Days Gone By - stories from the past

Stroll through the haunted Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama and visit the the famous people buried there [film and photographs]

[Note – The annual Maple Hill Cemetery Stroll will take place on Sunday, October 18. Call for more information about rain date. This event is free to the public and features over 80 locals dressed in period costume portraying both the famous and infamous people buried at Maple Hill Cemetery along with noteables affiliated there. The cemetery was recently added to the National Register of Historic Places. Characters include five Alabama governors buried there, the Secretary of War who ordered the first shot at Ft. Sumter, a Gypsy Queen, and visit by Tallulah Bankhead the famous starlet born in Huntsville. Donations restore headstones and iron work damaged by time, vandalism, and weather. Call 256-533-5723 for more information.]


Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama has many ghost stories attached to it.  Five governors of Alabama rest in Maple Hill Cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. One of these governors is Thomas Bibb, Alabama’s second governor.  Belle Mina

 

Governor Thomas Bibb

thomas bibb

He is the subject of a one of many ghost stories connected with the cemetery. It is said that if a person stands near his grave at dusk on warm evenings, a stately carriage drawn by four black horses can be seen driving with the governor seated in the carriage.

Historic Huntsville A

The five Alabama governors buried in the cemetery are:

  1. Thomas Bibb (1782-1839) served 1820-1821
  2. Clement Comer Clay (1789-1866) served 1835 to 1837, formerly a U. S. Representative and U. S. Senator
  3. Reuben Chapman (1789-1882) served 1847 to 1849, formerly a U. S. Representative
  4. Robert M. Patton (1809-1885) served 1865 to 1868
  5. David P. Lewis (1820-1884) served 1872 to 1874

Maple Hill Cemetery is the oldest and largest cemetery in Huntsville, Alabama. On September 14, 1822, LeRoy Pope sold the original two acres of land to the city of Huntsville to be used for the cemetery. The oldest marked grave is that of Mary Frances Atwood, the infant daughter of William and Martha Caroline Atwood, who died September 17, 1820.Mary Frances Atwood

The Huntsville Pilgrimage Association has an annual free cemetery stroll that benefits the cemetery. Donations are accepted and appreciated. Donations help to restore and preserve the cemetery.  Click here for more information.

 

 

Another ghost story connected to the cemetery is the ‘Dead Children’s Playgrond’. Some people say that it is the spirits of the cemetery’s children that come out to play. But another legend tells another story, around 1960 several children were abducted and their bodies were later found at the area of the Dead Children’s Playground. It is said that swings move by themselves and sometimes the ghosts of children are seen playing at the grounds. People have also heard laughter and children calling out, when no one has been in the area.maple-hill-cemetery swings

The cemetery was expanded later to include two acres on which LeRoy Pope and his family are buried. During the Civil War, 187 unknown Confederate soldiers and an uncertain number of Union soldiers were buried there.

Many other notable people in Alabama, including several senators, representatives, Confederate leaders, Union leaders and businessmen are buried in the cemetery as well.

Another ghost story concerns one of these businessmen. Albert Russel Erskine ( 1871-1933) was an industrial magnate, dropped out of school at the age of 15. He started his career as a $15 a week railroad office boy and through hard work became the president of the large Studebaker Automobile industry in South Bend, Indiana. He was a civic leader and president of Notre Dame University’s lay board. But when the Studebaker Company went into receivership after the depression, he shot himself. Many years before, he built an imposing mausoleum in Maple Hill Cemetery and he was buried there. It is said that an apparition of an angel appears at night on the portal of his mausoleum.

Albert Russel Erskine mausoleum

 

Erskine mansoleum

There are now over 80,000 people buried in Maple Hill Cemetery and it covers over 100 acres.

VINEGAR OF THE FOUR THIEVES: Recipes & curious tips from the past – now in paperback

 

Check out genealogy books and novels by Donna R. Causey

 

Vinegar of the Four Thieves: Recipes & Curious Tips from the Past


Features: Vinegar of the Four Thieves Recipes Curious Tips from the Past
By (author): Donna R Causey
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About Donna R Causey

Donna R. Causey, resident of Alabama, was a teacher in the public school system for twenty years. When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing. She developed the websites www.alabamapioneers and www.daysgoneby.me
All her books can be purchased at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.
She has authored numerous genealogy books.
RIBBON OF LOVE: A Novel Of Colonial America (TAPESTRY OF LOVE)
is her first novel in the Tapestry of Love about her family where she uses actual characters, facts, dates and places to create a story about life as it might have happened in colonial Virginia. Faith and Courage: Tapestry of Love (Volume 2)
is the second book and the third FreeHearts: A Novel of Colonial America (Book 3 in the Tapestry of Love Series)
Discordance: The Cottinghams (Volume 1)
is the continuation of the story. .
For a complete list of books, visit Donna R Causey

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16 comments

  1. Becky Vann Woo

    Maple Hill is absolutely beautiful. I recently attended a burial there and was struck by the old trees and beautiful tombstones. It is well tended and so serene.

  2. Hagatha Chrispie

    Elizabeth, this looks like a cool Sunday afternoon thing to do…

  3. Elizabeth Trexler Pate

    They canceled the last cemetery stroll that I knew about because we had a gully washer of a storm.

  4. Elizabeth Trexler Pate

    Yes! It was actually fairly close to my old apartment.

  5. Michael Hyatt

    Dead Childrens Playground

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed it. When is the next cemetery stroll?

  6. Andrea Wilson

    The cemetery stroll is October 18th 2015.

    1. Alabama Pioneers

      Thanks for the correction. The date was evidently listed wrong on an Alabama Events calendar.

  7. Margaret Kennamer Cox

    I thought I had read that it is 18th. I had arranged some obligations around so that maybe I could attend.

  8. Linda Cobb White Roland

    The correct date is Oct. 18th

  9. My Great Grandfather, judge J.W.B. Hawkins, is buried there. I am the grand daughter of Mary Sene Hawkins Boyce.

    1. Are you by chance related to Meshack Boyce and his wife Seleta of Gwinnett Co. Ga ?

  10. Are/is there a book as well to read the history dipicted of this tour?

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