This Week's Gravestone

Charlotte M. McLane

Charlotte M. Wife of A. McLane, Died Nov. 28, 1874 AE. 38 yrs.
Greenmount Cemetery, Burlington VT

Cross: Although there are dozens of types of crosses in cemeteries and thousands of types of religious crosses, there are basically three types that others evolved from: the Greek cross, which looks like a + sign, the Latin cross, which looks like the letter t, and the Celtic cross, which has a circle (nimbus) connecting the four arms of the cross.*
Crown: From earliest times, the crown has been a symbol of victory, leadership, and distinction. Eventually, it became a symbol of royalty. The Pope wears a triple crown (tiara), the symbol of his triple royalty and of the Trinity. Crowns are often used as attributes of a variety of saints to denote that they are either a martyr or of royal blood. The most often depicted crown in Christian symbolism is Christ's crown of thorns.*
Figure 8: We haven't been able to confirm this symbol. It looks like a figure 8 on its side with two tangs. Suggestions have been: Infinity...it may be a Masonic symbol...it is likely a representation of a knotted cord symbolizing a lover's knot...a member of Rebecca....What do you think?
Ivy and branch: Because ivy is eternally green even in harsh conditions, it is associated with immortality and fidelity. Ivy clings to a support, which makes it a symbol of attachment, friendship, and undying affection. Its three-pointed leaves make it a symbol of the Trinity.*
Jewels: We think these are jewels because of Charlotte's epitaph (see below). Perhaps they are pearls on a string. References to jewels, gems, pearls, etc. in gravestone symbolism are not obvious.
Epitaph:
She has gone home to rest
With little jewels there;
In Heaven she will be blest,
Tis Life enternal there.

*Taken from Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography written and photographed by Douglas Keister, published by Gibbs Smith, Salt Lake City, 2004.