Epithets and Epitaphs

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,scrabble gravestone 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.

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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.

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In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist, all dressed up
and no place to go.

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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.

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On the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies Ezekial Aikle, Age 102.
Only the good die young.

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In a London, England cemetery:
Here lies Ann Mann, who lived an old maid
but died an old Mann. Dec. 8, 1767

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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.

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In a Uniontown, Pennsylvania, cemetery:
Here lies the body of Jonathan Blake,
Stepped on the gas instead of the brake.

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In a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:
Here lies Johnny Yeast.
Pardon him for not rising.

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On Margaret Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia
She always said her feet were killing her
but nobody believed her.

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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.

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A lawyer’s epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange.
Here lies an honest lawyer,
and that is Strange.

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In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:
On the 22nd of June, Jonathan Fiddle went out of tune.

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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.
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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.

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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”

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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.

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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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