Just Plain Weird By: Sue Eckhoff, Grundy County Heritage Museum
March 21, 2014
This is just a column of weird stuff from Iowa. Enjoy…. Gypsy Grave Yard – Algona, Iowa. Just north of Algona is a small graveyard with an even smaller graveyard fenced off towards the back. It is said that when the gypsy wagon trains would pass through town back in the 1800’s, and one of their flock was sick and dying, instead of taking them further on the journey and not having Gypsy hallowed ground to bury them in, they would just bury them there, while still alive!!! It’s been said that many ghostly figures have been seen hanging around, and if you cross the small fence and walk on the hallowed ground, you will be cursed. This is a favorite haunt for teens. Euphremies Prall - Taken from an actual obituary published in the Keosauqua Republican in 1881: “Euphremies Prall, who was taken to the insane asylum on the 25th, died there on Saturday last of acute mania. When he left here it required the services of three men to get him to the train. He was one of the most violent lunatics that was ever taken from here. Prall had formerly been a selfish heartless wretch. He had wronged his own aged and widowed mother out of her property, had wronged a sister, and wronged everyone he had an opportunity to. Sometime since, he began to attend some meetings held by a couple of evangelist women. It seems that his conscience became awakened, and his mean and wicked life spread itself out like a panorama before him. The result was he became a raving maniac and died on Saturday last, as above stated.” Highway 34 Ghost – In Burlington, Iowa, a ghost walks along the Highway at night. He is said to be an escaped slave who died in the 1860’s of diphtheria and was buried in the basement of a nearby home. He carries a leather bag and walks westward on the north side of the road between 1 and 2 a.m. Old Tom Adkins – In an unmarked grave in Oakwood Cemetery at Independence is that of Thomas Adkins, who died in Independence in 1879 at the age of 59. According to information in his will Adkins was a slave prior to the Civil War who escaped from his owner. He came to Iowa where he lived, separated from his wife and children in Arkansas. His obituary in an Independence newspaper dated May 1879, reads in part: “Old Tom Atkinsin (Adkins) died last week in his house in the east part of the city. Tom lived as a miser and saved up a fortune. He lived alone and had not even a chair in his house. He once had a wife and children and he willed his estate to his family, except that his wife was to receive none of it if she was living with another man”.
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