The Ghosts of Linwood Cemetery
At the top of a hill just east of Glenwood Springs in Colorado, you will find the ghosts of Linwood Cemetery.
The Linwood Cemetery was established in August of 1886. Soon afterward, lots were purchased to house the remains of the poor, the unknown, and the criminals. These lots were placed in a separate section of the new burial ground. In general, those brought to rest in this portion of the cemetery did so with no family or friends. Sadly, their graves became unmarked and forgotten over time.
In 1923 a group of women in the town organized a significant restructuring of the graveyard. Their aim was to give dignity to those who were buried in the county section of the cemetery. The most significant accomplishment of these women was the raising of a 10-foot granite monument with the inscription: “To the Memory of All Who Sleep Here in God’s Acre. C.I. and L.C. 1923.”
These are the stories of pioneers buried in the Linwood Cemetery, from gunslinging outlaws to a young girl who met a tragic demise. Their spirits and stories linger on to this day to be told repeatedly, keeping their memory and history alive.
Although they are not around in an earthly sense, their spirits are felt throughout the cemetery. Some even make their presence known through little mischievous displays.
Nine o’ Diamonds ~ The Ghost of Elmira Kier
If you know anything about the days of the old wild west, you know that times were hard and brutal making a living. This left some no choice but to revert to the darker side out of desperation. Thus the story of the lady of the evening Elmira Kier called herself ‘Nine o’ Diamonds,’ saying she was a ‘cursed card,’ which is how she saw her life.
Elmira lived in a canvas-roofed clapboard house near the Sporting District train tracks and was run from her home when it burned down.
Buried in the potter’s field section of the cemetery, you can imagine the stories this hard-trodden woman has to tell. And why her ghost may still linger on around her grave.
The Death of Beulah Rowden
Beulah Rowden was a young girl that met an untimely death at the age of 12. After being scolded by her mother for not minding her cousin’s whereabouts, Beulah retaliated against her mother and drank lye. A single dose of lye will cause third-degree burns in the mouth and esophagus, ultimately resulting in death. The young girl obviously did not understand the severity of her actions to get back at her mother.
A young life tragically cut short. Perhaps her spirit is caught between worlds as her understanding of her passing may not be known to her.
Katie’ Mother’ Bender
Katie Bender was an immigrant from Germany. Her pride in becoming an American citizen showed through her generosity in the community.
In 1886 Katie opened a restaurant called The Commercial which she ran with her husband Joe until 1888 when he died of edema at the age of 45. Running the eatery on her own didn’t stop Katie from her gift-giving generosity to the underprivileged children and families in the community.
Christmas was Katie’s favorite time of year, possibly because her birthday was December 23rd. Making gift baskets for families struggling to make ends meet, Katie would carefully place a turkey at the bottom of the basket. The children that would come into the restaurant received cookies, candy, and orange, often being the only orange they would have all year.
During the Christmas Season of 1910, Katie surprised 1,871 children in every state of the union with a gift. This is how she earned her the endearment “Mother” Katie Bender, although she had no children. Her spirit lives on through the tales of the times of her days in Glenwood Springs. Perhaps her presence still lingers around the cemetery where she was laid to rest years later.
Louisa Schwarz, another Community Spirit
Louisa Schwarz also displayed unselfish deeds. Christmas was also Louisa’s favorite time of year. For over 30 years, she would open the home that she and her husband shared, inviting the children for treats. Louisa would entertain the children by winding up her small Christmas tree, spinning around, and playing carols. She then provided them with sacks filled with candy, her ever-famous cookies, and even a gift from Santa.
It wasn’t only the children that received and experienced Louisa’s generosity. She would seek out new arrivals and tourists, inviting them into her home. She would entertain them, so no one felt alone during the Christmas season. Thousands of people experienced her loving generosity and community spirit throughout her lifetime.
After her passing away two weeks before Christmas in 1932, the Glenwood Post said Louisa Schwarz would be missed like none other. Few could touch so many lives or lead a life so full of service as her.
In honor of her memory, her friends of the Glenwood Garden Club planted a 6 foot Colorado Blue Spruce tree dedicated to Louisa. A tree-planting ceremony with a dedication speech by Judge J. W. Bell. Dozens of residents attended, and her memory remains part of the history of Glenwood Springs today.
The Ghosts of Linwood Cemetery Outlaw “Kid Curry”
Harvey A. Logan was a robber and an outlaw that once ran with the Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid’s Wild Bunch. He killed at least 9 lawmen and two others during his outlaw days, and this credited him with more killings and bank and train robberies than anyone in his day.
Curry’s criminal life began when he shot a killed a local miner and lawman. The man attacked and accused Curry of being romantically involved with his daughter.
Curry started hanging with the Black Jack Ketchum gang committing several robberies and killings. Arguments over the take on a train robbery resulted in Curry leaving the gang.
Later Curry relocated to Colorado, where he worked on a ranch. When the ranch work was done, he formed his own gang until riding with Butch Cassidy’s Wild Bunch. In 1889 Kid Curry took part in the famous Union Pacific Railroad’s Overland Flyer passenger train robbery in Wyoming.
Eventually, Curry’s brutal ways caused him to leave Butch Cassidy’s gang. In 1904 he was hunted down by a posse in Parachute, Colorado. After robbing a train and stealing some horses, the posse caught up with Kid Curry. A shoot-out occurred, resulting in Curry being wounded. Knowing he would be captured and would go to jail, he fatally shot himself in the head.
Kid Curry is said to be buried in the Linwood Cemetery. Some believe the lawmen captured and killed the wrong man. Rumor has it that Curry left for South America with the Butch Cassidy gang.
Most Famous of the Ghosts of Linwood Cemetery
Perhaps one of the most famous criminal outlaws of the Old Wild West is non-other than John Henry Holliday or ‘Doc’ Holliday as he came to be known.
John Henry Holliday was born on August 14th, 1851, in Griffin, Georgia. His parents had buried their first child a year before his birth, so his birth was a celebrated event. Little did his parents know that their son would grow up to becoming one of the most famous gunfighters of all time.
Born with a cleft palate, Holliday underwent corrective surgery, resulting in considerable help with his speech. His mother worked diligently with him on his speech and the Southern etiquette and manners, which forever emulated his demeanor.
Doc Holliday and his older years
Holliday became a Dentist by trade and moved to Dallas, Texas. He thought the dry air would be better for him after contracting tuberculosis.
The nightlife in Dallas called to him, and drinking and gambling began to control his life as well as gunfighting.
After a murder charge, he went on the run and eventually settled in Dodge City, Kansas. A town hot with gambling and gunslingers. This is where he met his good friend Wyatt Earp. He followed Earp to a frontier mining town that was booming at the time, Tombstone, Arizona.
Tombstone, Arizona, is the home of history’s most legendary gunfight in the American West. Shoot-out at O.K. Corral. Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp, along with Wyatt’s brother Virgil and Morgan, found themselves in the middle of an intense 30-second battle. This left 3 men dead and several wounded, including Holliday.
Morgan Earp was killed after the fight, and Wyatt set out on the Earp Vendetta Ride. Holliday went with him, and the ride resulted in several killings.
After Doc split from Wyatt Earp, he moved to Glenwood Springs, Colorado, where he hoped to be cured of his tuberculosis in the hot springs. He died in Hotel Glenwood on November 8th, 1887, at the age of 36.
He was buried in the Linwood Cemetery. It’s said that his father came and got his body and took it home to Griffin, Georgia and that they are buried next to each other.
His presence may still be felt in the Linwood Cemetery. That’s where his soul departed from his earthly body, making him one of the ghosts of Linwood Cemetery and the cemetery one of the top 10 most haunted places in Aspen, Colorado.