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Murder/Cemetery Tour 2019

Posted by on September 24, 2019

Historical Cemetery-Murder Tour On October 5

The annual Adams County Historical Society Cemetery Tour comes with a different twist for 2019.  In addition to traveling to selected county cemeteries and visiting with “spirits” of the dead buried there, the tour will also stop at sites where murders occurred.  The Society held its first “Murder Tour” last spring and discovered plenty of interest in a second one.

The cemetery tours have been held in the fall for fifteen years and combining the two was a logical decision.

Last spring’s murder tour covered fatal crimes in the northern half of the county. The October 5 tour will head south.  Among the crime scenes to be visited are the site where an unidentified body was found off of Highway 13 in 1926;  the roadside where the police chief of Wisconsin Rapids,  R.S. Payne, was bludgeoned to death in 1939; the intersection where potato truck driver Adolph Miller was shot to death in 1948; and several other places where murders took place.

The guide for the murder portion of the tour will be Matt McLaughlin, author of the book The Murders of Adams County. Thanks to Matt’s diligent research and story telling ability, the book has been a “best-seller” in Adams County.

In between the murderous tales, the bus will stop at five cemeteries to hear ghostly stories.  At Plainville, the spirit of Amelia Dutcher, the young woman who wandered out of Kilbourn City and was lost until her body was found months later on Elephant Mound. At Big Springs, a spirit will tell the heroic story of World War II Marine Sergeant Edward Armson. The bus will also stop at the former County Farm Cemetery near Jordan Lake to learn about the “poor souls” buried then, then move on to Davis Corners to hear from the spirit of Marie Bork, the women who lived in three centuries. The last stop will be at Gould Rock, where Harriet Sylvester will talk about life at the Marsh House tavern  in the Pinery Road days of the 1840s-’50s.

Instead of a school bus, this year’s tourists will ride in a comfortable tour bus.  These tours are popular and the bus fills up, so reservations are required.  Seats are $25.00 and can be reserved by calling the historical society at 608-339-7733 or via email

Due to limited seating on the bus, Reservations must be paid for prior to the day of the tour.

You may mail in to: Adams County Historical Socety, PO Box 264, Friendship, WI

The tour will start and end at the McGowan House in Friendship on Saturday, October 5.  Boarding will begin at 8:30 am and the bus will leave promptly at 9:00 am. All the stories will be told on the bus and we will not be getting off at the cemeteries. The bus will return to the McGowan House at approximately 12:30 pm and a picnic lunch will be served inside the Niebull School.

Michael Goc will be co-hosting the cemetery portion of the tour. (Any of you who have ridden the bus with us in the past know benefit of gaining so much information about the areas we pass thru from his running commentary as we travel.)

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