Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History blog » Funny Bones, 1913

Funny Bones, 1913

By: Ardis E. Parshall - October 11, 2008

What was tickling the funny bones of our grandparents in 1913? Some funnies from the Juvenile Instructor of that year:

Not in the Army After All

A Methodist exhorter shouted: “Come up and join the army of the Lord.”

“I did join,” replied one of the congregation.

“Where’d you join?” asked the exhorter.

“In the Baptist Church.”

“Why, child,” said the exhorter, “you ain’t in the army; you’re in the navy.”

As Mother Used to Do.

He criticised her puddings and found fault with all her cake.
He wished she’d make such biscuits as his mother used to make;
She didn’t wash the dishes, and she didn’t make a stew,
Nor even mend his stockings, as his mother used to do.

His mother had six children, but by night her work was done,
His wife was always drudging, and yet had only one;
His mother always was well-dressed, his wife could be so, too,
If she would only manage as his mother used to do.

Ah, well, she wasn’t perfect, but she tried to do her best,
Until she thought at length her time had come to take a rest;
And so one day, when he the same harangue went through,
She just turned round and boxed his ears, as mother used to do.

A Question of Color

“My pa goes to the palmist to get his hand read,” boasted Freddy.

“I don’t know where my pa goes,” said Jimmie, “but he gets his nose red.”


I thought it mushroom when I found
It in the woods, forsaken;
But since I sleep beneath this mound,
I must have been mistaken.


Mrs. Beck – “What party does your husband belong to?”

Mrs. Peck – “I’m the party.”

The Sweet Thing

Fair Visitor – “Oh, don’t trouble to see me to the door.”

Hostess – “No trouble at all, dear. It’s a pleasure.”

More True Than Helpful

Anxious Traveler (addressing street urchin): “Can you tell me, my little man, the quickest way to reach the station?”

Street Urchin: “Run, mister!”

Why, the Idea!

Little Frank once asked, “Mother, did God make the monkey?”

“Yes,” his mother answered.

“Well, don’t you reckon he laughed when He got him done?”

An Oversight

“My papa’s just been called by the Lord to a new church,” said the minister’s little girl.

“Ith he goin’ to go?” lisped the other little girl.

“We don’t know yet,” said the little girl. “The Lord didn’t mention the salary.”

How to Tell a Turkey’s Age

“Casey,” said Pat, “how do yez tell th’ age of a tu’u’rkey?”

“Oi can always tell by the teeth,” said Casey.

“By the teeth!” exclaimed pat. “But a tu-u-rkey has no teeth.”

“No,” admitted Casey, “but Oi have.”

On Authority

Two men were hotly discussing the merits of a book. Finally one of them, himself an author, said to the other: “No, John, you can’t appreciate it. You never wrote a book yourself.”

“No,” retorted John, “and I never laid an egg, but I’m a better judge of an omelet than any hen in the state.”

The Same Breed

“Poor Hamlet had a dog’s life!”

“Well, wasn’t he a Great Dane?”

Some New Receipts

“So you sent $2 for those flesh reducing and hair-falling recipes. Well, what did you get?”

“A printed slip with this on it: ‘To reduce your flesh increase your worries.’”

“And what about the other?”

“Another slip which read: ‘Falling hair may be avoided by stepping nimbly aside when you see it coming your way.’”

Perilous Place

“Did youse git anyt’ing?” whispered the burglar on guard as his pal emerged from the window.

“Naw, de bloke wot lives here is a lawyer,” replied the other in disgust.

“Dat’s hard luck,” said the first; “did youse lose anyt’ing?”

No Diminution

Some people are always taking offense, but the supply never grows less.

Hard to Get

Teacher – “Why, Willie, these problems are all wrong. What is the trouble?”

Willie – “I don’no. I worked awful hard before I could even get ’em wrong.”

Executive Clemency

Restaurant Proprietor: “So you were in your last place for three years. Why did you leave?”

New Chef: “I was pardoned.”

Where He Slept

A prosperous farmer sent his son to New York to begin life as a clerk. After he had been in the metropolis for six months the farmer wrote the merchant to ascertain how his son was getting along and where he spent his nights. In due time the merchant sent a reply to the farmer which read:

“Your son sleeps in the store in the daytime. I don’t know where he spends his nights.”



  1. These jokes are so deliciously “gentile.” Ministers, carousing males, jailbirds.

    I like the mushroom epitaph. Here’s a banana one:

    In memory of Anna Hopewell
    Here lies the body of our Anna
    Done to death by a banana
    It wasn’t the fruit that laid her low
    But the skin of the thing that made her go.

    Or how about a lawyer epitaph. That takes care of two categories of humor in one fell swoop:

    Sir John Strange.
    Here lies an honest lawyer.
    And that is Strange.

    Comment by Researcher — October 11, 2008 @ 7:12 am

  2. Now if only the late Mr. Strange or the lamented Anna were Scots …

    Comment by Ardis E. Parshall — October 11, 2008 @ 7:51 am

  3. “As Mother Used to Do” is my favorite, but “An Oversight” and “Where He Slept” are close behind.

    I love these, Ardis. Whenever I read the puns, I can hear my father-in-law as clearly as if her were here. The man will go through nine bad puns just to get to the great one – and that tenth one generally is a great one.

    Comment by Ray — October 11, 2008 @ 10:24 am

  4. My favorites today are “Where He Slept,” “Epitaph,” and “More Truth than Helpful.” But I must be in a strange mood because I laughed at them all.

    My mother was born in 1908, so I am trying to picture her older siblings or parents laughing at these jokes.

    Comment by Maurine — October 11, 2008 @ 3:50 pm

  5. I like thr first one about Methodists and Baptists. Fun stuff. Thanks, Ardis.

    Comment by Christopher — October 13, 2008 @ 11:49 am

  6. Regarding that first joke and the others involving other churches, it is very different from the church publications I have been familiar with for much of my life that seem to observe the polite fiction that other religions do not exist. (Not a criticism, just a curiosity.)

    Comment by Researcher — October 13, 2008 @ 12:08 pm

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