Tombstone Tuesday-J.W. Smith WOW Monument Unveiled, 1910

As I was reading through the 1910 issues of The Celina Democrat, this article got my attention. It tells about a Woodman of the World [WOW] cemetery marker that was unveiled 31 July 1910 on the grave of Jacob Walther Smith, at North Grove Cemetery in Celina.

The Celina Democrat, 5 Aug 1910. Smith monument unveiled.

Jacob Walter Smith died 5 October 1909, at the age of 34, and was buried on 7 October. Smith died relatively young from typhoid fever, after suffering with the disease for 18 days. He was a real estate agent and was married to Mary Rosetta Koch. They had two daughters, Eulalia and Juanita. Jacob Smith was the son of William and Caroline (Meyers) Smith. [1]

Woodmen of the World, North Grove Cemetery, Celina, Ohio

Jacob Smith’s monument was not unveiled until late July 1910, nearly ten months after his death. The unveiling ceremony appears to have been quite an event, with music and eulogies. Several organizations were involved, including the I.O.O.F. [Independent Order of Odd Fellows], the Ladies’ Circle auxiliary, the White Oak Camp, and Senator Johnson. I am not sure what group the ladies auxiliary was associated with and I wonder if the White Oak Camp was the name of the local Woodmen’s organization.    

I have written about the Woodmen of the World before. They are a non-profit, fraternal benefit society that combines insurance with mutual aid and social membership. Their markers often look like a tree stump, or in this case, like stacked logs. Early Woodmen certificates entitled holders to a death benefit and a free monument, but later the monuments were given to members who purchased a $100 rider. The tree stump tombstone was abandoned in the late 1920s due to cost. 

Right now it is a little chilly to be out taking cemetery photos, but as luck would have it, this marker caught my eye back in 2005 and I took a photo of it then. The angle of the tombstone in this photo isn’t the best and does not show the inscription very well, but you get a good overall look of the tombstone.  

[1] “Ohio Deaths, 1908-1953,” Mercer County, Jacob Walter Smith, 5 Oct 1909; database with images,, viewed 30 Jan 2023.

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