Friday, October 7, 2011

The Ghost of Anna Jessie

When I was writing my story Hickory Point, I knew I wanted to include some sort of child in the story. I remembered a story I read in my local paper about a farmer finding the stone of a child on his property and donated it to the Clinton Lake Museum. I looked up the story and found the article on Anna Jessie Blunt.

Anna Jessie was the daughter of an American Indian, Ben, and a black woman, Mary, who came to Douglas County, Kansas between 1862 and 1864. Anna's parents were buried in unmarked graves in Oak Hill Cemetery. He died in 1903, she died in 1904. Anna's stone was kept in the museum until a man with the Sons of Union Veterans helped get the stone placed in Clinton Cemetery in 2007. It is unknown where Anna is buried but her small white marble stone with a dove and the words "Darling" rests under an evergreen on the west side of the cemetery next to Nickerson Cowar, whose tombstone reads:




Passed
to the
Spiritland
on the
17 day of May 1886
Aged 87 years

A slave till Lin.
Colns Proclamation
on 1 of January 1863

I went to Clinton Cemetery to do some recording for a site called RestingSpot and Anna and Nickerson's grave were two of the ones I did. When I wrote Hickory Point, I needed to establish that the ghosts are not tied to their bodies but to their stones. It may not make sense but I needed some way to explain why Anna couldn't return to where her body was buried. But there is a lot of other things that tie the ghost to the cemetery that I don't explain and leave it up to the reader's imagination.

Clinton is a beautiful cemetery and is considered "one of the most beautiful rural cemeteries in Kansas." I don't know who bestowed that glowing review on this relatively small and largely unknown cemetery but it fits.

For giggles, I looked up twin lobsters on Google and found a place where you can order a twin lobster dinner from Maine. If Brutus orders the twin lobster special, he's looking at around $70 for his lunch. Maybe less since it's a special but still.

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