Tag Archives: Machpelah Cemetery

My Great Grandma was Superstitious ~ Tales from the Dark Side

I thought I would spend these next 3 weeks leading up to Halloween telling stories of things that happened in not only my childhood, but in the lives of my Ancestors that helped form most of my mothers superstition beliefs or were a result of her beliefs the ones she tried to pass down to my sister and me. I hope you will enjoy them and even get a laugh or two out of them.

My Great Grandma, Asenath “Dolly” Walt was born February 27, 1863, in Camden, Ray County, Missouri. Dolly was said to be a very superstitious woman. Anyone who visited her home knew that she did have what they considered unusual quirks.

It is said that Dolly was petrified of “demons”. She believed that at night they would creep around her home and try to gain access. She kept a large container of salt by both the front and back doors for when visitors came. Upon answering the door she would take a scoop of salt and place it across the doorway. If the person was not a “demon”, they could cross over the salt with no problem. The salt would have kept out any non-human who wanted to enter. I guess she never thought that a “demon” would probably not come knocking on her door, he would just kick it open and come in!

Machpelah Cemetery

Dolly’s fear of “demons” began at a young age. She had lived her entire life within the 16-mile radius between Camden and Lexington Missouri. Most of her relatives who had passed away were buried in Machpelah Cemetery in Lexington. Even as a young girl, this cemetery was considered an old one as the first burial there was in 1839. When Dolly was about 6 years old, her younger sister Naomi passed away at the age of 1. In those days visiting a cemetery, especially one that was so far away, was an all day event. This day was no exception. After the small service for Naomi the women went about laying out the picnic lunch for the mourners on the edge of the grounds. Dolly and her other siblings were racing around, darting in and out of the nearby woods. Dolly, in an attempt to hide from the others ran out of the woods and hid behind a large Headstone. That is when she saw it! A large man/beast come out of a grave and began walking slowly towards her. She ran terrified, screaming, all the way across the cemetery and into her Mother’s arms. When Dolly calmed down enough to speak, she told the adults what had happened. They tried to convince her that what she saw was the grave digger climbing out of the hole he had just dug. Try as they might no one could convince her that she hadn’t just seen a “demon”.

After this experience she refused to set foot in the Machpelah Cemetery. When her own daughter Ella (My Grandmother) died in 1921 she pleaded with her son-in-law not to bury her in Lexington and so Ella was buried in the Buckner Cemetery in the town of the same name about 25 miles west. Dolly spent 61 years of her life afraid of the “demon” that came out of the grave and was convinced that he was out to get her. Upon her death on February 19, 1931, Dolly’s husband John McGowan, had her buried in the Machpelah Cemetery.

Here are some more Superstitions that my mother had:

If your nose itches, you will soon be kissed by a fool.

If your house is clean on New Year’s Eve, you will have a clean house all year.

If you get a chill up your back or goose bumps, it means that someone is walking over the place where your grave will be.

Do you or anyone in your family have a Superstition? I would love to hear about them.

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Thursday at the Cemetery ~ Machpelah Cemetery Finale ~ Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO

pic TATCMachpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.

During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1852. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.

Among the prominent citizens buried here are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (US Congressman), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).

Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire. Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.

Among those mentioned above are several of my beloved family members. This is the 4th and final blog about Machpelah Cemetery.

Gladys Irene Winningham Markel CousinGladys Irene Winningham, my 1st cousin, was born on May 6, 1930, in Chapel, Missouri, she was the second of 2 children born to Limuel Winford and Leola Belle (Hughes) Winningham. She married Charles Otis Markel on September 4, 1948, in Lexington, Missouri. They had three children, 1 son, and 2 daughters. She died on June 10, 2001, in Richmond, Missouri, at the age of 71.

Charles Limuel Winningham CousinCharles Limuel Winningham, my 1st cousin was born on August 12, 1925, in Missouri, he was the first of 2 children born to Limuel Winford and Leola Belle (Hughes) Winningham. He married Lillian Fletcher on April 29, 1952, in Benton, Arkansas. There is no record of any children. He died on May 14, 1981, at the age of 55.

Uncle Orville & Aunt MeadeCharles Orville Hughes, my paternal Uncle, was born on August 21, 1905, in Hughesville, Missouri, the oldest of 9 children born to Charles E and Virginia Belle (Hayes) Hughes. He married Meadie Louise Haller on September 15, 1928, in Sedalia, Missouri. Meadie was born on January 19,1903 and died on April 4, 2001. They had three children, 2 daughters and 1 son, all 3 of them died before the age of 18. He died on July 1, 1987, in Lexington, Missouri, at the age of 81.

Aunt COra Walt GoodmanCora Walt, my 2x Great Aunt, was born on January 29, 1874, in Camden, Missouri, the 6th of 10 children born to Peter and Elizabeth (Marsh) Walt. She married Marshall D. Goodman on March 16, 1898, and they had six children, 4 sons, and 2 daughters. She died on August 30, 1919, at the age of 45.

SONY DSCWilliam Francis McGowan, my 2x Great Uncle was born on October 9, 1858, in Ray, Missouri the oldest of 8 children of Captain James and Lucy (Reavis) McGowan. He married Susannah Mullikin on November 7, 1882, in Wellington, Missouri. They had six children, 5 sons, and one daughter. He died on July 16, 1934, in Lexington, Missouri, at the age of 75.

Thomas William McGowan CousinThomas William McGowan, my 2x Great Uncle was born in 1877 in Ray, Missouri the second of 8 children of Captain James and Lucy (Reavis) McGowan. He married Lucy McDowell on July 26, 1905, in Lafayette, Missouri. They may have had children but I have no record of them. He died on September 19, 1945, in Camden, Missouri, at the age of 84.

James D McGowan Jr CousinJames Daniel McGowan Jr, my 2x Great Uncle, was born on November 12, 1862, in Ray, Missouri, the third of 8 children of Captain James and Lucy (Reavis) McGowan. He married Mary Alice Mulligan on November 12, 1883, in Lexington, Missouri. They had six children, 3 sons, and 3 daughters. He died on October 16, 1936, in Lexington, Missouri, at the age of 73.

John Walter McGowan CousinJohn Walter McGowan my 1st cousin 2 x removed was born on January 17, 1886, in Lexington, Missouri, the oldest of 6 children of James Daniel and Mary Alice (Mulligan) McGowan. He married Helen E. Smith in 1914. They had one daughter. He died on December 21, 1951, in his hometown at the age of 65.

Cousin Maggie May Jennings DannerMaggie Mae Danner, my 1st cousin 1x removed, was born on July 29, 1930, in Lafayette, Missouri, the last of 5 children born to David and Cora Ann (McGowan) Danner. She married Lucien Aubrey Jennings and they had one daughter together. She then married Garner Melvin Race on June 9, 1981, in Missouri. She died on January 19, 2009, in Lexington, Missouri, at the age of 78.

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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Thursday at the Cemetery~Machpelah Cemetery pt. 1~Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO

Machpelah Cemetery photoMachpelah Cemetery was originally known as the Waddell Family Cemetery. The first burial there was in 1839. In 1849, William Bradford Waddell donated his family’s cemetery, along with other nearby lands, to form Machpelah.

During the Civil War, many soldiers from both sides of the Battle of Lexington were buried at Machpelah. There is also a special memorial to the victims of the Saluda steamboat explosion of April 9, 1952. The Saluda carried Mormon immigrants from England and Wales who were traveling to Utah. Some of the bodies from that disaster are buried in a mass grave at the cemetery.

Machpelah Cemetery map

Among the prominent citizens buried at Machpelah are Stephen Wentworth (founder of Wentworth Military Academy), Ike Skelton (representative to U.S. Congress and chairman of the Armed Services Committee), William Waddell (one of the founders and operators of the Pony Express), and Gilead Rupe (the first settler of the area).

Cemetery records date only to 1885 with no record of earlier burials. Many headstones of the earlier burials can still be found. Records from the years of 1920 thru 1940 were destroyed by a fire.

Just inside the south entrance is a kiosk with a database of burial locations.

 

Amongst those mentioned above are several of my beloved family. Too many to feature in just one blog. So, over the next few weeks, I will post 4 or 5 headstones with a short bio of each person.

 

DadBenjamin Douglas Hughes was born on August 15, 1915, in Hughesville, Pettis Co, MO. He died on June 24, 1974, in Hollywood, Los Angeles Co, CA. He is my Dad. He was the 8th child and the 4th son born to Charles Hughes and Virginia Hayes. He was married 3 times, the 3rd time to my mother, and he had 3 children. The 1st one by his 1st was a son who died when he was 2 months old. The other two were my sister and I. Starting at age 15 he had a variety of jobs. He worked on the family farm, trained horses, worked in the coal mine, was a butcher, worked for the railroad, participated in the CCC in 1935 and was a carpenter and bricklayer. He died from lung cancer at the age of 58.

 

 

Ellie Hughes Willard Hankins was born on February 5, 1905, in Pettis Co, MO and died February 25,Aunt Ellie 1973, in Kansas City, Jackson Co, MO. She had a twin sister named Nellie. Ellie and her sister were both born with a hair lip which was eventually corrected when they were 10 years old. Her first marriage was to Mitchell Lee Willard when she was 17 years old and Mitchell was 24. They had 7 children, 3 daughters, and 4 sons. Mitchell died in January 1950 leaving Ellie a widow with 5 children under the age of 18. In November the same year, she married Chester Hankins. She died of heart failure at the age of 63.

 

 

Mitchel WillardMitchell Lee Willard, the husband of Ellie Hughes, was born March 25, 1898, in Kirksville, Adair Co, Mo and died January 30, 1950, in Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO. He worked as a Government River Worker and he was a farmer. He died of a cerebral hemorrhage.

 

 

John Henry McGowan, my mothers’ Grandfather, was born on May 10, 1863, in Henrietta, Ray Co, MOJohn Henry McGowan 2xGGrandpa and died April 26, 1957, in Lexington, Lafayette Co, MO. He married Asenath “Dollie” Walt on May 30, 1887. They had 8 children, 6 daughters, 1 son, and one child who died at birth. He worked in the coal mines around Lexington his entire life. His wife “Dollie” died on February 19, 1931. He lived alone in a home he owned until he was 85 years old. He lived the last 8 years of his life in the Goodloe Rest Home located in Lexington, MO. He died at the age of 93 of skin cancer with metastasis. He had cancer for 5 years. He also had Heart Disease.

 

 

I am a professional genealogist, writer, photographer, wife, mother, and grandma. I have two books available on Amazon.com: Your Family History: Doing It Right the First Time and Planning Your Genealogy Research Trip. You can also connect with me via Facebook or Twitter.

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