Murder, Tragedy and Triumph: Murray County Cemetery Tour Includes More Than Gravestones
“All of these people have lived such amazing lives. It’s not just about saying how “Oh, that’s how they died,” said Rose Moudry, site coordinator and collections manager at the Murray County Historical Museum. “It talks about how they got to this area, how they made a living and their family heritage, really.”
From October 1 to 11, a self-guided gravestone tour in the northwest corner of Murray County – Sillerud Lutheran Cemetery, Skandia Free Cemetery, and Zion Lutheran Cemetery – will be offered. During this time, funeral panels telling the stories of selected people who are buried there will be marked with pennants for the visit.
The stories vary widely, ranging from a Norwegian immigrant who missed the sound of church bells so much in her home that she herself raised the money to buy a bell for the Lutheran Church in Zion, a Swedish wife who searched in vain on the horizon for the house her husband had prepared for her, only to find out it was a dugout and she was standing on it, and the county school superintendent of Murray who died young, possibly of “brain fever from overuse”.
There’s even a story of alleged murder involving a power grab, a missing body, and, strangely, a clairvoyant from New York who tried to help.
“Most of the people on the tour died of natural causes,” Moudry said. “I’m working on one right now where a man was hit by a horse. “
Moudry was happy to focus this year’s tour on a more rural area and plans to locate next year’s tour in the Currie region.
“Last year we got a lot of really good feedback,” she said, much of it in the form of Facebook comments and emails.
Tour participants require the guide publication, which includes a small map, and can either pick up a physical copy at the Murray County Historical Museum or download a digital version from murraycountyhistoricalsociety.org. They will also need transportation to get to the cemetery tour stops.
“I would just like to encourage everyone and anyone to take a few hours of your time and go out and learn,” Moudry said.