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John H. Austin
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Birth: 1897
Death: May 18, 1936

Spanish American War

This veteran was buried outside the cemetery fence long ago..over time though, the fence has been moved back, until Mr. Austin is inside the actual cemetery.

My grandmother started a tradition of having all of us kids put flowers on his grave. He'd been up there for as long as we could remember, yet never had a flower or flag. Mamaw felt sorry for him and never forgot to take something to place there.

When mamaw died, Mom and I would still take Mr. Austin something when we'd take something to place on Mamaw's grave. In memory of both Mamaw, and Mr. Austin, whom it seemed to us, had no family or friends left.

One day Mom and Dad were up there at Mamaw's grave, they thought they were alone in the cemetery. It was almost dusk, and they were just standing at Mamaw's stone. Mom said a woman approached them coming from the back of the graveyard, not the front where the only entrance is.

She asked Mom if she knew who had been placing flowers on Mr. Austin's grave. Mom thought she was a relative of Mr. Austin's and was going to thank her for the kindness of placing the flowers there. She told the woman that she and I do that.

The woman became upset and told Mom that Mr. Austin was a murderer, he'd killed her sister. The woman then pointed behind her, at a grave a distance away. She said that after he'd killed her sister, he then turned the gun on himself. She asked Mom to tell us all please, out of respect for her and her sister, for us to stop decorating his grave. Mom apologised, she hadn't known, none of us knew. Then she promised the woman she'd not decorate it again.

The woman walked back towards the back of the cemetery and was gone.

Mom turned to Dad and asked him what he thought of that. Dad didn't know what she was talking about. He'd not seen a woman, nor did he hear any of the conversation. As far as he was concerned there hadn't been a woman there talking to Mom.

When they left the cemetery they drove around the loop, there wasn't anyone in there. The cemetery is fenced, and the woman would have had to climb out to get out, because she didn't leave through the only exit.

When Mom came home and told me about the woman's request that we not flower Mr. Austin's grave anymore, I got curious, went to look at his stone again, and then I went to the library. I found his obituary on microfilm, he'd passed on in 1936. I found the article as well where he'd killed his step daughter. She was 20 years old in 1936, which would have made a sister very old in 2004 (When this woman approached mom) Much too old to scale a fence.

I've tried to find a relative of the murdered young woman to verify that she has a sister. I've had no luck. If you know either of these people, or the story involving them, would you please contact me?

I believe that everyone should have flowers on their graves. I wont flower this one because a family member of his step daughter specifically asked that Mom and I don't. If you want to leave Mr. Austin a token, or flower, please do. Please don't leave anything disrespectful here. He was a veteran of the Spanish American War, a human being but something inside of him went wrong. It's not our place to judge.

Mom is sure that it was a spirit she spoke with that day. She hadn't known, none of us had, that Mr. Austin had killed anyone. She hadn't known he'd killed himself. Until that stranger asked her to stop decorating his grave. I'd like to know who it was.

Here's the link to the name of his step daughter, and the story I later found at the library.

Geneva Steward


Info added by Cammy June 24, 2009:
John H. Austin Jr b. Knox Co, Ky. May, 1897, son of John H. Austin Sr b. N.C. and Jane ? b. N.C. abt 1845, He Married Geneva's mother 3rd wife Mary (Spurlock)Sizemore, Austin, Oct 14, 1925. his 1st wife was Martha France, and a second wife Catherine Kate Taulbee, Im still doing reasearch at this time this info came from his Death Certificate # 14220 the informant was Mary Austin.

Geneva Sizemore Steward (Stewart) Daughter of Stephen (Steve) Sizemore and Mary Spurlock Sizemore Austin. I found a brother Sherman Sizemore and 3 Stepsister's from her Father Steve's 1st Marriage wife (Cora)?? they were Ethel Sizemore b.1899, Edith Sizemore b. 1903, and Emma Sizemore b.1905, Maybe one of the her stepsister's was your visitor Im related thru the Sizemore/Wireman Families Her Grandparents were George B. Sizemore and Francis Patton (Frankie) Her Great Grandparents were George Goldenhawk Sizemore Aletha Richardson, She maried Charley Stewart on Mar, 16 1936 only 2 short months before her traggic death Im still researching her and will add anything I find ...

Thank you Cammy!
Hutchins Cemetery
Bailey Switch
Knox County
Kentucky, USA
Created by: Juel
Record added: Dec 16, 2007
Find A Grave Memorial# 23433500
John H. Austin
Added by: Juel
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