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The legends behind Kate Blood’s haunted life after death

Kate Blood's grave
Posted at 4:50 PM, Oct 24, 2023
and last updated 2023-10-24 17:50:16-04
  • Kate Blood’s gravesite is a well-known “haunting” in Appleton. There are many stories feeding the myth.
  • Gwen Sargeant, the vice president of the Appleton historical society, told us the true story of Blood’s death.
  • It turns out, Blood’s real life held as much tragedy as the myths that surround her death.

(The following is a transcription of the full broadcast story)

Just down the hill from the rest of riverside cemetery is Kate Blood’s gravesite. Now a few myths and mysteries surround her namesake, and every Halloween Riverside Cemetery gets a few more visitors, hoping to encounter the mystery themselves. I’m Olivia Acree, your Appleton neighborhood reporter with Kate Blood’s story.

“Some of the myths range from she killed her three children to her being a witch to her murdering her husband with an ax to really a variety of myths,” said Sargeant.

Gwen Sargeant is the vice president of the Appleton historical society.

“In about the 1980s we started to hear this myth sort of permeating Appleton about Kate Blood,” said Sargeant.

A myth that got a lot more attention than the others.

“They would say that there was some blood running down the tombstone,” said Sargeant.

“Her actual story, though, is more about her personally.”

In front of Blood’s grave site are three footstones.

“Her husband herself and his second wife,” said Sargeant.

Blood’s real story is just as tragic as the myths. She’s the daughter of Appleton pioneer colonel henry Blood.

She attended Lawrence University, married George Miller, the publisher for the Appleton Post, and had two children.

That’s where the tragedy begins.

She lost one child very young, then she got consumption, or tuberculosis and like many others during this time, she was sent south to Lawrence, KS, to try to heal.

Instead, she returned home in a coffin at the age of 23.

“The myth sort of gives her some historical lifting that we now are answering questions about her, and we actually get to learn about her life,” said Sargeant.

So, no witches or ax murderers, and Sargeant says if her tombstone bleeds, it’s only because of the tragedies of her life.

“Many people come during the month of October or around Halloween to visit Kate Blood’s site,” said DeBruin.

Riverside cemetery administrator, Debbie DeBruin, wants to remind visitors to respect the area.

We know all of the skeletons in Kate Blood’s closet were figurative, but Sargeant is happy to have some attention brought to her little piece of Appleton history.