I 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 Hollinshead 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:
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.
On 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!