Bachelors Grove Cemetery: Pioneers In Restless Slumber

Restless Slumber
© 2010 Sinthyia Darkness - www.examiner.com
May 14, 2010

Bachelors Grove Cemetery is a small cemetery in Midlothian Illinois. Being from Chicago, this is one of my favorite haunts. Bachelors Grove was the first haunted location that I have investigated and it was the last one I visited before leaving Illinois. If you are not a believer in the paranormal, pay a visit to Bachelor's Grove. I can almost guarantee that by the time you leave, you will no longer be a skeptic.

Not much is left of Bachelors Grove, accept for about nineteen grave markers. Bachelors Grove is a place of overwhelming sadness and neglect. The path to Bachelors Grove Cemetery was a two car road that lead directly past Bachelor's Grove Cemetery. I have a bit of a funny story about driving past Bachelors Grove Cemetery. It made no difference if I was visiting the cemetery or just driving past, but every time I was on this stretch of the Midlothian turnpike, the song by ACDC, Highway to Hell always played on the radio. So as I talk about Bachelors Grove, I have that song stuck in my head. It was just the oddest thing, but very appropriate.

The once paved road is cracked and overgrown with plants and weeds. It is barely wide enough for one person to walk. This is me just before maneuvering past a fallen tree that was blocking the path.

Bachelors Grove Cemetery is currently owned by Cook County and each time I have gone out there, the condition of this historic cemetery has deteriorated. In a photo taken by me back in 2007 shows, you cannot even see the fence with all of the overgrown weeds. In fact, the town of Midlothian has attempted to conceal the exact location and existence of this cemetery.

Bachelors Grove has seen more than its share of neglect and desecration and regardless of any attempts to conceal it or pretend it never existed, the ghostly tales of this one acre cemetery endure.

The once two lane street has been closed to traffic for decades. During my last visit in 2007, the "road closed, " sign itself had been stolen. This street was once the main street through this area before the construction of the Midlothian turnpike. It is also an historic Indian trail. In fact, I came across some evidence that Bachelors Grove Cemetery was used as an Indian Burial ground long before modern burials took place here.

Bachelors Grove Cemetery is located just off Rubio Woods. The Rubio Woods Sign is just across the street from the path that leads into the cemetery. By discussing Bachelors Grove, I am not encouraging anyone to go out there. In fact I hope that this information and articles on websites such as the Bachelors Grove blog will be enough to satisfy people's curiosities about this cemetery so that they don't go out there.

With all the desecration it is not surprising that the souls of those buried here cannot rest.It is this unrest that has earned Bachelors Grove Cemetery the title of one of the most haunted places in the world.

The Fulton tomb is the largest monument in the cemetery and although there was fresh graffiti on it in 2007, it is the only monument that has not been move, pushed over or broken.

There are many ghostly legends told about this cemetery including the sightings of apparitions, unexplained lights, mists, disembodies voices, glowing balls of light. Along the path leading up to the cemetery, there have also been many sightings of a phantom farmhouse which despite being viewed by independent witnesses, is always described the same way. The ghostly abode is always described as a white farm house from the Victorian era, having porch pillars, a swing and a light in the window. But as any of the witnesses approached it always disappears.

The Satanic rituals, suicides and murders have all added to the legends and the over 100 accounts of strange activity in this area.

The haunted history of Bachelors Grove begins in November 1843 with its first documented burial of Elizabeth Scott. Bachelors Grove, formerly known as Everdon's, was a popular cemetery until the mid 1960's. Bachelor's Grove was also named Smith Cemetery in some historical documents.

The last known funeral service took place here in 1965 and the last internment were the ashes of Robert Shields in 1989.

The cemetery was renamed Bachelors Grove in the mid-1800's. Although the origins of the name are uncertain, there are two popular theories. The first one tells us that this area was inhabited by unmarried men-German immigrants who found employment building the Illinois-Michigan Canal. Hence, this area became known as Bachelors Grove.

Another theory alleges that Bachelors Grove was named after the Batchelder family who settled in this area in 1845. Although there are no historical records supporting this theory, old cemetery records do spell Batchelors Grove with a T, which is the German spelling and accepted by most historians as the official or authentic spelling of Bachelors Grove.

On the opposite side of the cemetery, is a small lagoon. Here you can see the metal guardrail across the lagoon that boarders the Midlothian turnpike. There are many ghosts said to haunt this lagoon as well.The most famous tales about this lagoon which are far from being urban legend, involve gangsters. Al Capone, one of the most famous of them all, owned a house a few blocks from Bachelors Grove and this lagoon was a popular spot where he would dispose of his victims. The souls of those he murdered still linger here.

Another apparition that has been reported near this lagoon is that of a farmer and his plow horse. Back in the 1870's a farmer was pulled into this pond by his horse. The horse drowned under the weight of the plow, pulling the farmer in with it. More than a century later, forest rangers have spotted the phantom farmer being pulled to his death. What lies beneath the murky water are not only bodies but over the years many missing tombstones have been found there too.

Even police officers that frequently patrol the area have documented their personal encounters with apparitions, ghostly lights and phantom cars and car accidents along the turnpike.

The enigmatic cemetery has been a thorn in the side of Cook County since the 1960's when the cemetery became a hangout. Older residents describe Bachelors Grove as a place where people would come to picnic and swim in the lagoon. It was once a very grand cemetery. That is at least until the vandals and grave robbers discovered it.

Time certainly has not been kind to Bachelors Grove. Vandals have left few graves untouched and most of the tombstones have disappeared. It's a rare occasion if you come out here and you don't feel like you are trekking through a jungle rather than paying homage to pioneer graves.

The cemetery is always littered with trash as well. There are many people who care so much about this cemetery and preserving its history. There are groups who want to volunteer their time to come out here and pick up the trash and cut the grass in Bachelors Grove which is currently owned by the Cook County Forest Preserve District.

Despite the fact that there is no shortage of volunteers, the county stands in the way of the cleanup and actually sells permits to volunteers on Sundays to provide a much needed cleanup. Kind of ironic that the county sells permits to clean a property they seem not to care about. Since 2006, I have been trying to persuade the county to sell the land to me for historic preservation.

One of the most frequent sightings reported in this cemetery are of phantom monks. They are said to be the guardians of the grove. One thing is for certain, when you are in the cemetery, despite the fact that it lies in a secluded wooded area, you always get the feeling that you are never alone.

A settlement known as Goeselville was located near Bachelors Grove Cemetery. Strangely enough this lost settlement still appears on modern maps. Christian Goesel settled along 147th and Oak Park Avenue (then Bachelor's Grove Road) in 1861 in a community named Goeselville. In its heyday there were about 30 residents in this area with a few general stores that supplied goods to area farmers.

Another famous ghost of this cemetery is known as the Madonna of Bachelors Grove. Mrs.Rogers is thought to be this famous ghost also known as the white lady. She supposedly wanders the cemetery with a baby and legend says she died in childbirth. The only Mrs. Rogers that I have a record of is Luella Fulton Rogers. She was the wife of Daniel W. Rogers. Luella died at age 65. It is extremely unlikely that a 65 year old woman was pregnant.

Let's hope that the vandalism at Bachelors Grove Cemetery will stop and those buried here may finally rest in peace.

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