Elmwood Cemetery

Download this issue!Elmwood Cemetery – Centralia, IL
By Michael Kleen

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Read about this location and more in Legends and Lore of Illinois: The Definitive Collection

Elmwood Cemetery is located in the southern Illinois’ town of Centralia off of Gragg and Sycamore Streets directly west of the Raccoon Creek Reservoir. Originally called Centralia Cemetery (and sometimes referred to as such today), the graveyard was in use in the 1860s but not officially established until 1877. Its name was changed to Elmwood Cemetery in 1921. According to Centralia’s own website, the cemetery is a resting place for around 17,000 former residents.

Deep inside Elmwood sits a large monument shaped like a tabernacle or an ancient Greek temple with only four columns. At the top of the monument stands a nearly life sized statue of a young girl with flowing locks of hair. In her hands she holds a violin. The statue depicts Harriet Annie, the daughter of Dr. Winfield and Eoline Marshall. Annie died in 1890, a few weeks after her eleventh birthday.

A popular local legend maintains that the sweet strains of a violin can be heard emanating from the cemetery at night. The origin of the ethereal notes is said to be none other than the statue of H. Annie Winfield, or “Violin Annie,” as she has come to be known. According to a testimonial on the Shadowlands Index of Haunted Places for Illinois, Annie died of diphtheria, an upper respiratory tract illness that mainly affects children. The most gruesome version of the story claims that her own father (or mother) killed her with her violin.

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Legends and Lore of Illinois Vol. 3 Digital Edition

Order all 12 issues of the Legends and Lore of Illinois from 2009 in a special digital edition for your favorite e-readers. Places covered in Vol. 3 include Lebanon Road’s 7 Gates to Hell, Ramsey Cemetery, Elmwood Cemetery’s Violin Annie, Manteno State Hospital, the Hatchet Lady of Moon Point Cemetery, Chanute Air Force Base, Ashmore Estates, Aux Sable Cemetery, Ax Man’s Bridge, and more. Plus, read letters from our readers, adventurer’s logs, Paranormal 101, and put your knowledge of these locations to the test with challenging trivia questions. Don’t miss these classic issues.

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  1. stacey Little says:

    I live in Centralia & been to the statue many times. This is a very good read., Thank you!


  2. sculptedportrait says:

    Next time I’m in Centralia I will definitely look her up. I am interested in all unusual statues in Southern Illinois so I will keep checking back for more.


  3. i live in Centraila and all the years i have lived here i have heard so much about Annie and i now know the turth thanks so much and you can here her play at midnight they say


  4. I used to live right next to this cemetery and I spent many nights out walking through the cemetery I’ve heard the story of Annie many times over and yet I’ve never heard the violin music though some of my friends swear they have heard it. personally i don’t believe in it, yet, but if i ever were to hear the music I’m sure I’d start believing


  5. Jeffrey Auxier says:

    I own the life sized oil painting of Annie
    holding her violin and her brother at the piano.
    artist was commissioned to do the painting
    The painting was completed in 1891, its
    size measures 6 ft. tall and 8 ft. wide.
    Her parents loved her very much and they
    heart broken after her death, the mother took
    it especially hard.
    DR. Marshall moved the family after her death to chicago then later in the 1920’s her
    brother moved back to centralia,il.
    This was a very respected family in Centralia.
    Later in years I met and talked to Annies
    nephew ALBERT MARSHALL who at the time
    was up in his years,ALBERT was a quiet ,talented articulate gentleman.
    After his death an auction was held and I
    purchased the painting.
    As far as the statue being haunted in ELMWOOD CEMETERY it just a legend with
    no basis.
    Thanks Jeff


    • Amelia says:


      Please email me as soon as possible, I own the piano and have some questions about the stories, era, etc. that I would like to ask you. Thanks!



      • Dreatha says:

        Hi, I know this is a very old post but I was just tryign to do some research on Albert Marshall. I beleive I live in that house now, do you have any idea of what your friend experienced?


  6. P Seelig says:

    I was at Alberts house from time to time and yes he was an articulate gentleman.
    Legends usually have some basis of history attached to them.


  7. Kristy Adams says:

    A good friend of mine bought the house that Albert live in when he passed amd she claims to this day, that Albert’s spirit was still in the house when she lived there… Her very very young daughter talked to Albert…


  8. Marty says:

    I work for a monument company around centralia & have been in Elmwood several times Annie’s monument is creepy for sure but i’ve never heard any violen music!


  9. stephanie says:

    i live in sandoval illinois which if you do not know is like 10 mins away from centrailia……….. my uncle and my baby cuzzin are both buried at elmwood cemetary…..

    and i have heard the many stories that go around about annie and i think that some of it is truth and some of it is not……

    but noone really knows if annies spirits haunt this cemetary

    the only reason people hear what seems to be a violen is becase if you look really closely at the throat on aniies statue there is a whole that the wind the passes through……

    ps im not hte best speller


    • Gina Smith says:

      I was with a group of friends at the cemetery one night when we were in high school. We were trying to hear the violin play…..we didn’t hear it, but a policeman caught us. We knew him, so we didn’t get into any trouble but he took his flashlight and shined it on Annie’s face. When he turned the flashlight off she had glowing tears……very creepy, and very cool.


  10. Eddie says:

    I have lived next door to the cemetary for 55 years. I have heard the violin and I have seen the eyes glow and the tears glow on the Annie statue. The violin playing was a student from high school whenever they wanted to play jokes on other kids, they would have the violin player play a violin in the background. As far as the eyes glowing and the tears glowing, that is true. That is what happens when you put glow juice on a statue and you shine a light on it. As far as the cemetary being haunted, yes it was haunted – by me and my friends.


  11. Jane Curry says:

    I know how the tears got on Annie’s face. Many years ago I lived across from the cemetery by several friends. We planned a Halloween party and as part of getting ready for it, we went to the cemetery before then to put glow in the dark paint in the indentations of her eyes. Well, the paint dripped and looked like tears. The night of the party we took the entire bunch to the cemetery, and, shining the flashlight on Annie’s face, proceed to tell her story. Then we shut off the flashlight. Quite a lot of screams were heard. My uncle was on the police force at that time and knew all about it. He enjoyed showing his buddies the glowing eyes. That was over 35 years ago. Glad to hear she’s still glowing.


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