Monuments that appear as old tree stumps dot cemetery landscapes and often go unnoticed by many. And those who do happen to notice their unique shape and fraternal emblem do not always understand what they represent or why they are there. I, myself, was included in the group of folks who had a limited understanding of the stump-shaped memorials, and sought information on them that I would like to share.
As you can read on the emblem, these monuments are recognizing members of Woodmen of the World. It is a fraternal organization started in 1883, that offered life insurance benefits.
The Woodmen of the World (WOW) has maintained a system of lodges in which members meet and organize various activities.
Part of the membership creed supported the concept of a right to the dignity of a marked grave. Policy holders could elect to have a monument built with the Woodmen of the World incorporated on it and erected on his grave and have the cost covered by a rider from the insurance policy.