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Mary’s gravestone on a Lincoln County hillside. Photo by Norm McFadden

The story that you are about to hear has been 161 years in the making. The year was 1858 when David Duey was laid to rest, and 22 years later his lovely wife Mary was laid beside him. Ten little tombstones set waiting for their children to be buried with their parents, but for one reason or another the children’s bodies were never brought home to the parent’s gravesite. 

I’m sure you all remember the story of the restless spirits of Sugar Creek. 

That story did so much more than just touch the hearts of the people of Lincoln County – it reached all the way over into Edwardsville, Illinois, straight to Jim Duey, the great-great-great-grandson to David Duey.

Here about two weeks ago I received a call from a man saying that he had read the story of the Sugar Creek spirits, and that he was one of the descendents of David and Mary. He asked me if I could draw him a map and said that he would try to find his way to it, somehow. 

I told him, “No, way. I started this story and I am going to see it through to its end. I will take you out there personally.”

Now Jim was really excited about that. He told me that he had heard about his ancestor’s graves all of his life, but no one actually knew where they were at. It had been shrouded in mystery for all these years! 

I told Jim to come on over whenever he was ready and I would show the graves to him.

With a chilly wind blowing, I met Jim in person at the Ranger Station on Oct. 22 in Cuivre River State Park, around ten in the morning. 

We greeted each other and made small talk for a few minutes, but I knew what was on Jim’s mind. He wanted to see the graves.

Back into the State Park and deep into the woods we went, once again looking for the final resting place of David and Mary Duey. 

My first trip out there almost killed me, but to unite this man with his long-lost relative was certainly something that I would do this hike again for. It was a long hike and we were both worn out by the time we finally got there.

As we approached the graves I was as Jim’s eyes brighten with a light of happiness. 

It was almost as if he was reborn with a burst of energy. I knew that he felt a warmness come over his body in the moment as we stood there in silence just looking at the graves, I could feel the warmth too. Jim Duey had finally found what he had been searching for, for many years. 

I could tell that it was a very emotional moment for him, as Jim pulled a bouquet of flowers from his backpack and placed them on David’s grave, and then he pulled out a second bouquet and placed those on Mary’s grave. 

At that moment I could feel the tears begin to well up in my eyes, I held them back even though I knew that the man at the gravesides felt the same way too. We stood in a revered silence for at least ten minutes before Jim turned to me and said that he was ready to go. 

Back at our cars we talked briefly and Jim said that he was going to bring his daughters and his brother out so that they could see them too. 

He told me how he might even like to look into have the stone re-surfaced. 

Soon we said our good-byes and got into our cars. It was after 1:30 p.m. in the afternoon as I began to pull away. 

The time of silence spent at the gravesite lingered in my mind, and I knew that It would be in Jim’s too. 

I believe that there is a reason to everything that happens in life. There was a reason that I wrote that story, and there is a reason that Jim had to come to Missouri and visit his long lost grandparent’s graves. 

So reasons we can know and others we may never have the answer for. As I think on life’s many reasons, I do think that the restless spirits of Sugar Creek are finally at peace after 161 years.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven. 

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; A time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; A time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; A time to get, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; A time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; A time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

If you know of any urban legends, haunted houses or haunted barns call Norm McFadden at (636) 233-6878. For more works by Norman Mcfadden visit PolstonHouse.com.

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