Woodmen of the World
Some of the most recognizable tombstones found in Florida cemeteries are those that belong to the Woodmen of the World(WOW) organization. On June 6, 1890, Joseph Cullen Root, a native of Lyons, Iowa, founded Woodmen of the World in Omaha, Nebraska. The organization was originally open to white males aged eighteen to forty-five from the twelve healthiest states, and specifically excluded men with hazardous jobs like train brakeman, gunpowder factory employee, bartender and even professional baseball player.
Although its membership is modest, it is one of the best represented organizations in the cemetery. Why? Because until the 1920's, membership in the Woodmen of the World, provided each member with a tombstone. Even today, the insurance company claims that "no Woodman shall rest in an unmarked grave." At first the company provided the tombstone designs directly to local manufacturers, but they soon discovered that it was easier to have local suppliers handle the design, and setting of the tombstones.
Although WOW was primarily an insurance company, its founder established a variety of ceremonies and rituals, and adopted a number of symbols because of his history with other fraternal organizations including Odd Fellows, Freemasons and Knights of Pythias. Many of the symbols were formalized at the Woodmen Sovereign Camp in 1899, when the tree stump was officially adopted to symbolize equality and commonwealth.
The tombstones usually contain the Latin phrase Dum Tacet Clamet which means "Though silent, he speaks" or more commonly "Gone but not forgotten" . Also found on the stones are a dove with an olive branch(peace) and an ax, beetle and wedge, which according to Root, symbolize workmanship and progress of culture.