Smiley, A Texas Ghost

Quiet, peaceful Mills Cemetery - by day
In the city of Garland, Texas, which just happens to be my hometown, is a creepy ghostly legend. Mills Cemetery, located on Commerce St. 1 block from the intersection of Rt. 66 & Centerville Rd., was established in 1860. Within this cemetery is an individual grave, a mass grave which holds all 5 members of a single family. It is well known locally as “Smiley’s Grave.” The poor, unfortunate members of the Smiley family all died on the same day and they share a moderate-sized individual tombstone which reads; Smiley – Mother Belle Hall, Oct. 30, 1890; Father Chas. Oscar, Mar 17, 1890; Daughters Lilath Merle, June 20, 1914; Greeta May, Oct 27, 1915; Charlena, Feb 20, 1926; All Died May 9, 1927. A family of 5 all buried in the same grave and all died on the same day? That fact alone begs an answer to the question of, ”What the hell happened?”

But maybe not so peaceful in 
the dark hours
The story goes that Smiley was a mean man; a very mean man. One dark, overcast day, for reason or reasons unknown, Smiley became a very angry mean man. So angry that in his rage, he killed his wife and three daughters. A short time later when his anger subsided and he realized what he had done, he hung himself in remorse.

The Smiley Family headstone
Mills Cemetery is peaceful by day; well maintained with lots of shade trees. After dark however, that is not the case. It is said that Smiley is still mean and still angry; so angry at what he did to his family and to himself, that his ghost roams this restless cemetery each night looking for someone to take out his anger on, another person to take down with him. There are sounds in the cemetery at night if you listen for them - a barely perceptible moaning sound as of wind through the trees even when there is not a breath of air flowing; footsteps on dry leaves when nobody is moving; twigs snapping when you are sure nobody else is there. Some have seen strange lights bobbing around that cannot be explained. And it is said, if you stand on Smiley’s grave in the dark, a sense of sadness will overcome you; you will have trouble keeping your balance and you may feel a cold puff of wind around your ankles. For those brave enough, or perhaps foolish enough, on Halloween at midnight, if you lay on Smiley’s grave, you will begin to feel pressure on your chest, a pair of cold arms encircling you, and it will be hard to rise up – you will begin to struggle and scream in terror as Smiley tries to pull you down into the very depths of hell with him.

The mass grave of the unfortunate 
Smiley Family
Nobody alive today knows the facts for sure. Some claim the whole family was killed in a tornado that ripped through Garland on May 9, 1927. Research reveals that indeed, a tornado tore through Garland, killing at least 9 people, including Garland’s ex-mayor. However, the Smiley family is not listed among those killed. Another story is that a developer in the area wanted to build a road through Smiley’s property, but Smiley would not sell to him. Trying to force his hand, the man intended to burn down the Smiley residence one night when the family was away visiting relatives. However, their plans changed at the last minute and they all perished in the house fire he set. It seems nobody knows for sure so perhaps the murder/suicide story is true after all. And perhaps, just perhaps, angry, tortured Smiley really does wander the cemetery all night, every night; looking to add another innocent victim to his family’s mass grave.

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