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Odds and Ends IV: The Gypsy Queen Grave

Queen Cleo’s grave in September of 2013.

The Gypsy Queen Grave

Most people in Marion have probably heard of the Gypsy Queen grave in St. Mary’s Cemetery. The grave, which is located in the section of the cemetery reserved for non-Catholics, is relatively easy to locate since it’s usually covered in pennies as well as other assorted trinkets by visitors. There’s also a wooden cross nearby, likewise adorned, and which is also part of her grave. According to local lore, leaving offerings at her grave will bring good luck while stealing from it will cause a curse to befall the thief.

An article that appeared in The Marion Star on March 20th, 2010, marking the 105th anniversary of her death gives a very short version of the Gypsy Queen’s story.

The Gypsy Queen was a woman named Ann Judge, called Queen Cleo by her people. She died in childbirth on March 20th, 1905, while traveling through Marion. The child also died.

An account of Queen Cleo’s funeral in March 25, 1905, edition of The Marion Weekly Star. That article states that she was born Inie Driffhein, though presumably “Inie” was a misspelling of “Annie”. The article raises a few unanswered questions: Who was the father of her baby? Charles Judge? Where is the baby buried? With Queen Cleo?

Local broadcaster Scott Spears, in discussing some of the lore surrounding Queen Cleo, mentions that she is rumored to be buried standing upright and that the grave is supposedly “covered with concrete because jewels were placed on top of her.” Whatever the case may be, her grave, along with the Merchant Ball, comprise two of Marion’s better-known oddball landmarks.

The Cemetery that is Now a City Road

Like most people in Marion, we believed that the Quarry Street Cemetery is the oldest graveyard in Marion. However, this article, which appeared in the May 2nd, 1976, edition of Consumer News, describes an even older cemetery:


The Bones of Giants

In November of 1976, Marion City landfill workers unearthed fossilized wooly mammoth bones while digging a new disposal ditch. This is according to an article that appeared in the July 28th, 1977, edition of On Campus, a newsletter put out by OSUM. The city allowed OSU Geology professor Robert Wright as well as some of his students to excavate the bones, which were later carbon dated to be around 10,000 years old. The bones are now part of the Ohio Historical Center’s collection. Why is this find significant to readers of Spooky Marion? Well, a few years ago we published a story about the discovery of enormous bones in Marion County in the 19th century that were believed to have belonged to an extinct race of giants. However, a more likely explanation is that the bones were actually actually mammoth bones mistaken for human.