Tuesday, April 19, 2011

John Cronin -- Buried Three Times - At Least!

Note:  Click here for a link to Part I of this story.

As I write this, I have such a jumble of emotions.  From what I can tell, John Cronin was probably a fine, upstanding member of the Mt. Sterling community.  He married Lucy Probert and together they had five children:  Joseph, Albert, Charley, Annie, and Addie.  He was respected enough to be a "Deputy Marshall."  So how could everything go so badly so quickly?*

I have to believe that the shooting of Richard O'Conner had something to do with pushing John over the edge -- but at what a cost to his wife and children.  I wonder if he would have acted differently if he would have seen how desperate the situation would become for his widow.  Within a year and a half, all five children were placed in an orphanage.  Lucy would feel compelled to leave town.  Perhaps there is more to the story than I know and John anticipated a trial that would not go well for him.  At any rate, he took his own life.

This caused a real dilemma for the burial of John Cronin because suicide prevented the Catholic Church of the time from allowing the body to be buried in "consecrated" ground.  I found this article that described the problem.
Paris, Bourbon County, Kentucky, Tuesday, 4-11-1882, Vol. 1, p. 1.
To summarize, John Cronin's body was buried in the Stranger's Section (unconsecrated ground) due to his suicide.  This infuriated John's younger brother, who together with the help of a brother-in-law, disinterred John's body and moved it to a plot owned by his father (consecrated ground).  The local priest telegraphed the Bishop of Covington for advice and was told that he would have to exhume the body and move it back.  John's brother returned from Cynthiana to confront the priest.  The article implies that they were working on a solution, but gives no indication of the final outcome.

So on this day, 129 years later, I hope John is at peace -- regardless of resting place.

* Additional research proved that it was Richard O'Conner who worked in the grocery store -- not John Cronin.  Perhaps his job at the time of his death was serving as a "Deputy Marshall".  He had once worked as a tinner (tinsmith).


  1. This is the stuff good novels are written about!

  2. What an interesting story. His life's adventures did not end with his death.

  3. This was a great post and find! Don't you hate it when there seems to be no conclusion, and we're left wondering?

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  5. Yvonne -- Yes, I do hate the loose ends, but I'm hoping I can come to a conclusion by following up on a few more research opportunities. We'll see.

  6. Superb series. Heartbreaking and maddening. Well done, Kathy. I'm glad I found it in my catching up.

  7. This is almost as good as a murder mistery novel. As you know I love reading your blogs.


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