A memorial for his young wife and her love of horses

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INA L. PALMER

WIFE OF W. H. AXTON

JAN. 24, 1874. DIED FEB. 4. 1898.

AGED 24 YRS. 10 DS.

W. H. AXTON

1866 – 1928

On the sloping hill across from the Zion Methodist Church in rural Indiana not far from Richland is a country churchyard cemetery. The magnificent Axton monument inside that cemetery, features a nearly life-size horse on top of a large base. The horse was carved from Green River limestone by master carver Ira Correll who was working at the Reavis and Beloat Marble Works at Princeton, Indiana. The statue was modelled after a Kentucky-bred horse and set atop the monument because of Ina Axton’s love of horses. The monument is 12 feet high from the base to the top of the statue and towers above all of the other gravestones and markers in the graveyard.

On the base are two incised designs displaying insignias of the Knights of Pythias and the Independent Order of Odd Fellows.

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The left corner of the base displays the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, a fraternal organization that formed in England in the 1700s as a service organization. The American association was founded in Baltimore, Maryland, on April 26, 1819. According to the I.O.O.F. Website, “Thomas Wildey and four members of the Order from England instituted Washington Lodge No. 1. This lodge received its charter from Manchester Unity of Odd Fellows in England.” The three links of a chain is the main symbol of the society. Inside the three links are three letters, F L T, which signify the organizations motto: Friendship, Love, and Truth. The links are carved above the All-Seeing Eye of Providence with rays of light emanating from it.  This symbol can be traced back to Egyptian mythology to the Eye of Horus.

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The right side of the base has the insignia of the Knights of Pythias. In 1864, the Knights of Pythias was founded by Justus H. Rathbone, making it the very first fraternal organization to receive a charter under an Act of the United States Congress.  The society is based on the Greek story of friendship from 400 B. C. between Damon and Pythias, members of a school founded by Pythagoras.  According to their Website, Pythians: promote cooperation and friendship between people of good will, find happiness through service to mankind, believe that friendship is essential in life, view home life as a top priority, show an interest in public affairs, enhance their home communities, respect and honor the law of the land, and expand their influence with people of like interests and energy.

The carving features many of the symbols that are significant to the Knights of Pythias.  A falcon sits atop a knight’s helmet resting on a pyramid-shaped shield with three letters, “F”, “C”, and “B”, which stand for their motto, FRIENDSHIP, CHARITY, and BENEVOLENCE. The shield has a incised skull and cross bones with crossed battle axes.

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The focal point of the entire monument is the meticulously carved horse, which was a nod to W. H. Axton’s young wife’s passion and love of horses.

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