Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa

Woodland Cemetery, Des Moines, Iowa

Only sleeping


Dear Mother in Earth’s thorny paths,

How long thy feet have trod.

To find at last this peaceful rest,

Safe in the arms of God.


Sleep on sweet babe, and take thy rest,

God calls away when He thinks best.


Asleep in Jesus! Peaceful rest,

Whose waking is supremely blest.



Happy infant, early blest,

Rest, in peaceful slumber, rest.



There is rest in Heaven.



May he rest in peace.



Weep not, he is at rest.



Sleep on brother, thy work is done,

Jesus has come and borne thee home.



Asleep in Jesus!  Blessed sleep,

From which none ever wake to weep!



Alas! She has left us, her spirit has fled,

Her body now slumbers along with the dead.



To a glad dream of slumber, which wakens in bliss,

She hath passed to the world of the holy from this.



Death is but to sleep in Jesus,

When this life is o-er:

And to sorrows, sins, diseases,

Never to awaken more.



She sleeps in the valley so sweet,

But her spirit has taken its flight:

Lo! Her form is but dust ‘neath our feet,

While she is an angel of light.



Asleep in Jesus precious thought!

With peace and life eternal fraught:

He said—whose power upholds the sky—

Believing ye shall never die.



How sleep the brave, who sink to rest,

By all their country’s wishes blest.



Rest, soldier, rest, thy warfare o’er,

Sleep the sleep that knows no breaking,

Dream of battlefields no more,

Days of danger, nights of waking.



He is not dead but sleepth.

He giveth his beloved sleep



Weep not, she is not dead, but sleepth.



Them also who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.


There are many epitaphs to be found in cemeteries that equate death to sleep and to rest.  Those words are meant to comfort the living.

Sometimes the gravestones themselves convey that metaphor.


In the Woodland Cemetery at Des Moines, Iowa, the gravestone for three children of Jefferson Scott and Sarah Polk is made to look like a bedstead with three small pillows at the headboard, one pillow for each child.  The gravestone is badly weathered but the names of each of child was carved in an oval on the headboard.  The footboard is carved with their parents’ names, “Children of J. S. & Julia Polk“.

Jefferson Scott Polk was a highly successful Des Moines lawyer and business man.  He and his wife, Sarah Herndon Polk had six children, three of whom died in childhood—Lutie Lee (August 8, 1861-March 10, 1871; Daniel S. (March 8, 1870-March 12, 1871); Mary Blanton “Mollie” (December 22, 1854-May 22, 1863)—are buried next to their parents in the bedstead gravestone.

Note: I first saw the gravestone above on the Website:  Beth Santore, the Webmaster, has photographed hundreds of cemeteries in Ohio, as well as, making photo forays into neighboring states.  I highly recommend her Website, especially for those tramping around Ohio graveyards!


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