Ryder cemetery killings

Ryder cemetery killings

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eeyore

Metairie, LA

#1 Apr 4, 2011
Does anyone remember or know the story of a woman who killed her children and then herself in or around Ryder Cemetery circa 1920s? I read the story a number of years ago in a special section of the Enterprise, but can't find any info on it now. Did I imagine this?
sadbuttrue

Campbellsville, KY

#2 Apr 4, 2011
eeyore wrote:
Does anyone remember or know the story of a woman who killed her children and then herself in or around Ryder Cemetery circa 1920s? I read the story a number of years ago in a special section of the Enterprise, but can't find any info on it now. Did I imagine this?
Yes, it was 1929, her name was Mamie Shoaf. She killed 3 of her children, i think it was 1 girl and 2 boys. I remember reading that her husband was abusive. I actually went to the library and looked at a micro-fiche of the enterprise for May, 1929 and found the story.
eeyore

Metairie, LA

#3 Apr 4, 2011
Thanks - I don't know why I started thinking about this. Now I wish I hadn't - not a great thing to have on your mind.
The Marion Falcon

Crittenden, KY

#4 Apr 4, 2011
SHOAF, MAMIE (MRS)
MARION FALCON 5/28/1929
Died 5/24/1929
SLAYS HER CHILDREN, TAKES HER OWN LIFE
LEBANON WOMAN USES RAZOR TO SLASH THROATS OF THREE TOTS, THEN FATALLY
WOUNDS SELF
A four-fold tragedy, one of the most gruesome ever known in the community, occurred here Thursday night, when a mother killed three of
her children and then took her own life. The 3 little ones,children of Mr. & Mrs. Carey Shoaf, North Hamilton Street, this city,were found dead with their throats slashed in a pasture on the farm of Foster Ray, just east of the city limits, at nine o'clock Friday morning. They were Catherine 10, Ina Louise 6, and Tom Porter 2. An hour earlier, their mother, Mrs. Mamie Shoaf, 38, was found barely alive, with her throat slashed, in the summer house at the Ryder cemetery about 150 yards from where the bodies of the children were found. Pieces of old tarps were wrapped about her & within the coverings was a razor, with the handle broken an inch from the blade,
which evidently had been used in slashing her own & the children's throats. She was taken to Elizabeth's Hospital, where she died at 10:30 the same morning. The four bodies were brought to the funeral home of Bosley & Son, & prepared for burial. At an inquest held Fri afternoon by Coroner H.M. Brussell the following verdict was reached: We the jury, find from the evidence that Mrs. Mamie Shoaf & the 3 children, met their death from having their throats cut with a sharp instrument which we believe to be a razor shown at the inquest,& we further believe that all four met their death at the hands of the mother, Mrs. Mamie Shoaf, during the night of May 23, 1929.(Signed) Palmer Rinehart, George Hays, J.S. Mills, Henry Johnson, P. S.Horan, Cleaver Bradshaw.
Surviving are the father& four sons, Leon 17, Harold 16, Joe Shea 14, and Carey Jr 12. The family came here from Lexington,Indiana,
11 years ago the father having been employed by lumber plants here. Mrs. Shoaf was Miss Mamie Shea, daughter of William & Martha Amons
Shea of IN. Mrs. Shoaf was found Friday morning about 8:00 by two negro youths, George Tucker & Ulysses Johnson, who had gone to the cemetery under the direction of Caretaker N. H. Wilkerson to aid in cutting the grass. As they approached the summerhouse in the burying ground, they heard sounds coming from beneath a tarpaulin and saw hands moving feebly. They hastily notified Mr. Wilkerson & others. Dr. T. I. Campbell was called and Mrs. Shoaf, unable to talk, wrote on a piece of cardboard, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She pointed in the direction where the children's bodies were later found. Before she died Shoaf indicated to Dr. Wilber at the
hospital that she had killed her babies & wounded herself, but she gave no reason for it. Members of the family stated she was very nervous, & that she had grown worse in the last two weeks; that she threatened Thurs, the day before her death,
to end her own life, because she couldn't go through another day like this. But she had never threatened her children, it is said. In the
searching party that found the bodies of the dead children were W Bird, J Knuckles, C Wilcher & G Clark. The heads of the children were half-severed from their bodies. It appeared that they had been dead several hours. Mr. Shoaf stated that the razor found with the mother was his own. He said Mrs. Shoaf and the children had left home Thursday night about seven o'clock and that he believed they were at the home of a neighbor. A crowd of several hundred persons viewed the bodies at the funeral home Friday afternoon. Funeral
services for all four were conducted at the Baptist church of which Mrs. Shoaf was a member, Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock by the
pastor, the Rev. T. J. Porter. Burial was in Ryder cemetery, the caskets being placed side by side in one grave. It is estimated 1500
persons gathered at the church for the funeral, many not being able to get inside on account of the large crowd.
The Marion Falcon

Crittenden, KY

#5 Apr 4, 2011
SHOAF, MAMIE
MARION FALCON 5/28/1929
Died 5/24/1929
SLAYS HER CHILDREN, TAKES HER OWN LIFE
LEBANON WOMAN USES RAZOR TO SLASH THROATS OF THREE TOTS, THEN FATALLY WOUNDS SELF
FUNERAL FOR 4 HELD SUNDAY
A 4-fold tragedy, one of the most gruesome ever known in the community, occurred here Thurs night, when a mother killed 3 of her children & then took her own life. The 3 little ones, children of Mr. & Mrs. Carey Shoaf, N Hamilton Street, were found dead with their throats slashed in a pasture on the farm of Foster Ray, just east of the city limits, at 9 o'clock Fri morning. They were Catherine 10, Ina Louise 6, and Tom Porter 2. An hour earlier, their mother, Mrs. Mamie Shoaf, 38, was found barely alive, with her throat slashed, in the summer house at the Ryder cemetery about 150 yds from where the bodies of the children were found. Pieces of old tarps were wrapped about her and within the coverings was a razor, with the handle broken an inch from the blade, which evidently had been used in slashing her own & the children's throats. She was taken to Elizabeth's Hospital in this city, where she died at 10:30 the same morning. The 4 bodies were brought to the funeral home of Bosley & Son, and prepared for burial. At an inquest held Fri afternoon by Coroner H. M. Brussell the following verdict was reached: We the jury, find from the evidence that Mamie Shoaf & the 3 children, Catherine, Ina Louise & Tom Porter Shoaf, met their death from having their throats cut with a sharp instrument which we believe to be a razor shown at the inquest, & we further believe that all 4 met their death at the hands of the mother, Mrs. Mamie Shoaf, during the night of May 23, 1929.(Signed) P Rinehart, George Hays, J.S. Mills, H Johnson, P. S. Horan, C Bradshaw.
Surviving are the father & 4 sons, Leon 17, Harold 16, Joe Shea 14, & Carey Jr 12. The family came here from Lexington, Indiana 11 years ago the father having been employed by lumber plants here.
Mrs. Shoaf was Miss Mamie Shea, daughter of William & Martha Shea, of Indiana. Mrs. Shoaf was found Fri morning about 8 o'clock by 2 negro youths, George Tucker & Ulysses Johnson, who had
gone to the cemetery under the direction of Caretaker N. H. Wilkerson to aid in cutting the grass. As they approached the summerhouse in the
burying ground, they heard sounds coming from beneath a tarpaulin & saw hands moving feebly. They hastily notified Mr. Wilkerson & others. Dr. Campbell was called & Mrs. Shoaf, unable to talk,
wrote on a piece of cardboard, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She pointed in the direction where the children's bodies were
later found. Before she died Shoaf indicated to Dr. Wilber at the hospital that she had killed her babies & wounded herself, but she gave no reason for it. Members of the family
stated that she was very nervous,& that she had grown worse in the last 2 weeks; that she threatened Thurs, the day before her death,
to end her own life, because she couldn't go through another day like this. But she had never threatened her children, it is said. In the
searching party that found the bodies of the dead children were W Bird, J Knuckles, C Wilcher & George Clark. The heads of the children were half-severed from their bodies. It appeared that they
had been dead several hours. Mr. Shoaf stated that the razor found with the mother was his own. He said Mrs. Shoaf & the children had
left home Thursday night about 7 o'clock & that he believed they were at the home of a neighbor. A crowd of several hundred persons viewed the bodies at the funeral home Fri afternoon. Funeral
services for all 4 were conducted at the Baptist church of which Mrs. Shoaf was a member, Sunday afternoon at 2:30 o'clock by the Rev. T. J. Porter. Burial was in Ryder cemetery, the
caskets being placed side by side in one grave. It is estimated 1500 persons gathered at the church for the funeral, many not being able to
get inside on account of the large crowd.
why

Trinity, TX

#6 Apr 5, 2011
sadbuttrue wrote:
<quoted text>
Yes, it was 1929, her name was Mamie Shoaf. She killed 3 of her children, i think it was 1 girl and 2 boys. I remember reading that her husband was abusive. I actually went to the library and looked at a micro-fiche of the enterprise for May, 1929 and found the story.
So where was it SAID that her husband was abusive? Why did you
have to even state that her husband was supposedly abusive? Are
you one of those types that will defend a "mother" no matter
what she does? Perhaps you think that as the children where surely
begging for there lives, as there "mother" was slicing there throats, that their blood was somehow on their fathers hands?
Maybe you think that when she died, she was reunited into
the loving and understanding arms of her children in heaven, while
when the abusive husband died he went straight to hell with all
of that blood on his hands.
Are you defending this "mother", and what she did?
Anywho

Campbellsville, KY

#7 Apr 5, 2011
The Marion Falcon -- Where did you find this information at?
The Marion Falcon

Crittenden, KY

#8 Apr 5, 2011
Anywho wrote:
The Marion Falcon -- Where did you find this information at?
I have a copy in some genealogy info my old Auntie put together. This story is from The Falcon. You can find it in Archives at the library as well and I'm sure the Enterprise would probably have it as well. Sorry about the double posting, the first didn't show up for almost 30 minutes! Strange! I'm not sure about the abusive husband mentioned, that person might be mixing up the story about the woman that drown herself and youngest baby long ago in MC. Don't have the name right off hand, but those 2 stories are often compared and that woman's husband was abusive. There has been lots of speculation over the years about whether she (mamie) killed he kids or someone else did.
sadbuttrue

Trinity, TX

#9 Apr 5, 2011
why wrote:
<quoted text>
So where was it SAID that her husband was abusive? Why did you
have to even state that her husband was supposedly abusive? Are
you one of those types that will defend a "mother" no matter
what she does? Perhaps you think that as the children where surely
begging for there lives, as there "mother" was slicing there throats, that their blood was somehow on their fathers hands?
Maybe you think that when she died, she was reunited into
the loving and understanding arms of her children in heaven, while
when the abusive husband died he went straight to hell with all
of that blood on his hands.
Are you defending this "mother", and what she did?
Sorry, you're not going to get a fight here but to answer the first question, I read it in the "montage" section of the enterprise (written by Terry Ward) in the early nineties, which I have. He interviewed a lady who was alive at the time and, as a child, she remembered hearing that most people knew the husband to be abusive. They still have a copy of that montage in the enterprise office. Don't know about the "slicing" or "begging" or who went to heaven or hell, I wasn't there, I'm simply repeating what I read.
eeyore

Metairie, LA

#10 Apr 5, 2011
I too remember reading that the husband was abusive. Whatever the motive, and whether or not Mamie actually did the killing are mysteries that probably will never be solved. What a horrific tragedy.
only

Leitchfield, KY

#11 Apr 5, 2011
so where about in ryder cemetary are they burried?
lennyfromthedepo t

United States

#12 Apr 6, 2011
seems to me like anyone could have done this horrible deed
why

Trinity, TX

#13 Apr 6, 2011
I dont see a mystery anywheres.

1. Members of the family stated she was very nervous, & that she had grown worse in the last two weeks; that she threatened Thurs, the day before her death,
to end her own life, because she couldn't go through another day like this.

2.Dr. T. I. Campbell was called and Mrs. Shoaf, unable to talk, wrote on a piece of cardboard, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She pointed in the direction where the children's bodies were later found

3.Before she died Shoaf indicated to Dr. Wilber at the
hospital that she had killed her babies & wounded herself, but she gave no reason for it.

So... She was having obvious mental problems
before all of this happened. She told the doc
that she killed her babies and wounded herself.
She knew exactly where the childrens bodies
where, and stated, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She KNEW they where dead. I dont
see a mystery anywheres at all.

To bad she died before she got any prison justice.
They give baby killers a hard way to go in prison.
But then again... maybe she would have played the
"my husband abused me and thats why I cut the babies throats card" and everyone would have had
compasion for her.

Its obvious that this "mother" killed her children,
and its no ones fault but her own.
my take

Greensburg, KY

#14 Apr 6, 2011
Yes, I think she did it too. The only question is why. We've see what mother's with post-partum depression can do so I'm going with that.
why

Trinity, TX

#15 Apr 6, 2011
Alot of times through out history, people have
killed themselves, and even their own children
to save them from far worse fates. Some good
examples of that would be, jews that where soon
to be captured and taken to prison camps. Rather
than see themselves or their children beaten,
starved, and tortured, they chose to end it all
themselves. I think most can understand why some
jews chose to do this.
But for anyone that would try and justify this
woman because she was "abused"... Why did she
have to kill the kids? What kind of worse fate
could she have been saving them from? If she was
trying to save them from the father... why didnt
she kill him, and then herself? Im sure that there
where many of fine marion co. folks that would
have taken the kids! As I stated in the above post
Its obvious that she killed her children. And if
you are going to have compasion for her because
she was suposedly abused, even if she actualy was
abused, there is a place in hell for you right
next to her.
Just curious

Campbellsville, KY

#16 Apr 6, 2011
where is Ryder Cemetery? I am relatively new to the area, but I have heard stories about this place.

So sad. I couldn't imagine anything human doing something like this.
Falcon

Crittenden, KY

#17 Apr 6, 2011
why wrote:
I dont see a mystery anywheres.

1. Members of the family stated she was very nervous, & that she had grown worse in the last two weeks; that she threatened Thurs, the day before her death,
to end her own life, because she couldn't go through another day like this.

2.Dr. T. I. Campbell was called and Mrs. Shoaf, unable to talk, wrote on a piece of cardboard, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She pointed in the direction where the children's bodies were later found

3.Before she died Shoaf indicated to Dr. Wilber at the
hospital that she had killed her babies & wounded herself, but she gave no reason for it.

So... She was having obvious mental problems
before all of this happened. She told the doc
that she killed her babies and wounded herself.
She knew exactly where the childrens bodies
where, and stated, "Come and go get my babies. Right here." She KNEW they where dead. I dont
see a mystery anywheres at all.

To bad she died before she got any prison justice.
They give baby killers a hard way to go in prison.
But then again... maybe she would have played the
"my husband abused me and thats why I cut the babies throats card" and everyone would have had
compasion for her.

Its obvious that this "mother" killed her children,
and its no ones fault but her own.
People questioned why the husband didn't seem alarmed that she didn't come back from the neighbors with the children, as well as the fact that the razor was very large and many were skeptical that she would have been able to drag the children to where they were and have the strength to practically decapitate them, as their necks were apparently almost sliced clean through. Why would she trot off up the hill and wrap herself in tarps? I've always suspected the husband had something to do with it and Mamie was protecting her four older children by saying she did it...but we'll never know, her last child died almost 10 years ago.
why

Trinity, TX

#18 Apr 6, 2011
Just curious wrote:
where is Ryder Cemetery? I am relatively new to the area, but I have heard stories about this place.
So sad. I couldn't imagine anything human doing something like this.
Ryder cemetery is Lebanons main cemetery. Its located on
Main st. going towards Kroger, to the right, on top of the
hill.
why

Trinity, TX

#19 Apr 6, 2011
I looked at the Ryder cemetery book, and according
to it, their are no Shoafs burried up there. Thats
kind of strange as it seems they would have record
of it. Also... there is an old building up there,
and I wonder if its the same one that the above
article called a summer house, where they found
Mamie? I always got an erie feeling when I was ever close to that building, but that could be just
because of where it is located... in a cemetery.
why

Trinity, TX

#20 Apr 6, 2011
Falcon wrote:
<quoted text>
People questioned why the husband didn't seem alarmed that she didn't come back from the neighbors with the children, as well as the fact that the razor was very large and many were skeptical that she would have been able to drag the children to where they were and have the strength to practically decapitate them, as their necks were apparently almost sliced clean through. Why would she trot off up the hill and wrap herself in tarps? I've always suspected the husband had something to do with it and Mamie was protecting her four older children by saying she did it...but we'll never know, her last child died almost 10 years ago.
Thats some great points that you made there, especially about
her being in the tarp... Strange, isnt it? But I would think that
there are probably a lot of things and circumstances that we dont
know. I personally would have to go with the jurys decision as
they would have likely seen all of the evidence, and heard all of the testimonies and etc and etc. Im sure they would have looked at
everything fairly and unbiased towards anyone. So the jury must have had plenty of reason to have come to there final conclusion.
BUT... that being said, you made some great points.

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