These mysterious letters, FNDOZBTKC/MRAY, are inscribed on a tombstone in Van Wert’s Woodland Cemetery. They are a Masonic acronym. This long acronym is rather uncommon around here but is reportedly more common in southern states. It was generally used in the mid-1800s-early 1900s.
The letters FNDOZBTKC are an acronym for a Bible verse, John 12:15, “Fear Not, Daughter Of Zion; Behold, The King Cometh.” The remaining letters, MRAY, are an anagram of the word MARY and are usually encircled by the other group of letters. The G in the center probably stands for God or geometry. The letter G is usually in the center of the common Masonic symbol, the compass and square.
This Masonic Degree was conferred on wives, daughters, sisters, or mothers of Masons to recognize their aid to the society and gave them a secret sign of recognition.
The more common Masonic symbol, the square and compass, is inscribed on the side of this tombstone.
This is the tombstone of Maria (Langdon) Webber, born 11 October 1823 in New York. She died 10 April 1886 in Van Wert County. Maria was married to Lyman Jones Webber (1822-1909), who is also buried in Woodland Cemetery. According to Maria’s obituary, she and her husband settled on a farm in southwest Pleasant Township in 1852 and moved into Van Wert about 1876. Maria and her husband had three children and she had been in ill health for several years before her death. Her obituary does not mention her Masonic degree. However, her husband’s obituary mentions that he was one of the oldest Masons in the area and was a Van Wert Masonic member for over 50 years.