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Raynolds / Carmichael Graves

If you drive east of Linton on Highway 13 about 3 ½ miles, you will see on top of a hill to the south, a tombstone. And if you walk the 30 or 40 feet to the top of that hill you will read that here lies buried A.L. Raynolds, born Sept 9, 1860, died August 4, 1891 and Elva Raynolds, born December 26, 1869, died May 20, 1886. There is also a third grave: that of little Joseph M. Carmichael, age 12, a hunchback and brother of Elva. Perhaps you are curious, so I am going to tell you the tragic story of these three graves.
Abraham Lincoln Raynolds was born September 19, probably 1861 rather than 1860. He joined the regular U.S. Army in 1879, was discharged in 1884, and immediately came to Emmons County settling on Section 15, 132-76. He was one of the first to live in this part of the country, for there were hardly any settlers, but they were coming, A FEW AT A TIME.
Five new settlers came in November, 1884. These were probably Mrs. Annie Bartu and her children, Henry, John and Delia. Also her daughter and son-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Joseph Fish. In 1885 Mr. Smith H. Cronk came with his 5 children, including 3 little girls. Also in 1885 Mrs. Julia Raynolds, mother of Lincoln, came to live with him.
Mrs. Leah Carmichael came to the county from Kansas early in 1886 with at least 4 children:
Elva age 16
William, age 14
Alice, age 11
Joseph, age 7
With the coming of these pioneers Lincoln knew that provisions would be needed, so in January 1885 he received two carloads of merchandise with which he opened a store on Section 22 which he had bought from the railroad. The next month he applied for an appointment as postmaster, which he received in 1886, his P.O. being OMIO.
A very important fact was that his store was on one side of Beaver Creek and the dugout where he lived on the other, the crossing between the two being on a log over the water.
On April 4, 1886, he married Elva Carmichael, age 16, after which the newlyweds gave a big party for their neighbors and friends in celebration.
Nellies death occurred 6 weeks later on May 20, 1886. She was in the habit of crossing to and fro by boat from the store to the dugout. On this particular May day, Lincoln returned from inspecting his beaver traps and found at the store a note she had left:- “Linc: I have gone over to the dugout. Left the key in the same place we left it when we went riding”. After some time when she did not return, he crossed the creek on the log but did not find her. Thinking she had gone to visit neighbors, he returned to the store. Later he went back to the dugout and began calling her. Two neighbors were attracted by his calls and helped in his search. During the search, Lincoln expressed a fear that she had fallen into the creek, and when they went there, they found she had drowned just below the ford of the creek in about three feet of water. Apparently she had fallen out of the boat. She was buried on a hill overlooking the beautiful Beaver Valley, a place where once they had stood together and she had hoped she would one day be buried.
Raynolds continued living with his mother, but seemed to have a great capacity for making enemies. On September of that year he was accused by J.W. Wescott of stealing some ponies In November 1886, his neighbor, Mr. Cronk had him arrested on the charge of molesting his three little girls. Raynolds seems to have been innocent, but he had made two bitter enemies. In December 1887, while Wescott was cutting timber on the Raynolds land, Lincoln shot him through the ear. Deputy Sheriff Waldroff was sent to arrest him, and they went up to Williamsport on December 16th, in one of the worst blizzards of the times. However, on arraignment, no witness appeared, and he was released.
By now his mother-in-law, Leah Carmichael lived at his store with her family, and on December 30, 1886 the store burned to the ground, with a total loss of all store inventory and Leah's household goods. She and her two children barely escaped with their lives.
But Lincoln continued in the merchandising business, peddling from wagon and rebuilding his store. In 1890 he got a teacher's certificate and taught in the German-Russian settlement. On December 11, 1890, his little brother-in-law, 12 year old Joseph Carmichael, died and was buried on the lot with Elva Raynolds.
On August 4, 1891 Lincoln Raynolds was found sitting beside Beaver Creek on a log, dead from a bullet wound in the heart. The Grand Jury was called and decided that, since HIS COAT WAS BUTTONED, AND THE GUN UNDER THE COAT, AND THERE WAS NO BULLET HOLE IN THE COAT, THE DEATH WAS BY SUICIDE. But there were some who wondered if he had not made too many enemies.
In 1893 his mother, Mrs. Raynolds, sold the East Beaver Creek Ranch to W.E. Petrie and returned to Iowa.
Of course these were violent times and not too much law enforcement, and many people died violent deaths. Alice Carmichael died in 1901 at the age of 26. Her husband committed suicide in the Linton House in 1907. Mrs. Annie Bartu died in 1903 from carbolic acid poisoning. Mrs. Joseph Fish lost her husband after a horse runaway in 1887 and subsequently married George Lynn. Mr. Cronk is buried in the Beaver Creek Cemetery on the Sehn land. William Carmichael is remembered as the man who shot and killed John Backhaus in 1890, went to prison, was pardoned, and lived around Linton and Livona for many years.
The above was written by Euvagh Wenzel. A great deal of the above story was told to me by John Bartu. The rest came from old EMMONS COUNTY RECORDS.

From the files of Ronald Kremer. Contributed by his daughter Cynthia Maier.

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