CUMBERLAND COUNTY, ILLINOIS
Johnstown Lives In Memory
by Freda (Landrus) Misenheimer : Copyright 1981
The Haggin Graveyard
Old settlers continue family feud at services held there.
Located on a steep hill top, west of Muddy Creek in Cottonwood Township, 1 ½ miles northwest of Bradbury, and now on the Scott Farm. It is securely fenced, and a few years back was kept nicely mowed when this writer was there. This old cemetery has fascinating yarns still told of it that tends to make us believe today's well ordered lives are dull indeed.
The John Haggin family came into Cumberland County from Kentucky via Indiana, settling above Muddy Creek to the north and west of where Bradbury was platted some forty years later. The farm was entered on Nov. 11, 1836 by Henry Smith, stepfather of John Haggin, whose widowed mother Mary (Haggin) Smith was a doctor of some note, preparing her own medicines and riding miles over this area treating the settlers living in this heavily timbered acreage.
In 1868 this land was conveyed to James Haggin, whom the late Arthur Childress told me, lost the farm in a card game to Joseph Berry. The transfer being made on Mar. 3, 1869. This tract included the Haggin homestead and the by then growing cemetery. Mr. Smith died soon after settling here and is believed his grave is the nucleus of the Haggin burying ground. Others of the Haggin family died and were laid to rest here, and though no stone was ever set at a haggin grave, the name yet remains Haggin.
The old homestead was a huge log house and set close by the southwest edge of the cemetery, into this log house moved the family of Joseph Berry. In later years a new house was built on the site of the old, as the road at the time meandered in past it, but the road went the way of so many of the old roads and though buryings continued at Haggin for many years, the way in was by field roads. The last burial here was Charles "Pete" Gaines, b. 1896, d. 1941.
The most fascinating story of the place is of the day neighbors gathered in old Haggin to pay last homage to their friend and neighbor, George Barger, and a gun fight ensued, that as a Barger grandson told me, had the mourners really duckin’ and dogin’. Scared children were clinging to their mother's hands and skirts, and one girl, wearing a white dress had flecks of blood spattered on her though we never knew who was wounded. George W. Barger, d. Oct. 8, 1876, age 61 yrs. 11 mo.
The late John Light told me of this incident: "The Berry family had come up to Illinois from Tennessee, from a feuding section of that state. They were raised with guns and wore them as casually as other folks wore gloves. In earlier time there had developed an ill will between two of the brothers, Mitchell and Joseph, brought about by their love of their fleet racing stock, and backing it up with gun and fist. The ill will had grown with each race won or lost, till bitter pride was riding on unbending shoulders–Tennessee style.
"On this day, Mitchell appeared first at Haggin, followed by a nephew, Capt. W.N. Berry, plus a goodly crowd of neighbors and were standing around the open grave as the funeral procession wended itself along the hill. Suddenly Joseph and a son Tom were in the cemetery. Tom with a shot gun, Joe carrying an old navy revolver, a foot long, to say the least, and to the petrified bystanders looking as big as a cannon. Amid much fuming, with Joe ordering Mitch from his property, with Mitch retorting, ‘no man owned a burying ground, he had come to pay his last respects to his friend and neighbor.’ And Joe ‘lowing as how he’d get himself killed for his neighborliness, and so on.
"A railing of sorts had been thrown up to hold back the dirt, and when Joe and Tom jerked up their guns, Mitch sensing the danger, leaped behind this barrier, and no doubt had plenty of company, as the bullets spanged off the stones z-z--zrooming like angry hornets amongst the lilies. Capt. W.N., leaped into the fracas tearing the shot gun from Tom’s hands. Joe shouting he would kill him if he didn't hand the gun back. Captain W.N., walked right into the face of that young cannon drawling, ‘shucks, Uncle Joe, I looked down the barrels of thousands of guns bigger than this puny one during the war and they didn't scare me. Hand it over now.’ The procession was now coming into the cemetery! Joe looked about at the hushed, waiting faces–and handed over the gun.
"Friends urged Mitchell to go quietly and let the services proceed. Mitchell went, but with a last word, ‘I’m going because George Barger was my friend, not because I'm afraid to stay.’ Quite a man was Mitchell Berry," praised Mr. Light.
In avidly reliving all our exciting frontier times, one is prone to overlook the sterling qualities of our pioneers. Two of the Berry brothers offered land for the townsite of Toledo, and helped plat the town. They were good friends, fine neighbors and generous to a fault. So long as Haggin graveyard endures, the Berry legends will live on. Let’s protect old Haggin, eh!
many burials here, I will list only a few, but there are Kellys,
Fulfers, Hills, Carwells, Strueves, Postalwaits, Brown, Furry and
numerous graves that have no stones.
I found a listing for the Berry Cemetery
but the names seem to be of the people who are buried in the Haggins
Cemetery maybe one of our readers could clear this up and tell us for
sure where these people are buried. Is this a list for Berry Cemetery,
Haggin or Bradbury??
Haggin, Bradbury or Berry Cemetery ??????
This List was made by Sam Sargent Charleston, Illinois
and recorded on film #0824235 page 214 by the Mormon Church