I drive past the Mount Ogden Mausoleum on an almost daily basis and have always wanted to stop and have a look inside but never have. Until a few days ago. What better way to spend Valentine’s Day, eh?
A mother took her two young children out for a drive because she felt they were possessed by the devil. She drove off the bridge and into the river below killing everyone in the car. If you sit on the bridge with your windows rolled down and honk your horn three times you can hear children yelling “Don’t do it, Mother!!”
I’ve heard stories of various cry baby bridges across the United States, but I wasn’t aware Utah had one until I read an article about haunted spots across the state. Bear River City isn’t too far from where I live, and considering it was Halloween figured it’d be a great day to check it out.
We got to the bridge and realized that it had been closed off some time ago, and a new bridge constructed right next to the old one. Thankfully, they left the old bridge standing and after climbing through some brush we could see the bridge stretched out in front of us.
It quickly became clear why the bridge had been abandoned. Made of steel, there were holes every few feet. Some of them big enough to fit a foot through, and rust spots were everywhere. We looked for any indication of a car going off the edge of the bridge, and while it would’ve been easy enough to repair the bridge there were no areas that we could see that showed any signs of previous damage.
When we got back home I figured something as major as a mother committing suicide and murdering her two children in the process would have been a major story. Bear River City is tiny, it would’ve been major news.
I searched the internet and newspapers for any mention of a major car accident, accidental deaths, murder, suicide, etc that occurred in Bear River. Finding nothing I expanded my search to the nearby cities of Corinne, Tremonton, and Brigham City. Nothing at all.
And then I found an article dated the 16th of May 1931 with a headline that read: “Driver Freed of Blame In Bridge Death”. While the story didn’t involve a mother killing her children, it was nevertheless incredibly tragic.
On the morning of Friday, May 16th, 1931 a 4-year-old boy by the name of Ellis Anderson was playing near the bridge while his father was working in a nearby field. A mail carrier was crossing the bridge when a dog darted in front of his car. While swerving to miss the dog unsuccessfully, he lost control of the car striking Ellis, throwing his body off the bridge and into the river below. His father pulled his body from the river. The medical examiner stated he was dead at the time of his arrival on the scene. The mail carrier later said he didn’t see the little boy chasing the dog. Another article says that the driver struck both Ellis and a 12-year-old companion by the name of Norman. No mention of Norman’s condition was made, but apparently he survived.
While this was definitely not the tragedy I was expecting to uncover, it makes you wonder if it is the spark behind the legend of Bear River City’s Cry Baby Bridge.
Mill Fork Cemetery first caught my eye while coming back from a weekend trip to Moab. Located in Spanish Fork Canyon, it’s right off the highway, and if you don’t know to watch for it, by the time you see the sign you’ve already passed. A couple of weekends ago we decided to take a drive and explore the cemetery for ourselves.
I hadn’t done any research on the cemetery beforehand, and I wasn’t sure what to expect, other than it was old. What we found upon arrival, was unexpected, and quite honestly, it’s the oddest cemetery I’ve visited.
I wasn’t sure what we would find as we drove under the cemetery sign. Once we got out of the car and could see wooden stairs that led to a long bridge over a wash, my curiosity was piqued! At the end of the stairs was a metal gate and the cemetery, surrounded by a chain-link fence. The official internment count is 17; I guess these are the graves with headstones. However, Find A Grave lists 46 total burials, the first occurring in 1895, and the last according to the State of Utah in 1926.
Walking through the small cemetery, I noticed that most of the graves were from two families, and almost all of them were very, very, young when they died. Another gated chain-link fence surrounded these graves, and large bushes made them hard to see. Mill Fork Cemetery was turning out to be quite unusual. Outside of the cemetery there appeared to be maybe 2-3 unmarked graves. Some were small mounds covered with rocks, and one had a wooden headstone so worn any writing that had been there at one point, was now long gone.
Not knowing the history of Mill Fork, of which little to no trace remains, I decided to see what I could find. I also wanted to know how all these young children died. I was not disappointed by what I would learn; almost every burial here resulted from a tragic death.
Established around 1875, Mill Fork was a logging camp that was implemental to the development of the railroad through the canyon. At its height, it had a population of about 250 people, three sawmills, charcoal kilns, a general store, and housing for railroad employees.
The first interments took place in June 1893. They were Edna Eva Finch (3 years old), Effie Finch (3 years old), and Georgia Geraldine Finch (5 years old). The Salt Lake Herald reported that a woman and her child were trying to escape a scarlet fever epidemic in Grand Junction, Colorado. They stopped for a few days in Mill Fork, not realizing that they were infected, nor did they tell anyone they came from a city experiencing a Scarlet Fever outbreak. Within that short period, they contaminated Mill Fork, and many of the people became ill. The Finch family were hardest hit, losing three of their children. If the Finch children had stone markers at one point, they are now gone, being replaced relatively recently with wooden markers.
The next person to be buried here was Myrtle Elliott, on May 31st, 1905. 9-year old Myrtle was outside with her older brother who was unloading 100-lb sacks of grain from a wagon. He didn’t realize she was behind him and accidentally dropped the grain on top of her.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of the tragic deaths in the Elliott family. 3 years later, her father, William Edson Elliott was struck and killed by some runaway coal cars. It is reported the first mine car hit him so hard it knocked his hat off. He was then run over by 6 more cars before the 8th car derailed after striking him.
The irony in Edson Elliott’s death is that for years he was a railroad section foreman in charge of keeping sections of rail safe for travel. He was only working inside the Castle Gate Mine temporarily, waiting for outside work to become available.
The last and most shocking story behind the Mill Fork Cemetery belongs to Ida Viola Chadwick Ballard and her husband and murderer, Paris Ballard. Ida had family ties to Mill Fork, but she and her husband were living in Salt Lake City at the time of their deaths. Paris worked as a farmhand on Antelope Island and was often gone for stretches at a time. Apparently, he was also an alcoholic and when he was back in Salt Lake with Ida he was prone to jealous fits in a drunken state. Neighbors said they seemed to be a nice couple overall.
On the day of her death, the 12th of September, 1919, Ida Ballard was able to get Deputy Sheriff Arthur Waller to accompany her back to their apartment in order to dissuade her husband from carrying out threats he had previously made against her. When they got to the apartment, Paris was gone, and they assumed he had gone back to Antelope Island for work and wouldn’t be a problem at that time. It turns out he had not headed back to Antelope Island, but instead was out purchasing a gun and some whiskey.
He later returned to the house and began arguing with Ida. A neighbor who lived on the other side of the apartment reported hearing him yell at Ida to come into the house, and when she refused, he was seen dragging her inside. The neighbor told police that she couldn’t hear what they were arguing about, but that the tone was angry. She then heard Ida pleading for her life when two shots rang out followed by three more shots and silence.
When police arrived they found Ida dead on her knees at the foot of the bed, and Paris face down on the bed barely alive. As they were getting ready to transport him to the hospital, they found a half-empty flask of whiskey in his pocket. He died later that evening at the Salt Lake Emergency Hospital. For whatever reason, their family decided to have them buried side by side in the Mill Fork Cemetery.
I think it’s great that Doug and Christie Atwood have taken it upon themselves to maintain, improve, and document this little cemetery so well. It’s well worth a stop if you’re ever in the area. Make sure you sign the guestbook!
Often when I go walking in a cemetery, I’ll spot a headstone that grabs my attention. Maybe it is an unusual style, or maybe the name is unique, who knows? I’ll go home and do some quick research on the name to see if there is any mention in local newspapers or genealogy websites. I have found many interesting stories about people who lived in Ogden and died long ago. People whose stories have become lost to time. Some of them turned out to be well-known watchmakers like
Some of them turn out to be famous watchmakers like William Samelius, while others led quiet lives and their stories have been lost to time. One day while taking a stroll around the Ogden City Cemetery I happened to see the grave of Dirk Groen. While not terribly unusual, I found the inscription interesting and noticed he died at a young age and was curious about the cause of death.
I found that Dirk Groen, who often went by Dick, was a 20-year-old man who had recently been discharged from the Army after serving during WWI. He first got a job for the railroad and then was hired by the Globe Milling & Elevator Company as a carpenter.
While working on scaffolding on Saturday, August 30th, 1919 Dirk somehow fell suffering a skull fracture of which he would not recover. He was declared dead at 4 pm, having lived about an hour and a half after the fall.
Groen’s father and step-mother filed a workers compensation claim against the Globe Milling & Elevator company asserting they were dependent on a portion of Dirk’s wages. Workers compensation laws were new at this time in the United States. Utah didn’t pass the Workers Compensation Act until 1917 and the Groen’s claim was one of the first of its kind in Utah. Since Dirk had no dependents his father asserted that they were dependent on a portion of his income.
Initially, the courts agreed and the insurance company awarded his father $2,192. The insurance company appealed to the state supreme court and the award was overturned stating dependency had not been established. Instead of his father receiving any money, $750 would be sent to the state treasury per law.
Much to the disappointment of my children, I often like to stop by local cemeteries and wander around taking pictures. They usually get dragged along with me. I figure it makes for an interesting childhood, right? ;)We usually end up at the Ogden City Cemetery. It’s close to where we live, it’s relatively old, and it has its fair share of unusual headstones. It seems like even though I’ve been to the cemetery numerous times, I always seem to find something new every time I go.
If you circle the Moritz Mausoleum three times while chanting “Emo, Emo, Emo” and then look into the mausoleum you’ll see the red glowing eyes of “Emo” staring back at you.
One of the local legends I’ve had a lot of people ask me about is that of Emo’s Grave. Emo’s Grave is a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. The tomb is visible from 4th Street just East of 990 East. You won’t find the name Emo anywhere on the mausoleum, however as it, in fact, belonged to a man by the name of Jacob Moritz.
Jacob Moritz was born in Ingenheim, Germany in February of 1849 and immigrated to the United States in September of 1865 at the age of 16. After spending a couple of years in New York City working at the F.M. Schaefer Brewing Co, he moved to St Louis where he worked for Anheuser-Busch. Determined to try his hand at mining he eventually made his way to Helena, Montana. It’s unknown whether he wasn’t successful at mining or just wanted to get back into brewing but in 1871 he moved to Salt Lake City and opened the Little Montana Brewery. Within a few years, Jacob’s brewery became immensely successful, and he built a much larger, state of the art brewery on 10th East and 5th South, renaming it the Salt Lake City Brewing Co. Part of what was once a large brewery is still standing and is now the Anniversary Inn.
Over his 39 years in Salt Lake City, Jacob Moritz grew his brewery to be one of the largest outside of Milwaukee. His beer was sold throughout Utah, Idaho, Wyoming, Arizona, Colorado, and even parts of California. At the height of his success, he also owned over 36 saloons. In 1889 he married Lahela Louisson from Hawaii, and she joined him in Salt Lake. They were both extremely active with the local Jewish community; he served as President of Temple B’nai Israel, and she was the leader of the Hebrew Ladies’ Relief Society. Not only was he a successful brewer and businessman, but he was also involved in Utah politics, with the Liberal Party. Despite the fact that he made his fortune by the production and sale of alcohol, and also that he was involved in the less popular liberal politics, he was embraced by Utah’s Mormon population and from all accounts was extremely popular and well liked. In October 1909 he was issued a passport and shortly after that he and Lahela left the United States to go to Europe. Mr. Moritz had been in poor health for a few months, and they thought the rest, along with the local mineral springs would do his health good. By June of 1910, they had made their way to Germany, and it was there that Jacob Moritz succumbed to the effects of lung and stomach cancer. His wife and siblings were present when he died at the age of 61. And here is where the legend of Emo’s grave begins.
According to the newspaper article that announced his death, Lahela had her husband cremated, with the intention to inter his remains in a mausoleum located in the Jewish section of the Salt Lake City Cemetery. Lahela returned to the United States from Europe on the 23rd of July. Jacob’s remains were sent “in bond” and arrived on the 25th. His remains were interred in the mausoleum sometime after July 31st, but I could find no mention of a funeral or any ceremony.Shortly after his remains were placed in the mausoleum the rumors about “Emo’s grave” began. It’s not known who or what started these rumors, or where the name Emo originated. Lahela remarried not long after Jacob’s death and moved with her new husband to California. Eventually, Jacob’s remains were removed and given to his family, but it’s not known where they were eventually reinterred. I suspect they were probably taken to California and possibly even buried with Lahela upon her death in 1959.
Since the Intermountain Indian School, better known as the Brigham City Indian School closed it’s doors on May 17th, 1984 rumors quickly spread about it’s supposed haunted past. As urban legends are apt to do the longer the buildings sat empty, the bigger and more fanciful the legend grew.
Jean Baptiste’s ghost is said to walk the southern shore of the Great Salt Lake.
The story of Jean Baptiste is one of the most intriguing Utah legends, mainly because of the gruesome topic and that there is very little known historically about Baptiste.
The 1860 Census lists him as being born in 1813 in Ireland. However, people who knew him in Australia said he could not speak English very well and had come from Venice, Italy. Some of those who knew him in Salt Lake thought he was a Frenchman. What we know is that he was in Castlemaine, Australia until 1855, when he emigrated to the US on board the LDS Emigration ship the Tarquinia. The Tarquinia departed Melbourne on the 27th of April 1855 and arrived in Honolulu on July 5th, 1855. Baptiste made his way to San Francisco in February 1856 and stayed in California for a few years.
By 1859, Jean Baptiste was living in Salt Lake City, having built a small house near the city cemetery, and married a woman by the name of Dorothy Jennison. It’s also said that he was the choir leader for the ward. This poor woman was not married to him long before he was accused of grave robbing.
On the 16th of January 1862, two men accused of beating the Governor John Dawson were shot and killed by Salt Lake City police. No one came forward to give Moroni a proper burial, so a police officer by the name of Henry Heath paid for his burial, including purchasing a suit for the man to be buried in.
Jean Baptiste’s disturbing secret would have been kept a little while longer had Moroni Clawson’s family not eventually claim his body and ask that it be exhumed and moved to their family plot in Draper, Utah. Upon exhumation and opening his casket they found that not only was Moroni Clawson buried face down, his body was also completely naked.
Moroni’s brother was rightfully upset and instantly confronted Officer Heath demanding to know why his brother was buried in such a disrespectful way. Officer Heath was adamant that this was not the way his brother was buried and knew that to be a fact because he had paid for the man’s burial clothes. Heath immediately went to Sexton Little’s home with a couple of other men, where he offered no explanation and suggested they go speak with the gravedigger Jean Baptiste.
They went to his house and found that Baptiste was working in the cemetery and only his wife was home. While asking about her husband’s whereabouts Officer Heath and the other men with him noticed many boxes stacked about the room with bits of soiled cloth sticking out of some of the boxes. Upon examination, they realized that these boxes contained the clothing of the dead.
Officer Heath immediately thought about his daughter, Sarah Melissa Heath (Feb 3rd, 1852- April 6th, 1861) who was buried in the cemetery (plot #E_13_3_1EN2 ) just 9 months earlier. He rushed to the cemetery and found Baptiste digging a grave. Immediately upon being accused of grave robbing Baptiste is said to have dropped to his knees and beg for his life.
Heath pointed to various graves asking Baptiste if he robbed this one or that and on all of them Baptiste answered yes. He got to the grave of his beloved daughter Sarah and asked if Baptiste had opened this grave as well. Baptiste answered no and Officer Heath and the other men took him quickly to the jail before the townspeople could get their hands on him. Henry Heath later said in an interview that he had made up his mind to kill Jean Baptiste right there on the spot if he had admitted to defiling Sarah Heath’s grave.
After Baptiste was taken to the jail the Salt Lake City the police went back to his house and removed the boxes of clothing, shoes, and other items taken from the over 300 graves he was said to have robbed. City officials weren’t sure what to do with all the items Jean Baptiste had stolen. It was finally decided that the various pieces of clothing and other personal items would be laid out on display at the Salt Lake City courthouse for people to view and claim if they could identify items as belonging to a deceased family member. (The items were later buried in a mass grave in the city cemetery.)
Not much is known at this point what happened to Jean Baptiste as far as court proceedings. There are no court records or any newspaper articles that talk about his crimes during the time they happened except for a sermon given by Brigham Young. The people were in an uproar, demanding that Baptiste is brought to justice. In his sermon, Brigham Young says that he felt hanging or shooting Baptiste would be too easy of a punishment, and life in prison “would do nobody any good”. The only option he felt would be proper was to exile Baptiste to a small island in the Great Salt Lake.
Sometime in the Spring of 1862, Jean Baptiste was taken by wagon to the larger Antelope island and then by boat to Fremont island. At the time, the island was used by the Miller family to graze their cattle, and so there was a small shack stocked with basic provisions. The Miller brothers would usually go out to the island every three weeks to check their herd. Three weeks after leaving Baptiste on the island the brothers told authorities they had been out to the island and while they did not directly interact with Baptiste, they saw him on the island and noted he had helped himself to most of the food in the shack.
6 weeks after Baptiste’s banishment the brothers returned to the island to find that Jean Baptiste was nowhere to be found, their shack had been partly dismantled and the carcass of a two-year-old heifer was laying nearby with part of the hide cut into strips. They reasoned that he had used the leather from the heifer and the pieces of wood from the shack to make a crude raft and make his way to the mainland. There is no verifiable documentation of Baptiste from this point forward.
In 1890, a group of hunters found a human skull near the mouth of the Jordan river which is at the south end of the Salt Lake, nowhere near Fremont Island. In 1893, a partial skeleton was found, missing its head, with a ball and chain around its leg. Immediately newspapers declared that John Baptiste had been found at last, and this is most likely what started the rumors of the sighting of Baptiste’s ghost.
Henry Heath made it very clear in a later interview that Baptiste was not shackled or chained in any way. He also stated that he heard from a good source that Baptiste had made his way to a mining camp in Montana and had been talking about his experience in Salt Lake City, and his escape from Fremont island.
We may never know what actually happened to the grave robber of Salt Lake City, but I think the odds were in Jean Baptiste’s favor and he most likely made it off Fremont island and disappeared into the landscape.
If you stand in front of the Weeping Woman in the middle of the night during a full moon and say “Weep woman, weep” the statue will cry tears.
The legend says that the woman is weeping over the loss of her children, only 3 of 8 lived to adulthood. Depending on what version you hear she will cry only during full moons, or she will cry on the anniversary of each of her children’s deaths.
This monument was erected by Olif Cronquist in honor of his wife Julia Cronquist, who died on January 8th, 1914 from valvular heart disease, most likely caused by scarlet fever. Olif was one of the first county commissioners in Cache County and was also a well-known dairy farmer.
Their first child, Margaret was born in 1880, quickly followed by twins Olif and Oliver in 1883. Orson was born in 1888 and everything seemed fine until the first bout of scarlet fever hit the family in March 1889. By March 22, 1889, the twins Olif and Oliver were both dead, succumbing to the effects of scarlet fever. They were 5 years old. This was also when Julia contracted scarlet fever which would cause her problems for the rest of her life, and would ultimately lead to her death.
Another child, Elam, was born in 1891 and things were starting to look up for the Cronquist family. In 1894, Lilean was born and it’s unclear whether she was stillborn or only lived for a short period of time. In a matter of 5 years, the Cronquist family has lost 3 of their 6 children.
Julia and Olif had another daughter in 1896 named Emelia, and in 1899 Inez was born. Happiness was again short lived and scarlet fever struck their family for the second time in late February 1901. On March 1st, 1901 their two daughters died from scarlet fever. Emelia was 4 and Inez was 2. They were buried together in a specially built casket.
In a matter of 12 years, five of their 8 children had died. According to family history, Julia was inconsolable and would often visit the graves of her children. Passersby would remark that they often saw Mrs. Cronquist weeping at the graves. She progressively got weaker from the damage done by scarlet fever and passed away at 3 am on January 14th, 1914.
In her obituary she was remembered as “a splendid type of woman, tender, loving, patient and true, bearing her great burden without complaint and always seeking the happiness and comfort of those about her. She was adored by the members of her family.”
Visit the Weeping Woman
Olif had the impressive monument constructed and erected in the cemetery in 1917. You can find the Weeping Woman and the Cronquist family plot at the Logan City Cemetery which is located at 1000 N 1200 East, Logan, on the campus of Utah State University. The plot number is A_ 100_ 45_ 4.
If you flash the lights of your car onto Flo’s grave three times her ghost will appear and come towards you.
Like most legends it’s impossible to trace this one back to its source. There are a couple of different versions explaining how Flo died, leaving her ghost forever waiting at her grave. One version says that Flo was waiting to be picked up by her boyfriend, to go to the school dance at Ogden High when she was struck and killed by a car. Another says she died from choking on a piece of candy.
Just how close is any of this to what caused Flo’s untimely death? The truth is, not very close at all!
Florence Louise Grange was born on November 24th, 1903, in Ogden. She was the second child born to Dottie Susan Mumford and Ralph Manton Grange. Most of the references to her called her by her middle name Louise, and not Florence or Flo.
From what little information is available, it seems like she was a well-liked girl. There were a couple of mentions of her being a guest at various parties and she was on a school volleyball team in 1916.
In 1918, the United States (and the world) saw the worst influenza pandemic to date, the Spanish Flu. An estimated 20 – 50 million people died from this worldwide. It claimed the lives of almost 700,000 people in the U.S. alone. Utah was the 3rd hardest hit state. It was so bad by late November 1918 that both of the hospitals in Ogden were full, and city officials turned an LDS amusement hall into an emergency care center. People were required to have clean bills of health from their doctors just to enter Ogden. From September 1918 until June 1919 over 2,343 deaths in Utah were reported to have been caused by the Spanish Flu. What was odd about this strain is that it was particularly hard on young, otherwise healthy people.
According to Grange family history, the entire family contracted the flu after one of their tenants became ill and brought it into the household. Most of them caught a mild case and didn’t spend any time in bed sick. Louise, however, was not so lucky.
It’s also worth noting that her family had a strong automobile connection. Could this be where the legend connects her death with an automobile? Her father Ralph Grange was one of the first auto mechanics in the state of Utah. He was well-known throughout the state for his knowledge of fixing, building, and racing cars.
Louise caught the flu and died at her home at 5 am on December 29th, 1918 at the age of 15. Her official cause of death was listed as “died suddenly, probably of endocarditis.” The contributing factor was influenza. Her death certificate also states she had been sick for ten days.
You can find “Flo’s Grave” at the Ogden City Cemetery located near 20th & Washington. Her grave is on 7th just north of Martin. The plot number is 2A-13-32-5W. Surrounding Flo’s grave are the graves of her parents, grandparents, and, at least, one sibling.