Charleston, Michigan: Once a Town, Now a Graveyard
The town of Charleston was showing real promise after it was platted in 1836...but then in 1879, a family was murdered which helped turn Charleston into nothing but a graveyard.
Charleston was a settlement in Cass County's Volinia Township. It was named after Jacob Charles, one of the platters along with Jacob Morlan and Samuel Fulton. The town was nestled along the stagecoach line between Kalamazoo and Niles in the 1840s and Elijah Goble's tavern was a popular stagecoach stop.
Some say when the Michigan Central Railroad was laid, Charleston began its decline.....but there are others who feel that's only part of the reason.....
In southwest Michigan, in Cass County halfway between Marcellus and Decatur, Michigan, lies the Anderson Cemetery; down a dirt road, out in the sticks, right next to a dismal swamp. The area has plenty of woods...and somewhere within these woods near the cemetery lies the place where the Charles Morris family was murdered on September 28, 1879.
The Morris's lived in a mansion-type home in the woods, away from other homes and people. They happened to be home in bed when a man knocked at the door; Charles went to the door, mistakenly leaving his pistol in the bedroom. Upon opening, Charles was shot twice and killed; hearing the shots, Mrs. Morris picked up their pistol and went to investigate. When she saw the intruder she froze, ran into the next room where she was followed and also shot to death, killing their unborn child in the process.
Some sites say the family maid was also killed, but she is said to have been in her room asleep at the time. The perpetrator then proceeded to steal their horse and make his getaway. Nothing was stolen and it was assumed the man just wanted the Morris's dead...envious of their wealth and/or position in the community? The reason is not known. The house has since burned down and the deceased were buried in Anderson Cemetery. The curious thing about that is, the Morrises lived across from the Charleston Cemetery, yet their bodies were taken to Anderson cemetery, five miles away. Nobody seems to have an explanation for this.
After these murders, people who lived in the area were afraid the ghosts of the Morris family would return to haunt the area and its people. It didn't take long before all the superstitious, frightened Charleston residents packed up and moved away, leaving absolutely nothing left of Charleston. No homes or buildings...just graves.
Were they right? Are there hauntings?
Visitors to the graveyard say they've witnessed the Morris headstone glowing at night on the anniversary of their deaths - September 29. Not only that, but it's said you can see the ghosts of Charles & Esther Morris standing by their headstone, which is located in the center of the cemetery. The cemetery is located on 36th Street between 92nd & 96th Avenues on the west side of Swift Lake.
If you visit, adhere to the hours, don't litter, don't be obnoxious or noisy, don't vandalize.....and be respectful of the deceased...or they may not be respectful of you.