Gene & I have been going on cemetery excursions for years & are used to all kinds of adventures the most of which is getting lost.  We've braved chiggers, ticks, snakes, pigs, a goat, crawdads, even fire ants, & been chased by cows. Waded through shoulder high weeds, climbed through or over barbed wire fences, climbed trees & even fell in a creek once. lol  All in an effort to get at those long lost cemeteries.  I love doing it though - that's my favorite part of research but now that I'm old I sure can't get around like I used to.   Below I present my cemetery adventure stories along with those of other genealogists:


Cemetery Adventures of...........


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  The Lancaster Cemetery was one helluva cemetery to find! This was our third or fourth attempt over numerous years. On one of the previous tries my cousin went with us.  He decided he was going to carry me across Mill Creek.   He backed up to me & picked me up piggy-back style.  He wasn't much larger than I was & it was very quickly evident that I was too heavy for him.  He lost his balance & ......... I think you can figure out the rest.  lol  On our last attempt to find the cemetery Gene & I had to take our four-wheel drive pick-up truck past the barn, through the cow pasture, then down a very narrow, rough, dirt road through the woods. Through another cow pasture, then park it & go the rest of the way on foot. Climb over a barbed wire fence, through the weeds, down the creek bank and wade the cold water of Mill Creek. Then through the brush & up the hill. In the woods Gene & I got seperated from each other.  He was walking in a westerly direction & I was walking east.  I could hear my footsteps in the dry leaves.   Then I noticed I could also hear footsteps some distance behind me.  When I would stop the other footsteps would stop.  When I would turn around & look there was nothing/no-one there.  When I would start walking again so would the other footsteps. After 3 or 4 times of hearing these steps & turning around & seeing nothing there I began to get a bit unnerved.  Decided I would head back towards Gene which meant I had to walk back in the direction from which I had come & heard the footsteps. Never saw anything except when I got about half to 3/4 of the way back to where I had started I found a pile of fresh deer poop.  The only reasonable explanation I can offer for the footsteps is that perhaps a deer had been following me & when I would turn around & look he was standing still & blending in with the surroundings so much that I didn't see him.  But I never heard or saw a deer bound off or any footsteps walking away from me.  The only footsteps I heard on the way back were mine.  After having tramped around for what seemed like hours & finding only a pile of deer poop Gene & I were walking several hundred yards apart & without each others knowledge gave up at about the same time & started heading for the creek when Gene found the cemetery & gave a holler & I joined him. The cemetery is on a small embankment of Mill Creek. We had been told it was on the top of the hill. No wonder we couldn't find it!! By this time we were about to drop from exhaustion but we got the information & pictures we wanted.  Then we had to re-trace our path back to the truck, take the truck back up through the woods to the farmhouse of a relative & collapse on the couch.

Summer 2010: Gene & I tried to visit the cemetery again.  Due to health problems Gene didn't climb up the creek embankment so stayed down by the water.  I climbed up the embankment & began walking around looking for the cemetery.  I immediately noticed footsteps in the leaves behind me just like before.  Turned around & looked - nothing there.  I mumbled out loud to myself, "Oh, no. Not again."  I began walking again but there were no more footsteps.  I walked around for maybe 30 minutes & never heard anymore footsteps.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  May, 2004 ~ The Wallen Cemetery was kind of hard to find.  We drove around & drove around.  Stopped at about 6 different places to ask directions but no one knew.  We knew we had to be in the right area when we were on Doc Wallen Rd.  lol  Anyway we finally came across an old farmer on his tractor & he knew right where it was.  We had drove past it once but didn't see it as it is barely visible from the road.  So we finally made it to the cemetery & none too soon as we had a flat tire.  So we pulled up into the cow pasture (where the cemetery is) & while I photographed tombstones Gene changed the flat tire.  I noticed something unusual while photographing.  When I would aim my camera at a tombstone the sun would come out from behind a cloud & I would get a very nice bright picture of the stone then the sun went behind a cloud again.  When I aimed my camera at another tombstone the sun would come back from behind a cloud again.   I didn't count how many times this happened but it was maybe 10 or more times.   Coincedence?????? 


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:   To get to this cemetery Gene & I had to trek through shoulder high weeds to get to the woods.  When we got to the cemetery there was a type of spiked fence around it & the gate was locked with a pad lock. I wasn't able to climb over the fence so I shinnied up a tree that was about six inches from the fence & then dropped down inside the enclosure.  I had been asked to photograph the tombstone of Ambrose Powell in the Cresswell-Mathews Cemetery but could not find him anywhere.  After the trouble we had getting to the cemetery & after  photographing other tombstones I was getting really tired & had decided to give up trying to find Ambrose & go home.  I started walking toward the fence to leave & after a few steps I tripped over something in the thick layer of leaves which covered the cemetery. Wondering what is was that I tripped over I reached down & brushed the leaves back.  It was the corner of a fallen tombstone.  I brushed the remaining leaves away only to discover it was Ambrose!  It was almost as though he had reached up & tripped me so I could find him & get his picture too - the one I most wanted.  :-)


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  One time at the New Pickers (the cemetery is now renamed Gatewood Gardens) office in St. Louis the management told me a couple of stories about their cemetery:  They said for awhile a man would come to the cemetery every day & sit beside his wife's grave & play the harmonica for exactly one hour then he would leave.   In another incident they said when they came to the office one morning there was a man sitting on the front steps holding a shovel.  He wanted to know where his mother's grave was. Said she had been buried here too long & he wanted to dig her up, take her home & bury her in the back yard where she belonged.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  In 1995 in New Orleans we took a Voo Doo tour which included the cemetery where the famous, historic Voo Doo queen, Marie Laveau was entombed. Some years ago a tradition was started & is supposed to bring good luck.  One breaks a brick from a nearby tomb & uses it to mark an "X" on Marie Laveau's tomb.  Her descendants however are extremely unhappy with this practice.  I wanted to mark an x on the tomb but also wanted to respect the family's wishes so I just marked an imaginary x on it with my finger.  Gene video taped it & I didn't realize till we got home & I watched the video that I approached the tomb in a very apprhensive & fearful manner.  lol  When our trip came to an end & it was time to head for home we considered staying another few days in New Orleans but then decided to head for home.  And just in time too.  It was cloudy the day we left & soon after the area was hit with heavy rain & disasterous flooding that made national TV.  Maybe that "X" really did bring us luck after all!

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MAC ELLIOTT:  I had a friend who actually stepped on a grave and it collapsed with her, her foot going into the old casket..I don't think she likes cemeteries anymore.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  Gene & I go by the Nicholson Cemetery every time on our way to & from Potosi.  We left very early one morning as we had business to take care of in St. Louis which is about a two hour drive from where we live. I always tell people that I am not a morning person - never have been, never will be.  My brain & body just do not function well in the mornings & this story is a prime example of that.   This was the first time I had been by the cemetery since the cows arrived.  In my bleary-eyed, early morning stupor I spotted those two cows - one in each front corner of the cemetery.  Right away I exclaimed to Gene, "OMG!!  The cows are in the cemetery!!!!  We better stop by the Sheriff's Department & let them know so they can contact the Nicholsons to come get them out of the cemetery!!"  As we go on down the road Gene just looks at me with this weird look on his face.  So I say, "What??!!"  He says, "You can't be serious."  I replied that I was serious - didn't want the cows messing up the cemetery.  Then he proceeds to tell me that the cows are artificial & put there intentionally for decoration. So then I give him a weird look.  I really thought he was joking so he turns around & goes back driving v - e - r- y  s - l - o - w - l - y  past the cemetery.   Was I surprised to realize they really were cow statues! DUH!  I hate to admit it when he is right but I'm just glad he didn't decide to be really mean & let me make a total fool of myself  by taking me to the Sheriff's Department & letting me go in & actually report the cows being in the cemetery.   lol


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:   In May, 1992 Gene and I took a trip to Lafayette, Louisiana and our route went right through Ouachita Parish. Of course we just had to stop at Monroe so I could poke around through the courthouse records for a few hours! We stopped briefly at Bosco to observe some very cute rare dwarf cats before proceeding on to Alexandria. While there we learned there was a Henderson family cemetery near the campground we were staying at. While visiting this cemetery I was bitten on the top of my foot by a fire ant. Now I know how they got their name....it burned like fire! It also left a red, itchy bump on my foot for more than a year.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  Went out on a picture taking expedition today (30 August 2002) Tried to find the Shoal Creek Church & Cemetery. I’ve been there before but it was a looooooooooong time ago. Anyway, I told Gene, “I think we’re supposed to turn here.” (Hwy. Z) So he turned. Weeeeeeeeell......we drove around & drove around for maybe 45 minutes on gravel roads that all started looking alike. Finally we turned onto another road & saw tire tracks in the gravel. Gene said, “It looks like someone has been through this way.” I replied, “Maybe it was us!” LOL So we drove around & drove around & drove around some more till we finally came out on Hwy. 19 at Cherryville. By this time we were getting hungry so drove up to Steelville to get some lunch. After that we paid a quick visit to the Steelville Cemetery then came home. Never did find the Shoal Creek Church but got a lot of other good pictures along the way.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:A very friendly goat was grazing next to the Cub Creek Cemetery.   When I finished photographing & got into the truck to leave he jumped through the fence & wanted to go with us!  Fortunately he was tethered to a near by tree so he didn't get very far.


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL:  More proof that I don't do mornings well:  We got up early & went to a local restaurant for breakfast before meeting some out of state cousins at Caledonia later that morning & showing them the Bellevue Presbyterian Cemetery.  Gene parked the truck in the parking lot of the restaurant & I opened the truck door & tried to get out.  But I couldn't.   Hhhhhhmmm - I wonder why?  Then I discovered I had forgotten to unfasten my seat belt.  DUH!


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL - One time back in the 80's Gene & I went with another couple to visit a cemetery. It was a small cemetery out in the middle of a cow pasture.  And the cows were way over at the other side of the pasture.  The men stayed at the gate of the pasture talking to the owner while my friend & I hiked out to the cemetery.  It was enclosed by a chain link fence & a bit weedy but we were still able to make out the inscriptions on the tombstones so we began writing them down in tablets that we had brought with us.   Well, while we were concentrating on doing that the cows had become curious & were walking over to the cemetery.  When we finished copying inscriptions & looked up from our work the cows had gotten considerably closer.  My friend stated, "Oh, no!  The cows are coming!"  We started walking toward the pasture gate & the cows started following us.  When we started running to the gate the cows started trotting along behind us.  But we made it out of the pasture safe & sound & the cows just stopped & stood there with confused looks on their faces.   But even people sometime look at us with confused looks when they see us copying/photographing tombstones.  lol  It's something only other genealogists understand. lol


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ESTHER & GENE CARROLL - (2005 or 2006) - This is one incident I could've done without.  When we were leaving the Hampton Cemetery after photographing Sam Hildebrand's tombstone there were about 3 steps to go down to get to the sidewalk & then the street.  When I was on the second step I tripped & fell down onto the sidewalk bypassing the bottom step completely &  my head just barely missing the bumper of our truck.  When I hit the sidewalk it knocked my glasses off & scraped my hands & took some skin off of my knees in the same spot that I skinned them in our motorcycle wreck back in 1974.  People later were teasing me that Sam Hildebrand pushed me down the steps. lol


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ESTHER CARROLL - 1980'S  - One day maybe back in the 80ís I visited the Steelville Cemetery in Crawford Co., Mo.  to look for ancestor tombstones there.  I found the row that they were buried in & began copying inscriptions.  This was in mid to late summer & the grass was dry & made a crinkling sound when walked on.  While I was standing there I heard an odd sound of something coming through the grass.  I looked all around but couldnít see anything so moved to the next tombstone.  The sound stopped when I moved.  When I stood still to copy the next tombstone inscription I heard the sound again.  Looked all around but didnít see anything.  Finally I turned to go to another tombstone & thatís when I saw it.  It was a little snake coming through the grass toward me.  He knew exactly when I spotted him & raised the front half of his body up in the air.  We stood there looking at each  other for a minute or two then I told him if he didnít bother me I wouldnít bother him.  I was done with copying tombstone inscriptions so I made a wide circle around him & went back to my car.  He stayed still & watched me the entire time. Got in the car & as I drove away I looked in the side mirror & he was still there watching me. Donít know how long it took him to continue on his way.

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There are several people who gave their permission to use their stories on this page.  But due to computer problems I am unable to find their stories in my files.  If you are one of those people could you please send your stories again.  And anyone else that would like to send their cemetery adventure stories please feel free to do so.  Thanks!!!