Posts Tagged ‘upright hand’

Barbara Kurth

Here are some more stones with the symbol of the finger pointing upward, indicating that the deceased has ascended to heaven.

Mary Thomas’ stone hammers home the point with the epitaph “Gone home” just above the symbol, in case the meaning was not clear.


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I last took a look at the cemetery symbolism of the upright fist with the pointer finger extended in Going Up. I wanted to share some more photos that I have found of this symbol, since it is one of the most common to find in Ohio from the 19th century.

Matilda Escott and her daughter Caroline died in the 1860s, and the finger points upward to heaven, where the remaining family no doubt believed they ascended. They rest in Fort Meigs Cemetery in Perrysburg, Ohio.


In Ashtabula’s Chestnut Grove Cemetery, we find Martha, whose surname I could not read. Her family wanted visitors to know that she was heaven-bound.


Alice Stork’s body rests in Oxford Cemetery, Ohio, but her parents placed a marker with this symbol, showing that her soul was elsewhere.


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While doing the Historic Cleveland Scavenger Hunt at Woodland Cemetery, I was searching for an epitaph on a particular stone, came around the corner, and gasped at this lovely, fairly well-preserved tombstone.


A lot of tombstones of this material and age are worn and difficult to decipher, but I am guessing that the particular location and possibly the surrounding vegetation have provided some protection from the elements.


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Kezia Edwards

Anyone who has walked a 19th century cemetery has seen the single upright hand with three fingers and thumb folded down on the palm while the pointer finger gestures straight up, like on the tombstone for Kezia Edwards in Doty Settlement Cemetery. Just a few tombstones away, Nathanial Moore is remembered with the same symbol.


The hand, and specifically the outstretched finger, are a representation of the soul ascending to heaven. The example below is from the Olde Hudson Township Burying Ground.

Anna C. Clark

Unfortunately, like other relatively thin pieces of cemetery sculpture, that outstretched finger sometimes gets damaged or broken off. The finger on Isaac Weakley’s stone in Old Carlisle Burying Ground seems awfully stubby.


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