Question of the Week: What is the most interesting tombstone you have found?

+15 votes

imageWhat interesting tombstone or grave marker have you come across? Please share with an answer here, on Facebook, or on any social media using the question image. Thanks!

in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (1.8m points)

23 Answers

+12 votes

2G Uncle Wesley Truslow drowned in the river at age 24.  His tombstone was apparently erected by his siblings as it's inscription begins, "In memory of our brother..."  Seems odd to me that it wasn't erected by his parents.  

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 5 (55.1k points)
Maybe when he died the parents were too distraught or didn't have enough money to erect a headstone? I've just recently had a memorial plaque put on my grandmother's grave who died over 10 years ago, her daughter didn't have the money for such an extravagance.
Was his drowning an accident or an act of suicide? I know that some very religious families won't erect a headstone for the family member if they took their own life; I had a friend who took his own life and I visit "his" tombstone but his name isn't on it and his family was very religious.
According to the newspaper account, he was swimming in the river with two other young men, so it was most likely an accident.
+20 votes
I would not call this a tombstone.  It's a tombsculture.

I could not get the picture to paste in so here is a link to their profile.
by Gurney Thompson G2G6 Pilot (202k points)
Wow! Thanks for sharing that, Gurney!
Do you know why their graves were marked by sculptures rather than the traditional headstone?  Was John a sculpture himself? The background story seems to be intriguing.
Sandra,  I cannot answer the why but I can tell you that both graves are recent.  One is 2017 and the other is 2019.  I have been to this cemetery twice recently and each time I find people checking this sculpture out.  It is not unusual for this cemetery to have different types of burial markers.  Here is another that is a water wheel with each paddle marked for a different family member.

There are other types of markers such as inscribed benches and then large rocks with memorial plaques attached for several people.  This cemetery is not inside any city limits so I think they can do what they want as long as they pay for the plot.
+11 votes

I’m working on a cemetery near me and haven’t created the profile yet, but one gravestone has the inscription:  “ Twin Daughters Born June 12th, 1852. One Survived Three And The Other Six Days. The First Grave In This Cemetery”.

by Robert Hvitfeldt G2G6 Pilot (144k points)

To be the first grave, it would have been so desolate during the funeral, empty space with a tiny grave. How sad sad

+15 votes

These are two photos I took in Oct 2017 at the Colon Cemetery in Havana, Cuba. 

The cemetery is very large and filled with fabulously ornate tombstones. On the left is a close photo of the stone of Amelia Goyri de Adot. She died on 3 May 1901 in childbirth. She is revered by Cubans as their unofficial saint. When she died, her also deceased infant child was laid at her feet in the same coffin. 

According to the legend, Amelia was exhumed years later and her body was discovered to be uncorrupted.  Moreover, the baby that had been laid at her feet was nestled in her arms. Cubans bring fresh flowers daily to her grave and pray for miracles. The photo on the right shows the lovely statue of her holding her baby. 

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (429k points)
Wow Alexis that is a magnificent tombstone
Thank you Susan for your wonderful comment. The cemetery was very beautiful, but with all the lovely fresh flowers every day—I thought Amelia’s grave was the most interesting.
I really think it was stunning I absolutely love it
+9 votes

Most interesting cemetery Hope Cemetery, Barre, Vermont

by Kay Knight G2G6 Pilot (420k points)
I've been on quite a few tours here in Australia of old cemeteries and am always fascinated with the stories of headstones particularly those that are so artistic as some these are in Hope Cemetery. Often they depict historical or personally significant events in a persons life.
Oh my goodness, Kay!! I was in Vermont 2 summers ago. I wish I had known about this. The monuments are incredible.
Wow amazing and I read on that site that stonecutters often had an ailment called "Silicosis". My G-Grandfather was a stonecutter in Massachusetts, I wonder if he suffered from the same thing.
+10 votes

There is a one of a kind headstone[tombstone] in Eaglehawk Cemetery in Victoria, Australia, that marks the grave of my 2nd great grandparents  John & Margaret Thomas. 

For years I wondered what the story was behind it. One day while doing a search online through the local newspapers I was surprised to read about the beautiful tiles that were personally commissioned and carried back from England by their sons.

Not so long ago I wrote a story on my blog about what I discover which you can read here

by Sandra Williamson G2G6 Mach 1 (19.9k points)
I saw aluminum headstones or perhaps copper by the green hue near Arcadia Florida. They were 2 3 d.ornate and madevto fit together like jigsaw
+7 votes
Epitaph of Freelove A. Southworth Niles

Endowed by nature with abundant wealth of intellect, with variuos and charming social qualitied cultivated and embellished by education, she was the favorite in the family, the charm in society and friend of all.  Freelove!  God gave thy name to be the keynote of thy nature; freely thou loved; free was thou loved.  Prompted by generocity, benevalance and choice, she bestowed a large share of her life upon the instruction of the young, in knowledge and virtue.  She died in hope of grace.  "They that will be wise (teachers} shall shine in the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars forever and ever.   Daniel XII 13
by Shelly Niles G2G1 (1.1k points)
edited by Mags Gaulden
+10 votes

I live in Ohio and mostly do my cemetery research in Ohio.  It is difficult for me to pick just one that to me is "THE" most interesting.  But, I'll share this one via "Find A Grave" It is the original gravemarker for Cordelia Baldwin buried at the Vienna Township Cemetery, in Trumbull County, Ohio.  She was not quite 6 years old when she died, but the marker for her grave is quite remarkable and one that makes her gravesite a focal point in the cemetery for it's ornate carvings.  I have not seen one like it anywhere.  You have to enlarge the photograph to see all of the fine details.  I am the admin. for Preserving Ohio's Cemeteries in Facebook and I have seen many grave markers from Ohio and across the country and none for me can compare to this one and its total original design.

by Linda Ellis G2G Crew (750 points)
+12 votes

Not one of my ancestors but in a graveyard in Bath not far from where I live

by David Bullock G2G Crew (990 points)
+11 votes

Not exactly a tombstone but my 4x great grandfather's tomb. I am the one on the right in case you were wondering.

by David Bullock G2G Crew (990 points)
edited by David Bullock
+8 votes

Trinity Churchyard in lower Manhattan contains one of the oldest graveyards in the country. There are people buried there from the earliest days of Manhattan, including many notable people. It can be a delight to wander through this old cemetery looking at inscriptions. Years ago, before phones that could take photos, I found several interesting inscriptions. One of these read:

Here lies _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
He was a good man, but he had his faults

I find this inscription hilarious. It really describes a lot of people that we know, but so odd to be that frank on a memorial stone. It makes one wonder about his faults.

I wish I could remember the name of the man buried there. I have been back to the church briefly twice, but have never been able to locate this very old tombstone again.

This is very similar to a quote from Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott who was born many years after this tombstone was made:

John is a good man, but he has his faults,...

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (143k points)
edited by Bill Vincent
+8 votes

Came across this on FindAGrave

"If you can read this you are standing on my boobs"

Had a good chuckle when I read it.

by Esmé van der Westhuizen G2G6 Pilot (125k points)
+7 votes

A grave stone in need of a WikiTree profile.  David Stoddard, son of William Stoddard, died Charleston, South Carolina, 5 Nov 1769.

by Peter Roberts G2G6 Pilot (562k points)
+6 votes

Little Merrit Beardsley's story is a tearjerker.
by John Beardsley G2G6 Mach 3 (38.0k points)
+11 votes

This still very readable 1847 gravestone of HA Cathey can be found in the Paw Creek Cemetery in Mecklenburg County, North Carolina. There is a very visible crack in the lower right-hand quadrant. The cost of removing the tree by the church might be prohibitive, and care would need to be taken if it were removed. It shouldn't have gotten to this point. Photo taken 21 December 2019.

by Pip Sheppard G2G Astronaut (2.2m points)
+6 votes
I was in a cemetery looking for a grave for a FaG request and I went under a tree in the oldest section of the cemetery. I nearly stumbled over a tiny headstone. It was covered in grass and hard to read, but finally got enough info from it to do some research on it.

It was a stone for a baby, the only child this couple had, a little boy. Nowhere in the cemetery records did it show this headstone. I looked up everything I could on him and his parents on Ancestry and updated FaG with the sources.

I'll never forget it. It made me passionate about old cemeteries and taking care of the oldest sections. That is still my favorite search requests, finding the oldest headstones per location.
by Yvonne Gammell G2G6 (8.3k points)
+6 votes

Sarah Weed-367 died in Ridgebury, Connecticut in April 1782. The inscription on her gravestone, still legible in the Old Ridgebury Graveyard on a recent visit, gives the cause: "Died by the small-pox by Inoculation April 8, 1782, aged 26 yrs 6 months, 2 days."[3] One senses that her parents, my ancestors Nathaniel and Sarah Benedict Weed, were not in favor of the major inoculation program instituted by the revolutionary government during the Revolutionary War. Live variola virus was administered in these inoculations, not the safer cowpox vaccination developed a few years later.

by Halsey Bullen G2G6 (8.6k points)
+4 votes
In the north aisle of the Collegiate Church of St. Peter at Westminster there is a square stone- now set in the wall with a modern replacement on the floor- which says Orare Ben Johnson. It is said that the Abbey authorities were asked how much a burial plot would cost. When told it was so much per square yard Ben Jonson said he would have one square yard-  in which he was buried upright. Friends paid a mason who happened to be there to carve the inscription. They got an extra "h" for nothing.
+4 votes

In 2013, my husband and I were travelling thru Virginia and stopped at this unusual sight.  It was a very large cement platform with over twenty headstones on it.  I contacted the church next door to the cemetery -

In reply to your inquiry regarding the large concrete block or perhaps there are two blocks with headstones that were unearthed, broken and unidentifiable when found. Therefore they cemented the stones in the concrete square(s) as they represent the people who were buried there. I have ancestors who are buried there. Unfortunately, the church records are not complete and certain identification is not possible. The cemetery is now well cared for. Cynthia Dodd Nichols Russell

Please see the Harmony United Church on, ID 1024783.


by Barbara Millner G2G Crew (320 points)
+3 votes

I manage a WikiTree Cemetery and have done some research on one of the inhabitants, Miss. Elizabeth Cotton. Her gravestone is already unique in the cemetery as it, according to her FAG Memorial, "lies upon the only table monument in the yard." But the inscription also seems fairly unique, and I was never sure I completely understood the underlying meaning:

Here lyes the Remains of
Daughter of the Revd
late of Sandwich Decd; Who
Died a VIRGIN October 12th
1742, Ætatis 46.
"If a Virgin Marry She hath not Sinned
Nevertheless Such shall have trouble in the Flesh
But He that giveth her not in Marriage doth better,
She is happier if She so Abide." 
by Chip White G2G6 Mach 1 (13.6k points)
The inscription is from the Bible, taken from three verses in First Corinthians chapter 7... verses 28, 38, and 40.

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