I found this story on Futility Closet's blog here. The original source was Susan Darling Safford's Quaint Epitaphs (1895). I really enjoy the thought of this author walking around graveyards for several months to collect material. Here are some of the 'quaint' epitaphs she found:
"Sacred to the memory of Anthony Drake,
"Who died for peace and quietness sake.
"His wife was constantly scolding and scoffing,
"So he sought repose in a twelve dollar coffin."
[Wait, surely his wife would have been the one to pick out the engraving on his tombstone? Unless he ordered it beforehand, or had a really, really hilarious buddy who handled this stuff]
"Here lies my wife a sad slatterned shrew
"If I said I regretted her I should lie too."
[Okay, how many of these are about horrible wives?]
Within this grave do lie
Back to back my wife and I.
When the last trump the air shall fill,
If she gets up I’ll just lie still.
[Answer: All of them, apparently]
Here lies the body of Obadiah Wilkinson
And Ruth, his wife.
Their warfare is accomplished.
Here lies the body of Sarah Sexton
She was a wife that never vexed one.
But I can’t say as much for the one at the next stone.
[How much do you have to hate someone you're not even married to in order to make sure your wife's grave is placed next to theirs so your poem can rhyme? Good lord, who was this other woman? Unless, of course, the other woman was his first wife.]
Here lies Jane Smith,
Wife of Thomas Smith, Marble Cutter.
This monument was erected by her husband as a tribute
to her memory and a specimen of his work.
Monuments of this same style are two hundred and fifty dollars.
Then I found out that the book was online (linked above), so I found some more quotations of my own.
"The little hero that lies here
"Was conquered by the diarrhoea."
"Accidentally shot as a mark of
"affection by his brother.
"After life's fever, I sleep well."
[Was his brother Michael Corleone?]
"Here lies old Caleb Hamm
"By trade a bum.
"When he died the devil cried,
"Come, Caleb, come."
"Beneath this stone our baby lays
"He neither cries or hollers
"He lived just one and twenty days,
"And cost us forty dollars."
"Here lies the body of old Uncle David
"Who died in the hope of being sa-ved.
"Where he's gone or how he fares,
"Nobody knows and nobody cares."
"Sacred to the memory of three twins."
These go on and on for pages, so if you want a good morbid giggle for your morning, I suggest you have a look.