The Devil Queen

How my wife and I sold our souls to the Queen Anne Victorian we tried to save.

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Location: Crow Mountain, Arkansas, United States

Synopsis: This is a cautionary tale. A seriously disturbed couple find the charming, old ruin of a Queen Anne Victorian in Russellville, Arkansas, and buy it for $1.00. They tore the roof off, cut it in half, and had it moved to some land they owned sixteen miles away because they didn't know any better. Since then, they have hired and fired contractors, had all of their tools stolen, re-wired, re-plumbed, insulated, and essentially rebuilt the entire house. Their only problem is that after four years it still isn't finished. Now they are tired, broke, and wonder what in the hell it is they've done to themselves. And, it's haunted.
(Last updated on April 3, 2008)

Press: Russellville Courier Article - December 2003, HGTV website article, AP story - October 2006, and Victorian Homes Magazine - February 2008 (link coming soon).
Art: From time to time, I receive requests for my art. If you would like to look at more of my art, go to The Failed Artist. If you would like to buy my art, email me. I am more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Thanks!

Monday, August 28, 2006

Visiting the Dead

One of my wife’s friends from work is getting married in a couple of weeks. Sunday night, my wife and a few other friends went over to help her prepare some of the decorations. Since it was a “girls’ night” event, I dropped her off and went to Lowe’s. On a whim, I decided to swing by Oakland Cemetery to see if I could find the Boswells.

And, I did. I had a rough idea where the Boswell Addition of the cemetery was, and I found their plot in a couple of minutes. I was surprised by my good luck.

This isn't a headstone but a marker for the Boswell family plot.

R(ansom) N(ewton) Van (Dorn?) Boswell was the original owner/builder of the Devil Queen. He lived there from 1890 till his death (probably at the Devil Queen) in 1931.

This is the head stone for Vestal Boswell, Van Boswell's youngest son from his third marriage. Lois Boswell, though marked on the tombstone, is still alive. She was the last owner of the Devil Queen from the Boswell family. She sold it after her husband's death. I've heard that she lives in a nursing home in either NW Arkansas or southern Missouri.

This head stone is for Travis (first name?) Cledys Boswell, Van Boswell's second son from his third marriage, and his wife. I'm not sure if Travis is his real first name because all other references to him call him Cledys Boswell.

This is the headstone for Van Boswell, Jr., Van Boswell's first son from his third marriage. I believe he was (briefly, 1931-1933) the second owner of the Devil Queen.

I'm not sure about Maxie Boswell Hay. I think she is one of Van Boswell's daughters from his first marriage. If so, she was probably born in the Devil Queen.

I believe Norma Boswell Young was also one of Van Boswell's daughters from his first marriage. She was born the same year that the Devil Queen was built, so she may have been born in the Devil Queen too.
This head stone is for Ruth Allen (buried less than a month ago, her death date hasn't been carved into the stone yet) and her husband. According to her obituary, she is the daughter of Norma Boswell Young Hamiltion (where did the "Hamilton" come from?). This would make Ruth Van Boswell's grand-daughter. According to one of Boswell's great grand-daughters from his second marriage, Ruth was the lore keeper for the Boswell family. She was the writer of a short bio on Van Boswell that appeared in the History of Pope County, Volume One. She spent a lot of time visiting her family at the Devil Queen and had lots of memories of the house. I tried contacting her, but was never did hear from her so these stories are lost.

According to Ruth's obituary, Amelia was one of her sisters. Amelia was probably named for her grandmother, Amelia (Thompson) Boswell, Van Boswell's first wife.

I am surprised that neither Van Boswell's first or second wife are buried in this plot. I suspect that they may be buried with their families in the old Norristown cemetery. I think that Amelia's (his first wife) parents are buried there. Van Boswell was in his thirties when she died, and he may not have had the Boswell family plot at the time of her death. The same was probably also true of his second wife who died roughly three years later.

I'm not sure when the Boswells' acquired their plot, by Van Boswell is the first one buried in it in 1931.


Blogger Greg said...

I must make a trip to the local cemetery. If you hadn't found it so quickly, do you know if there was any kind of directory at that cemetery? Are those types of things common in a cemetery or do I just wander around looking at headstones? I can’t even remember the last time I was in a cemetery. I guess that’s a good thing.

6:30 PM  
Blogger John said...

This particular cemetery has a searchable directory through the city of Russellville's website. It also has a map with all the plots marked on it.

This is the exception though. Most of the older cemeteries in Pope County (around 20 of them) don't have anything; on the up side, they are pretty small so looking wouldn't be too bad. Some are having directories made by volunteers from genealogical groups in the area.

If the cemetery in question is still in use, you should be able to contact the main office for information on the location of the graves.

Hope that helps. Good luck!

5:30 AM  
Blogger Kristin said...

I found the graves of both sets of our house's previous owners in the cemetery up the street. I just pretty much wandered around till I found them. It was so thrilling, almost like meeting the people! :)

9:32 AM  
Anonymous Matthew Van Boswell said...

dang this is kind of weird, i didnt think my last name was this common. this is going to be a long and arduous search to see just what branch im on on this huge tree. my father and grandparents live in Muskogee Oklahoma so seeing my last name pop up over in Arkansas is unexpected. if anyone has any information on a good heritage site or something i would appreciate it.

8:35 AM  
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