“Here lies the body of Henry Round
Who went to sea and never was found.”
Unusual Cemetery Epitaphs from Great Britain and the United States
We’ve covered unusual epitaphs before and the question that always comes to mind is: did the deceased intend to have these words placed upon their monument or is it more often the work of some comedic relative?
This collection in book form entitled Funny Epitaphs collected by Arthur Wentworth Eaton, (The Mutual Book Company), Boston, 1902, gathers up epitaphs from around Great Britain and the United States.
These inscriptions are claimed to be on tombstones. Eaton does not disclose how he compiled the epitaphs. Some quick research shows Eaton probably collected the majority of epitaphs from previously published sources. Unfortunately, in many of the examples, Eaton does not give names or more importantly the cemetery or location where the inscription can be found.
Like Ripley’s Believe It or Not, you’ll have to decide for yourself if these epitaphs can really be found in a cemetery.
Some are not so funny, but profound. Here is a selection of some of the better and more unusual epitaphs.
Here lies the body of Johnny Haskell,
A lying, thieving, cheating rascal ;
He always lied, and now he lies,
He has no soul and cannot rise.
Beneath this stone a lump of clay,
Lies Arabella Young ;
Who on the 24th of May,
Began to hold her tongue.
On a tombstone in New Jersey :
Reader, pass on I — don’t waste your time
On bad biography and bitter rhyme ;
For what I ant, this crumbling clay insures.
And what I was, is no affair of yours
At Wolstanton :
Mrs. Ann Jennings
Some have children, some have none ;
Here lies the mother of twenty-one.
There is an epitaph of an eccentric character that
may be seen on a tombstone at the burying-grounds
near Hoosick Falls, New York. It reads :
Ruth Sprague, Daughter of Gibson and Elizabeth Sprague.
Died June 11, 1846, aged 9 years, 4 months, and 3 days.
She was stolen from the grave by Roderick R. Clow, dissected at Dr. P. M. Armstrong’s office, in Hoosick, N. Y., from which place her mutilated remains were obtained and deposited here.
Her body dissected by fiendish man,
Her bones anatomized,
Her soul, we trust, has risen to God,
Where few physicians rise.
Here I lie, and no wonder I am dead,
For the wheel of a wagon went over my head.
Tread softly mortals o’er the bones
Of this world’s wonder, Captain Jones,
Who told his glorious deeds to many
Yet never was believed by any.
Posterity let this suffice
He swore all’s true, yet here he lies.
This is all that remains of poor Ben Hough
He had forty-nine years and that was enough.
Of worldly goods he had his share,
And now he’s gone to the Devil’s snare.
Here lies the body of Henry Round
Who went to sea and never was found.
Here lies the body of Jonathan Stout.
He fell in the water and never got out,
And still is supposed to be floating about
At threescore winters’ end I died,
A cheerless being, sole and sad;
The nuptial knot I never tied,
And wish my father never had.
This spot is the sweetest I’ve seen in my life,
For it raises my flowers and covers my wife.
At Brightwell, Oron (sic) [actually Brightwell Church, Oxford]
Stephen Rumbold, born February, 1582 :
He lived one hundred and five,
Sanguine and strong ;
A hundred to five,
You live not so long.
Dy’d March 4, 1687.
Susan Tomkins, here she lies ;
Nobody laughs, and nobody cries.
Where she’s gone, or how she fares,
Nobody knows, and nobody cares.
Here lies the body of Mary Ann Ford,
We trust her soul is with the Lord,
But if she’s missed of eternal life,
It’s better than being John Ford’s wife.
A lawyer :
Entombed within this vault a lawyer lies
Who, fame assureth us was just and wise,
An able advocate and honest too ;
That’s wondrous strange, indeed, if it be true.
Another lawyer :
See how God works his wonders now and then,—
Here lies a lawyer, and an honest man.
Here lies poor stingy Timmy Wyatt,
Who died at noon and saved a dinner by it
Don’t weep for me, my wife most dear,
But still remember I lie here,
Altho’ cut down when little past my bloom,
Shed not one tear upon my tomb.
Here lies Matthew Mudd,
Death did him no hurt ;
When alive he was mud,
Now he’s nothing but dirt.
A zealous locksmith died of late,
And did arrive at heaven’s gate :
He stood without, and would not knock,
Because he meant to pick the lock.
The little hero that lies here
Was conquered by the diarrhoea.
Here lies William Smith,
And what is somewhat rarish,
He was born, bred and
Hanged in this parish.
Against his will
Here lies George Hill
Who from a cliff
Fell down quite stiff
When it happened is not known
Therefore not mentioned on this stone,