Tales of a trip through the graveyard at night are a Halloween staple. What if there was a lost graveyard? A place where school children played and the identities of those buried there were long forgotten. Such a place may exist on Beaver Hill.
When I was a child, my mother told me a curious story. When she was growing up on Beaver Hill, in the late 1930s and early 1940s, she and her grade school classmates and siblings played in the area behind the Beaver School.
She recalled that one day in addition to climbing trees they began digging with sticks in the dirt. She claims that as they dug they exposed what appeared to be a human form, a shoulder and a head. The digging was hard and they soon lost interest, and the “body” was left but not forgotten.
In 1997, I purchase a book by Archer K. Smith called “Tragedy Graveyard and the Starbuck Ghost and Other True Stories” and there was the story of the forgotten graveyard behind Beaver School. Had my mother really dug up a body? The following information is from Smith’s book.
In the late 1890s, Charley Paul had a homestead on the east side of Lake Pleasant. He lived in a small cabin near the shore. He was said to never smile and he was missing an eye.
Across the lake lived Rose and Charles Brenton. In a population of mostly bachelors, Mrs. Brenton caught the “eye” of Paul. Waiting until Mrs. Brenton was gone visiting family, Paul shot Mr. Brenton and made it look like suicide.
With a lack of law enforcement, there were no questions asked. When Mrs. Brenton returned she took up with Paul. Paul soon left to work in Port Angeles and was sending his $50 a month home to his new love.
The only problem was she had taken up with a man named Dave McKunckle. Paul got wind of the betrayal and made his way back to Lake Pleasant through the woods. He ambushed McKunckle in the barn and shot him dead.
Then to the cabin where a violent fight ensued between Paul and Rose. Rose was killed and in the boat he had used to cross the lake, Paul shot himself. All were buried at the back edge of Paul’s 160-acre homestead on Beaver hill.
Others believed to occupy the Tragedy Graveyard are a man named Winkler who went mad when lost in the woods. Joe Neederstrausser and his partner Cowan had a copper mine at Sappho. Neederstrauser shot Cowan and then himself.
A Seattle man who had a place on the Sol Duc also was shot by his partner.
A man named Terwilliger, who had a place at Shuwah, was suffering from an illness and took his own life; he was the last buried at the Beaver hill location in 1906. While 13 men and one woman are buried there, five remain unknown.
Celebrate Halloween on the West End with a trip to the graveyard or maybe something a little more lighthearted like a costume contest at the Forks Elks Lodge or Blakeslee’s Bar and Grill, both on Saturday night.
JT’s Sweet Stuff is offering up “The Haunted Bakery.” The Bakery will present “The Crypt Keepers Key, A Haunted Tale” Halloween evening from 6-11 p.m. The play begins every half hour and there is an audience limit of 16 at each show. Fun for most from 8 years old and up. This is a free event.
On Halloween night the “Rain of Terror” Forks Police Foundation will have extended hours at its haunted house at the Quillayute Airport and the last night to experience the “Rain of Terror” is Saturday night.
Was it imagination and a tree root or did my mom really dig up a body in Tragedy Graveyard?