There is a moving and haunted gravestone in Bardstown, Kentucky, located just south of Louisville and the Indiana border, that has acquired a rather unusual legend over the last 150 years. This stone is placed over the grave of John Rowan, one of historic America's most prominent men. He was a state judge in Kentucky, served seven terms in the legislature and was elected to the United States Senate. He was also Kentucky's Secretary of State and the chief justice for the court of appeals. His cousin, Stephen Foster, is probably the best remembered song writer of the 1800's and Rowan's former mansion, Federal Hill, is now a popular tourist attraction. When Rowan died in July of 1843, he expressly stated that he wished to have no monument or stone placed on his grave site. His family and friends ignored this request, believing that such a great and prominent man deserved a suitable marker to grace his final resting place. He was buried in Bardstown Cemetery and a tall, obelisk-shaped stone was placed at the site. Within a month or two, the marker starting falling over for no apparent reason. No matter how many times it was replaced, the stone tumbled off it's base and fell onto the grave of John Rowan itself. Rumors began to spread that the unhappy spirit of John Rowan had returned and was knocking over the marker that he had not wanted placed there in the first place. It continued to fall over on a regular basis and finally, frightened stone masons refused to return to the cemetery. Inexplicably, workmen and caretakers are still trying to keep the stone in place today. It continues to fall over for no apparent reason. Why? No one seems to know.... Bardstown is about thirty miles south of Louisville, Kentucky, which is just over the Southern Indiana border. The cemetery is at the center of town and the monument is described as being an obelisk shape with a wreath and an accounting of Rowan's many life achievements.
Back to the Tales Page.