Tag Archives: Cemetery

More Unusual, Strange and Funny Cemetery Epitaphs

“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?

Funny Epitaphs by Arthur Eaton photo: Gil’s Book Loft Binghamton, NY

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.

Ruth Sprague tombstone Hoosick Falls, NY

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. Continue reading

A Forgotten 1915 Brooklyn Tragedy: Four Boys Die In An Accident, Shattering Two Families Forever

Two Pairs of Brothers, Together In Life And Death

100th Anniversary Of The Forgotten Brooklyn Explosion That Killed Two Sets Of Young Brothers

While wandering the bucolic grounds of the Evergreens Cemetery on the Brooklyn – Queens border you come across many interesting monuments. There are Triangle shirtwaist fire victims, General Slocum memorials and many historic notables. And then there are the monuments like this one that are inexplicable on first inspection.

Zimmer inscription monument

Zimmer inscription monument

Higgins inscription monument

Higgins inscription monument









Two sets of brothers each between 7 and 11-years-old all dying on March 13, 1915 and are buried together. This unique memorial has an angel, with a few fingers and toes missing, head bowed in sorrow, standing between the two columns that are connected at the top by a triangular stone with the Gospel of Luke quotation inscribed across it, “Suffer Little Children To Come Unto Me”.

Oil Explosion kills boys March 13 1915 memorial at Evergreens cemeteryMy first thought was that the boys were probably cousins or related in some other way and died in a house fire.

But checking the news accounts from the following days reveals a senseless tragedy of two unrelated families children just being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The Zimmer boys, Henry age 11 and Herbert age 7, of 186 Warwick Street and the Higgins boys, Alex age 11 and Arthur age 8 of 174 Warwick Street were close friends and neighbors growing up a few doors from each other. Continue reading

A Strange Grave Monument

Off With His Head!

Statue Sir Robert Holmes Yarmouth parish

Statue Sir Robert Holmes Yarmouth parish

Sir Robert Holmes (1622-1692) fought under Prince Rupert and was governor of the Island of Wight from 1667-1692. Holmes has an unusual story to the statue that sits atop his grave where he is buried at the parish church in Yarmouth.

During one of England’s many wars with France, Holmes captured a ship on its way to France which contained an unfinished headless statue of King Louis XIV. The sculptor of the statue happened to be on board. Holmes liked the statue and commanded that the sculptor carve the head in Holmes likeness. In return for doing this the sculptor would be granted his freedom.

The sculptor had no choice but to comply. The statue was finished in Yarmouth and Holmes’ head was placed upon it. The head’s carving is not in proportion with the body and of an inferior quality.

When Holmes passed away he instructed that this statue was to be placed on his tomb at St. James Church.

115 Years After New York’s Deadliest Hotel Fire, A Memorial Goes Up For The Unidentified Dead

The Windsor Hotel Fire On St. Patrick’s Day In 1899 Killed 86

Windsor Hotel Fire Memorial  by artist Al Lonrenz photo: Ricky Flores for The Journal News

Windsor Hotel Fire Memorial by artist Al Lonrenz photo: Ricky Flores for The Journal News

It only took 115 years, but finally 31 unidentified dead, who were killed in New York City’s deadliest hotel fire, will be receiving a stone which commemorates their final resting place.

On Thursday, October 9 at 4:00 p.m., a memorial service was held at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y. to officially unveil and dedicate a monument to those who were interred without a marker.

The Windsor Hotel built between 1872 and 1873, stood at 575 Fifth Avenue, between 46th and 47tth Streets and was considered one of New York’s finest hotels.

At a few minutes after 3:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 1899 with thousands of spectators along Fifth Avenue watching the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a fire broke out at The Windsor Hotel and spread like lightning throughout the entire structure.

Windsor Hotel 5th ave 46th 47th street magic lantern slide B.P collection

The Windsor Hotel

On the 46th Street side of the hotel, John Foy, a waiter at the hotel was passing the parlor located on the second floor. Foy watched a guest light a cigar Continue reading

A New Yorker Entertains Her Tourist Friend And Finds Her Missing Brother – 1905

Places A Tourist Should Go in 1905? Bellevue And The Morgue.

1st Ave. 26th Bellevue Hospital postcard circa 1912

Visiting New York City today there are things that most tourists go and see: The Empire State Building, Times Square, The Statue of Liberty and other typical touristy places. A hundred years ago you might be surprised at what sights people would go and visit. In 1905 for one New Yorker, Miss Laura Magner, taking an out-of-town friend to Bellevue and visiting the morgue seemed like an interesting, if not macabre way to spend the day.

They say truth is stranger than fiction, so we’ll let The New York Evening World of September 11, 1905 pick up the rest of this strange story:


Miss Magner, Showing a Friend the Sights, Identifies Photograph.

This isn’t a very big world since the railroad, the telegraph and the telephone annihilated distances, but here is the strange story of what happened at the points of a triangle with sides only a mile long.

On Feb. 26, 1904, the body of a young man was found on the doors of No. 269 Ninth Avenue, dead. No one knew him. At the morgue the body was photographed and a complete description taken. The breast and arms were tattooed with the form of a woman, the emblems of Faith, Hope and Charity and the initials “J.M.”

After a few days the unidentified body was burled In Potter’s Field, where it has lain for nineteen months. Last Saturday Miss Laura Magner, of No. 354 West Forty-sixth Street, who was entertaining a visiting friend from out-of-town, took him to see Bellevue Hospital and the Morgue.

Continue reading

The 1904 General Slocum Disaster Had Survivors That Lived Into The 21st Century

Catherine Connelly & Adella Wotherspoon, General Slocum Survivors, Lived To Ages 109 & 100

The Story of The General Slocum Steamship Disaster

General Slocum Disaster

June 15, 2014 marks the 110th anniversary of what had been New York’s biggest disaster and loss of life until the September 11 attacks occurred. We think it is worth remembering the ill-fated General Slocum steamship fire. Here is the story of the General Slocum and  a brief summary of the lives of the last two survivors of the disaster who amazingly lived into the 21st century.

A Beautiful Day For A Picnic

“Kleindeutchland,” as the area of Little Germany was called on the lower east side, was bounded approximately by the East River and Third Avenue and stretched from Houston Street to about 23rd Street. It was a working class, close-knit community of laborers and business owners. The German families that lived in this neighborhood made Tompkins Square Park their center for congregating and relaxation. But for special occasions they would embark on a trip to get out of the city.

Wednesday, June 15, 1904 was a sunny day and the members of the Sunday School of St. Mark’s Evangelical Lutheran Church at 323 E. 6th Street were looking forward to a day filled with games, music and a large picnic for their 17th annual excursion to bucolic Locust Grove, Long Island.

To get there, the church had chartered a steamship built in 1891, the three decked white paddle-wheeler, General Slocum.

Sudden Disaster

New York Tribune June 16, 1904 (click to enlarge)

New York Tribune June 16, 1904 (click to enlarge)

The General Slocum was filled with around 1,400 passengers, mostly women and children as the men generally had to work on a weekday. The Slocum headed out from its berth at 3rd Street on the East River at about 9:30 am with a band playing and the passengers joyously celebrating the smooth ride and beautiful weather.

Thirty minutes after setting out, the ship caught fire Continue reading

At Death’s Door: Beautiful Mausoleum Doors & Gates At Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery

An Artistic Treasure – Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery Mausoleum Doors And Gates

Frederick Kampfe mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Frederick Kampfe mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Ambrose Bierce in his Devil’s Dictionary defined a mausoleum as “the final and funniest folly of the rich.”

Of course some of the mausoleums at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn are elaborate and cost as much as a nice house back in the day. But regardless of Bierce’s cynicism, many of the wealthy spent large amounts of money hiring top architects to design and build their final resting places in hopes of producing eternal shrines to themselves. While many names emblazoned on the tombs are now forgotten, their inhabitants ended up with some beautiful and memorable architectural work that because of their location, a cemetery, is not seen by many.

Thorne - Smith mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Thorne – Smith mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Here we are focusing on the doors and gates to these mausoleums which were done by artisans of the highest caliber. Some are ornate, some are ostentatious, and some are simple yet elegant.

While some of the decorations on the doors are purely artistic in form, others display symbols which have deeper meanings. Because these mausoleums were commissioned works, the symbolism displayed on the doors was usually well thought out by their owners.

In the 19th and early 20th century many people who visited cemeteries understood the subtle meanings of the icons. It is now mostly a lost art, with crosses, Stars of David, and other common symbols dominating newer funeral markers.

Let us pause and gaze at a few examples of mausoleum portals featuring old school craftsmanship at fabulous Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn. (click any ph0to to enlarge)

Peter Moller mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Peter Moller mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Valentine Mott mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Valentine Mott mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

The large angel in relief is flanked on top by two smaller angels blowing trumpets representing the Call to the Resurrection.

Acea mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Acea mausoleum door Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn

Continue reading

Babe Ruth’s Funeral

Paying Respects To Babe Ruth

New York says goodbye to Babe Ruth at Yankee Stadium August 17-18, 1948.

Babe Ruth funeral Yankee Stadium 8 18 48

Sixty five years ago today, when Babe Ruth died of cancer at the age of 53 on Monday, August 16, 1948, New Yorker’s and the baseball world mourned as it never had before.

As lines stretched into the night on August 17, 1948 for a last look at the Babe lying in state in the rotunda at Yankee Stadium, the stream of fans never let up. It was estimated that 50,000 fans on August 17th and 55,000 on the 18th filed past the open coffin. Among the mourners at the stadium were baseball executives Dan Topping, owner of the Yankees, Will Harridge, president of the American League, Commissioner, Happy Chandler and former players Hank Greenberg and Leo Durocher.

Babe Ruth funeral fans line up 8 17 1948


They filed by at the rate of 100 people per minute. People waited all night. To see this…

Babe Ruth Lies in state 8 18.1948

Some were given more than a moment to mourn.

In this photograph above, Frankie Haggerty, 10, of Danvers, MA wipes away a tear as he looks upon Babe Ruth lying in his casket at Yankee Stadium. When Ruth was too ill to attend the funeral of one of his mentors, Brother Gilbert, he gave Frankie permission to attend as his personal representative.

One father said, “I wanted my boy to come see this so he could always say he had seen the Babe in person.”

Another elderly white haired visitor lifted his grandson for a look into Ruth’s casket. “Take a good look sonny,” he said. “You’ll never see another man like him.”

Eleven-year-old Peter Carter said, “I feel very sad. Every night I pray the Babe’s soul will go to heaven.”

A requiem mass and funeral for the Babe was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral on August 19, 1948.

6,000 mourners bowed their heads as Cardinal Spellman made a special prayer at the end of the solemn 1 hour service. 75,000 people waited outside the Cathedral in the pouring rain.

What was unexpected was that after the funeral over 100,000 people lined the route in silence from Manhattan to Westchester as the Babe was driven to his final resting place at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Mt. Pleasant, NY.

At the cemetery another 6,000 people were there to see the Babe off.  Ruth was put into a receiving vault until the family selected a site for burial.

Millions of people from around the country all said the same thing that you always hear after someone famous passes away, “he will never be forgotten.”

This time they were right.

Beauties Of The Past – Maude Fealy

Stage and Silent Star Maude Fealy

Maude Fealy 1861u pc Rotary

A new feature of our web site: photos and short biographies of glamor girls of the past.

These are women that were more than just beautiful, they were talented and were able to cut out successful careers for themselves during an era when men dominated the entertainment industry. Of course with the passage of time, many of these stars have dimmed and are now distant memories. We hope to bring them to light again to a wider audience.

Maude Fealy 1149 pc Davidson

Maude at age 8 with mother Margaret Fealy.

Maude at age 8 with mother Margaret Fealy.

Maude Fealy (born Maude Hawk) in Memphis, Tennessee, started her career at the age of 3 in the legitimate theater with her mother, actress Margaret Fealy. Margaret divorced Maude’s father, James Hawk and then went by her maiden name of Fealy and Maude also adopted her mother’s maiden name.

Fealy’s exact birth date was never clearly established and contemporary reports range from March 4, 1881 to 1886. The Social Security Death Index lists her birthday as March 3, 1882

Maude Fealy 3093C pc Philco Maude Fealy 3107D pc philco 1906

Fealy hit the big time just before the turn of the century when theatre impresario Augustin Daly discovered her playing Juliet and signed her to a five year contract. Daly died in 1899, effectively canceling the contract and Fealy was then courted by all the major playwrights to appear in their productions. Fealy quickly became a star in many Broadway and London productions. Among the many plays she appeared in were: Quo Vadis, Sherlock Holmes, The Professor’s Love Story, Heart’s Courageous, The Truth Tellers and On the Quiet. She cemented her reputation as a fine actress by playing the female lead in several of the first British actor ever knighted, Sir Henry Irving’s plays including, Becket, The Lyons Mail, Waterloo and Louis XI.  Continue reading

Our Gang / Little Rascals Star Norman Chubby Chaney No Longer Has An Unmarked Grave

“Chubsy-Ubsy” Finally Gets A Headstone

Jackie Cooper, June Marlowe, Shirley Jean Rickert, Norman Chubby Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba

Jackie Cooper, June Marlowe, Shirley Jean Rickert, Norman Chubby Chaney, Dorothy DeBorba

Norman “Chubby” Chaney, a star for Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies, (aka the Little Rascals) had been buried in an unmarked grave at Baltimore Cemetery since 1936. He was the first former cast member to pass away.

Chaney appeared in the early Our Gang sound films from 1929 – 1931, winning a lookalike contest to replace Our Gang heavyweight Joe Cobb.

One of the the most beloved short films of the series that Chaney starred in was where he was competing with Jackie Cooper for their teacher, Miss Crabtree’s (June Marlowe), affection and attention. In that film, Love Business (1931), Chubby said the immortal words, “Don’t call me Norman, call me Chubsy-ubsy.”

When Chaney died at the age of 21 in 1936 following an operation to correct a glandular disorder, the family had no money to put up a marker in the cemetery.

Finally last year through the efforts of Detroit musician Mikal C.G., money was raised through online donations to put up a headstone. The unveiling ceremony on November 10, 2012, was attended by less than a dozen observers. Whether or not Chaney attracts visitors to his grave, his performances preserved on film will be viewed and enjoyed by countless generations to come.