Are we there yet?
July 17-23, 2017
Some more last words
By Jay Edwards
There are epitaphs and then there are better ones. Not to judge at this point, but here are some more of the more original seen on headstones around and about.
• Andrew J. Olszak 1895-1979 “Abandoned in old age by his wife and children. May God be more understanding and merciful.” Sad, but it’s always satisfying to get the last word.
• Geo. Spencer, son of Cornelius J. and Carrie L. Millet “Lost life by stab in falling on ink eraser, evading six young women trying to give him birthday kisses in office Metropolitan Life Building.”
Ink eraser? Sounds kind of fishy. And to make it even worse, the fatal mishap happened on February 15, 1909, young George’s 15th birthday.
• “Through this inscription I wish to enter my dying protest against what is called the Democratic Party. I have watched it closely since the days of Jackson and know that all the misfortunes of our nation has come to it through this so called party, therefore, beware of this party of treason.” – Nathaniel Grigsby
According to Snopes, there’s quite the story behind Grigsby’s final words. As Abraham Lincoln’s friend and extended family member (his brother married Lincoln’s sister), Grigsby blamed the Democratic party for his death and, indeed, the entire Civil War. Twenty years after Lincoln was assassinated, Grigsby dictated his own epitaph as he lay on his deathbed and asked one of his sons to make sure the inscription was carried out. Guess he’s smiling now.
• Robert Clay Allison 1840 – 1887 “He never killed a man that did not need killing”
As one of the most accomplished gunslingers in the Old West, Allison killed his fair share of people. According to his friends, though, Allison was a gentleman – he never killed a man who didn’t have it coming.
• Bill Kugle 1/20/25 – 12/27/92 “He never voted for Republicans and had little to do with them”
Kugle was a member of the Texas House of Representatives.
• “May eternal damnation be upon those in Whaling Port who, without knowing me, have maliciously vilified me. May the curse of God be upon them and theirs” - Mary Dolencie
So much for forgive and forget. The story here is that when Mary Dolencie died in 1985 she wanted the world to know how angry she was at Whaling Port, her housing association. She believed her neighbors had it in for her, complaining about the number of cats she had and how she attracted pigeons to the area by feeding them. To get revenge, she had a curse engraved on her tombstone – but the people of Whaling Port say that so far, even decades later, things seem to be just fine.
• Herman Harband – “My wife Eleanor Arthur of Queens N.Y. lived like a princess for 20 years traveling the world with the best of everything. When I went blind she tried to poison me. Took all my money, all my medication and left me in the dark, alone and sick. It’s a miracle I escaped. I won’t see her in heaven because she’s surely going to Hell!”
FindAGrave says that this stone is actually a cenotaph – a memorial of sorts – not an actual gravestone. After exacting revenge on his wife, Harband arranged to be buried elsewhere. Upon his death, his wife sold the empty plot and had the cenotaph removed. It’s supposedly still in storage at Beth David Memorial Gardens in Hollywood, Florida.
• “Kay’s Fudge” (the actual recipe follows, but I’m not going to reprint it because I don’t want KM making any changes to hers) On Kay’s headstone, after the recipe, it reads, “Wherever she goes, there’s laughter.” We believe it.
Jay Edwards is publisher of the Daily Record. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.