Submitted By: Gene Martin
Celia Hoy was born 20 July 1788, at Hoy Station Madison County KY, and died 25 Sep 1864. She married John Newland, 16 May 1805 in Madison County when she was 16 years old. Celia parents were William and Sarah Callaway Hoy. William died in 1790, about 2 years after Celia’s birth.
The following article was published in the “Interior Journal” at Stanford KY about the year 1885. It was entitled “Turned to Stone”.
“Twenty-one years ago, the mother of A D Newland died and was buried in the family graveyard. Desiring to have the body placed in Buffalo Springs Cemetery, Mr Newland had it disinterred Tuesday, when it found the body had turned to stone. Those who saw it state that the face, save that it had changed to a brownish hue, was almost life-like in its naturalness. The features were good and even the hairs on the face could be plainly seen. The hands were perfect and had not changed color. The case was a metallis one and in-side the lining appeared fresh and clean. The grave clothes were all in a good state preservation and the ribbons and laces looked like they had just been placed there. An effort to get Mr Newland to place the remains in the vault proved unavailing and so fearful that they would be sought by scientific men, that he placed huge stones on the coffin and rammed earth around with heavy mauls. The case was very heavy, requiring seven men to handle it. “
Additional comment by Goebelene Singleton
“This is basically the same story which was often told to me from my early childhood by my grandmother, the late Mrs Fleming Franklin Cummins of Preachersville. Her father, John Anderson, was present at the disinterment. His wife, nee Virginia Newland was a granddaughter of the Celia Hoy Newland whose body was found to be petrified.
According to Mr Anderson, the casket was so heavy that it was opened to determine the reason. The explanation passed down through the years is that her casket had been resting in a vein of salt perte which acted as a preservative.
The newspaper account does not mention that two other caskets were moved on the same day. One was the casket of Celia’s husband, John Newland, and the other, the casket of her spinster sister, Frances Hoy. Apparently nothing appeared unusual about their remains.
The stones used to fill the graves were geodes. These rocks are found in abundance in Lincoln County. Tradition notes that a load of these stones had been placed on the casket.
Mr Sam Holtzclaw of Lincoln County is also one of the many descendants of John and Celia Newland. As a young boy boy he used to visit the home of his great uncle-in-law, John Anderson. During one of those visits Mr Anderson told Sam that the body of Celia Newland was kept in the house over night. It would surely take several hours to collect the stones to fill the grave, and my Uncle Dudley (A D Newland) was so afraid of grave-robbers, (not only scientific men but also traveling shows) that he probably guarded the body constantly until reburial.”