Cemetery Flames

Graves of Colmon and Emmeline Carver
  Graves of Colmon and Emmeline Carver

CR 1245, 1 mile north of State Highway 22, Whitney, TX

Bethlehem Cemetery holds the headstones of many of Whitney’s prominent citizens, including Colmon Carver. There is a local legend that goes with his grave.

About a year after his death in 1911, it was reported that there was fire coming from Colmon Carver’s grave.  The flames could be seen for miles.  People came from far away in buggies, in wagons and on horseback to see this strange phenomenon, but no one would get close to the grave out of fear.  Many believed it was the fires of hell bubbling up out of the grave because of Mr. Carver’s reputation for being tight, for the manner in which he figured interest, and for charging for water - an unpardonable sin in those days.

It wasn’t until 1925 that a teacher from Whitney High School revealed the facts about the "fire" coming out of Carver’s grave.  It was a prank perpetrated by two prominent young men of Whitney (still unknown to most).  They had studied science at Texas A&M University and learned something about the refraction of light.  They rigged up a machine that projected light rays to Mr. Carver’s grave which looked, amazingly enough, like real fire and convince many observers.

Graves of A.G. and Hattie K. McMahan
Graves of A.G. and Hattie K. McMahan 

Another interesting headstone in Bethlehem Cemetery is that of A.G. McMahan, who was prominent in banking in Whitney.  His Last Will & Testament contained some parting advice to his sons, which was engraved on his headstone:

"Now, finally, I say to you be men in every sense of the word.  Never too proud to right a wrong.  Never too cowardly to submit to oppression. If you accept a trust have the courage to execute it. Never forget to be gentlemen and believe that God is over all. 

Good bye, Your father. 
A.G. McMahan"

True Texas Tales of the People, Places, and Events of Hill County, Texas