Archive for July 14th, 2009


A June post presented some of the motifs on nineteenth-century Ontario gravestones. Epitaphs are also common on old markers, with the most popular being four-line rhyming verses. Many of the epitaphs are difficult to read as the small print has been eroded. One better-preserved example is found on the marker of John Palmer, above, who died November 19, 1878. The motif features the sign of the Masons. Verses were repeated on gravestones across the province, probably passed by word of mouth from parish to parish. One of the most popular is repeated on John Palmer’s marker. It reads:

A faithful friend, a husband dear,
A tender parent lieth here.
Great is the loss that we sustain
But hope in Heaven to meet again.


John Reyner died June 20, 1852, aged 29. Interestingly, on his wife’s marker their surname is shown as Raynar. His epitaph reads:

Weep not for me my three children dear
For I am not dead but sleepeth here.
Short was my day. Long is my rest.
God thought it best to call me hence.

Harry Murphy was just 14 years old when he died in 1898. His epitaph reads:

One precious to our hearts has gone
The voice we loved is stilled.
The place made vacant in our home
Can never more be filled.
Our Father in His wisdom called
The boon His love had given;
And though on earth the body lies
The soul is safe in Heaven.


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