Any Help? – Mystery Solved

One of this blogpost’s readers, Phyllis, solved the mystery. The metal marker connected to this grave represents the Switchmen’s Union of North America which was a labor union founded in 1894 and included members in the United States and Canada. Thank you, Phyllis, for doing some digging into the buried man’s history and solving the mystery!

Many graves are not only marked by a tombstone but also accompanied by a metal marker.  These metal markers usually are a display of the deceased’s membership in a fraternal organization such as the Fraternal Order of Eagles, the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks or the Loyal Order of the Moose.  Sometimes they mark military service and indicate a branch of service such as the Army or Navy, or often the war in which the deceased served, such as the Revolutionary war or the Civil War, or a more recent war—Korea, Vietnam, or the Gulf War.  But this marker found in the Woodland Cemetery in Jackson, Michigan, has me stumped.  Any ideas?

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11 Responses to Any Help? – Mystery Solved

  1. gsb03632 says:

    Can’t see the image in the post….

  2. It looks like a belaying pin and a chain link–suggesting ship’s rigging. Are there smaller initials after “U”? Odd that this seems to be the back of the piece, yet it has elements that look like they should be on the front. Very interesting!

  3. Stuart says:

    Ooh. This is a good mystery. I tried a Google Lens search on the image, but it came back with images of caduceuses and welded horseshoe art.

    Trying to imagine what the chain link and pin symbolize.

  4. Phyllis says:

    What is on the headstone it is associated with?

    • The only inscription is this:
      E. W. M. Passage
      1830 – 1898
      Eliza E. His Wife
      1842 – 1921
      C. Howard Passage
      Their Son
      1863 – 1904

    • Phyllis says:

      Clarence Wm Moore Passage was a Blacksmith and served in the Civil war as a a Sgt f16 M Infantry. Clarence Howard Passage was a RR Brickman. Maybe that will bring some leads. I’ll keep looking.

      • Phyllis says:

        That should be Edward Wm Moore Passage

      • Phyllis says:

        Another correction E. W. M Passage is Edward Washington Moore Passage. One place I looked had the W as William, but others I looked into had it as Washington and that one is dominate.

  5. It looks like a belaying pin and a chain link–maritime symbols. Odd that they are in high relief and look like they belong on the front, but are on the back of the marker. And are the initials “U of N A”?

  6. It might be “Steelworkers Union of North America.”

  7. Phyllis says:

    It is “Switchmens Union of North America”. Clarence Howard Passage was a Brakeman or Switchman with the RR (census & death records have translated his occupation as Brickman, but I can not find any RR occupation of that title. Handwriting on those docs are terrible so the translation of Brickman must be wrong). His grandfather Edward O. Passage was also a Switchman, maybe he is also buried nearby and the plaque is for him. Can’t post a pic of the symbol here, but here is a website with info. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Switchmen%27s_Union_of_North_America

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