Wednesday, April 2, 2014

B is for Boston Cemetery

by Kim Van Sickler

[Kim's posts will all relate to her MG historical fiction novel with a paranormal twist: Muleskinner. Here's the pitch: An extraordinary canal dog gives twelve-year-old mule driver, Clay, the conviction to fight against a highly suspect Indenture agreement his pa supposedly signed...right before Pa was found swinging from a tree above Lonesome Lock.]

Superstition abounds surrounding the Boston cemetery, which is visible from the Ohio-Erie Canal abutting the old Boston Village (now Boston Mills), in Summit County, Ohio. During the Ohio Canal Era (1826-1913), many of the folk who helped dig the canal, lived along the canal, and worked on the canal believed the tales they heard about the cemetery. For instance, that voices coming from the Boston Cemetery were spirits looking for company, who would drag you underground if you dared to enter.
Boston cemetery

The Boston cemetery plays a crucial role in Muleskinner. Not only is it a foreboding place that all the boats pass during their Cleveland to Akron routes and back again, but it is where the mysterious dog, Lucky, first reveals himself to Clay, and digs up a tin box holding clues to Clay's past. It's also the last place we see Lucky.

Here's a description of the cemetery from Muleskinner:
The Boston cemetery was the final resting ground for many of the souls who perished on the Ohio Canal. Rumor was the notorious counterfeiter Jim Brown was buried here. But many of the men whose bodies lay crumbling underground died of diseases like malaria and cholera. Some died in tragic accidents; others from too much drink, and a few, it was well known, were murdered. Clay didn't want to run into any angry spirits looking to avenge their untimely deaths. Not only that, but talk was Injuns were buried there first. Clay never could walk by without feeling spooked. If they passed after dark, Owen left the bow of the boat to walk past the cemetery with him. Cap'n never peeped a word of complaint. Not after Ruby laid into him years ago about how if Cap'n insisted on hauling after dark, Clay should have company passing this ghostly place.


  1. I love ties between fictional and real settings. And those OLD gravestones are a real draw!

  2. What an interesting post! Places like cemeteries and old houses have always intrigued me. Thanks for sharing! :)

  3. Love that our posts mesh! And I'm a huge fan of old cemeteries.

  4. Probably the first post I'm reading on a cemetery, and an interesting one. Love it as the setting in a novel, and am pretty sure I've read it in many, though I can't remember names. A great description in Muleskinner.
    Silvia @

  5. Glad to find this in my email box today--although I didn't get the "A" WIll have to go back and read. Kim, your writing is tangibly scary. (Did I just invent a new description there?) Great premise for your book. Hope it finds a home soon!

  6. Fascinating. I love cemeteries and the legends behind them. I also love to read about the research other writers do. Thank you for sharing.
    Rita A to Z 1896