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A Founding Member of The Association of Graveyard Rabbits


Let's talk of graves and worms and epitaphs.



Happy Thanksgiving To All!

"By proclamation of the President and the Governors of the individual States, the last Thursday of November is observed as a day of thanksgiving for the prosperity and happiness of the year.

Thanksgiving services are held in churches of all denominations, and pastors recount the national blessings and exhort to faithful citizenship.

We must not fail to state a hearty dinner of roast-turkey and cranberry sauce, etc., is necessary to all those who would properly celebrate the day."

This GYRabbit will be spending the Thanksgiving Holiday with family and will return December 1.

A Very Happy Thanksgiving To You All!


Duke's Cigarettes, 1885-1900.


Last Word Wednesday - John D. Adams

John D. Adams
Nira, Iowa


Dear Mr. A. I. Root:

I have sad, sad news to write. My dear good husband, John D. Adams, was drowned Aug. 21, 1892 while trying to save our hired man's life. They were both drowned. We all know he died trying to do his duty; but, oh it is so hard to give him up!

It was such a shock on us. If he had been sick, and I could have stood by his bedside, knowing that he must go, it surely wouldn't have been so hard. Mr. Root, no one knows what it is to part with a dear good companion until the trial comes. Just a few weeks ago our home was lively and cheerful, but now it is sad and lonesome. Oh how we miss him!

I beg an interest in the prayers of the beekeepers that I may ever do my duty in raising my fatherless children. He loved his bees so dearly we can not bear to part with them, so we, intend to keep them, and do our best with them. Oh so many responsibilities I have to shoulder! Pray for me.

Nira, Iowa.

[Most certainly will we remember to pray for - you; and while doing so we can rejoice that yours is a faith that goes beyond this world. Just at this time, when floods are likely to occur with the breaking-up of the ice and the melting of the snow, it behooves us to be careful about taking risks in water. Many a person has been drowned, when he evidently scarcely thought of being in danger. Dear friend, you may rejoice in the thought that our good brother died In the effort to save the life of a fellow-man.] A. I. R.


Gleanings in Bee Culture, A Journal Devoted to Bees, Honey, and Home Interests. Medina, Ohio: A. I. Root Co., 1893.

Last Word Wednesday - Thomas A. Morris

MARCH 20, 1907

In Memorium

Thomas A. Morris

Formerly an Adair county boy, Thomas A. Morris was the son of James F. and Emeline Morris died in Boise City Idaho, January 20th 1907 of meningitis. He was a carpenter by trade and a short time before he was taken fell from a scaffold bruising his head which caused an abscess to form on the brain. He was taken with a severe pain in his head on Thursday night and before morning was unconscious died Sunday morning without regaining consciousness.

He was born near Columbia Aug. 27, 1859 was married in Milton, Illinois to Miss Mollie Hawkins Sept. 4th 1887. He leaves 4 children, his wife and one baby having died four years ago. He also leaves 3 brothers Owen of Pittsfield, Ill., Milam of Midvale, Idaho and Garnett of Carroll County, Mo. and two sisters Mollie Rosenbaum of Bogard, Mo. and Theresa Terp of Concord, Cal. He was a member of the Methodist church.

His sister THERESA.



An Epitaph A Day - November 17

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Canadian Mounted Police

Many instances have been recorded of the pluck and perseverance of the members of this force.

Once in the middle of winter it was imperative that a despatch should be sent to a far distant post. A young collegian who had donned the red coat volunteered to perform the mission.

In the teeth of a blinding blizzard, with the thermometer registering 53 degrees below zero, he set out on his long journey. The despatch was never delivered, the bearer never returned.

After the snow had gone in the spring an Indian found a skeleton clad in a faded red uniform. The fatal despatch was in the pocket, and on it were written these words:

"Lost. Horse dead. Am trying to push on. Have done my best."

His dying hand had written a better epitaph than any that "storied urn or animated bust" could proclaim to his memory.


Canada, An Illustrated Magazine. 906.

An Epitaph A Day - November 15

Keeps Death's Spectre Away


(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.


Darling, Susan. Quaint Epitaphs. Boston: DeWolfe, Fiske & Co. 1902.

An Epitaph A Day - November 14

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

A rebel soldier's grave in the Wesleyan Cemetery, St. Louis.

Written by a lady:

Here lize a stranger braiv,
who died while fitin the Suthern Confederacy to save.
piece to his Dust.
"braive Suthern friend
from iland 10
you reached a Glory us end.
we plase these flowrs above the stranger's hed
In honor of the shiverlus ded.
Sweet sprint rest in heven
Ther'l be know Yankis there.


Moore, Frank. The Rebellion Record: A Diary of American Events. New York: G. P. Putnam, 1863.

An Epitaph A Day - November 13


“He dared to lead where any dared to follow."

HEADQUARTERS, 7th August, 1777.

“SIR — Edmund Palmer, an officer in the enemy's service, was taken as a spy lurking within our lines. He has been tried as a spy, condemned as a spy, and shall be executed as a spy ; and the flag is ordered to depart immediately.”


P. S. — He has been accordingly hanged."


Drake, Samuel Adams. Our Colonial Homes. Boston: Lee and Shepard, 1894.

An Epitaph A Day - November 12

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

All Epitaphs This Week Will Be Of Those
Who Served Their Country

In memory of Robt. W. Smith
of Co. B. 1st Md. V. I.
son of Henry and Teresa Smith,
who departed this Life 1st Feb. 1864,
Aged 22 years.

Rest Soldier, rest, thy warefare o'er,
The battle roll thou'llt hear no more.
The duty bravely, nobly done
The conflict past, the victory won.


Ridgely, Helen West. Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia: With the Inscriptions Appearing on the Tombstones in Most of the Counties of the State and in Washington and Georgetown. National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Maryland. New York: The Grafton press, 1908.

Last Word Wednesday - Captain Oliver Brown

Captain Oliver Brown
Artillery of the Massachusetts Line
Revolutionary War
Born in Lexington, Mass., 1752

He stood in front of the first Cannon fired by the British on the Americans in the Affray at Lexington — witnessed the Tea Party, Boston Harbour — was at the Battle of Bunker's Hill — Commissioned by Congress 1 6th of January 1776 — Commanded the Volunteer party that bore off the Leaden Statue of King George from the Battery of New York, and made it into bullets for the American army — Bore a conspicuous part in Command of Artillery at the battles of Harlem Heights, White Plains, Princeton, Trenton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth.

After serving his Country he enlisted in the Armies of the Son of God, and surrendered to the last Enemy on the 17th of February, 1846, in full assurance of a never-ending Peace.


Lamb, Martha Joanna.
The Magazine of American History with Notes and Queries. New York: A. S. Barnes, 1879.

An Epitaph A Day - November 11

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

All Epitaphs This Week Will Be Of Those
Who Served Their Country

Herman S. son of A. J. and Mary S. Thomas
died at Monteray, Mexico, Sept. 23, 1846

A soldier of the Mexican War, conspicuous for gallantry in
the front ranks, among his heroic comrades in the memorable charge of the
height commanding Monteray, he fell mortally wounded.


Ridgely, Helen West. Historic Graves of Maryland and the District of Columbia: With the Inscriptions Appearing on the Tombstones in Most of the Counties of the State and in Washington and Georgetown. National Society of the Colonial Dames of America in the State of Maryland. New York: The Grafton press, 1908.

An Epitaph A Day - November 10

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

All Epitaphs This Week Will Be Of Those
Who Served Their Country

National Military Cemetery at Arlington


He was some mother's well-loved son —
So fine he looked in martial guise —
And now in alien earth he lies,
And hears no more the tuck of drum,
Nor sees the shell-flare in the skies.

Like to some seeker for a prize
In a great race that has been run,
The consciousness of duty done,
Looked from his widely opened eyes.

That Freedom have a newer birth;
That Truth, and Justice only reign;
That Right prevail upon the earth;
Man's upward struggle be not vain —
For this he sits by a strange hearth
And sentinels the Picard plain.


Braithwaite, William Stanley. A Tale of a Walled Town: And Other Verses. Philadelphia: J.B. Lippincott Company, 1921.

An Epitaph A Day - November 9

Keeps Death's Spectre Away



Here lieth the body of Nicholas Hooker, of Conway, Gent.
Who was the one and fortieth child of
William Hooker, Esq. by
Alice, his wife, and the father of twenty-seven children.
He died on the 20th day of March, 1637.


Norfolk, Horatio Edward. Gleanings in Graveyards: A Collection of Curious Epitaphs. London: J.R. Smith, 1861.

An Epitaph A Day - November 8

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Frederick, Prince of Wales
Father of George I
King Of England

What had Frederick done, that he was so loathed
by George II and never mentioned by George III?

Here lies Fred,
Who was alive, and Is dead.
Had it been his father,
I had much rather.
Had it been his brother,
Still better than another.
Had it been his sister,
No one would have missed her.
Had it been the whole generation,
Still better for the nation.
But since 'tis only Fred,
Who was alive, and is dead,
There's no more to be said."


Thackeray, William Makepeace. The Complete Works of William Makepeace Thackeray: With Illustrations by the Author, and with Introductory Notes Setting Forth the History of the Several Works in Twenty-two Volumes. New York: Houghton, Mifflin and company, 1889.

An Epitaph A Day - November 7

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

printer of the first book
printed in Boston, Mass.
died 1681

The following epitaph was cut in black letter on his tombstone —

Thy body, which no activeness did lack,
Now's laid aside, like an old almanack;
But for the present only's out of date,
'Twill have at length a far more active state;
Yea, at the resurrection, we shall see
A fair edition, and of matchless worth,
Free from errata, not in heaven set forth:
'Tis but a word from God, the great Creator,
It shall be done, when he says Imprimatur.


The Bibliographer; a journal of book-lore. London: Elliot Stock, 1882.

An Epitaph A Day - November 6

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Epitaph on a Dog
Irongate Stairs, Tower, London

"In Memory of Egypt, a favourite Dog,
which belonged to the Irongate Watermen.
He was killed on the 4th August, 1841.
Aged 16 years."

"Here lies interred, beneath this spot,
A faithful dog who should not be forgot:
Full 15 years he watched here with care,
Contented with hard bed, and harder fare.
Around the Tower he daily used to roam,
In search of bits so savory, or a bone.
A military pet he was, and in the Docks
His rounds he always went at 12 o'clock, —
Supplied with cash, which held between his jaws,—
The reason's plain, — he hail no hands but paws —
He'd trot over Tower Hill to a favorite shop,
There eat his meal, and down his money drop.
To club he went on each successive night, —
Where dressed in jacket gay he took his pipe;
With spectacles on nose he played his tricks,
And paw'd the paper, not the politics:
Going his usual round, near traitors' gate,
Infirm and almost blind he met his fate.
By ruthless kick hurled from the wharf, below
The stones o'er which the gentle Thames do flow, —
Mortally injured, soon resigned his breath,
Thus left his friends who here record his death.
Alas, poor Egypt!"


Notes and Queries. London: Oxford University Press, 1859.

Last Word Wednesday - George Bishop

George W. Bishop
Camden, N. J.
July, 1889

Bro. Geo. W. Bishop, F. A. E. of Div. No. 387, was instantly killed while in the discharge of his duty on May 17th, 1889. Bro. Bishop was running train No. 52, known as the Atlantic Express on the West Jersey and Atlantic Division of Penna. R. R. Co., and when in the vicinity of Iona Station, his attention was directed to a hot box on the tank.

In order to ascertain the condition of it, he undertook to examine it by leaning out over side of engine, and while engaged in this manner he was struck by a signal post, hurling him from the engine with terrible force, which resulted in his almost instantaneous death, as he had ceased to breathe when the train hands reached him.

His remains were tenderly taken up and immediately returned to Camden and borne to his late residence, No. 419 Berkley Street. Bro. Bishop was held in high esteem by all his associates and friends, and his sudden and untimely death has cast deep gloom over his co- workers and acquaintances. His family, consisting of wife and four children, have the sympathy of all, and every exertion is being made to render aid and comfort by his associates and friends.

The burial took place May 22nd, services being held at his late residence at 9:30 a. m., conducted by the Rev. Clarence K. Binder, of the English Lutheran church, after which the body was placed on special train and taken to Berlin, N. J., for interment. The special kindly furnished by Mr. A. O. Dayton, Sup't W. J. and C. and Atlantic Divisions P. R. R., left Federal Street depot at 9:30 a. m., in charge of the following crew, who volunteered their services for the occasion: Engineer, Bro. Geo. W. Baxter, of Div. No. 387 ; Fireman, Carlton M, Grace ; Conductor, Samuel C. Hankinson of Div. 170, O. of R. C ; Brakeman, J. W. Goff. (Engine No. 24 pulling the train.)

Arriving at Berlin at 12 o'clock the remains were taken to Berlin M. E. church, where the services were conducted by the Rev. W. A. Lilley, who gave an earnest and effective discourse, not only giving encouragement and consolation to the afflicted, but clearly portraying the need of preparation for the approach of death at all times.

The services at the grave were in charge of Division No. 387, B. ofL. E., Bro. Richard S. Doughty, Chaplain of Division, taking charge of the same, the following members of Div. 387 acting as pall bearers : Bros. Jas. Copel and, Thomas Bodell, Joseph Brudon, Thos. Smith, Daniel Cassady and James McNeal. A large concourse of people followed the remains to the grave, prominent among which were members of Divisions 387 and 22, B. of L. E., No. 72, B. of L. F., representatives of Conductors and other branches of railroad service, Mr. Wm. Rickard, Road Foreman of engines, and quite a number of the wives of the employees of road.

The floral emblems were numerous and elegant in design. A sickle bearing the word father, being contributed by the children of deceased, a broken column, a vacant chair, and a locomotive having the number 33 upon the cab, [this being the number of the engine that he had on the fatal trip!] were presented by the employees of West Jersey and Camden and Atlantic railroads, a wreath and other emblems being presented by friends.

The return trip was made safely, the special arriving in Camden at 3:30 p. m. Too much praise cannot be given to Superintendent A. O. Dayton, Train Master J.J. Burleigh, and Road Foreman Win. Rickard, for their kindly interest and the efforts put forth by them to arrange for the safety, convenience and comfort of all interested, and the employees feel under lasting obligations to them for their services.


Locomotive Engineers Journal By Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (U.S.). Cleveland: Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, 1889.

An Epitaph A Day - November 5

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Jack Williams
Tombstone, Arizona

Here lies Jack Williams.
He done his damnedest.


From a quote attributed to Harry S. Truman.

And The Answer Is!

Henk van Kampen, the Graveyard Rabbit of Utrecht and Het Gooi posted a very interesting photograph of a gravestone with the following inscription:

(Here rests my own sweet wife, our caring mother and grandmother Grietje de Graaf - Kroeze, born 14 Sept 1894, died 20 June 1977, spouse of R. de Graaf.
As you are now - so once was I
As I am now - so will you be. Psalms 103:8)

Henk asks:

Does anyone know the origin of this epitaph? There are many mentions of it on the web, but none with source. If any reader would care to enlighten me, please leave a comment or contact me.

There are many examples of the old epitaph:

Behold, all you that passeth by,
As you are now so once was I,
As I am now so you will be,
Prepare for death and follow me.

Indeed, this old verse has been used often in all burying-grounds from the time it was rendered, in very old French, on the tomb of Edward, the Black Prince, in 1376 (as it may be seen in Canterbury Cathedral) and as Pettigrew, in his collection of epitaphs, gives it in a dozen places in England.

Edward the Black Prince, 1376.

Canterbury Cathedral (Translation of French epitaph).

Whoso thou be that passeth bye,
Where these corpes interred lie:
Understand what I shall saye,
As at this time speake I maye.
Such as thou art. sometyme was I;
Such as I am, such shalt thou bee.
I little thought on the houre of death,
Soe long as I enjoyed breath;
Great riches here I did possesse,
Whereof I made great noblenesse;
I had gold, silver, wardrobe, and
Greate treasures, horses, houses, lande,
But now a caitiffe, poore am I,
Deep in the ground, lo here I lie!
My beautye greate is all quite gone.
My fleshe is wasted to the bone.
My house is narrow now and thronge;
Nothing but truthe comes from my tongue
And if ye shoulde see mee this daye,
I do not thinke but ye woulde saye,
That I had never been a man ;
So moch altered nowe I am !
For God's sake, praye to the heavenly kinge,
That he my soul to heaven would bringe;
All they that praye and make accorde
For me unto my God and Lorde;
God place them in his paradice,
Wherein noe wretched caitiffe lies.

In America the first references to the epitaph I found were attributed to William Poole sometime between 1630 and 1638. This is, however, over three hundred years too late to have been the first rendering.

From 1630-1638:

It was William Poole of Dorchester who made the epitaph for his own tomb which has come down through generations in this more concise form:

"Behold and see as you pass by,
As you are now, so once was I,
As I am now, so you must be.
Prepare to die and follow me."

The original was: —

"Ho Passenger, 'tis worth the Pains to stay
And take a Dead man's Lesson by ye Way;
I was what now thou art, and thou shalt be
What I am now, what odds 'twixt me & thee
Now go thy way; but stay, take one word more,
Thy Staff for aught thou know'st Stands next ye Door,
Death is ye Door, ye Door of Heaven or Hell :
Be warn'd, be arm d, Believe, Repent, Farewell."

Thanks Henk, I love a mystery!


Pettigrew, Thomas Joseph. Chronicles of the Tombs: A Select Collection of Epitaphs, Preceded by an Essay on Epitaphs and Other Monumental Inscriptions, with Incidental Observations on Sepulchral Antiquities. London: G. Bell & sons, 1902.

Bacon, Mary Schell Hoke. Old New England Churches and Their Children. New York:
Doubleday, Page & Company, 1906.

Sleeping In Everett - Obama Did You Know?

The grave of Barack Obama's GGG Grandmother, Rachel Wolfley, was discovered in a cemetery in Everett, Washington last week.

The grave had incorrectly identified Rachel Wolfley, as Rachel Walfley. Jim Shipman, a local historian discovered the grave as he was doing research on Civil War veterans buried at Evergreen Cemetery. Another researcher had given him the name and he came up with the marker.

"I had a name, I looked it up and I found her buried here," Shipman said. The simple grave marker is spelled incorrectly as "Walfley."

"How that happened nobody knows," Shipman said of the spelling error. "But in 1911, this is just another person."

Now, nearly a century later, she isn't just another person, her great-great-great grandson is a candidate for President of the United States, Barack Obama.

Wolfley lived in Everett for four years with her daughter and son-in-law and, in the nearly 100 years since her burial, the concrete marker has been here, tucked away and unnoticed.

"This marker had sunk down and it was covered with grass we had to dig down to find it," Shipman said.

When he found it, Shipman said his first reaction was one of surprise: "I thought, 'Wow!' The odds are like a needle in a large haystack."

Everett Public Library Historian David Dilgard said it was exciting to find a new local historical connection.

"We always describe this cemetery as being sort of a biographical encyclopedia of the community, and so anytime someone noteworthy comes to our attention, we're always excited about it," Dilgard said.

Shipman is raising money to replace the grave marker with a more permanent one that spells Wolfley's name correctly.


Komo News. 2008.

An Epitaph A Day - November 4

Keeps Death's Spectre Away



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


Darling, Susan. Quaint Epitaphs. Boston: DeWolfe, Fiske & Co. 1902.

More To This Epitaph -

Southern Graves, one of the Charter members of The Graveyard Rabbits posted two verses used as an epitaph. I have seen this epitaph many times used on gravestones and memorial cards, but there is more. As you can see, it was written for the loss of an infant and has five verses. I am doing research to establish the source of this epitaph and will update with the information.

A gracious one from us has gone,
A voice we loved is stilled;
A place is vacant in our home,
Which never can be filled.

God in his wisdom has recalled
The boon his love has given;
And though the body slumbers here,
The soul is safe in heaven.

Farewell, dear one, but not forever;
There will be a glorious dawn;
We shall meet to part, no, never,
On the resurrection morn.

The little crib is empty now,
The little clothes laid by;
A mother's hope, a father's joy,
In death's cold arm doth lie.

Go, little pilgrim, to thy home.
On yonder blessed shore;
We miss thee here, but soon will come
Where thou hast gone before.


Beardsley, Isaac Haight. Echoes from Peak and Plain: Or, Tales of Life, War, Travel, and Colorado Methodism. Cincinati: Curtis & Jennings, 1898.

An Epitaph A Day - November 3

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Hallowed be the Sabbath,
And farewell all earthly self;
The week begins on Tuesday,
For Munday hath hanged himself.


Graham, William Carlisle. A Collection of Epitaphs and Monumental Inscriptions, Ancient and Modern ... London: T. and J. Allman, and C. Thurnam, 1823. p. 160.

An Epitaph A Day - November 2

Keeps Death's Spectre Away

Who died at Worcester

BENEATH this cold stone lies a son of the Earth;
His story is short, though we date from his birth;
His mind was as gross as his body was big;
He drank like a fish, and he ate like a pig.
No cares of religion, of wedlock, or state,
Did e'er, for a moment, encumber John's pate:
He sat, or he walk'd, but his walk was but creeping,
And he rose from his bed — when quite tir'd of sleeping.
Without foe, without friend, unnotic'd he died;
Not a single soul laugh'd, not a single soul cried.
Like his four-footed namesake, he dearly lov'd earth,
So the sexton has cover'd his body with turf.


Johnson, Samuel. A Collection of Epitaphs and Monumental Inscriptions, Historical, Biographical, Literary, and Miscellaneous: To which is Prefixed, An Essay on Epitaphs. London: Lackington, Allen, & Co., 1806. p. 109.

An Epitaph A Day - November 1

Keeps Death's Spectre Away


Buried within the Gray-Friars Churchyard; and other
Churches and Burial-Places within the City of Edinburgh
and Suburbs


To the most pious memory of Mr. Michael Young,
most famous doctor of medicine; of Mr. Robert Young,
most faithful preacher of the gospel ; of whom, this dyed
in the moneth of January 1677, and that in the moneth
of October 1675; and to the memory of their most beloved sister,
Mary Young, who exchanged life with death, in February 1679.
Thomas Kinkaid, chirurgeon
and apothecarie at Edinburgh, surviving husband to the
said Mary, caused this monument to be erected.

At length here lyes the said Thomas Kinkaid of Auchinreoch, who exercised chirurgery and phannacie in this city, for the space of 45 years, with equal success and skill. Good was he in his life, prudent and honest in his actions, ingenuous and without guile in his words, whence lie lived most acceptable to all good men, and purchast wealth, renown, honour, and friends ; and having left seven children of one wife, with fifteen grandchildren. He dyed much lamented, 13 February, the year of our LORD 1691, and of his age 72.

Chirurgeon skilful, pastour faithful too,
Famous physician, loving wife as due,
Are all here met, as in a common grave ;
When neither art nor learning could them save,
Nor piety nor modesty prevaile,
Them to rescue, when death did them assail.
All offices of life they serv'd so well,
Their fame fills earth, their souls in heaven dwell.


Monteith, Robert. Collection of Epitaphs and Monumental Inscriptions: Chiefly in Scotland. Glasgow: D. Macvean, 1834.