An Empty Tomb: The Story of a Marriage

As recalled by local historian David C. Heavner, 1918-2007

As my granddaughter, Jessica Bailey Kuster, and her father-in-law Jack Kuster were busy trying to make a plot of the graves at St. Luke’s (Episcopal Church), I was walking around observing the headstones.

Near the west end of the church I noted a small but rather ornate headstone of Jane McBee, wife of Beverly C. Cobb. But where was Beverly? I knew he should be here, but was not! The tall tombstone of Beverly’s wealthy merchant father Joseph Cobb, and his younger brother John were there.

I sat at home, thinking of this and suddenly I remembered the Cobb legend as told to me by my mother, Sallie Baker Heavner, and later by Lena Reinhardt Graham.

The B.C. Cobbs lived in a large white house that stood where the Lincolnton Branch of the Gaston College now stands. On a Thanksgiving Day in the late 1800s, Beverly and Jane had a serious argument as they sat at the dinner table. They both were so angry that they both left the home, furniture, and even the food on the table.

Several years later in the early 1900s, my mother climbed up and looked into the dining room. Even the skeletal carcass of the turkey still could be seen. The house stood there until the Lincolnton High School began operating in 1908. Prior to this date it was purchased by Mrs. L.A. Crowell and moved to property she owned at 120 E. Rhodes Street.

Beverly practiced law in Lincolnton until his death in 1900. He was buried on the left side of his father, Joseph Cobb (large monument). The family had a marker erected showing his birth in 1848 and his death in 1900.

I now realized why I could not find his grave. Relatives in Virginia had come to St. Luke’s and exhumed the body to be reburied in Virginia.

Mrs. Zack Taylor (Sis Leonard), learning of the empty tomb beneath the Cobb stone, purchased the plot.

As the Cobb stone was being replaced by the Taylor stone, I asked Zack about the change. He said, “David, I told Sis to just leave it alone. Dead, I would as soon be a Cobb as a Taylor.


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