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County Road 11: The Angels of Lockhart

The death of seven siblings over a century ago still raise questions and haunts many
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 11:16 AM CST
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) -

Dr. Thomas Wiley has been a physician in Jackson for almost four decades. His wife has family members buried in the Lockhart Cemetery located next to the old Methodist Church. While visiting the cemetery about 15 years ago, Dr. Wiley took notice of the family plot and the tiny tombstones.

“No two children’s lives overlapped,” said Dr. Wiley “Each one died before the next one was born. And I thought this was bizarre. No one really knows what happened to the babies but this would make a good story.”

And so write a story he did. In fact, Dr. Wiley interviewed several members of his wife’s family, did a lot of research, and penned a book called “The Angels of Lockhart” in 2007. The one big question the book poses is why did seven siblings all die as babies?

“Children died all the time. It was unusual for a family to have all of their children grow to adulthood. You pretty much knew some were going to die. But to have all seven of your children--none of your natural born children to make it to adulthood is just a little bizarre.”

In the book, Dr. Wiley does offer up one explanation on why the children all died. And it points back to their Mom Lizzie and a possible medical condition.

“Munchausen’s is a disease is not that uncommon where people will fake illnesses to get attention. Munchausen’s by Proxy is where most of the times it’s a mother and a child and the mother is taking the child to the doctor all the time with all sorts of made up illnesses to get attention. They were reporting cases of poisoning and even death.”

Five boys and two girls. Stephen, Timothy, Hugh, Roger, Eugenia, Elizabeth and Alton. Brothers and sisters that never knew each other--all dead before two years of age. The last one died 110 years ago, and we still don’t know why. The answers lie in this little patch of ground now belonging to The Angels of Lockhart.

Editor’s Note: The book, “Angels of Lockhart” is no longer available at bookstores but can be found easily on Amazon. The Lockhart Cemetery is located on Minnow Bucket Road, about 10 miles north of Meridian just off Highway 45 North.

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