Tombstone Tuesday-Wheat Symbol

Today’s tombstone symbol is wheat, a symbol that I do not see very often on a headstone.

Greenville Union Cemetery, Darke County, Ohio, 1887 Wheat, Henry C Miller.

Wheat and other grains are some of the oldest symbols for growth and life. Wheat used to be harvested by a reaper with a scythe, which brings to mind the Grim Reaper.

On a tombstone, wheat is usually depicted as a sheaf of wheat, but is occasionally is shown as stalks of wheat.

Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Van Wert County, 1999 Stalks of Wheat, Eugene Merkle

Wheat usually symbolizes someone who has lived a long, fruitful life. Someone who has lived to a ripe old age.

Since it is a harvested grain, wheat could signify the resurrection and immortality. Or wheat may symbolize bread or the communion wafer, which are both made from wheat flour.

Fountain Chapel Cemetery, Mercer County, Ohio, 1884 Wheat, David Thrush

Finally, the obvious. Wheat carved on a tombstone could just indicate that the deceased was a farmer.


    • JOE BYER on December 30, 2020 at 1:47 pm
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    Your recent foray into symbolism on grave markers reminded me of a book I once had, “Field Guide to Cemetery Art” or something like that. It was very interesting and informative. In high school I mowed the cemeteries for Willshire Township in summertime. That kindled a mild lifelong interest in grave stone markers.

    I am looking for my copy of the book and will lend it to you if found. Or perhaps you can obtain a copy from Amazon.

    1. How nice to hear of your interest in tombstone symbolism. There is something about walking through a cemetery and looking at the artwork on the grave markers and wondering what it means. It is addictive! That could be why we have been known to go through cemeteries when we have no connection to the cemetery at all. I may have that book you mention. It sounds familiar and I have quite a few cemetery art books around here. Thanks for reading and for writing!

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