As told to Gloria and Dorothy in 2002 and researched/photographed by Jason Rakers in 2008
The stagecoach, in earlier days, traveled over the East - West Trail from Vincennes, Indiana to St. Louis, Missouri. The stagecoach route was later called the St. Louis Trace and followed basically the route we know today as Old U.S. Route 50 and in places, the Old State Road. One of the stagecoach stops was at a tavern in Section 14 of Sugar Creek Township, Clinton County, Illinois, see the Sugar Creek 1892 Plat Map. Oral history has it that from time to time, unnamed transients were shot when they were caught cheating in card games during the stagecoach lay-overs. Their bodies were drug outside and buried a short distance away. This is probably an exaggeration.
The current owner of the property told us that his grandma said a bad night of gambling did occur at the local stagecoach bar and it ended deadly. Two people were shot and buried in this cemetery. Days later family members dug the bodies up and brought them home and so they are not believed to be buried there.
There is only one stone left in the cemetery. There is no writing on the stone. The current land owner believes it is a tomb or memorial for the wife of Wiley Woods. The cemetery may have had as many as 27 plots. Sadly most of the information about this cemetery was passed to the current owner by word of mouth from a person who died a few years back.
According to local residents, the graveyard is in a little copse of trees to the east of where the tavern stood. The 1881 History of Marion and Clinton Counties describes the tavern and stagecoach stop as being located on Twiss Hill, named after the then owner of the land, Moses N. Twiss. We were unable connect the location with this information but this graveyard is located on private property near the intersection of Richter Road and Old State Road. Since it is private property, please Contact Us before attempting to visit this graveyard.
We do not know if the Wiley Wood mentioned above is the same Wiley Wood that was a local Methodist Episcopal minister and performed many marriages in the county. According to A Standard History of Kansas and Kansans as quoted by AccessGenealogy.com in an article about Millard Fillmore Wood (external link) born in Aviston in 12 Nov 1850. Wiley Wood is listed as his grandfather. Wiley Wood, was born in Virginia in 1791 and moved to Kansas in 1872. There is a marriage record for a Wiley Wood and Nancy Cole dated 27 Oct 1842. It is possible this Wiley Wood and Nancy Cole Wood are the ones mentioned in connection with this graveyard but we have no confirmation of any of these connections.
If you have more information on this graveyard, please Contact Us.