Tuesday afternoon Logan County Coroner Mary Givens, archivist Judy Lyne and sheriff’s deputy Charles Dauley all met in a field on Quarry Road in Auburn to dig for graves, and to find some sign of broken headstones. After moving a large mound of bulldozed debris, and digging in one area that was speculated to hold a grave, none were found.
A few days before, district Judge Sue Carol Browning had contacted authorities after seeing an area bulldozed that she said contained an old cemetery. Browning said she remembers being in the cemetery years earlier and seeing stones with writing on them. Her story is backed up by local historian AB Wilhite, who also claims there is a cemetery located in that field.
“Sometime since we did the cemetery book, photos were taken of that cemetery. I’m not sure where they are, they should be down at the archive somewhere. It’s been a long time since I was in there, but I’m pretty sure there were two stones with writing on them. There was one civil war stone, but most were field stones,” said Wilhite.
Unfortunately, the cemetery has no other record, accept for those who have visited it in the past. The area does not appear in the Logan County Cemetery book, however, according to Lyne, who is somewhat of a expert on the county’s cemeteries, said that doesn’t mean there wasn’t one there.
“There are a lot of cemeteries in the county that are not in that book,” said Lyne, adding it may never be know now if there was a cemetery on Quarry Road or not.
A local individual came out to the area soon after authorities were notified and “witched” for graves. Grave “witching” is a fascinating, yet skeptical process which some have a “knack” for to locate ground water, buried metals or ores, gemstones, oil, and yes grave sites. A Y or L shaped twig or rod is used that supposedly locates what you are looking for by bending at the spot. According to deputy Dauley, there were several hot spots located by the “witcher” around the debris and in the open field.
Logan County Cemetery Board member Bud Lawson, who possesses “witching” skills himself, said the area was extremely rocky and the “witching” could have been hitting on rock. This seemed to hold true on the one spot that coroner Givens ordered dug up. After about three feet down, only large rocks were located. “No one is going to bury their loved one in rock,” said Givens.
The property is owned, according to deputy Dauley, by the Ed and Virginia Price estate. It is farmed by Joe Seeley. Dauley said Seeley has been very cooperative. “Joe paid the guy to remove the debris,” said Dauley, adding that he gave the okay to dig in one place that was “witched” to see if there was a grave.
“I’m not sure if there is a cemetery here,” said Lyne. “There could be, but there is an awful lot of rock out here, and you don’t normally bury your people in rock.”
Browning says she still holds to her belief there were markers in the clump of trees that were bulldozed down. She said she cannot say for sure if there was anyone buried there because she never saw them buried, but she does remember seeing stones with writing on them.
Browning said she hopes people will use this as an educational opportunity to become familiar with what is on their property. She agreed with Lyne that there are a lot of old cemeteries out in the community that may not be registered. This would be a wonderful opportunity for people to walk their property and contact the archives if they come across a cemetery, said Browning.
Lyne said all cemeteries do not have large easily readable gravestones, in fact, some are slave cemeteries that are just marked by field stones. She said if someone suspects there is a cemetery on their property, they should contact the archives to see if it is registered. Registering an old cemetery will preserve the history and who is buried there for generations to come.