Three Leaves and a Hanging Bud

Many funerary motifs represent children–shoes, seedpods, cribs, cherubs–but one of the most common is the hanging bud. The broken bud represents the flower that did not bloom into full blossom, the life that was cut short before it had a chance to grow to adulthood.

The white marble ornamented top tablet gravestone of Charles Ordway in the Mount Olivet Cemetery at Nashville, Tennessee, displays the bud hanging from a sprig with three leaves.  Charles only lived a little more than two months.  The hanging bud represents his short life and that he did not live into adulthood—full bloom.  The leaves here represent the Trinity—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.


Son of

Richard W. & Annie Ordway


Born April 17, 1881

Died June 25, 1881

Mount Olivet Cemetery, Nashville, Tennessee

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