Sunday, March 31, 2013

Cleveland, TN - St. Luke's Episcopal Church Mausoleum



John Henderson Craigmiles was a very successful man. He was a former sea captain, and a prominent business man in Cleveland, TN during the 1800s. However, his endured more tragedy than most people can imagine.
Nina Craigmiles was born on August 5, 1864, to John Henderson Craigmiles and his wife, Adelia Thompson Craigmiles. From the day she was born, her entire family fell in love with her, especially John. He showered her with affection, and bought her the best toys money could buy. He rarely ever let her leave his sight, and, as a result, she had few friends her own age. Some people have suggested that she wanted friends her own age, but if she did, she didn`t appear to want for it very much. She seemed very happy in such a loving family.
Sadly, on October 18, 1871, that happiness came to an end. It was Saint Luke`s Day, and Nina`s grandfather, Dr. Gideon Blackburn Thompson, was taking her for a ride on a horse and buggy. He had done this many times before, and Nina absolutely loved riding.
Apparently, Dr. Thompson lost control of the horse and buggy, because it went directly into the path of a train. Dr. Thompson was thrown to safety, but Nina was killed.
The entire town was saddened by the news, and many people showed up for her funeral. After her funeral, Dr. Thompson and two others were baptized. The Craigmiles were devout Episcopalians, and since the Episcopal congregation of Cleveland did not have a church to visit at, John Henderson Craigmiles vowed to build one, which he did in memory of Nina. Saint Luke`s Episcopal Church was consecrated on the third anniversary of Nina`s death. It was (and still is) a very beautiful church. Not long after, Mr. Craigmiles had a mausoleum built behind the church in memory of his daughter. She was laid to rest inside, as was another infant son who died, and Mr. and Mrs. Craigmiles. Mr. Craigmiles met an untimely death after falling on some ice, which apparently triggered blood poisoning. A third member of the family had met a tragic death.
Today, if you visit the mausoleum, you will notice red streaks the color of blood appear on it. Almost everyone agrees that these streaks appeared just after Nina was laid to rest inside. These streaks are said by many to represent the tragedy that the Craigmiles family endured. People have tried many times to wash of these streaks, but they cannot. No one can explain what caused them to appear.
Sorrow continued for the Craigmiles. An infant son died within hours of his birth, Nina`s grandfather John Craigmiles died of food poisoning and his wife Adelle succumbed to injuries sustained when she was hit by a car in 1928. As each member of the family joined the others in the crypt, the stains grew deeper and more prominent.
In the area around the mausoleum, children have been known to play. Some children have claimed to see the ghostly apparition of a young child dressed in 1800s style clothing. Other people have also reported seeing this, and hearing crying coming from the vicinity of the mausoleum. Local legend says that it`s Nina crying and wanting to play with the friends she never had in life. For years, youth in the area would approach the mausoleum after dark as a test of bravery. Many failed this test.
No one doubts the pain endured by the Craigmiles family. One can only hope that it doesn`t remain now, after their deaths`.

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