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produced from scanned images of public domain material
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Transcriber's Notes

Non-standard spellings, typos and non-standard punctuation have
been left as they appear in the original, except in a few
cases where standardization was needed for clarity.

* * * * *

"Quaint Epitaphs"







This collection of epitaphs was started in a very modest fashion about
thirty-five years ago, when the compiler found great pleasure in
searching all the graveyards near her Vermont home for quaint
inscriptions upon old tombstones. It was neither a morbid curiosity nor
a spirit of melancholy that attracted her to the weather-beaten slabs of
marble and slate, but rather a fondness for studying human eccentricity
as revealed in whimsical epitaphs. In almost every graveyard one can

"Some frail memorial still erected nigh,
With uncouth rhymes and shapeless sculpture decked"

and these have given many hours of pleasure to one who finds in such
sombre elegies of the dead most interesting reflections of the living.

As the only purpose of carrying on such odd researches was to satisfy a
fondness for freakish ingenuity, much less interest was found in the
thousands of amusing epitaphs that are penned by writers for comic
papers or by wags in general. Fictitious inscriptions lack the charm of
authenticity, which in the case of epitaphs is decidedly more desirable
than imagination. All selections which could not be definitely located
are classed by themselves, but many of these are known to have actually
existed, though for varying reasons the collector is unable to vouch for
their exact locality.

In a few instances the names have been changed, where it was thought
that verbatim copies of the epitaphs might prove invidious to the
relatives or friends of the dead. It is hoped that the division into
localities will prove a convenience to a majority of readers, who
naturally will not care to read such a book through at one sitting, but
rather to pick it up now and then when in the mood for such light
entertainment as it can afford. The spelling has necessarily been
changed at times from the antiquated and almost hieroglyphic forms which
would defy the most careful typography; but in general the orthography
and punctuation are copied verbatim from the originals.

The compiler trusts that it is not an act of unreasonable presumption to
publish a book of epitaphs when so many already exist. In fact it was
partly because of the numerous requests for an examination of her
collection that the plan of publishing it was adopted. Such an ambitious
consummation of her pleasant labor never occurred to her until her
original note-books became badly worn and torn in their travels from
friend to friend, from town to town, and it is hardly an exaggeration to
say that they have been from Portland to Portland, from Augusta to
Augusta, in response to the urgent requests of those who have in some
manner heard of their existence. If her collection is as kindly received
in book form as it has been in its less pretentious condition, the
editor will feel that its publication was not due to an immoderate
confidence in its variety and general interest.


BOSTON, MASS., April 6, 1895.


* * * * *



Here lies the body of Richard Thomas, an Englishman by birth, a Whig
of '76 - a Cooper by trade, now food for worms. Like an old rum
puncheon whose staves are all marked and numbered he will be raised
and put together again by his Maker.

Here lies the body of John Mound
Lost at sea and never found.

Here lies one Wood enclosed in wood,
One Wood within another.
The outer wood is very good,
We cannot praise the other.


The little hero that lies here
Was conquered by the diarrhoea.


Beneath this stone now dead to grief
Lies Grid the famous Wokag chief.
Pause here and think you learned prig,
This man was once an Indian big.
Consider this, ye lowly one,
This man was once a big in - jun.
Now he lies here, you too must rot,
As sure as pig shall go to pot.

In the same churchyard.

Here Betsy Brown her body lies.
Her soul is flying in the skies.
While here on earth she oftimes spun
Six hundred skeins from sun to sun,
And wove one day, her daughter brags,
Two hundred pounds of carpet rags.



KITTERY - 1803.

I lost my life in the raging seas
A sovereign God does as he please.
The Kittery friends did then appear,
And my remains they buried here.

We can but mourn our loss,
Though wretched was his life.
Death took him from the cross,
Erected by his wife.


Our life is but a Winter's day.
Some breakfast and away.
Others to dinner stay and are well fed.
The oldest sups and goes to bed.
Large is his debt who lingers out the day,
Who goes the soonest has the least to pay.

John Phillips.

Accidentally shot as a mark of affection by his brother.
After life's fever, I sleep well.



Here the old man lies
No one laughs and no one cries
Where he's gone or how he fares
No one knows and no one cares.
But his brother James and his wife Emeline
They were his friends all the time.

Here lies our young and blooming daughter -
Murdered by the cruel and relentless Henry.
When coming home from school he met her,
And with a six self shooter, shot her.

Here lies Cynthia, Stevens' wife
She lived six years in calms and strife.
Death came at last and set her free.
I was glad and so was she.

In youth he was a scholar bright.
In learning he took great delight.
He was a major's only son.
It was by love he was undone.

Here lies old Caleb Ham,
By trade a bum.
When he died the devil cried,
Come, Caleb, come.


Thomas Culbert.

The voice of a stepfather beneath this
Stone is to rest one, shamefully robbed
In life by his wife's son, and Esq Tom
And David Learys wife

(The above is a verbatim copy.)


Josiah Haines.

He was a blessing to the saints,
To sinners rich and poor,
He was a kind and worthy man,
He's gone to be no more.
He kept the faith unto the end
And left the world in peace.
He did not for a doctor send
Nor for a hireling priest.

Mrs. Josiah Haines.

Here beneath these marble stones
Sleeps the dust and rests the bones
Of one who lived a Christian life
T'was Haines's - Josiah's wife.
She was a woman full of truth
And feared God from early youth.
And priests and elders did her fight
Because she brought her deeds to light.


Here lies a man never beat by a plan,
Straight was his aim and sure of his game,
Never was a lover but invented a revolver.


A free negro, Amos Fortune, settled in Jaffrey more than one hundred
years ago, though warned off as a possible pauper, and left one quaint
bit of history - his estate, to the town. Part of it bought the communion
service still in use (1895.) On the gravestone of his wife is this
inscription: -

Sacred to the memory of Violate, by purchase the Slave of Amos Fortune,
by marriage his wife, by fidelity his companion and solace, and by his
death his widow.


Our little Jacob has been taken away to bloom in a superior flower pot

My wife lies here.
All my tears cannot bring her back;
Therefore, I weep.

This little buttercup was bound to join the heavenly choir.


Beneath this stone our baby lays
He neither crys or hollers.
He lived just one and twenty days,
And cost us forty dollars.

Charity wife of Gideon Bligh
Underneath this stone doth lie
Naught was she e'er known to do
That her husband told her to.

Here lies the wife of brother Thomas,
Whom tyrant death has torn from us,
Her husband never shed a tear,
Until his wife was buried here.
And then he made a fearful rout,
For fear she might find her way out.

He first departed, she a little tried to live without him. Liked it not
and died.

His illness lay not in one part
But o'er his frame it spread.
The fatal disease was in his heart
And water in his head.

In memory of Elizabeth Taylor.
Could blooming years and modesty and all thats pleasing to the eye,
Against grim death been a defence,
Elizabeth had not gone hence.

Died when young and full of promise
Of whooping cough our Thomas.

She lived with her husband fifty years
And died in the confident hope of a better life.

Stop dear parent cast your eye,
And here you see your children lie.
Though we are gone one day before,
You may be cold in a minute more.

Little Teddy, fare thee well,
Safe from earth in Heaven to dwell.
Almost Cherub here below,
Altogether angel now.

On a tombstone for man and wife.

In sunny days and stormy weather,
In youth, and age, we clung together.
We lived and loved, laughed and cried
Together - and almost together died.


Behold! I come as a thief.

Death loves a shining mark.
In this case he had it.


Erected by a widower in memory of his two wives.

This double call is laid to all,
Let none surprise or wonder.
But to the youth it speaks a truth,
In accents loud as thunder.

Stranger pause as you pass by;
My thirteen children with me lie.
See their faces how they shine
Like blossoms on a fruitful vine.

A rum cough carried him off.

Here lies the body of old Uncle David,
Who died in the hope of being sa-ved.
Where he's gone or how he fares,
Nobody knows and nobody cares.

The body that lies buried here
By lightning fell, death's sacrifice,
To him Elijah's fate was given
He rode on flames of fire to heaven.

Stay, reader, drop upon this stone
One pitying tear and then be gone:
A handsome pile of flesh and blood
Is here sunk down in its first mud.

I was somebody - who? is no business of yours.

My wife from me departed
And robbed me like a knave;
Which caused me broken hearted
To sink into this grave.
My children took an active part,
To doom me did contrive;
Which stuck a dagger in my heart
That I could not survive.


Open thine eyes Lord
I come! I come!

Sacred to the memory of three twins.

My glass is run; yours is running.
Remember death and judgment coming.

This stone was got to keep this lot.
Her father bought. Dig not too near.

Grim death took little Jerry,
The son of Joseph and Sereno Howells,
Seven days he wrestled with the dysentery
And then he perished in his little bowels.


Oh, little Lavina she has gone
To James and Charles and Eliza Ann.
Arm in arm they walk above
Singing the Redeemer's love.



Phebe Sprague.

In the sixteenth year of her age,
Natively quick and spry
As all young people be,
When God commands them down to dust,
How quick they drop you see.


When I am dead and in my grave
And all my bones are rotten,
If this you see, remember me,
Nor let me be forgotton.


Mary Hardy Goss Hill Sawin.

Orphan of affection and grief, adopted by aunt and
grandsire, nurse of their hospital home.
Wife and widow of Dea John Hills.
Happy wife in rural home of Thomas Sawin eight years.
Often prisinor of calamity and pain.
Exhile of inherited melancholy fifteen years.
Patient waiter on decay and death.
Lover of all who love Jesus.

Here lies the body of Samuel Proctor
Who lived and died without a doctor.

Under these stones lies three children dear;
Two are burried at Taunton and I lie here.


In memory of Stephen Pynchon.

One truth is certain when this life is o'er,
Man dies to live and lives to die no more.


Julia Webster Appleton.

"Let me go for the day breaketh."


"An eclipse at meridian."

Here lies one John Witherbee,
A Boston gallant chap was he.
God had no use for such as he,
The devil rejected Witherbee.

Here lies a man beneath this sod,
Who slandered all except his God,
And him he would have slandered too,
But that his God he never knew.


Here lies the body of Thomas Vernon,
The only surviving son of Admiral Vernon.

Here lies the bones of Richard Lawton
Whose death alas! was strangely brought on.
Trying his corns one day to mow off.
His razor slipped and cut his toe off.
His toe or rather what it grew to,
An inflimation quickly flew to.
Which took alas! to mortifying
And was the cause of Richards dying.


Dea Lemuel Willard
Died in 1821

When present useful, absent wanted
Lived respected, died lamented.

Bishop Jewel

He wrote learnedly, preached painfully, lived piously, died peacefully.

John Safford.

Crushed as a moth beneath Thy hands
We moulder back to dust.
Our feeble frames cannot withstand
And all our beauty's lost.
This mortal life decays apace
How soon the bubble's broke.
Adam and all his numerous race
Are vanity and smoke.

John Daby.

Tis but a few whole days amount
To three score years and ten;
And all beyond that short account
Is sorrow toil and pain.
Our vitals with laborious strife
Bear up the crazy load,
And drag these poor remains of life
Along the toilsome road.

BOSTON. (Granary Burying Ground.)

Here I lie bereft of breath
Because a cough carried me off;
Then a coffin they carried me off in.


This world's a city, full of crooked streets;
And Death the market place where all men meets.
If life were merchandize that men could buy
The rich would live and none but poor would die.

Of pneumonia supervening consumption complicated with other diseases,
the main symptom of which was insanity.

Submit, submitted to her heavenly King
Being a flower of the etheral Spring -
Near three years old she died - In Heaven to wait
The year was sixteen hundred forty eight.


Ezekiel Rogers, Minister
Died in 1660.

With the youth he took great pains, and was a tree of knowledge laden
with fruit which the children could reach.

Epitaph of Rev. Jonathan Mitchel, pastor of the first church in
Cambridge. Died July 9, 1668.

Here lies the darling of his time
Mitchel expired in his prime.
Who four years short of forty seven
Was found full ripe and plucked for Heaven.


Of seven sons the Lord his father gave,
He was the fourth who found a watery grave.
Fifteen days had passed since the circumstance occurred,
When his body was found and decently interred.


John and Lydia, that blooming pair,
A whale killed him and her body lies here.


There were three brothers went to sea
Who were never known to wrangle
Holmes Hole - cedar pole
Crinkle, crinkle crangle.

Three brothers started for Holmes Hole in an open boat for cedar poles,
and on the passage were killed by lightning, represented by the
_crinkle, crinkle, crangle_.

Time was I stood as thou doest now
And viewed the dead as thou doest me.
E'er long thou'l lie as low as I
And others stand to look on thee.


A blacksmith's epitaph composed by himself.

My sledge and hammer lie reclined,
My bellows too have lost their wind,
My fire's extinct, my forge decayed,
And in the dust my vice is laid.
My iron spent, my coal is gone,
My nails are drove - my work is done.


Indulgent world I bid adieu.
Farewell, dear friends, farewell to you.
No more kindness can I show,
To any creature here below.
I am invited to my tomb,
To sleep awhile till Jesus come.


Here lies the body of Dr Hayward,
A man who never voted.
Of such is the kingdom of Heaven.


Agreeable to the memory of
Mrs Alinda Tewksbury.

She was not a beleiver in the Christian idolitry.


Erected by the creditors of a bachelor Irishman.

Hibernia's son himself exiled,
Without an inmate, wife or child,
He lived alone.
And when he died, his purse, though small,
Contained enough to pay us all,
And buy this stone.

Rebecca Nourse
Yarmouth Eng 1621
Salem Mass 1692

Accused of witchcraft she declared "I am innocent and God will clear my
innocency." Once acquitted yet falsely condemned she suffered death July
19th, 1692.

O Christian Martyr who for truth could die,
When all about thee owned the hideous lie
The world redeemed from superstition's sway,
Is breathing freer for thy sake to-day.



Composed by the deceased.

Partridge Thacher.

Rest here, my body, till the Archangel's voice more sonorous far than
nine fold thunder, wakes the sleeping dead; then rise to thy just sphere
and be my house immortal.

On a babe four days old.

Since I so very soon was done for
I wonder what I was begun for.

Here lies the body of Obadiah Wilkinson
And Ruth, his wife.
Their warfare is accomplished.

Franklin White.

Here lies Frank a shining light
Whose name, life, actions all were white.

Reader pass on. Don't waste your time
On bad biography and bitter rhyme.
For what I am this crumbling clay assures,
And what I was is no affair of yours.

God works a wonder now and then,
He though a lawyer was an honest man.

Dr. Somerby.

At length a grave spots for him provided,
Where all through him so many of us died did.

Early, bright, chaste as morning dew,
She sparkled, was exalted and went to heaven.


Lieut. Nathan Davis.
Died in 1781.

Death is a debt that's justly due,
That I have paid and so must you.

Elizabeth, wife of Nathan Davis.
Died 1786.

This debt I owe is justly due,
And I am come to sleep with you.



Underneath this pile of stones
Lie's all thats left of Sally Jones.
Her name was Lord it was not Jones.
But Jones was used to ryme with stones.

Mary Drummond Smith.

Neuralgia worked on Mrs. Smith
'Till neath the sod it laid her.
She was a worthy Methodist
And served as a crusader.


She was in health at 11.30 A. M.
And left for Heaven at 3.30 P. M.


Here lies one who never sacrificed his reason to superstitious God, nor
ever believed that Jonah swallowed the whale.


Trinity Churchyard.

Tho' Boreas' blasts and boisterous waves
Have tossed me to and fro,
In spite of both by God's decree
I harbor here below;
Where I do now at anchor ride
With many of our fleet,
Yet once again I must set sail,
My Admiral Christ to meet.

Alden White.

Grim death took me without any warning,
I was well one day, and stone dead next morning.

Madeline White.

God takes the good too good on earth to stay,
God leaves the bad too bad to take away.

Sarah Thomas is dead and that's enough
The candle is out and so is the snuff
Her soul is in Heaven you need not fear
And all that's left is buried here.


The pale consumption gave the mortal blow.
The fate was certain although the event was slow.

While on earth my knee was lame,
I had to nurse and heed it.
But now I'm at a better place,
Where I don't even need it.

Her blooming cheeks were no defence
Against the scarlet fever.
In five day's time she was cut down,
To dwell with Christ forever.

Moses White.

His grand excellence was that he was genuine.

Father and Mother and I
Choose to be buried asunder.
Father and Mother here,
And I buried yonder.

Julia King.

I go to meet my brother.

John Dale
and his two wives.

A period's come to all their toilsome lives,
The good man's quiet - still are both his wives.


Grieve not for me my Harriet dear
For I am better off,
You know what were my sufferings
And what a dreadful cough.

David Stuart

A loving father and companion,
Follow me as I have - Jesus.


Underneath this stone doeth lie
As much virtue as could die;
Which when alive did vigor give
To as much of beauty as could live.

Amos Judge
(Coal dealer.)

He gave full weight to all t'is said
And did it without vaunting;
When in the ballance he is weighed
He will not be found wanting.

William Newhall.

He 'rose in health at early dawn
To hail the new born year:
Before the evening shade came on
He finished his career.

He was a man of invention great
Above all who he lived nigh;
But he could not invent to live
When God called him to die.

A thousand ways cut short our days,
None are exempt from death.
A honey-bee by stinging me
Did stop my mortal breath.

He got a fish bone in his throat
And then he sang an angel's note.

Here lies a kind and loving wife,
A tender nursing mother;
A neighbor free from brawl and strife,
A pattern for all others.

To the memory of
Susan Mum.

Silence is wisdom.

This corpse
Phebe Thorps.

Neal Keven.

His accounts were found square to a cent.

A Watch-maker's Epitaph

Copied from a tomb-stone in Wales by old Sexton Brown, the once famous
sexton of Grace Church, N. Y.

Here lies in a horizontal position the outside case of George Rutlege
watch-maker, whose abilities in that line were an honor to his

Integrity was the main-spring of all the actions of his life. Humane,
honest and industrious his hands never stopped until they had relieved

He had the art of disposing of his time in such a way that he never went
wrong except when set agoing by persons who did not know his key, and
even then was easily set right again.

He departed this life wound up in the hope of being taken in hand by his
Maker, thoroughly cleaned, regulated and repaired and set going in the
world to come.


PHILADELPHIA. Christ's Churchyard.

(Written by himself when twenty-three years of age.)

The body of Benjamen Franklin, printer like the cover of an old book its
contents torn out and stripped of its lettering and gilding, lies here
food for worms.

Yet the work itself shall not be lost for it will, as he believed,
appear once more in a new and more beautiful edition corrected and
amended by the author.

Carved on a little stone in a Maryland churchyard, after the name of the

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