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Cumberland Cemetery

Download this issue!Cumberland Cemetery – Wenona, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Cumberland Cemetery, located near the town of Wenona in Marshall County, is rumored to be the home of a headless lady, spook lights, and the ghost of a little girl. The cemetery itself is rich in history. It was the site of the first farm in Evans Township, and its rolling hills were once occupied by a fort built during the Black Hawk War to protect the nearby settlers from marauding Sauk, Fox, and Kickapoo Indians.

Marshall County was settled comparatively late. Illinois became a state in 1818, but the first white settler in Evans Township, Benjamin Darnell, arrived there in 1828. The book Past and Present of Marshall and Putnam Counties tells us that his nearest neighbor lived six miles away in what became Roberts Township. Benjamin Darnell had ten children, including a 14 year old daughter named Lucy (the date of settlement given here, including Lucy’s age, is different than that given by Chad Lewis and Terry Fisk in the Road Guide to Haunted Locations. I believe my source to be more accurate).

Lucy took ill and died in 1829. Her family buried her on their farm, and her grave formed the cornerstone of Cumberland Cemetery. It is thought that the spirit of the first person (or animal) to be interred in a cemetery becomes its guardian. Perhaps that superstition explains the origin of the young girl’s ghost reportedly encountered in Cumberland?

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Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 3 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2009 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 3 include Lebanon Road’s 7 Gates to Hell, Ramsey Cemetery, Elmwood Cemetery’s Violin Annie, Manteno State Hospital, the Hatchet Lady of Moon Point Cemetery, Chanute Air Force Base, Ashmore Estates, Aux Sable Cemetery, Ax Man’s Bridge, and more. Plus, read letters from our readers, adventurer’s logs, Paranormal 101, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues.

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Comments

  1. Pam Miller says:

    Seriously. I grew up in the area of cumberland cemetary. if ya all want to ghost hunt I want to go. I know a lot of the legends from my grandma, Never heard of the headless woman. Also, stories are of the bloody barn up from the cemetary. What? My grandpa farmed that for years. Someone hung them selves in the barn, but no not bloody. really. that is my childhood out there. Get the stories straight

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    • Pam, I would love to hear your stories! In the business of folklore, there is no “correct version.” These things are passed around and change a little bit with every retelling. A lot of times these things are based on real events (like the hanging in the barn), but then become embellished over time (hence the bloodiness…).

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      • musicislife says:

        i went to this last night and saw the headless women i had my video camera and caught 2 voices on it and possibly and aura or ghost

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      • Pam Miller says:

        the hanging in the barn was that the gentleman hung himself from the highest beam. story heard was he hung himself in the house from a grate for heat, but he really did it in the barn. I can take pics of where he did it.

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    • pamela says:

      well, I have yet to hear from anyone who wants to know about the stories of Cumberland and the “bloody barn”. really, contact me, I am sure I can tell you something and if not me, my friends and family can fill you in.

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  2. I have also lived here all My life. I have also heard the stories but during My high school years We would venture out there and some crazy stuff would happen. Recently though I along with some others having permission to stay after dark witnessed a cold spot. About a year ago in a tree that grew over the road leading to the Cemetary was a branch that hung down over the road that looked like a noose. Alot of people saw this strange growth. Although I am a grown person I beleive that theres something to these stories and have some more first hand ones.

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  3. As for the story of the barn. Heres what I was always told. If You looked back to the house by the barn there was always a window at the top of the House that appeared to have the curtain pulled back as if Someone were looking out the window. This window overlooked Sandy Creek. The story I always heard was that a small boy went down to the creek and drowned and that the Father of the Boy looked out the window for eternaty waiting for His Son to come Home.

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  4. I’ve spent my entire life in Wenona, and Cumberland really is a creepy place. My parents would take us fishing at night years ago out there, and so many strange things would happen. The most vivid memory is of the Bloody Barn. Before I was even told the stories, I wandered up to the Barn, and went in. Everywhere I could see in it was the skins of wild animals nailed to the walls inside. I ran screaming, and when my parents got to me, inside the barn was completely empty. I still cant go near it! And I too have seen the window that the father is suppose to watch from. But, has everyone forgotten about Dead Body Road, where the woman was found murdered in the late ’80s early 90’s??? Weird things happen there too.

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    • Pam Miller says:

      there were live skins of animals in the barn, I remember them there as a kid when I used to run around the farm. And how many years ago were you out there cause the house was tore down in 1984 or 1985, I am not saying that the barn is not haunted, I do know for a fact the house was haunted cause I used to spend the night there when my grandparents lived there

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  5. I partied out there alot during my high school years in the late 90’s. I did see more than once that animals had been nailed all over the place inside the barn and gutted. not to harvest the meat but for reasons unknown. I have always heard the story of the wanderer who hung himself in the barn but have never really found any facts to verify it. It is a neat place to visit during the day and very beautiful during the spring months.
    As far as hauntings go I do not know of anyone who has actually seen anything.

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  6. Patrick says:

    Jane, where is Dead Body Road?

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    • If you take wenona blacktop out, you’ll come to the top of a little hill. There is a farm house with a huge weeping willow. Turn right, and go past cherry point cemetary to the bottom of the hill and turn left (don’t cross the bridge). It’s the first road on your right, there’s a log cabin at the turn. The body ess found ny the bridge and heer clothes were scattered asking the road

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  7. Kelsey S says:

    I have lived in Wenona forever and have been to Cumberland hundreds of times whether it was dark or day something weird would always happen. Right next to the bloody barn used to sit a house, and I know the man that owned/owns them both. & he has told me many stories. And yes the man that lived in the house, hung himself in the Bloody Barn.

    2 weeks ago I was visiting Cumberland and took a few pictures of the bloody barn. ( i have hundreds of shots from the cemetery, but none were like this) all of the holes for the windows (which are now broken) lit up a glowing red-ish green. and in all the pics of me and my friends had white dots ALL over the pics.

    Friends and I 2 yrs ago had a project for college studying Poe, went to the cemetery to get some footage. The footage that we had on the camera could not even be presented to our class due to the fact of the white moving dots everywhere and different colors shining among us. all i know is i have ALWAYS had a weird experience.

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  8. Jacey Stoens says:

    I’ve lived about 5 minutes from cumberland cemetery. One night probably about 5 years ago, I was out there at night with a group of 15-20 people and I saw a white ghost-like figure walking across the cemetery.

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  9. Patrick says:

    Thanks Jane…Found it pretty easily with your directions!

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  10. swortz says:

    i also partied out there many of times back in the mid 90’s and it was always an adventure weather it was noises or cold spots always a great place to stop by and scare the girls unfortunately seemed to be no matter what i drove out there it never started so i would have to park on the top of the hill so i could bump-start my bike or truck had to sleep under my truck once to use the engine heat to stay warm sucked real bad back then we didnt cary cell phones so we had to walk to the highway and ask a very nice man drivin the highway to give us a jump thank god for good ol-country boys

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  11. Victoria says:

    Ive been out there a few times and havnt ever seen or heard anithing….I have heard the storys but have failed to find ani truth to ani of them…..Even looking up records of people that lived in the house near the barn, and never once has it said anithing about a hanging taken place…,but i have seen pictures that my friends have taken and must admit that they are weird..So i am planning on going out again soon..

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  12. I went out there with some people from work one year (August 2005). We had no rain in the area for almost 3 weeks that August but, in the cemetery there was one little spot next to the tree in the middle where the ground was wet. Everywhere else in the cemetery was dry, and the grass was dead, or dying from lack of rain. Up til that point, I never believed in ghosts’. I am not willing to say they are real but, I am also not willing to say their not.

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  13. jessie says:

    Me and my friends went out tonight im into all this I took pictures I want to learn more about it I wanna know what I captured on my pictures

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  14. I ventured to the cemetary last night. Took camcorder, canon camera and flashlight.. So dark and windy. Stayed within a close proximity to my car. Looked at a few headstones and my nephew took several pictures. Myother nephew videotaped. As we were leaving I wanted to look at the pictures. My camera said no images found! I thought maybe my nephew didnt press down after the flash lit up so I snapped several of the barn as we drove by. NO IMAGES FOUND! As soon as we passed the barn I took two more one of each of my nephews. That is all the pictures I have…We stopped to view the videotape and it shows the pictures being taken. We also put babypowder on the back of my car. It was windy, but you would think the powder would be spread all over the car, but we have are very prominant finger prints. Small in size. I never heard screams, or saw visions. I will never know if there were orbs present either. But I can say there is something. i dont test fate. I got my answer, no need to go back!lol

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