Graveyard Epithets and Epitaphs

died-funny-tombstoneI look in many places for inspiration and save all sorts of interesting and odd things that I look at every now and then when I need to motivate my muse. I don’t know where I found this. I have a bad habit of finding things on the Internet and saving them, but not adding a citation so I’ll know where it came from if I ever decide to use it for something other than my amusement of inspiration. I used to live a block away from one of the cemeteries in Wausau, WI. It was a great place to walk the dog, but it was a little spooky at night, especially on a cloudy, drizzly night near the back where there wasn’t much light. I think the spookiness came, not from the cemetery residents but from all the cemetery stories I saw, read and heard when I was growing up. Here are some fascinating inscriptions found on old tombstones:

  • Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York: Born 1903–Died 1942. Looked up the elevator shaft to see if the car was on the way down. It was.
  • On a gravestone in a Georgetown, Washington, D.C. area cemetery Katharine Phelps Brown Ivison 11/25/17 – 6/12/97 Sterling HolliFunnee Gravestonenshead Ivison, Jr. 6/26/19 – 8/16/08 We finally found a place to park in Georgetown.
  • In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery: Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up and no place to go.
  • In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery: Anna Wallace The children of Israel wanted bread, And the Lord sent them manna. Clark Wallace wanted a wife, And the Devil sent him Anna.
  • On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia: Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102. Only the good die young.
  • In a London, England cemetery: Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767
  • John Penny’s epitaph in the Wimborne, England, cemetery: Reader if cash thou art In want of any Dig 4 feet deep And thou wilt find a Penny.
  • In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery: Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake, Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.
  • In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery: Here lies Johnny Yeast. Pardon him for not rising.
  • On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia She always said her feet were killing her but nobody believed her.
  • In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery: Here lays The Kid, We planted him raw. He was quick on the trigger, But slow on the draw.
  • A lawyer’s epitaph in England: Sir John Strange. Here lies an honest lawyer, and that is Strange.
  • In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England: On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went out of tune.
  • Anna Hopewell’ s grave in Enosburg Falls, Vermont: Here lies the body of our Anna, Done to death by a banana. It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low, But the skin of the thing that made her go.
  • tombstone-backOn a grave from the 1880s in Nantucket, Massachusetts: Under the sod and under the trees, Lies the body of Jonathan Pease. He is not here, there’s only the pod, Pease shelled out and went to God.
  • The grave of Ellen Shannon in Girard, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer tip: Who was fatally burned March 21, 1870 by the explosion of a lamp filled with “R.E. Danforth’s Non-Explosive Burning Fluid”
  • In a cemetery in England: Remember man, as you walk by, As you are now, so once was I. As I am now, so shall you be, Remember this and follow me. To which someone replied by writing on the tombstone: To follow you I’ll not consent Until I know which way you went.

Most celebrity gravestones are well known, but this is my favorite, Winston Churchill (1874-1965): I am ready to meet my Maker, Whether my Maker is prepared for the great ordeal of meeting me is another matter!

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