Praying John Horrigan

Praying John Horrigan (HM146U)

Location: Ellis, KS 67637 Ellis County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 56.282', W 99° 33.609'

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The kneeling figure of Ellis folklore who stumped the curious

— and became a legend in his own time —

Though little is known of John's life prior to his arrival in Ellis during the 1870's, it is known that he worked as an Army muleskinner and also spent some time working on the Mississippi. In Ellis, John supported himself working as a stonemason until old age forced him to retire. Even though great speculation of why he prayed existed then and today, John never revealed the true reasons. Despite this, he always spoke freely of other subjects to those he knew.

With clock-like regularity each day, no matter the weather, John went to a spot along the railroad tracks and prayed three to four times a day, many times for several hours. John always prayed bareheaded, his long hair blown by the Kansas wind and his face bare of any beard, exposed to the relentless summer sun and biting winter winds. Despite the ridicule by some of his lengthy and frequent prayers, John always spoke well of others and never uttered a cross word or cursed.

For many years he prayed along the railroad tracks at the western edge of town, however with the advent of the Kodak and John's legendary status, curious onlookers flocked to photograph him as he prayed, forcing him to abandon his rail-side altar and seek seclusion near Cemetery Hill. After suffering a two-week long illness, Praying John Horrigan died on a Monday evening, 22 May 1905. Today John is buried on Cemetery Hill near where he knelt so often in the prairie grasses. A red cedar tree near the north wall of Mount Hope Cemetery shades his grave and a stone marking his place of rest reads

Praying John Horrigan
Died 1905
HM NumberHM146U
Placed ByBenedict Leonard Schoenberger
Marker Condition
0 out of 10 (1 reports)
Date Added Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 at 11:04pm PDT -07:00
Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 451453 N 4310049
Decimal Degrees38.93803333, -99.56015000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 56.282', W 99° 33.609'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 56' 16.92" N, 99° 33' 36.54" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)785
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 923-937 Washington St, Ellis KS 67637, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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I Saw The Marker

Great story! Love the railroad museum.

Aug 23, 2020 at 5:58pm PDT by crbr429

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