FRENCH MILLS CEMETERY
Submitted by Michael Miller
Twnp. 32N, R5E, Sect. 15-Where E Highway turns away from river. On the old Dewey Firebaugh farm.
* Asterisk Notes An Unmarked Grave
** See notes on The Murder Of Simon Durand
|NAME||BIRTH DATES||DEATH DATES||NOTES|
|Durand, Simon||30 Jan. 1830 @The Parish Of Abilly,France||3 Dec 1917||Simon Durand : 1)Sarah Lovelady LaPlant 2) Claudine Chagny 24 Sep. 1902|
|Firebaugh, Phronia||6 Nov 1894||17 Oct 1938||D/O John T. Shoemaker & Laura King, Alma Phronia Shoemaker wed Dewey Firebaugh|
|Firebaugh, Roger Lee||28 Jun 1921||Dec 1978||S/O Dewey & Phronia (Shoemaker)|
|Frans, Clarence (Bud)||11 Aug. 1910||30 Oct 1983|
|Graham, Anna Lucille||24 Feb. 1928||27 Oct. 1967||D/O Noah Reed & Ertie West Anna Reed married Ralph Graham 15 July 1944|
|Graham, Anna L.||5 Nov. 1898||25 June 1941||D/O Saml. M. King & Mary (Young) Anna King married W.S. Graham 28 June 1918|
|*||King, Levi Andrew||April 1842||1903||S/O Saml. A. & Mary Ann (Fears)|
|*||King, Rebecca Anne||Aug. 1845||ca. June 1900 to Jan. 1903||D/O Geo. W. Young & Sarah McClard Rebecca Young wed Levi A. King 19 June 1863|
|McClelland, Robin D.||27 Jun 1963||25 Nov. 1982||D/O Carol Graham McClelland|
|McDowell, Anna Gladys||15 Jun. 1902||12 Jan. 1988||D/O John Francis & Sidney (Hamblen) MD: Cecil McDowell 3 Aug. 1925|
|McDowell, Lee Otis||21 Jan. 1935||22 Feb. 1939||S/O Cecil & Anna G. (Francis)|
|McDowell, Cecil O. Rev.||13 Feb. 1906||25 Jun. 1969||S/O Jas. Wm. McDowell & Mary Emeline Young H/O Anna Gladys Francis|
|Minor, Nancy W.||13 Dec. 1886||7 April 1920||D/O John T. Shoemaker Laura King MD: Solomon Marshall Miner 8 Jan. 1905|
|Poor, Ed||7 May 1878||23 Oct. 1933||S/O Wm. Thomas Poor|
|Poor, Katherine||24 Oct. 1884||13 May 1915||D/O John Thomas Shoemaker & Laura King Katherine Shoemaker wed Ed Poor 4 Sep. 1904|
|Shoemaker, John Thomas||11 Oct 1850||31 Dec. 1928||S/O John A. Shoemaker & Nancy Win Bragg|
|Shoemaker, Laura||16 Oct. 1855||2 Sep. 1910||D/O James Wash. King & Laurena(Williams) Laura King wed John Thos. Shoemaker 11 Jan. 1872|
|Shoemaker, William||30 Dec. 1891||7 April 1918||S/O John T. & Laura (King)|
NOTE: 5 field stones showing unmarked graves in cemetery. There is a military stone in the cemetery for Levi A. King, however this is not the same Levi A. King. The service & troop noted on the headstone are for a Levi King who served out of Springfield, MO. & whose wife’s name was NOT Rebecca, I have listed this as an UNMARKED grave.
Ed Poor was sent to prison for the murder of Grover Cleveland King, son of James Washington King & Teresa Sweazy. The case itself was chronicled in the Democrat News, & King’s widow was not indicted or sent to prison, as she claimed she had no involvement in the murder or its planning, or had any prior knowledge of a murder. She later remarried, regained her reputation, & died under tragic circumstances. Simon Durand, was born in the parish of Abilly, France, & came to America with his partner Jean LaCondemine (known as “French Jake” or “French Jack”) they settled in French Mills, & began a milling operation, as well a operating, several farms, legal stills, & hauling, etc. to make money. Simon amassed quite a fortune in his time, & at the time of his death was worth over $60,000.00, which is quite a bit of money, bonds, in Mexico, Canada, Australia, plus cash worth, that was known to no one but the old man. He was small in stature according to descriptions of those who did know & remember him, of which several I was able to interview, standing about 5 feet 6 inches, dirty matted grey hair & beard, & layered clothing, unkempt, tight, sharp as a fox about money, & was possessed of prodigious strength, my great grandfather, Eli Minor, could recall him, picking up a 50 gallon barrel of whiskey, drinking from a bung hole in the barrel & never spilling a drop.
Simon became the common law husband of Sarah Lovelady LaPlant, widow of John Joseph LaPlant & mother of John M. LaPlant, she bore Durand a son, whom they named Candide. Later after Sarah’s death, Candide was adopted by Simon & made his legal heir & natural son, & was also murdered.
John LaPlant was also like a son to Simon, & he grew to manhood & married Mary Lucinda King, daughter of Rev. Saml M. King Sr. & Polly Stephens. Sometime during the mid to late 1910’s Simon & John fell apart due to Mary demanding that Simon pay a long standing bill he owed them, way over 1000.00, Simon refused, & John & he parted which he was to regret. It put him in the hands of individuals who meant him no good, they slowly began their plans of poisoning the old man, locking him up away from everyone & steal his money. His cash on hand was his biggest asset. Most of it was never entered into his estate, as his captors stole it, the one reason they were never indicted for murder was the fact that one of the conspirators was the sheriff of Madison County.
Simon died on 3 Dec. 1917, without an autopsy being preformed or a death certificate being filed, he was laid to rest in the French Mills Cemetery. The probate court judge suspected something & ordered his executors to turn over a box of bonds, etc. that had not been accounted for. They were also ordered to purchase a monument to mark his grave, a rather large one, costing at the time about $500.00
Many the tale has been told of Simon’s lost gold, the money that was never found. I knew one person who actually saw his gold & the horns of plenty he kept them in & it was my great grandmother, Birdie LaPlant Minor, who often repeated this remark he said to her “Birdie, when I die they will never find, HALF of my gold.”