I’m Stumped on this One
Giant Tree Grave
Yantic Cemetery, Norwich
Long time readers know that I’m not a cemetery guy. I’ve limited my pages about them as A) I don’t find them super compelling, B) It just opens up a whole world of stuff I’m not prepared to deal with on CTMQ and C) there are plenty of other blogs and sites that handle them better than I ever would.
But I find myself in them from time to time searching for the graves of certain important historical figures. This time I was in Yantic Cemetery to find the Ruggles family plot, for David Ruggles may or may not be buried there. (Regardless, the plot is on the Connecticut Underground Railroad Trail which is part of the greater Connecticut Freedom Trail.)
As interesting as Ruggles was, I was stopped in my (car) tracks (it was monsooning at the time) when I saw this thing here. What the heck is this? I had never seen anything like it in my life.
I went home and posted it on facebook and it attracted a ton of comments. Most pointed me towards the fraternal organization, the Woodmen of the World. Or another one called Modern Woodmen. (I’m actually familiar with these – and many more – because I work with them at my job providing research to the insurance industry.)
However, most commenters also said the tree graves they’d seen were much shorter. This one is probably 12-14 feet tall. Something didn’t match up. Unfortunately, my quick walk around the tree didn’t yield any inscription that I could see.
Fortunately, CTMQ friend Linda O. lives near the cemetery and provided some more insight:
According to a friend of mine who did the Yantic Cemetery, the memorial marks the grave of someone who is the last of his lineage – in other words, there are no branches on his family tree as he was the last of the line.
There was no mention of any fraternal organization and I’ve scoured the Internet for pictures of tree graves and none were like this one. I’ve looked at a LOT of sites dedicated to similar thigns. Linda continued:
I live practically across the street from the Yantic Cemetery (shame on you for being so close and not stopping in for coffee and pie!)
Did you ALL read that? I don’t know how Linda knew, but coffee and pie is pretty much one of my favorite things ever. Black coffee and top 5 pies are, of course, cherry, blueberry, chocolate cream, pecan and banana cream.
So if anyone knows anything more about this thing, I’d love for you to comment.