  • Grange: The sheaf is flanked by the letters "P" and "H' which stand for "Patrons of Husbandry"
  • International Association of Car Workers (Railroad)
  • Farewell to earthly existence. Also unity. Often used as a Masonic and I.O.O.F. symbol.
  • Hand Pointing Up: Showing the way to heaven.
  • Gates may mean the passage from one realm to the next or death, departure from life; entrance to heaven.
  • Cross and Crown symbolizes both victory and Christianity. This symbol also denotes a member of the York Rite Masons.
  • GAR - Grand Army of the Republic a fraternal organization of men who fought and were honorably discharged from the Union Army during the Civil War.
  • Cross with Ivy - the cross represents Christianity and the Ivy denotes friendship.
  • Lambs are often seen on children's gravestones. A lamb represents innocence.
  • Rose symbolizes beauty.
  • A sheaf of wheat represents harvest, usually found on older peoples' gravestones.
  • The willow usually represents sadness or mourning. In the Native American culture a willow represents an Iroquois grave. The urn and willow can mean many different things.
  • Floral wreath means victory in death.
  • United Methodist Church
  • Winged Face: A symbol of the soul in flight (normally to Heaven); at times an effigy of the deceased soul.
  • Order of the Eastern Star - See for more information about the organization and its history.
  • Modern Woodmen of America. This was the original name for the Woodmen of the World organization.
  • The Square and Compass is the single most identifiable symbol of Freemasonry. Both the square and compasses are architect's tool
  • The Doubleheaded Eagle signifies a 32nd degree Mason or Freemason. Note the "32" centered in the triangle over the two heads.
  • Ships are generally used to mark a grave of one who led a seafaring life.
  • The Anchor signifies hope or eternal life. It is often on sailors' graves. Anchors are also a Masonic symbol for well-grounded hope, therefore they are often found on Masons' graves as well.
  • Signifies membership in the American Legion.


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