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Washington, New Hampshire

Captain Jones' Leg

A gravestone marks where a man's lost limb was laid to rest. 

In 1804, a man named Captain Samuel Jones was doing construction work when his leg became pinned between a building and a fence. It was so badly mangled it had to be amputated. Luckily for Jones, loss of limb didn’t automatically mean loss of life.

He managed to survive, and then did what any reasonable person would do with a body part lost in a violent accident: He held a funeral for his leg and buried it in the town graveyard.

Supposedly, people at the time believed that affording any severed appendages a proper, dignified burial would lessen the chance of suffering from any phantom pains.

The story told by the local historical society is that Captain Jones was the proprietor of the local tavern, so after freeing his leg from the accident some of his inventory was used to abate the pain while awaiting the doctor. His friends took advantage of the open store room and joined the captain in his drunkenness. After the successful removal of his leg, the drunken revelers held a funeral and burial for the appendage.

At the time, Jones was living in the rural town of Washington, New Hampshire. He eventually moved from the area, and reports are conflicting as to whether the rest of him was buried in Boston or Rhode Island. The current belief of the local historical society is that he is buried somewhere in the Bronx, New York. His leg, however, remains in its original resting place.

The gravestone was supposedly stolen by local college students, and after being found in a dorm room, it was returned the local police chief. It was then set in concrete to ensure its traveling days were over.

Know Before You Go

Location of gravestone: 43.176, -72.10077