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Skyward Gaze, Earthward Touch

Memorial for H. Annie Marshall (1879-1890) in Elmwood (Centralia) Cemetery on Gragg Street, Centralia, Marion County, Illinois. Originally called Centralia Cemetery, this graveyard was in use in the 1860s but not officially established until 1877. Its name was changed to Elmwood Cemetery in 1921.

Deep inside Elmwood sits a large, granite monument shaped like a tabernacle or an ancient Greek temple with four columns. At the top of the monument stands a nearly life-sized statue of a young girl with flowing locks of hair. In her hands she holds a violin. The statue depicts Harriet Annie, the daughter of Dr. Winfield and Eoline Marshall. Annie died of diphtheria in 1890, a few weeks after her eleventh birthday.

A popular local legend maintains that the sweet strains of a violin can be heard emanating from the cemetery at night. The origin of these ethereal notes is said to be none other than the statue of “Violin Annie.”  Some locals also believe that Annie’s statue glows on Halloween night.

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Some Seek Forgiveness, Others Escape

Cumberland Cemetery gate at 2580 E. County Road, northwest of Wenona, Marshall County, Illinois. Cumberland Cemetery is rich in history. It was the site of the first farm in Evans Township, and its rolling hills were once occupied by a fort built during the Black Hawk War to protect nearby settlers from marauding Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians. It’s also a magnet for area folklore: it’s rumored to be home to a headless lady, spook lights, and the ghost of a little girl. Its first burial is said to have been 13-year-old Lucy Darnell, whose family owned the land in 1829.

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Angel Below

Headstone for an infant named Wilkes (1965-1965) in Girls School Cemetery on Fox Run Drive, Geneva, Kane County, Illinois. This tiny cemetery is all that remains of the Illinois State Training School for Girls at Geneva, which for 84 years housed adolescent girls between the ages of 10 and 16 who had been convicted of offenses punishable by law.

Inevitably, deaths from illness and suicide occurred at the facility. Girls without families, or who had been disowned, were buried in a cemetery on the property. Several dozen infants were buried there as well, and today the cemetery contains 51 graves. After the institution closed and was torn down, a plaque was erected at the cemetery that reads:

Beginning in 1894, this land was used by various government agencies as a center for ‘wayward girls’. The colonial-style cottages, service buildings and fences are gone, but these 51 graves remain. These markers are a testimony that they are no longer wayward but home with their Creator. My God’s peace be with their souls.

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Illusion’s Play

Headstone for Edward LeRoy Tabler (1840-1866) in Aux Sable Cemetery, on Brown Road south of E. Shady Oaks Road, Minooka, Grundy County, Illinois. Edward served in Company K, 51st Illinois Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. The 51st Illinois was in Maj. Gen. Oliver O. Howard’s IV Corps in the Union Army of the Cumberland during the Atlanta Campaign. Edward survived the war, only to get kicked in the head by a mule and die at the age of 25.

Aux Sable is a quaint, garden-like cemetery tucked in the woods near Aux Sable Creek. The nearby town of Minooka was platted in 1852, so the cemetery probably dates back to that time. Despite an otherwise mundane existence, it continues to be an incubator for ghost stories. The most notable concerns the ghost of a young girl that has been seen lurking around the cemetery. A remote cemetery, hidden from prying eyes and a favorite drinking spot for teens, was a natural incubator for such rumors.

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Indwelling Ascent

Grave marker for the Moss family in Bachelor’s Grove Cemetery in Rubio Woods Forest Preserve, Midlothian, Cook County, Illinois. There are at least seven members of the Moss family buried in Bachelor’s Grove, but due to extensive vandalism, the exact locations of their graves is unknown.

Bachelor’s Grove is one of the most famous haunted cemeteries in America. It was abandoned in the early-twentieth century and is allegedly home to a plethora of strange phenomenon, including the White Lady (or Madonna) of Bachelor’s Grove, who is said to be searching for her lost infant.

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