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Epitaph Index
Epitaphs: A-C
Adams, Nick

Actor of Hollywood Screens
Adams starred in the televison series, The Rebel: Johnny Yuma, during the fifties and early sixties.  His best role, however, was as Andy Griffith's worried sidekick in No Time For Sergeants.  Johnny  Cash sang the theme song for The Rebel.

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Albee, Eleazer

Eleazer Albee
Born in Rockingham, Vt.
Died in Stamstead [Quebec] Aug. 28, 1864

He went into Voluntary Banishment from his
Beloved Native Country, during the Reigning
Terror in the Third Year of the 
Misrule of Abraham the First

It's easy to forget that Abraham Lincoln was a very unpopular president and faced considerable opposition throughout the North and Midwest.                                         

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Alexander the Great

A tomb now suffices for him
whom the world was not enough
Legend has it that Alexander asked to be buried at the Ammoneion of the Libyan Oasis in modern-day Siwa, however during the struggle for succession following his death, one of his generals, Perdikkas, had Alexander's mummified remains transported to Macedon in an magnificent golden funeral cart. Ptolemy's forces intercepted the procession and rerouted the remains to Memphis in Egypt to display as a symbol legitimizing his rule over that part of Alexander's former empire.  Eventually, Ptolemy's son moved the remains a final time to the new capital, Alexandria, however over the centuries, Alexanders mummy was eventually lost. 

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Allen, Gracie and George Burns

  Together Again
One of the most popular American comedy teams ever, George Burns and his wife, Gracie Allen, first performed together in vaudeville in 1922 and continued their act on radio and television until 1958 when illness forced Gracie's retirement.  Gracie died in 1964, but George continued to perform in movies and on television until his death at 100 in 1996.

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Anthony, Susan B.

  Liberty, Humanity, Justice, Equality

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Arthur, King (last words)

Hic jacet Arthurus,
rex quondam rexque futurus
"Here lies Arthur, the once and future king" per Sir Thomas Malory

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Barker, Kate "Ma"

The Perfect Night
       Shall End

  In Bright Day.
Revisionist history has again raised its head, and today Ma Barker and her vile family of sadistic killers are often sympathetically portrayed as poor, poverty-stricken victims of Herbert Hoover's depression and as targets of a conspiracy by J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI.

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Bean, Judge Roy

 Law West of the Pecos
Roy Bean, the self-appointed "Law West of the Pecos," held a farcical court in a desolate area of west Texas from his Jersey Lily Saloon in the tent city he named Langtry in honor of his favorite performer.  Legend has it that Bean sent many a miscreant to his death, but it appears that he fabricated his reputation as the "Hangin' Judge" by appropriating a series of true tales about a real hanging judge, Isaac Parker of Arkansas.  While there is no doubt Bean threatened to hang hundreds, historians have found no evidence that he ever sentenced anyone to death.

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Beecher, Henry Ward

  He thinketh
      no evil.

Beecher was the most influential and popular American preacher in the mid-1800s.  A proponent of woman's suffrage, evolution, temperance, and abolition, Beecher despised Catholics--especially Irish-Catholics.  He claimed that there was more "moral superiority" in a Sharps Rifle than in the Bible, and secretly shipped boxes of them, purchased by donations to his gigantic Plymouth Church in Brooklyn, to Kansas to arm the Jayhawkers.  Beecher railed against "free love" from his pulpit, however he was caught in adulterous scandal that captured headlines across the United States for months.

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Beery, Wallace

No Man Is Indispensable
But Some Are Irreplaceable

Beery was a remarkable movie star whose career lasted over thirty-five years.  Most famous for his roll as Long John Silver in Treasure Island, Beery won an academy award as "The Champ."  Although his acting was superb, he apparently was a mean and cruel man, especially when drunk.  He enjoyed mistreating the child actors who often worked with him.  Jackie Cooper has called Beery "the most sadistic person I've ever known," and crew members had to physically protect Margaret O'Brien from Beery, who he enjoyed viciously pinching.

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Berkeley, Busby

2D LT     U.S. ARMY

1895        1976

Berkeley was one of the most influential Hollywood directors and choreographers of the 1930s and is often credited with establishing the movie musical as a film genre.  He is most famous for his over-the-top, kaleidioscopic production numbers that used hundreds of showgirls in series of fluid geometric patterns.

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Blanc, Mel

"That's All Folks"

Mel Blanc first achieved fame providing comical voices for radio programs to include The Jack Benny Program, Burns and Allen, and The Abbott and Costello Show.  He found his true calling, though, as the voice of scores of cartoon characters during the golden years of American animation.  Blanc characters include Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Woody Woodpecker, Tweety Bird, Sylvester, Yosemite Sam, the Tasmanian Devil, Barney Rubble, Dino, Cosmo G. Spacely, Secret Squirrel, and many, many more.  "That's all folks" is, of course Porky Pig's sign-off for Warner Brothers cartoons.

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Bligh, William

To The Memory Of
William Bligh, Esquire F.R.S.
Vice Admiral Of The Blue,
The Celebrated Navigator
Who First Transplanted The Breadfruit Tree
From Otahette To The West Indies,
Bravely fought The Battles Of His Country
And Died Beloved, Respected, And Lamented
On The 7th Day Of December, 1817
Aged 64

Although Bligh, most famous a the Captain of HMS Bounty, is often portrayed as a cruel commander, historical records show that he was actually far more lenient than most of his peers.  He did, however, have a sarcastic and demeaning manner  which grated on his officers and seamen.  Some have attributed the muntiny on the Bounty to his leniency as well as numerous new seaman who found a return to naval service distasteful after spending months lollygagging in Tahiti while awaiting breadfruit plants to mature enough to be able to survive a sea voyage.

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Bong, Richard Ira

 America's Ace of Aces

Bong is America's most decorated pilot, having received both the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Flying Cross for his service in World War II.  Between December 1942 and September 1944, Bong shot down 40 Japanese aircraft, far surpassing Eddie Rickenbacker's total in World War I.  Following Bong's fortieth kill, he was removed from combat and returned to the states where he served as a test pilot for new jet aircraft.  Bong died in a crash in August, 1945 while testing the Lockheed P-80 "Shooting Star" jet fighter.

Boulanger, General Georges and Marguerite de Bonnemains
Marguerite de Bonnemains
Georges Boulanger

See you soon
Could I really live
two and a half months without you

General Boulanger used the discontent in France following the Franco-Prussian War to support a near attempt to overthrow the government.  When his mistress, Marguerite Bonnemains, died in 1891, Boulanger personally chose her epitaph.  Two and one half months later, he returned to her grave and shot himself in the head.
Brooke, Rupert

            If I should die,
      think only this of me:

  That there's some corner
          of a foreign field

   That is for ever England.

Once proclaimed by Yeats to be the most handsome man in England, Brooke was a promising poet and had a volume of poetry ready for publication when war broke out in 1915.  Brooke had volunteered for service and was on board ship bound for Gallipoli when on Easter Sunday in 1915--the same day that his volume of poetry was published--he died of blood poisoning and was buried on the Island of Skyros in the Aegean Sea.

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Burns, Robert

To the Memory of
Robert Burns the Ayrshire Bard
who was born at Doonside
On the 29th of January 1759,
and died at Dumbries
On the 22nd of July 1796 O Rabbie Burns, the Man, the Brither
And art thou goune--and gone for ever;
And has thou crossed that unknown river,
Life's dreary bound?
Like thee, where shall we find anither
The world around?
Go to your sculptur'd tombs, ye Great,
In all the tinsel trash of state; 
But by thy honest turf I'll wait,
Thou man of worth.
And weep the sweetest poet's fate,
E'er lived on earth

Robert Burns died in bed after lying in near delirium for several days.  The cause of his death most likely was bacterial endocarditis secondary to chronic rheumatic heart disease. Rheumatic heart disease affects the membrane surrounding the heart and was likely related to his having suffered from rheumatic fever as a child. 

Unfortunately, Burns first biographer, Dr. James Currie, was rather puritanical by nature.  He was put off by true stories of Burn's bouts of drinking and womanizing and concocted a legend that his death was caused by a combination of alcoholism and venereal disease.

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Camp, Walter

      The Father of
   American Football

Walter Camp played on the Yale varsity football team from 1877 to 1882, serving as its captain for three of those years during which time the team compiled a 25-1-6 record.  Over the next fifty years, he developed many of the rules and standards that are integral to today's game including play from the line of scrimmage instead of the rugby scrum, scoring, team size, the offensive line, the backfield, and many more.  He was an incessant champion of the game and wrote hundreds of newpaper articles, magazine features and books--both fiction and non-fiction about the sport.  He was instrumental in founding the NCAA and selected the first All American team.

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Capone, Alphonse

    My Jesus Mercy

I suspect that it was wishful thinking on Al Capone's part to include the oft repeated phrase from the Catholic Memorial Prayer for Suffering Souls in Purgatory on his gravestone.  By my reasoning, if there is a heaven, purgatory, and hell, it's a safe bet that Capone--who once had his bodyguards lash three assoicates to chairs so he could leisurely beat them to death with a baseball bat--is in the latter.  While Capone could likely reside in several of hell's circles described by Dante, I would guess he's most likely in the outer ring of the 7th circle, that region reserved for the most violent souls, immersed for eternity to the top of his head in boiling blood.

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Castlereagh, Viscount Robert Stewart

 Posterity will ne'er

   a nobler grave
        than this.

 Here lie the bones
    of Castlereagh

    Stop, traveler,
         and piss.

Castlereagh was fairly productive and competent Anglo-Irish politician who represented the United Kingdom at Congress of Vienna and played an influential role in the passage of the Irish Act of Union.  Despite his success and many achievements, Castlereagh was despised by many.  He began to exhibit signs of paranoia in 1821, and confided one of his long-standing, but unfounded worries--being blackmailed for having  homosexual contact with a soldier at a non-descript pub--to King George IV after which the king adviced him to consult with a physician.  Instead, Castlereagh returned to his country estate and killed himself by cutting his own throat with a letter opener.  Londoners jeered at his funeral procession, and cheered when his casket was taken into Westminster Abbey for internment.  Lord Byron, one of Castlereagh's detractors, composed an epitaph that unfortunately was not used.

Coleridge, Samuel Taylor

   Stop, Christian passer-by:
         Stop, child of God, 

 And read, with gentle breast.
         Beneath this sod 

A poet lies, or that which once
              seem'd he-- 

  O, lift one thought in prayer
              for S. T. C.-- 

  That he who many a year
        with toil of breath 

 Found death in life, may here
          find life in death: 

    Mercy for praise--to be
       forgiven for fame--

He ask'd, and hoped
through Christ.
Do thou the same.

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Copernicus, Nicolaus


 (Stand, Sun, move not)

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