Pete's March 2000 Article.

"In Search of Humor & Epitaphs" by Pete Bennett

As you may already know, I have a great interest in genealogy and one of the things you do a lot of when you search your families history is spend a lot of time visiting cemeteries. I have read more headstone inscriptions in the past several years then you could ever imagine. Then, several months ago I started researching and examining epitaphs that I have discovered on the Internet. I used several of the ones I thought were unique to create an add-on page to my existing Home Page. After all the favorable comments I have received on it, I have decided it might be a good subject for an article for this magazine. So bear with me, I think you will be amused. Feel free to laugh.

An Epitaph is an inscription on a tomb or grave stone in memory of the one buried there. Webster himself defines it as, "a brief statement honoring, commemorating or epitomizing a deceased person or something past". Some are quite unique in that they often reflect on the deceased's life or how he/she happened to get in the situation that they are in. Deceased! The word "Epitaph" is derived from the Greek words, epi (upon) and taphos (tomb) They began being placed on Tombs (coffins) in early Egypt, later appearing in England in the 15th century. This all spread to America in the 1700's and thus, "Pete's Tombstone Page" has evolved all the way to Cyber SpaceCheck it out, here is the address of the page,

Enough of talking about them, lets get to reading them. I'm only mentioning the humorous ones as some are rather morbid in my opinion. Please enjoy these "postcards from the hereafter".

The first one I read somewhere but can't recall where:

Here lies John,

Dead as Ever

On a grave in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:

Here lies:

Ezekiel Aikle Age 102

The Good Die Young

In a London, England cemetery:

Here lies Ann Mann,

Who lived an old maid

But died an old Mann

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery on a stone for Anna Wallace

The children of Israel wanted bread

And the Lord sent them manna,

Old clerk Wallace wanted a wife,

And the Devil sent him Anna

Playing with names in a Ruidoso, New Mexico, cemetery:

Here lies Johnny Yeast

Pardon me

For not rising

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, PA cemetery:

Here lies the body

of Jonathan Blake

Stepped on the gas

Instead of the brake

In a Silver City, Nevada, cemetery:

Here lays Butch,

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

Someone determined to be anonymous in Stowe, VT:

I was somebody.

Who, is no business

Of yours

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, AZ in the cowboy days of the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone:

Here lies Lester Moore

Four slugs from a .44

No Les No More

In a Key West, FL  cemetery:

I told you

I was sick!

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

On Margaret Daniel's grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, VA:

She always said

her feet were killing her

but nobody believed her

In a cemetery in Hartscombe, England:

On the 22nd of June

Jonathan Fiddle

Went out of tune

Anna Hopewell's grave in Enosburg Falls, Vt has an epitaph that sounds like something from a Three Stooges movie:

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

Owen Moore lies in Battersea, London, England:

Owen Moore Has Gone away

Owin' more Than he could pay

Someone in Winslow, ME didn't like Mr. Wood:

In Memory of Beza Wood Departed this life

Nov. 2, 1837 Aged 45 yrs.

Here lies one Wood Enclosed in wood

One Wood Within another

The outer wood Is very good

We cannot praiseThe other

On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, MA:

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, PA is almost a consumer tip:

Ellen Shannon

Who was fatally burned

March 21, 1870

by the explosion of a lamp

filled with "R.E. Danforth's

Non-Explosive Burning Fluid

From Rochester, NY:

Underneath this pile of stones,

Lies all that's left of Sally Jones,

Her name was Briggs,

It was not Jones,

But Jones was used

to rhyme with stones

From Lee County MS:

Once I wasn't,

Then I was,

Now I ain't,


From Kent, England:

Fear God, keep His Commandments,

And don't attempt to climb a tree,

For that's what caused the death of me

Oops! Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, NY:

Born 1903--Died 1942

Looked up the elevator shaft

to see if the car

was on the way down

In a Thurmont, MD, cemetery:

Here lies an Atheist

All dressed up

And No Place to Go

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

In Lee, MA in memory of my wife. Alpha White(who weighed 309 lb.)

Open wide Ye Heavenly Gates,

That leadeth to that heavenly shore,

Our father suffered in passing through,

And mother weighs much more

And from a dentist's stone in Philadelphia, PA:

Stranger approach this spot with gravity

for John B. Cudd, DMD

is filling his last cavity

One from Montana:

Hung for stealing horses that didn't exist

Here are the people responsible

(Under that was the names of the jurors who convicted him.)

Very sick in Ohio:

I knew this was going

to happen to me

Trouble in Dover DE:

Ma Loved Pa

Pa Loved Women

Ma caught Pa

with one in swimmin.

Here Lies Pa

In Montclair, NJ:

Here I lie,

snug as a bug in a rug

Two rows down in same cemetery:

Here I lie,

snugger than that other bugger

In Perry County, PA:

Beneath this stone

my wife doth lie

Now she's at rest

and so am I

From Charlston, SC:

I was Carolina Born

and Carolina bred

and here I lay

Carolina dead!

Lady buried at Chapel Cemetery. UNC Chapel Hill, NC

Here lies Kelly,

We buried him today.

He lived the life of Riley,

...when Riley was away!

On a stone in Oconto Falls, WI cemetery:

Here Lies The Body

Of A Man Who Died

Nobody Mourned - Nobody Cried

How He Lived - How He Fared

Nobody Knows - Nobody Cared

Written by a disgruntled son in MD:

My father and mother

were both insane

I inherited the terrible stain

My grandfather, grandmother,

aunts and uncles

Were lunatics all,

and yet I died of carbuncles

Written by a young widow in Lincoln, NE:

He found a rope and picked it up

And with it walked away

It happened that to the other end

A horse was hitched, they say

They took the rope and tied it up

Unto a hickory limb.

It happened that the other end

Was somehow hitched to him

From Pittsburgh, PA:

Grim death took me

without any warning.

I was well at night,

and dead in the morning

Seen in Kent, England:

He looked for Gold

and died of

Lead poisoning

From New Orleans, LA:

Here lies the bones of Private Jones

For whom War held no terrors

A private then, a private now

No runs, No hits, just errors

From Kirkland Lake, Ontario, Canada:

A victim of

fast women

and slow horses

Some celebrities stones:

"That's All Folks"


Man of 1000 Voices

Beloved Husband and Father

1908 - 1989

Emily Dickinson

--Called Back--

Amherst, MA (self-written)


Dean Martin

Everybody Loves

Somebody Sometime

Westwood Memorial Park, Los Angeles, CA


Karen Carpenter

A star on earth

a star in heaven

Cyprus, CA


Herbert John Gleason "Jackie"

And Away We Go

Jesse James

Died April 3, 1882

Aged 34 years, 6 months, 28 days

Murdered by a traitor and a coward

whose name is not worthy to appear here

Kearney, MO


Will Rogers

I never met a man I didn't like

Will Rogers Memorial Claremore, OK

Edgar Allan Poe


Quote the Raven,


Baltimore, MD

Now as always, here is something for you to think about.

The Bible in 50 Words

God made Adam

Noah arked

Abraham split

Joseph ruled

Jacob fooled

Bush talked

Moses balked

Pharaoh plagued

People walked

Sea divided

Tablets guided

Promise landed

Saul freaked

David peeked

Prophets warned

Jesus born

God walked

Love talked

Anger crucified

Hope died

Love rose

Spirit flamed

Word spread

God remained.

I hope you enjoyed reading this article. 

See you next month.

COPYRIGHT 2018 Pete Bennett

All rights Reserved.

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