Mt. Hope Cemetery has a dark history compared to other resting grounds around the country. While the cemetery did not officially exist until 1838, its origin stems from an epidemic of cholera that killed 100 people in quick succession. The large body count from the disease forced Rochester to build a large cemetery to accommodate the newly dead as well as the recent population growth of America’s first boom town. Since its creation Mt. Hope Cemetery has been a resting place for some strange characters and gruesome tragedies; here are some of our favorites.
Marion Ira Stout
The High Falls was the setting for a murderous mishap by one of Mt. Hope’s permanent residents. Marion Ira Stout murdered his brother-in-law in a crime that was bungled so badly it would have been comical if someone had not died from it. After successfully bludgeoning her brother-in-law with his sister, Susan, the two attempted to dispose of the body and wound up slipping falling 30 feet and each breaking a leg.
The crime became extremely public after police and reporters found the two unable to escape surrounded by the victim of their crime as well as plenty of evidence to arrest. After digging deeper in the case the story of the murder involved sibling incest, cheating spouses, an entire family jailed as accomplices, many botched suicide attempts by Stout while he served time, and finally a very sloppy execution. Stout is buried in Section D, Lot 60 in an unmarked grave.
Buffalo Bill Cody’s Children
Famous showman and overall legend of the Old West Buffalo Bill Cody has three of his four children buried in Mt. Hope Cemetery. Kit Carson Cody died of scarlet fever at the age of 5. Orra Maude Cody died of a high fever at the age of 11. Arta Cody died of complication from a botched surgery at the age of 37.
When Buffalo Bill Cody passed away in Denver Colorado his wish was to have his remains brought back to Rochester to be buried alongside his children. Unfortunately that would never happened as the state of Colorado petitioned and won the right to keep Buffalo Bill’s remains in a burial place at Golden, Colorado.
Stanley Hubert Fox was a former machinist turned salesman for local company, Gleason Works. In 1912, Fox had been in England on a sales trip. Everything was going well until his return trip landed him aboard the Titanic. He was one of the many who died when the ship sank, fortunately his remains were able to be recovered.
His remains and personal effects were shipped back to Halifax Nova Scotia along with others deceased from the tragedy. Upon receiving the telegram of the death his wife entered a state of shock and was unable to immedialty come and gather the remains. A woman going by the name of Lydia Fox claimed the remains instead stating she was a sister-in-law to Stanley. She instead was a con artist trying to collect Stanley’s life insurance hoping to go unnoticed with so many deceased being collected.
Luckily the family was notified in time and the train in which Lydia traveled with the remains was stopped and the body was unloaded without Lydia’s knowing. The remains were sent back to their proper resting place in Rochester NY. You can find Stanley Fox buried in Range 4, Lot 225.
Edward R. Crone
Crone was the inspiration for the main character in Kurt Vonnegut’s famous book Slaughterhouse Five. Edward had been a fellow POW during World War II and was held with Vonnegut in Dresden, Germany. Crone had a bad habit of trading rations for candy, which led to his untimely death from malnutrition. He was buried in a paper suit (due to fabric shortages) in Dresden. After the war, Crones family traveled to Dresden and brought the remains back to Mt. Hope.
Kurt Vonnegut kept his inspiration a secret until after Crone’s parent died, not wanting to hurt them any more than the war already had. In 1995, Kurt Vonnegut traveled to Rochester after learning Crone’s remains were buried here (he had thought they still laid in Dresden). He paid a visit to the grave, smoked a cigarette, talking to Edwards grave in private. After leaving Vonnegut stated that he “finally closed the book of WWII for himself”.