Elkhart Cemetery is the final resting place of Richard J. Ogelsby, the fourteenth Governor of the State of Illinois. It is located in Logan County approximately nineteen miles from the state capitol of Springfield. It is a place that I will never forget as long as I live.
Oglesby served as the Governor of Illinois between 1865 and 1869. After his first term ended, he practiced law until 1872. Then he again ran for and was elected Governor. As it turned out, this was only a ploy and after the inauguration Oglesby turned the office of Governor over to his lieutenant governor in return for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
He served as a Senator until 1878. In 1884, he was reelected governor for the third time, and was the first man in Illinois history to serve three times as governor. Governor Oglesby retired and died at his estate in Elkhart and was buried in Elkhart Cemetery.
Over the years, I had heard the eerie stories of the deceased wife of Governor Ogelsby seen visiting her husband’s grave. As the story goes, the ghost of Mrs. Oglesby is seen sitting outside of her husband’s tomb. Shortly thereafter, a group of Native American Indian ghosts approach and chase her off and over a bridge leading to a nearby road.
If one legend was not enough for a cemetery, Elkhart Cemetery has a second legend. There is a timber at the edge of the cemetery in which a fence separates the cemetery property from the forested area. Just over the fence is a path.
Legend has it that if you explore up the path, you will hear voices, footsteps, see black apparitions, and feel like you are being watched and followed. At the top of the hill, the path branches and splits so you have to choose which way to go. According to the legend, if you choose the wrong direction, you will not make it back.
I went to the Elkhart Cemetery in June of 2010 with the intent of finding out if the legends where true, especially the legend of the Native Americans chasing the spirit of Mrs. Ogelsby out of the graveyard. I was hoping to get a glimpse of this event, as many say they have witnessed it…
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