Family Buried under the Bolders

We don’t know the name of the Family buried under the boulders… just that they were Yankee sympathizers in a Southern land during the Civil War.

The story begins back in May of 1978…

I had just graduated from LSU-Shreveport, and Alice and I were moving from Bossier City, Louisiana, to Grand Rapids, Michigan.   Alice’s folks, P.V. & Opal Ragsdale, were helping us to move… and along the way (Tuesday, May 16, 1978) we stopped in DuQuoin, IL for a visit with P.V’s “Aunt May”.   She was a wonderful lady that had lived a long and full life!   May Lemmon was a retired School Teacher that had written two books for children:

Aunt May and her Husband lived on her family farm just outside of DuQuoin, complete with barn, farm fields and a creek on the backside of the property… As we visited, P.V. mentioned that I loved History (true) and aunt May asked if we would like to go see the “old family cemetery” on the backside of the farm.  We walked through the farm fields back to a tree line that ran along a creek... and there under some big oak trees were cemetery headstones and five boulders.  Aunt May told us the story about the Family under the boulders:

"Back during the Civil War, this part of southern Illinois was pro-South in its sympathies.  Aunt Mays family, however, was pro-North... as was one other family.  That other family came down with the smallpox – and feelings as hard as they were, the local Doctor and town’s people refused to help them.  They all died... mother, father, and three children.  Anti-Yankee sentiments were so strong that no one would even go to bury them.  So Aunt May’s grandfather went to the farm, gathered the remains in a wagon, and brought them back to their Family Cemetery... and buried them there, placing boulders as headstones."

Sad story... but true....  Another example of the extreme hard feelings that ripped our country apart during the 1850s and 1860s.

Oral History - by Jim and Alice LaPeer.