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DINNER & SPIRITS The History & Hauntings of the McMackin House Restaurant

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Author Topic: DINNER & SPIRITS The History & Hauntings of the McMackin House Restaurant  (Read 93 times)
Keira Kensington
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« on: October 19, 2008, 10:32:12 pm »


Helen McMackin never married, although she was engaged at one time. Her fiancée died during World War I and so she dedicated her life to the family business, along with many civic and patriotic organizations. She became the only occupant of the McMackin home after her mother Eugenia died from a heart attack in 1949 and she became very passionate about preserving the place. She remained alone until 1950, when her close friend Beth Dunham was severely injured in a train wreck. Helen resolved to be her guardian and she added private living quarters to the home and employed nurses to care for her friend. She also made provisions in her will to insure that Beth would be cared for in her last days. She passed away just one year after Helen’s death in 1965.

Charles Lincoln McMackin II became the last owner of the family funeral business after inheriting from his father and his Aunt Helen. Like his ancestors, Charles always had an affinity for military service and as a boy attended the Western Military Academy in Alton, Illinois, where he joined the Western Military Drum and Bugle Corps.




Helen McMackin - Beloved Aunt and perhaps one of the resident ghosts!


Recently, a megaphone was discovered during some renovations at the house that had belonged to Charles while he was at the military academy. He along with his roommate, Paul Tibbetts, (the pilot of the “Enola Gay”, which dropped the first atomic bomb on Japan) played “taps” with their bugles over the megaphone each evening.

After his graduation from the academy, Charles joined the Salem Fire Department and eventually served as the Fire Marshall and the Assistant Fire Chief. He also enlisted, in 1933, in the 113th Infantry of the Illinois National Guard and married Flora Jane Gibson of Sandoval in 1935. Together, they raised three daughters, Merry Gay, Ellen Aline and Mary Belle. After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Charles was called into active military duty and he served as the company commander of the 113th, 339th and 411th infantry regiments. He fought in the European Theater Campaign, in Germany and Northern France. He was decorated many times during the war and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, three Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal, the Purple Heart and the French Croix de Guerre. In 1948, he retired from the service as a Lieutenant Colonel.

After the death of Aunt Helen in 1965, Charles and Flora Jane became the last of the McMackin’s to reside in the family home. In addition to all of his earlier accomplishments, Charles remained active in local politics as well. A great many social and political events were held in the family home and Charles chaired the Marion County Republican Party for years. He also served as the Mayor of Salem from three terms between 1975 and 1983.

Flora Jane was the last of the McMackin’s to reside in the mansion. In her later years, she became the National Vice-President of the Am Vets Auxiliary and president of the 23rd District of the American Legion Auxiliary. In 1998, she was elected to a four-year term on the Salem City Council. She remained an active member of the community until she passed away in 1995 and according to reports, she remained active for a brief time after her death as well…

According to her daughter, Ellen, no less than four members of the McMackin family were visited by Flora Jane shortly after she died. Around 4:00 am on the night that she died, Ellen told me that she was awakened in the darkness by a figure standing next to her bed. She roused herself from her sleep and realized that it was her mother. Before she could speak, or even think about what was taking place, the figure turned and then vanished. The following morning, Ellen learned that her mother has passed away at almost the exact same time that she had seen her in the bedroom. She was a little startled to hear that three other family members had experienced the same thing.

Despite this unnerving visitation though, Flora Jane is not believed to linger behind in the old family home. However, there is certainly no shortage of McMackin’s here!

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