Gayle Rhoads' Collected Epitaphs

More matierial from Gayle's "Poetry" folder, dated February 1999

The Body of
B. Franklin,
Like the Cover of an old Book,
Its Contents torn out,
And stript of its Lettering and Gilding,
Lies here, Food for Worms.
But the Work shall not be wholly lost:
For it will, as he believ'd, appear once more,
In a new & more perfect Edition,
Corrected and amended
By the Author.

- The above was written by Franklin as a young man. Franklin died Apr. 17, [1790.]

Remember stranger, as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now you soon will be,
Prepare yourself for eternity. (to follow me.)

-This may not be the exact wording. It is on a grave stone in a small cemetery just outside Jackson, CA.

[I recall it went like this:

Remember me as you pass by.
As you are now, so once was I.
As I am now, soon you shall be;
Prepare for death and follow me.]

From the grave of Ezekial Aikle in East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia:
Here lies
Ezekial Aikle
Age 102
The Good
Die Young.

In a London, England cemetery:
Ann Mann
Here lies Ann Mann,
Who lived an old maid
But died an old Mann.
Dec. 8, 1767

In a Ribbesford, England, cemetery:
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.

Memory of an accident in a Uniontown, Pennsylvania 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 widow wrote this epitaph in a Vermont cemetery:
Sacred to the memory of
my husband John Barnes
who died January 3, 1803
His comely young widow, aged 23, has
many qualifications of a good wife, and
yearns to be comforted.

A lawyer's epitaph in England:
Sir John Strange
Here lies an honest lawyer,
And that is Strange.

Anonymous in Stowe, Vermont:
I was somebody.
Who, is no business
Of yours.

Lester Moore was a Wells, Fargo Co. station agent for Naco, Arizona in the 1880's. He's buried in the Boot Hill Cemetery in Tombstone, Arizona:
Here lies Lester Moore
Four slugs from a .44
No Les No More.

In a Georgia 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 Daniels grave at Hollywood Cemetery Richmond, Virginia:
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, Vermont 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.

More fun with names with Owen Moore in Battersea, London, England:
Gone away
Owin' more
Than he could pay.

Someone in Winslow, Maine 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 praise
The other.

On a grave from the 1880's in Nantucket, Massachusetts:
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, Pennsylvania is almost a consumer
Who was fatally burned
March 21, 1870
by the explosion of a lamp
filled with "R.E. Danforth's
Non-Explosive Burning Fluid"

Harry Edsel Smith of Albany, New York:
Born 1903--Died 1942
Looked up the elevator shaft to see if
the car was on the way down. It was.

In a Thurmont, Maryland, cemetery:
Here lies an Atheist
All dressed up
And no place to go.

So Airman, there you lie,
Your duty done, - and evening falls.
And now your friend the sun
With whom you used to play,
How many a happy day,
Comes down the sky
To kiss your quiet eyes,
And touch our shrouded hearts
With golden memories.

- Inscription on the grave of Flight Officer Gordon Yarrow, age 23, KIA March 1941. In St. Peters Churchyard, Hever Castle, England. His brother, Peter Yarrow, age 18, was on HMS Hood.

Let us sit till the Evening of Life is spent; the last Hours were always the most joyous. When we can stay no longer 'tis Time enough then to bid each other good Night, separate, and go quietly to bed.

- B. Franklin to Hugh Roberts, July 7, 1763

Soldier, Rest!
Thy warfare over,
Sleep the sleep that knows not breaking,
Dream of battled field no more,
Days of danger, Nights of waking.
Thy chase is done.

- Sir Walter Scott

Christmas 2004