Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Ikie/Ike's Tomb, Arvilla

 The tiny town of Arvilla is located in rural Pleasants County...and is home to one of the most bizarre cemetery legends in the state.

In 1896, Emma J. Gorrell and Kenneth Mooring were married, and that year, had a son, whom they named Ikie.  Ikie passed away on March 4, 1904, when he was only seven years old.  Originally, he was buried on property owned by Rollah Mahan, and then was later moved to Mount Welcome Cemetery.  It is said the casket he was buried in on the Mahan Farm was converted into a water trough for the animals.

Ikie was interred in a 10x10 mausoleum, complete with a glass enclosure, and containing a glass door and glass windows.  That much is fact...however, this is where the legends start cropping up.  Ikie's mother apparently buried her son with his tricycle, and plenty of toys and school books to keep him occupied.

It is believed that two other children were buried in the vault, and their bodies preserved in stone jars.  After dogs had busted the door down, and allegedly dragged the bodies out, they were reburied alongside the structure.  Ikie's new, and presumably final, burial spot is clearly marked, but two other graves along side it are NOT of children, but of other members of the Gorrell family.

The legends continue to get even stranger...it is said that the mother would come to the mausoleum daily in order to be with her child.  Eventually, she passed away...many believe she died of exposure as a result of sleeping over at the tomb overnight in inclement weather.  This doesn't seem to be the case, however, as Emma Mooring and her husband later show up listed as living in the Cabell County area, and are actually buried in a cemetery here. It is also said that the mother would often come to the vault to clean it, and as she cleaned, she would hang the bodies of the three children from a nearby tree.

In any event, visitors to the rural cemetery believe that Emma Gorrell Mooring still walks the cemetery at night, visiting her child(ren).

Ike's Tomb was featured in a 2003 issue of GoldenSeal magazine.  Photo from the WV State Archives

Emma at Barboursville Cemetery

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