The Hanging of Doctor MacCauliffe

History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern IllinoisFrom History, Mystery, and Hauntings of Southern Illinois by Bruce Cline.

The southeast corner of Hickory Grove Cemetery in Carrollton, IL is the location of the haunted grave of Dr. Charles Macauliffe.

In 1879 the doctor was having drinks with his brother-in-law, James Heavener at a tavern in Wrights, Illinois. A drunken brawl broke out and Dr. Macauliffe shot his brother-in-law with a shotgun. The man was dead before he even hit the floor. A panicked Dr. Macauliffe fled the scene. A posse of angry men soon formed and took off after the doctor. After a short chase, Dr. Macauliffe was captured, bound tightly and placed on horseback for the ride to the Carrollton Jail.

The road to the jail went past the Hickory Grove Cemetery. When the posse came to a large oak tree they had an inspiration….why not hang the doctor then and there and be done with the matter? The decision was quickly made and a rope was thrown over a suitable limb. One end of the rope was tied to the tree trunk and the other end was tied into a hangman’s noose.

This noose was placed over the head and around the neck of the terrified doctor. One of the posse let loose with a shot from his Colt Army .44 revolver and the horse that the doctor was sitting on took off in fright. The doctor was jerked from the horse and left kicking, and jerking at the end of the rope. In a few minutes it was all over and the doctor was dead. The posse rode off leaving the doctor swinging at the end of the rope.

The next morning, passersby found the dead doctor, cut him down, and buried him in the southeast corner of the cemetery. Some townsfolk went to Dr. Macauliffes office and took the metal sign from the office door and embedded it in concrete to make a gravestone for the doctor.

It is said that if you go to Dr. Macauliffe’s grave at midnight when the moon is full, you will see the ghost of Dr. Macauliffe with the hangman’s noose around his neck.

Copyright Bruce L. Cline, 2014. You do not have permission to copy this post.


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