The Matthews Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery, Brooklyn, NY

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Say It Like You Mean It

Lovely Japanese Maple in Fall Glory, West Laurel Hill Cemetery, Bala Cynwyd, PA

My past blogs that highlight epitaphs have been favorably received, and I am in the middle of research for another blog (trying to decipher Pennsylvania German inscriptions, and those carved in calligraphy, nonetheless!).  So this week, here are some more easily deciphered epitaphs that I found interesting.  You'll notice the more matter-of-fact, almost bluntness of those from the 18th century, versus the dramatic and flowery prose of the ones from the 19th century.   In some cases, get your chaise lounge ready for fainting!  Happy Thanksgiving.

"My flesh shall slumber in the ground till the last trumpets joyful sound, then burst the chains with sweet surprise and in my Saviour's image rise."   Gallows Hill Cemetery, Gallows Hill, PA

"Virtue and Piety give way to Death, Else the entombed had ne'r resigned her breath."  (note that back then, "s" was written as "f.")      Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

"Death, thou hast conquered me, I by thy darts am slain, But Christ shall conquer thee and I shall rise again."     Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

"Fearless of hell and ghastly death, I broke through every foe, On wings of love and arms of faith, Christ brought me conqueror through.Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

"If ought that's good or great could save, Spicer had never seen the grave." Cold Spring Presbyterian Cemetery, Cold Spring, NJ

"Here rests in God of blissful truth, Johann Konrad Edelmann, who was born on 20 November 1751, and died on 21 November 1807, at the age of 56 years and 1 day."   The bottom references a verse in the book of Matthew (Mathie) used at his funeral service.     Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA
"Here lies in God of blissful truth Elisabeth Jagern, one born Schreydern, who became the wife of Johannes Jagers, and was born Decmber 28, 1728 and who died December 4, 1804.  Aged 76 years, 9 months and 4 days. "     Easton Cemetery, Easton, PA

"Here rests Philipp Haag, born August 17, 1750, died September 6, 1766, aged 16 years and 20 days.  The Lord God consoles the soul of Abraham."  St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

John Barge, aged 7, died 1749.  "From Death's arrest, no age is free, young children die and so must we, Reader, since minutes fly so fast, Improve thy present as thy last."    St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

Ann Barge, aged 6 months, and Titus Barge, aged 3 weeks, died 1749.  "Interred here two infants lie who never spake but oft did cry, and here in earth must yet remain til Christ shall raise them up again."    So in the span of 4 months in 1749, the Barges lost 3 of their children, including their infant twins.   St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

John Barge died, age 40, in 1755.  "Life is a cheat and always show it, I thought so once, but now I know it."    His wife Ann Barge had seen her share of heartache by 1755.   St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

Joseph Farmer died in 1763, aged 44.  "A good companion to his friend, a loveing husband to his end, his children's loss to him is gain, his soul's returned from whence it came."   St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

The graves of  George & Patience Woolling, died ages 18 months and 3 years in 1738.  "Two harmless babes that only came and cried in baptism to be washed from sin and died, they've gone to rest just as they did begin sorrow to know, before they had known sin."   St. Thomas Whitemarsh Cemetery, Fort Washington, PA

"Stay, stay, Spectator, stand & spend a care, upon my dust which lyeth slumbering here, for as I am, so must you be, therefore fly from sin & think of me."   Christ Church Cemetery, Shrewsbury, NJ

"No marble can her worth impart, 'tis written on our bleeding hearts, inscribed with more than human skill, in memory live her virtues still."   Christ Church Cemetery, Shrewsbury, NJ

"Death....A brother from our side, just in the morning of his day, as young as we, he died."   Christ Church Cemetery, Shrewsbury, NJ

"His sun is gone down while it was yet day."   Christ Church Cemetery, Shrewsbury, NJ

"A precious one from us has gone, a voice we loved is stilled, a place is vacant in our home which never can be filled."   This was a popular verse and I have seen it on many tombstones.   Effort Cemetery, Effort, PA

Elizabeth Mitchell died at age 25.  "A woman of exemplary virtue and chearful unfeigned piety who lived usefully and died comfortably.  Near her lies her infant daughter."   Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"The steady and uniform christian piety, the uprightness of character, the benevolent and charitable disposition of this excellent woman are inscribed on the heart of him whom she has been separated, in characters which nothing but death can obliterate."   I swoon, I swoon, what sentiment!!  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"Beneath this little mound lies our beautiful baby Marion.  She was fair in person, lovely in disposition, and a jewel in her home.  Distant ages will never tell the sadness of our last farewell."   Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"Had he asked us, well we know, we should say, O, spare the blow.  Yes, with streaming tears should pray, Lord, we love him, let him stay.  In love he lived, in peace he died, his life was asked, but God denied."   James Lane Adams was 24.  Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"Tis a little grave but o, have care, for world wide hopes are buried there. How much of light, how much of joy, is buried with out darling boy."    Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"Dear companion, thou hast left us, here thy loss we deeply feel, but tis God that hath bereft us, he can all our sorrows heal.  Yet again we hope to meet thee, Husband, farewell, till the morn of resurrection.  For to me to live is christ, but to die is gain. (the last is from the Book of Phillp)    Elmwood Cemetery, Shepherdstown, WV

"Dulce et decorum est pro Patria mori."  Latin for "It is sweet and fitting to die for one's country."  Horace, the Roman poet, wrote this centuries ago.  And then a wiser man named Wilfred Owen called this "The Old Lie"  in his 1917 poem about the horrors of WWI.  J. James Sheads died in 1864 in a hospital in Virginia at age 18.  I hope his death was not "the old lie," but it probably was, as he died so young.     Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"Her character in life:  a devoted wife, an affectionate mother, and an exemplary Christian.  Her hope in death:  nothing in my hand I bring, simply to the cross I cling."   Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"Peace to his ashes."   Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"Lay me where the weeping willow murmurs o'er my lost one's grave.  Lay me there when died commandeth, when he taketh which he gave."   Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"We loved her, oh, no one can tell how much we loved her or how well.  God loved her too and he thought best to take her home to be at rest."   Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"O let us think of all he said and the kind advice he gave and let us do it now he's dead and sleeping in his lonely grave."    "Mother, thou art gone to rest, and this shall be our prayer, that when we reach our journey's end, thy glory we may share."   Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

Reginald Barclay Bevan died at age 8.  "Talium est regnum caelorum" is Latin for "Such is the kingdom of God."  Evergreen Cemetery, Gettysburg, PA

"Farewell my husband and children all. ...your mother Christ doth call, mourn not for me it is in vain, [you'll see me] in your sight again."   Evergreen Cemetery, Jim Thorpe, PA

"Ere sin threw a blight o'er the spirit's young bloom, or earth had profaned what was born for the skies."   The sister of Edward Holmes Taylor was 16 when she died; Edward was 18 months.  "Of such is the kingdom of God."                         Fairview Cemetery, Middletown, NJ

"How sadly we miss thee."  First Presbyterian Cemetery, Flourtown, PA

"Good night, vain world, I give my last joy, I will because God likes and wants me to leave you, heaven save me, Good night, you vain world, friends, I will not dwell because I see Jesus."  Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA
"Our brother's left this world of woe for regions of eternal love; 'Twas God who called him from below to join in praising Him above."  Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

"Dearest Mother, thou has left us, But thy loss we deeply feel, and the Lord he has bereft us, and our sorrows he will heal.  ... She will be happy there.  Weep not our loss will be her gain in Heaven to meet prepare.  Oh, her hands so meekly folded while she drew her parting breathShe is sleeping, someone whispered, but it was the sleep of death."  Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

"Our son has gone to a mansion of rest from a region of sorrow and pain in the glorious land by the diety blest where he never can suffer again."  Gilbert Cemetery, Gilbert, PA

Susan Levan "departed this life for that of a better" in 1856.  "Her toils are past, her work is done, and she is fully blessed.  She fought the fight, the victory won, and entered into rest.  Then let our sorrows cease to flow, God has recalled his own, but let your heart in every woe still say Thy will be done."                            Greenwood Cemetery, Howertown, PA

"Born in Pelton County, Durham, England.  Amiable and beloved husband, farewell, thy years were few but thy virtues were many.  They are recorded not on this perishable stone but in the book of life and in the hearts of thy [loved ones]." Hazle Cemetery, Hazleton, PA

"Born 1843, died 1865 of disease contracted in the service of his country during the late war for the Union as a member of Co. K, 17th Regiment, PA Volunteers."  Heidelberg Union Cemetery, Slatington, PA

" the 94th year of his ageHe was an affectionate husband, a kind father, a sympathizing friend, a noble patriot, a brave soldier, and a devoted Christian.  Like Abraham it may in truth be said of him.  He died in a good old age, an old man and full of years, and was gathered to his Father, having served his country during her revolutionary struggle for liberty under Washington.  Having professed his faith in Jesus Christ while under the pastoral care of William Tennent and having acted as a caring elder in the First Presbyterian Church of Freehold for more than half a century.  He fell asleep in Jesus, the full hope in the first resurrection."  Tennent Presbyterian Cemetery, Tennent, NJ

Emma died aged 10 months, Anna aged 9 months.  "The beautiful angel came in our midst, Too lovely, too bright to remain.  She laughed awhile, twined her love round our hearts...."  Odd Fellows Cemetery, Tamaqua, PA

"Farewell my wife and children dear, though I am absent from you, do not fear, in Heaven above where all is love, we will meet to part no more.  Farewell, kind Father and Mother, and kind loving sisters and only brother, God called me home, he thought it best, I hope to meet you with the blest.  Asleep in Jesus, Oh, how sweet."    Kellers Church Cemetery, Bedminster, PA

"Farewell, farewell, dear Alberd, you have gone to that eternal shore, where grief and pain can come no more.  O may you there in peace be at rest, safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on his gentle breast.  We hope to meet you there ere long, to join with you in heavenly song."  Kellers Church Cemetery, Bedminster, PA
"Here lies what's mortal of Walker, deceased June 10, 1748, in the 92 year of his age.  Who long which patience bore life's heavy load, willing to spend to be spent for God, the noble portrait in a line to paint, he breathed a father, lived and died a saint, here sleeps in peace the aged sire's dust, till the glad trump arouse the sleeping just."   Tennent Presbyterian Cemetery, Tennent, NJ

"Here lies interred the body of Sarah Forman widow of Jonathan Forman and daughter of John Throckmorton Esq. who departed this life the eleventh day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-seven, aged fifty-nine years, six months and twenty four days.  Swift was her flight, short was the road, she closed her eyes, and saw her God."  Christ Church Cemetery, Shrewsbury, NJ

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