Epitaphs and Inscriptions

Gravestone inscriptions fall into two main categories, personalized information specific to the deceased (referred to here as an "epitaph") and non-specific information often taken from Biblical quotes or bereavement expressions (referred to here as "inscriptions"). Inscriptions tend to follow "fashions" in changing attitudes towards death. For example, early 20th Century markers emphasize peaceful hereafter, "She is at rest" or "He sleeps." The best known variant in this category is "rest in peace" or R.I.P.

The term" epitaph" is used in this project to refer to the biographic data that occasionally accompanies a stone. This category includes testaments to the deceased's work, church affiliation, or family life. For example, the Rev. M.T. Lewis' gravestone highlighted his professional accomplishments.

Above left: "His trials ended; his rest is won;" Center: "Virginia PFC, US Army, World War II;" Right: "Pride of Richmond Temple, No. 11 - Elks."