Modern Woodmen of America offered grave markers that families could purchase for deceased members of the society until the mid-1970s. These grave markers serve as a lasting tribute to our members.
The grave markers were 7½ by 20 inches, made of solid aluminum and designed so that a small American flag could be inserted and held by two loops on the back of the marker. They featured our working tools, motto and initials.
Written accounts and photographs also document the popularity of tree stump monuments, engraved with Modern Woodmen symbols, even though the society did not supply these monuments or provide monetary assistance for them.
Ceremonies of Remembrance
Funeral ceremonies for members
When founder Joseph C. Root wrote the ritual for Modern Woodmen, he also prepared a funeral ceremony for deceased members. The chapter officiated services indoors, at the grave or both, according to the family’s wishes. The ceremonies came to include hymns, remembrances and the dropping of flowers and evergreen sprigs over the casket.
Today these ceremonies are often mentioned by presenters of cemetery walks and in lectures on funeral and burial practices of 19th and early 20th centuries.
Annual day of observance
Started in the late 1880s, Modern Woodmen established a day of observance for camps to remember deceased members.
Members and the camp's Forester team would meet in a place of worship and, whenever possible, march to the cemetery. They would decorate the graves with flowers and often insert In Memoriam flags into the back of Modern Woodmen grave markers. Members would sing hymns and tell stories about good deeds of the deceased.
Still today, Modern Woodmen invites each chapter (formerly known as camps) to hold memorial services at the first meeting in June, and the society holds a service at each of Modern Woodmen’s quadrennial National Conventions.