Funny Stones To Tickle Your Funny Bones 
By June Shaputis copyright 1980

 The living have the opportunity to engrave in stone some thought appropriate to the character, or circumstances surrounding the death, of the deceased individual. Some epitaphs are unique and very revealing.

It is difficult to find anything entertaining about a death, but on occasion, death can be humorous and bizarre. Sometimes, humor can be found where least likely. Cemeteries, for example, can be startlingly funny to the uninitiated. Many epitaphs are unintentionally, and sometimes, intentionally, amusing. Conceivably, the stonecutter or the family members did not realize how future generations would look upon their attempt to memorialize the deceased loved one.

In most large cemeteries, you will probably find an epitaph that goes something like this one found in Waynesville, North Carolina:

Effie Jean Robinson

1897-1922

Come blooming youths, as you pass by ,

And on these lines do cast an eye.

As you are now, so once was I;

As I am now, so must you be;

Prepare for death and follow me.

Which is not funny at all. But underneath, someone had added:

To follow you

I am not content,

How do I know

Which way you went.

 

Death in the West

Here lies Lester Moore.

Four slugs

From a forty-four.

No Les

No More.

 

Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona

He was young

He was fair

But the Injuns

Raised his hair

 

Colorado

Bill Blake

Was hanged by mistake.

 

Boot Hill Cemetery, Tombstone, Arizona

Here lays Butch.

We planted him raw.

He was quick on the trigger

But slow on the draw.

 

Silver City, Nevada

Here lies a man named Zeke.

Second fastest draw in Cripple Creek.

(May be in Cripple Creek, Colorado)

 

Toothless Nell  (Alice Chambers)

Killed 1876 in a Dance Hall brawl.

Her last words: "Circumstances led me to this end."

 

Boot Hill Museum, Dodge City, Kansas

Here lies the body of  Arkansas Jim.

We made the mistake, But the joke's on him.

 

Culver City

He called

Bill Smith

A Liar

Cripple Creek, CO

 

 

On the grave of a woman who died in 1984.  Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her son, owner of Zeezo's Magic Castle in Colorado Springs, stated that his mother had been married to a Texan who is buried in Texas.

I would

rather be here

than in Texas.

 

 

James B. McCoy left a message on his 1899 tombstone proclaiming his independence from the United States Government.

Member Co. D 17th Iowa Inf. which mustered in 1165 men and mustered out 42. Participated in 19 battles and 3 sieges. Never Applied For A Pension.  Salida, Colorado

 

On a hanged man

Rab McBeth

Who died for the want

of another breath.

1791-1823

 

Larne, Ireland - On a hanged sheep stealer

Here lies the body of

Thomas Kemp.

Who lived by wool

and died by hemp.

Bletchley, Bucks, England

 

Winterborn Steepleton Cemetery, Dorsetshire, England

Here lies the body

Of Margaret Bent

She kicked up her heels

And away she went.

 

Food was the topic of many epitaphs.

Here lies old Rastus Sominy

Died a-eating hominy

In 1859 anno domini

Savannah, Georgia

 

He got a fish-bone in his throat

and then he sang an angel note.

Schenectady, New York

 

She was not smart, she was not fair,

But hearts with grief for her are swellin';

All empty stands her little chair:

She died of eatin' water-mellon.

 

In a New Jersey cemetery

Rebecca Freeland

1741

She drank good ale,

good punch and wine

And lived to the age of 99.

 

Beneath this stone, a lump of clay,

Lies stingy Jimmy Wyatt.

Who died one morning just at ten

And saved a dinner by it.

 

Falkirk, England 

1690

Here lie the bones of Joseph Jones

Who ate while he was able.

But once overfed, he dropt down dead

And fell beneath the table.

When from the tomb, to meet his doom,

He arises amidst sinners.

Since he must dwell in heaven or hell,

Take him - whichever gives the best dinners.

 

 

Here lies Johnny Cole.

Who died upon my soul

After eating a plentiful dinner.

While chewing his crust

He was turned into dust

With his crimes undigested - poor sinner.

 

In memory of Anna Hopewell

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.

 

Enosburg Falls, Vermont

Here lies cut down like unripe fruit,

The wife of Deacon Amos Shute:

She died of drinking too much coffee,

Anny Dominy -- eighteen-forty.

 

Roxbury, Connecticut

Eliza, Sorrowing

Rears This Marble Slab

To Her Dear John

Who Died of Eating Crab.

Crouton

 

On a Farmer's Daughter, Letitia:

Grim Death

To Please His Palate

Has Taken My Lettice

To Put in His Sallat.

Ipswich

 

On a grave digger:

Hooray my brave boys

Lets rejoice at his fall.

For if he had lived

He would have buried us all.

 

On a grave digger:

Robert Phillip, gravedigger:

Here I lie at the Chancel door;

Here lie I because I am poor;

The farther in the more you pay;

Here I lie as warm as they.

Kingsbridge, England

 

On a coroner who hung himself:

He lived

And died

By suicide

West Grimstead, Sussex, England

 

On Ezekiel Pease:

Pease is not here,

Only his pod

He shelled out his Peas

And went to his God

Nantucket, Massachusetts

 

On a Coal-miner

Gone Underground For Good

 

On an Architect:

Here lies Robert Trollope

Who made yon stones roll up.

When death took his soul up

His body filled this hole up.

 

 

On a lawyer in England:

Sir John Strange.

Here lies an honest lawyer.

And that is Strange.

 

On an attorney:

Goembel

John E.

1867-1946

"The defense rests"

 

On a dentist:

Stranger tread

This ground with gravity.

Dentist Brown

Is filling his last cavity.

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

On a brewer:

G. Winch, the brewer, lies buried here.

In life he was both hale and stout.

Death brought him to his bitter bier.

Now in heaven he hops about.

 

On a Painter:

A Finished Artist

 

On an Auctioneer:

Jedediah Goodwin

Auctioneer

Born 1828

Going!

Going!!

Gone!!!

1876

 

On a fisherman:

Captain Thomas Coffin

Died 1842, age 50 years.

He's done a-catching cod

And gone to meet his God.

New Shoreham, Rhode Island

 

On a waiter:

Here lies the body of

Detlof Swenson.

Waiter.

God finally caught his eye.

April 10, 1902

 

On an Author:

He Has Written Finis

 

On a teacher:

Professor S. B. McCracken

School is out

Teacher

Has gone home.

Elkhart, Indiana

 

On John Yeast:

Here lies

Johnny Yeast.

Pardon me

For not rising.

Ruidoso, New Mexico

 

On John Penny:

Reader if cash thou are

In want of any

Dig 4 feet deep

And thou wilt find a Penny.

Wimborne, England

 

Epitaph on a huge boulder on the grave of a doctor:

William P. Rothwell, M.D.

1866-1939

This is on me. L

Oak Grove Cemetery, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

 

 On a watchmaker:

Here lies in horizontal position the outside case of Dear George Routleight, watchmaker, whose abilities in that line were an honor to his profession -- integrity was the mainspring, and prudence the regulator of all the actions of his life. Humane, generous, and liberal, his hand never stopped until he had relieved distress. So nicely regulated were all his movements that he never went wrong, except when set agoing by people who did not know his key; even then he was easily set right again. He had the art of disposing his time so well that the hours glided away in one continued round of pleasure and delight, till an unlucky moment put a period to his existence. He departed this life November 14, 1802, aged fifty-seven. Wound up in hopes of being taken in hand by his Maker and being thoroughly cleansed, repaired, and set agoing in the world to come.   St Petrock's Church, Lyford, Devon, England

 

On a gardener:

To the Green Memory of

William Hawkings

Gardener:

Planted Here

With Love and Care

By His

Grieving Colleagues

Davenport

 

On a traveling salesman:

My Trip is Ended:

Send My Samples Home

Hoboken

 

 On a housewife:

Mary Weary, Housewife

Dere Friends I am going

Where washing ain't done

Or cooking or sewing:

Don't mourn for me now

Or weep for me never:

For I go to do nothing

Forever and ever!

Belchertown

 

 A few epitaphs are subtle and do not appear humorous until one thinks about them.

Here lies the body

of John Round.

Lost at sea

and never found.

Belturbet, Ireland

 

Here lies Barnard Lightfoot

Who was accidentally killed

in the 45th year of his age.

This monument was erected

by his grateful family.

Here lies the body of

Thomas Vernon

The only surviving son of

Admiral Vernon

Plymouth, Mass.

 

Sacred to the memory of

Major James Brush

Royal Artillery, who was killed

by the accidental discharge of

a pistol by his orderly,

14th April 1831.

Well done, good and faithful servant.

 

Unmarried women called "Old Maids" or "spinsters" were another group that could be a source of humor.

1787 - Jones - 1855

Here lie the bones of Sophie Jones;

For her death held no terrors.

She was born a maid and died a maid.

No hits, no runs, and no heirs.*

(* errors) Scranton, Pennsylvania

 

Ann Mann

Here lies Ann Mann,

Who lived an old maid

But died an old Mann.

December 8, 1767

London, England

 

Beneath his silent stone is laid

A noisy, antiquated maid,

Who from her cradle talked to death,

And never before was out of breath.

Here lies, returned to clay

Miss Arabella Young,

Who on the eleventh day of May

Began to hold her tongue.

1794-1863

 

On a spinster postmistress:

Returned--Unopened

In a North Carolina cemetery

 

There just wasn't enough time for these individuals.

Here lies the father of 29.

He would have had more

But he didn't have time.

Moultrie, Georgia

 

Here lies the body of Elred.

At least he will be when he is dead.

But now at this time he's still alive,

14th August '65.

Oxford, England. (Elred eventually made it.)

 

Owen Moore

Gone away

Owin' more

Than he could pay.

Battersea, London, England

 

This Empty Urn is

Sacred to the Memory

of John Revere

Who Died Abroad

in Finistere:

If He Had Lived

He Would Have Been

Buried Here.

Connemora

Death causing the end of a marriage apparently was a good time for the true feelings of the surviving spouse or family members to be etched on stone for all the world to see.

She lived with her husband for 50 years

And died in the confident hope of a better life.

Burlington, Vermont

 

Dear Sister

Here lies the body of Mary Ford.

We hope her soul is with the Lord.

But if for hell she's changed this life,

Better live there than as J. Ford's wife.

Sowersby

 

Grieve not for me my husband dear.

I am not dead but sleeping here.

With patience wait - perforce to die

And in a short time you'll come to I.

And the husband added:

I am not grieved, my dearest life.

Sleep on, I've got another wife.

Therefore, I cannot come to thee

For I must go and live with she.

 

I plant these shrubs upon your grave dear wife

That something on this spot may boast of life.

Shrubs must wither and all earth must rot.

Shrubs may revive, but you thank heaven will not.

  

1796 -- WISE -- 1878

Here lies the body of Ephraim Wise.

Safely tucked between his two wives.

One was Tillie and the other Sue.

Both were faithful, loyal, and true.

By his request in ground that's hilly

His coffin is set tilted toward Tillie.

Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada

 

Tears cannot restore her --

therefore I weep.

In a New Hampshire 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.

In a Vermont 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.

Ribbesford, England

  

Here beneath this stone we lie

Back to back my wife and I

And when the angels trump shall trill

If she gets up then I'll lie still!

Barlinine Cemetery, Glasgow, Scotland

 

Here lies

Elizabeth,

my wife for 47 years,

and this is the first damn thing

she ever done to oblige me.

Streatham Churchyard, England

 

They abounded in riches

But she wore the britches ...

Essex, England

 

On an adulterous husband:

Gone, but not forgiven

Atlanta, Georgia

 

I put my wife beneath this stone

For her repose and for my own.

Middlebury, Vermont

 

 These kind of epitaphs make one wonder--

This stone was raised by Sara's Lord

Not Sara's virtues to record

For they are known to all the town.

This stone was raised to keep her down.

Kilmurry Churchyard, Ireland

 

Here lies

Ezekiel Aikle

Age 102

The Good

Die Young.

East Dalhousie Cemetery, Nova Scotia

 

Here lies the body of poor Aunt Charlotte.

Born a virgin, died a harlot.

For 16 years she kept her virginity

A damn'd long time for this vicinity.

Death Valley, California

 

Here lies Pa.

Pa liked wimin.

Ma caught Pa in with two swimmin.

Here lies Pa.

 

A stone erected in memory of Brigham Young:

Brigham Young

Born on this spot 1801

A man of much courage and superb equipment.

Whitingham, Vermont

 

Some atheists claim to fame.

Here lies

an Atheist

All dressed up

And no place to go.

Thurmont, Maryland

 

Atheist Arthur Haine's epitaph:

Haine

haint

Vancouver, Washington

 

Personalities

Mary Lefavour

died 1797

aged 74 years

Reader pass on and ne'er waste your time

On bad biography and bitter rhyme.

For what I am this cumb'rous clay insures,

And what I was, is no affair of yours.

Topsfield, Massachusetts

 

I was somebody.

Who, is no business

of yours.

Stowe, Vermont

 

Here lies the body of

Jane Gordon

With mouth almighty

and teeth accordin!

Marblehead, Massachusetts

 

Cold is my bed, but oh, I love it,

For colder are my friends above it.

Calvary Cemetery, Chicago, Illinois

 

Here lies a man who while he lived

Was happy as a linnet.

He always lied while on the earth

And now he's lying in it.

 

On the four husbands of Ivy Saunders:

Here lies my husbands 1 - 2 - 3

As still as men could ever be.

As for the fourth: Praise be to God

He still abides above the sod:

Abel, Seth and Leidy were the first 3 names

and to make things tidy I'll add his - James.

Shutesbury

 

 Here lies

Suzannah Ensign;

Lord she is thin *

(* Should read "thine") Cooperstown, New York

 

On a miser who wanted to save money:

Thorp's Corpse.

When his wife died, the wording was changed to:

Here lieth Thorpses Corpses.

 

The dust of

Melantha Gribbling

Swept up at last

by the Great Housekeeper

Woodville, England

 

On a hypochondriac's grave:

See. I told you

I was SICK!

Littleton, Colorado 

 

Surnames caused rhyming problems for the stonecutter.

Here beneath this pile of stones

Lies all thats left of Sally Jones.

Her name was Smith, not Jones,

But Jones was used to rhyme with stones.

 

Here lie the remains of

Thomas Woodhen.

The most amiable of husbands

And excellent of men.

His real name was Woodcock

But it wouldn't come in rhyme.

Dunoon, Scotland

 

Some epitaphs were meant to warn the living from committing the same mistake as the deceased.

Beneath this stone a lump of clay

Lies Uncle Peter Dan'els

Who early in the month of May

Took off his winter flannels.

Edinburgh, Scotland

 

Here lies the body

of Jonathan Blake.

Stepped on the gas

Instead of the brake.

Uniontown, PA.

 

Reader, I've left this world, in which

I had a world to do;

Sweating and fretting to get rich:

Just such a fool as you.

Charleston, South Carolina

 

Ellen Shannon

age 26 years

Who was fatally burned

March 21, 1870

by the explosion of a lamp

filled with "R. E. Danforth's

Non-Explosive

Burning Fluid."

Girard, Pennsylvania

 

Harry Edsel Smith

Born 1903 - Died 1942

Looked up the elevator shaft

to see if the car

was on the way down.

It was.

near Albany, New York

 

Julia Newton

Died of thin shoes,

April 17th, 1839,

age 19 years.

In a New Jersey cemetery.

 

Here lies the body of Mary Ann Lowder

She burst while drinking a Seidlitz powder.

Called from this world to her heavenly rest,

She should have waited till it effervesced.

Burlington, Vermont

 

First a Cough

Carried Me Off

Then a Coffin

They Carried Me Off In

Boston, Massachusetts

 

Blown upward

out of sight:

He sought the leak

by candlelight

Wiltshire, England

 

(Spelling is exactly as written on the tombstone)

In memory of

Richard Fothergill

Who met vierlent death near this spot

18 hundred and 40 too.

He was shot by

his own pistill.

It was not one of the

new kind;

But an old fashioned brass barrell

Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven.

Near Sparta Diggings, California

 

On Joseph Crapp:

His foot is slipt

and he did fall.

"Help; Help" he cried

and that was all.

Mylor Churchyard, Cornwall, England

 

Dinah had a little can

'Twas filled with kerosine

And soon among the twinkling stars

Dynamite Benzine. *

(* Dinah might been seen)

 

Here lies old Aunt Hannah Proctor

Who purged but didn't call the Doctor:

She couldn't stay, She had to go

Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Medway

 

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Here Lies Jane Smith

Wife of Thomas Smith

Marble Cutter:

This Monument Erected

By Her Husband

As A Tribute

To Her Memory.

Monuments of this style

are 250 Dollars.

Annapolis

 

Sacred To The Remains of

Jonathan Thompson

A Pious Christian and

Affectionate Husband.

His disconsolate widow

Continues to carry on

His grocery business

At the old stand on

Main Street: Cheapest

and best prices in town.

Harwichport

  

Effen Nyt

(translates into "Exactly Nothing." Put on stone by disappointed heirs) New Church, Amsterdam, Holland

 

Arthur C. Homan's epitaph:

Once I wasn't

Then I was

Now I ain't again.

Cleveland, Ohio

 

On babies graves:

Ope'd my eyes, took a peep;

Didn't like it, went to sleep.

It is so soon that I am done for

I wonder what I was begun for.

Lake Mills Cemetery, Wisconsin

 

Here lies Ned.

There is nothing more to be said--

Because we like to speak well of the dead.

I came into this world

Without my consent

And left in the same manner.

Chattanooga, Tennessee

 

Thomas Stagg's epitaph:

That is all

St. Giles Churchyard, London, England

 

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Copyright 1998

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