An Iron Coffin Body Found in Calhoun

There are some pretty important Ouachita Parish families buried in Mt. Zion Cemetery in Calhoun. Martha came from one of the best of them. She was born Martha Elizabeth Gainey, and she was the widow of John H. Milling. On a cold January day in 1909, men were digging Martha’s grave. They found an unwelcome occupant had beat them there.

New Orleans Times-Picayune, January 7, 1909, Page 11.

Body of Child Found in Iron Coffin
While Digging Grave.

Calhoun, La., Jan. 6. – Mrs. John R. Milling died in Monroe, at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Hollingsworth, Sunday. She was buried in the old Mount Zion Cemetery, near Calhoun, to-day. Mrs. Milling was connected with some of the most prominent families of Ouachita Parish. In digging the grave the workmen unearthed a small cast-iron coffin which contained the body of a child in a perfect state of preservation. The grave being unmarked and being beyond the recollections of the oldest citizens of the community, there is considerable speculation as to who the child was.

I don’t know if the child was reburied elsewhere. I’m sure he/she was. Just who is the child? There are Millings, Fullers, Tatums and Parkers buried all in that area, so the child could have possibly come from one of those families. To be buried in an iron coffin, the family must have been rich, but why was no headstone found?

To go pay your respects to Mrs. Milling and the lost child, go to the middle of Mount Zion cemetery to the gazebo, turn your back to it and look a little to your left across the road.

Martha’s Find a Grave memorial:

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