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Interesting epitaphs

By Thomas D’Agostino

Since my last two installments, I received several requests for more interesting epitaphs.  It appears the New England sense of humor spans the ages when it comes to these quirky and cute limericks and verses. No one was impervious to the chisel and hammer’s compensated prose. Family, friends and even disgruntled neighbors often came forth and suggested the final words that were cut into the stones of those who would be interred underneath.

Some do not seem to make sense due to the fact that the choice of words were not very well thought out such as,

Here lies the body of John Mound.

Lost at sea and never found.


Under these stones lie three children dear;

Two are buried at Taunton and I lie here.

Others are telltale narratives into the life of the person and the writer of the epitaph:

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.

Epitaph of a dentist reads:

View this gravestone with gravity

He is filling his last cavity.

On a pie maker,

Here into the dust,

The mouldering crust

Of Eleanour Bachelour’s shoven;

Well versed in the arts

Of pies, custards, and tarts

And the lucrative skill of the oven.

When she lived long enough

She made her last puff,

A puff by her husband much praised.

Now here she doth lie,

And makes a dirt pie.

In hopes that her crust shall be raised.

Someone had a grudge:

Here lies Ned Hyde because he died.

If it had been his sister

We should not have missed her.

But would rather it had been his father,

Or for the good of the nation

The whole generation.

Of course, some tell of the person’s demise:

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 inflammation quickly flew to.

Which took alas! To mortifying

And was the cause of Richard’s dying.


Here I lie bereft of breath

Because a cough carried me off;

Then a coffin they carried me off in.

This person was not above advertising his work.

Here lies Jane Smith, wife of Thomas Smith, Marble Cutter.

This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute to her memory

And a specimen of his work.

Monumets of this same style are two hundred and fifty dollars.

This may have been meant to be taken in a more serious tone;

Ashes to ashes dust to dust

Here lies George Emery I trust.

And when the trump blows louder and louder,

He’ll rise a box of Emery powder.

Or this one:

Here lies the body of Ann Mann,

Who lived and old woman.

And died an old Mann.

The again, someone had to pay the bill for this unfortunate soul, a miser who refused to pay the wages of a physician:

Here lies one who for medicine would not give a little gold, and so his life he lost:

I fancy now he’d wish again to live could he but guess how much his funeral cost.