The treestump marker for Ruth and Joel Philbert and their two sons

In a small country cemetery just outside Dugger, Indiana is a remarkable double treestump tombstone. These stones tend to be very biographical; the motifs carved into them often reveal information about the deceased, or at least how their family or community wanted to remember them. The spinning wheel is a common symbol for women who were prominent early settlers to a region. Spinning and weaving have deep roots as symbols of devotion to family and country. Women in colonial times took up making homespun as a protest to unfair textile taxes, and the imagery continued through the Victorian era.

The long rifle is a sign of male patriotism and “pioneer” spirit. Many of these type of stones also have axes, splitting mauls, and wedges, each perhaps referencing the work of carving out a life in the rolling hills of southern Indiana.

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