Jackie Asque made her funeral arrangements, she wrote down instructions
for a tombstone inscription. When she passed away at Lufkin
in 1983, the epitaph was chiseled into her gravestone: “See, I told
you I was sick.”
Traveling across East Texas,
graveyard visitors are often rewarded with other humorous and poignant
a century ago, malpractice lawsuits were unknown, so a family used
a tombstones to castigate a doctor with this inscription: “In memory
of my darling child, Edith E., youngest daughter of Robert and S.C.
Smith. Died a victim to an experiment in surgery by Dr. Warren Stone
of New Orleans, May 18, 1872.”
Charlie Ratliff of Jasper
is one of at least two East Texans with two gravestones. When he lost
his right arm to cancer, he had it buried in Little Hope Cemetery
with a marker bearing a carving of an arm and hand. When Charlie died
four years later, the rest of his body was interred beside the arm.
The same thing happened to Winnie Jones, who lost a leg buried it
in St. Luke’s Cemetery near San
Augustine with the inscription: “Here lies Winnie Jones’ leg.”
When Winnie died, she was buried near her leg with the notation: “Here
lies Winnie Jones.”
In a Canton cemetery, an
automobile dealer had his family inscribe this on his tombstone: “I
made a lot of deals during my lifetime, but I sure went in the hole
on this one.”
In Polk County, Bobby
Hoffman had this message carved on his headstone: “I did everything
my mother told me not to do and had a really good time.”
Texans have always had a deep love for their animals,
as reflected in a number of cemeteries.
Ottie the horse, owned by Lufkin’s
Humason family, pulled an ice wagon and led funerals. When she died
in 1918 she was buried just outside Glendale Cemetery, but when a
utility line was built across her grave, her tombstone was relocated
inside the Humasons’ family plot. People today believe Ottie is buried
inside the cemetery.
Shorty the Squirrel has a grave on Tyler’s
square. Shorty lived among the square’s trees, thriving on handouts.
When he was injured by an automobile and died, the entire town mourned
and he was buried in a special grave with a tombstone reading: “Shorty
the Squirrel: 1948-1963.”
When Major Joseph N. Dark, a Hardin
County pioneer and Civil War hero, died in 1905, he instructed
his family to chisel an old Irish poem on his tombstone in Aaron Cemetery:
Remember, friends, as you pass by,
As you are now, so Once was I,
As I am now so you must be,
Prepare for Death and follow me.
Governor Jim Allred often referred to Dark’s epitaph as he traveled
across Texas and added to the inscription.
To follow you I’ll not consent
Until I know which way you went.
Things Historical May
26, 2008 Column.
Published with permission
A weekly column syndicated in 70 East Texas newspapers
See Texas Cemeteries