Friday, October 30, 2015

Empty Houses Haunted?

Haunted houses can be found anywhere even in London,  you just have to know where to look.

Printed Friday the 26th of January 1872 in the Alexandria Gazette out of Alexandria, Virginia 
– A great deal of curiosity has been excited for a long period in reference to a number of large houses in Stamford street, (Blackfriars,) Snowhill, Newington, and other parts of London, which have for nearly half a century been allowed to remain empty, and suffered to get into a ruinous state, the rental value of the property being many thousands per annum. One house in Stamford street, at the corner of Hartfield street, which was formerly let for 100 per annum, has been empty more than 40 years.
   The various premises were popularly known as “haunted houses,” and crowds have collected occasionally around them, particularly the houses in Stamford street, upon the report that a “ghost” had been seen walking about some of the rooms. Their real history appears to be this: The property originally belonged to a solicitor named Reed, a man possessed of a large fortune, and he, through a mere whim, determined not to let any portion of this property. He died some five and twenty years ago, leaving it is said, strict injunctions to his widow to carry out the same course. His directions were obeyed, and at the death of the widow the same injunctions were given to the daughter, until her death, which took place on December 11th, rather suddenly. By this event the condition of affairs in relation to the property will, in all probability, now be changed; and the estate will be put to some useful purpose. The habits of the deceased lady were most penurious. She resided in one of the houses in Stamford street, her only establishment consisting of one old woman, and the residence of the “old miser,” as she was generally termed, could easily be recognized by its dirty and dilapidated appearance. Periodically the two old women would make a visit to the other houses in the street, the time chosen being generally evening. With lantern in hand they would go through the different rooms of the large ruinous buildings, and these visits gave rise, no doubt, to the “ghost” rumors that were rife, and were that cause of the crowds assembling to see the light gleaming from the windows. Almost immediately after the death became known, it appears that parties claiming to be heirs-at-law of the deceased, took possession of the house where she resided, and among the strange rumors that are afloat in reference to the subject is one that a sum of money amounting to nearly 20,000 was found hoarded in different parts of the house, and concealed in all manner of out-of-the way places. At first, it was rumored that the deceased had died without making a will, but it has since been stated that a testamentary document has been discovered. It will perhaps be recollected that a few years ago some persons took forcible possession of the houses in Stamford street, and set up some claim to the property; but it was shown that they had no legal title, and they were forcible ejected by order of a magistrate. Since then, the whole of the property has remained in the same condition as before. _London News.

Reality of Powers

Printed on Monday the 6th of July in 1818 in the Spirit of the Times & Carlisle Gazette out of Carlisle, Pennsylvania
Reality of Witches
An old woman, Jane Wenbam by name, was tried for witchcraft at the Hertford assizes in England, in the year 1712. The judge, who presided at the trial, wishing to save her life, told the jury that some young women unquestionably possessed the powers of witchcraft; but he believed that they always lost those magical powers when they grew old. 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Ghost visiting The Mohawk Valley

The Mohawk Valley seems to have had its share of tragedy and the spirits there feel as if it is their responsibility to continue  to reminding everyone. 
Printed on Thursday the 8th of February 1872 in the Schenectady Reflector out of Schenectady, New York
 – A correspondent, writing to the Troy Times, from Johnstown, gives the following account of several haunted houses in the valley of the Mohawk: “ There have been several haunted houses in the valley of the Mohawk and also in the vicinity of this place, and I have often thought that something should be said on the subject. There was a house in the village which many years ago had the reputation of being haunted by a negro, who had been hanged here and afterward dissected by the village surgeon. The house where this was done was thence afterward occupied by the ghost of this unfortunate darkey which hovered in the garret where the body had been cut up. Noises also might have been heard like the sawing of human bones, which was very annoying to all who heard them. The ghost, however, never cid any damage, but only seemed of a discontented turn, as though things went all with him; but they got worse instead of better, for the house was afterward pulled dozn and the ghost was turned out of doors, and never again heard of. There are several haunted houses on the Mohawk turnpike which have had a first class set of ghosts. Some of these are the old taverns which once filled with guests when the traveling was done with stage coaches. But they stand forlorn and empty now, with the exception at least of some rooms which a tenant may occupy. One of these is haunted by a peddler who was murdered there about sixty years ago, and he is often heard going round with is pack on his back, and trying to escape form a fierce looking man with a butcher knife in his hand. The Mohawk turnpike is full of old associations, and some of these are suggested by the rates of toll which are still seen at the old guesthouses where “stages” and six-horse teams are quoted, and also wagons “with broad tyre,” etc., all of which refer to the days when both traveling and freighting were done by teams, and when this road was crowded with business. There are in this valley tow old churches built before the Revolution, and one of them is said to be haunted. I will not mention in print which is this particular one, but the ghost is that of and old dominie who was half starved by his congregation, and was finally frozen to death while going round trying to collect his salary, which was payable in a large degree sourcrout. The ghost never appears on Sunday, but in stormy weather it may be herd rolling a keg of sourcout up and down the aisles, and blessing the society in Germany for its liberality. There is also a haunted house not far from Amsterdam, which is spooked by a pretty Dutch girl who fell in love with a handsome stage driver, and her parents opposed their marriage. This driver was the son of a great family in New York, but was wild and would not do anything steadily (except drink,) and hence he was left to shirk for himself. He drove a fine team and a handsome coach, and was a great favorite. The girl clopped with him, and of course they lived unhappily. She returned to her father, but he would not receive her, and after that she was found drowned, but whether accidentally or intentionally is not known. She appears about Christmas and New Year, and has a sweet and pleasant look, but always is anxious as though waiting to hear the coachman’s horn, and she wears hat and cloak like one ready to travel off at a moment’s notice.”

Monday, October 26, 2015

Witch Doctors, Witches and the South

Printed Friday the 30th of May 1890 in the Aberdeen Daily News out of Aberdeen, South Dakota 
Dire Havoc Believed to Have Been Caused by Them Among Coon Dogs.
In Wayne county, of which Goldsboro, N. C., is county seat, many of the inhabitants believe in witchcraft.
The Carolinas, Georgia, Alabama and other southern states abound in so called “witch doctors,” who will cure your ails and kill the witch that is troubling you. Some of these doctors actually believe in the personal existence of witches and in their supernatural power, but many of them are frauds, who make a living by imposing on credulity of their neighbors.
The negro race is naturally superstitions, but the poor white “crackers” are also ignorant, and for believing in spooks, spirits, hobgoblins, and other natural phenomena they can give the colored man cards, spades and aces, and then beat him. The cracker is worse than the colored man, because he fondly imagines that he is so much shrewder, and so he does not use what brains he has, nor does he try to learn anything. He has thousands of signs, omens, cures and beliefs that are a continual source of annoyance to him, and perpetually keep him in a state of dread. The simplest incident is one of sinister and occult meaning to him, and he is ever in a tremor lest ill look and misfortune over take him.
The evil influences manifest themselves in various ways, and each one seems worse than the other. His gun occasionally hangs fire and refuses to “go off” properly, and at times is so badly deranged that it cannot be discharged at all. At other times his favorite coon dog is bewitched by some evil mined and envious person, and then the woe of the cracker is something painful to witness. If his gun were not bewitched, why could he not kill a squirrel with it! And why should his dog refuse to hunt coons, when to hunt coons was his business? These are questions that he can answer only by assuming that a witch had been influencing him and his property.
He employs a witch doctor, to whom he pours out his tale of woe and yields up his hard earned cash. The doctor cares little for the woe, but the cash is grateful and exhilarating. The doctor is sanguine, and declares that he has a method of killing that is strictly original, copyrighted, and warranted to be effectual.
In one case that I came across the doctor learned that an old woman living several miles away was the suspected party, and he commenced a campaign against her. He told the victim to go to her house some night and stretch a white cotton string around the building and tie the ends together with a “weaver’s knot.” The he was to walk around the house seven times each way, recite a given sentence in front of each door while making mysterious marks on it, and the cure would be completed. The directions were followed, and, I am happy to say, were effectual as the next hunt resulted in the death of three coons.

Another time a small powder was given, which must be swallowed by the witch without her knowing it. The old lady was invited to dinner the powder placed in er cup of coffee, and the cure was as complete as could be desired. –Philadelphia Times. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Numa Tribe and Witches

Printed Wednesday the 30th of June 1875 in the Washington Reporter out of Washington, Pennsylvania 
Afraid of Becoming Witches
Major Powell says in his forthcoming book: The life of an Indian maiden is blythe and merry for a few years, but when she becomes a wife she is soon broken down with the pains of motherhood and the heavy labors which fall to her lot, and she soon becomes wrinkled, garrulous, cross, scolding, in fact, an old hag. Of course such hags are not pleasant company in camp, and it the belief of the Numa such old hags grow uglier and meaner until they dry up and whirlwinds carry them away, when they are transformed into witches; at least such a fate should befall old women, they are taught that it is their duty to die when no longer needed, and if they do not die by natural means in a reasonable time, must commit suicide. This they seem willing to do rather than meet that terrible fate of being transformed into witches and being compelled to live in snakeskins and wriggle about among the rocks, their only delight being to repeat the words of passers-by in mockery. I once saw three old women thus voluntarily starving themselves. I rode up to what was almost a deserted camp, the three old women only remaining, sitting by the fire and intently gazing into the embers. They seemed to heed not my approach, but sat there mumbling and groaning until they rose, each dragging up her weight with a staff, and then they joined in a sidewise, shuffling senile dance around the fire, propped by their staffs, and singing a doleful song; having finished which they sat down again on their heels, and gazed into the fire. I rode away. On coming to the new camp of the tribe the next day and inquiring of Chui-at-an-umpeak, their chief, why these women were left behind, and what they were doing, I was informed they had determined to commit suicide, fearing lest they should be transformed into witches. 

Monday, October 19, 2015

Cemetery Quick Find Presentation

I’m sitting here preparing for tomorrow evenings presentation. This looks to be the perfect time of month to be presenting on cemeteries and what you can find while doing your research.  I will be discussing the different types of cemeteries you can include in your research.  The symbols that can be found on some headstones, there meaning and the story they can hold about the loved on buried.  I will also review some of the “Tombstone Tuesday” blog postings and how walking through the cemetery helped to find out more about those families.

I will be the guest speaker at the Middletown Historical Society on the 20th of October, tomorrow evening at 7:00 PM here in Middletown, Delaware.  You don’t have to be a member to attend the meetings so if you are in the area please stop by.   

The Party Continues in the Old Delaware Mill

Another one out of Kansas but this time the ghost are dancing and living it up in an old saw mill. 
Printed on Sunday the 10th of February 1889 in the Kansas City Times out of Kansas City, Missouri
The Story of John Thompson’s Tragic Death as Told by an Eye Witness of the Sad Occurrence.
Written for the Kansas City Times.
LAWRENCE, KAN., Feb. 8 – The city, for more than five years past, has had within its limits many haunted buildings that have led many to believe that ghosts were a reality and disembodied spirits are free to act, and often materialize and assume the form of human beings.
The old Delaware mills that stand on the north bank of the Kaw river has during these years caused a great deal of comment among the skeptics who are slow to believe in modern ghosts as they come down to us from the past. In this communication we will not stop to discuss the possibilities or probabilities of spirits whether in the flesh or out, or everyday talk, as it exists in the historic city to-day.
In 1862 Orlando Darling, a native of Vermont, came to this place and with the assistance of a banker erected a sawmill on the site where the Delaware mills now stand. Darling was an enterprising business man and knew almost no bounds to his ambition, and with the contract he had with the banker gained wealth and influence and soon amassed property, all of which was put to good use.
At that time on the north side of the river was an immense body of timber stretching away over two miles from the river and many miles above and below the mills. As there were no mills in the country at that time consequently there was no completion in the lumber trade, and fabulous prices were paid. The business grew to such an extent over a dozen and a half men found employment in and around the mill. Among these, about a year after the mill had been in operation, was a young man about 25 years of age by the name of John Thompson, an Illinoisan by birth. This man was intelligent and had many friends, and was a special favorite with the proprietor of the mills.
In early lie he had trained with that class of pioneers who are favorable to dancing the sports connected therewith. A country dance was not complete without a full supply of intoxicants which added in the direction of merriment and gave life and power to social hops. It was late in the autumn of 1862 when on one of these country dances was on a hill about one mile away from the mill under the supervision of this man Thompson, who was elected to an office of this kind armed himself with drink.
When the evening arrived for the dance, Thompson started with at least two dozen of his associates for the evening party. When they arrived on the ground there was a mixed number of gentlemen and ladies, who were well saturated with drink. It was not long before a row occurred, in which Thompson fell from the effects of a bullet from a revolver in the hands of a young mane name of Crone. Thompson fell to the ground and expired almost instantly. His remains were brought to the mill that evening and lay in state about twenty-four hours and viewed by hundreds of his friends. His body was sent east to friends for burial. Crone, the murderer, was arrested and confined in the county jail for several months, but was afterward relieved on conditions that he would enlist in the United States army, which he did, and served until the close of the war. A year or two later Darling’s mill was converted into a flouring mill and remained such for several years, when the proprietor failed and left the country for California. The property then changed hands and after two or three transfers became the property of the Union Pacific railway, and , since then, or about five years ago, it has been abandoned and been used as a harbor for tramps.
Since these mills became the property of the Union Pacific railroad company great stories have been told by many who claim to be eyewitnesses to nightly visitants in the form of spirits under the captaincy of this man Thompson, who spent his last days on earth in and round this old building. These ghosts are said to be noisy by the immediate neighbors living near the mill; these spirits, to the number of thirty or more, meet about 10 p.m. and then clear the room of all lumber and other material lying around loose in the third story of the building. They then commenced their gymnastics with yells and shrieks that would cause a demon from the infernal regions to give an audience for a few moments. After this programme is filled then come musical instruments of a heavenly order, for transcending anything ever heard of before. This music continues until about 1 p.m., when a general roll call ends the performance.

These nightly visitations and apparitions have cause a terror and almost a general stampede among those having property within rifle shot distance of these mills. The existence of the building has been threatened time and again, but the demons who hold sway in the mill keep a vigilant guard over the property. The citizens on the north side of the river have repeatedly warned the officials of the Union Pacific railway company that this old building has lived beyond its usefulness and its safety is not secure and at any moment it is liable to be in flames, notwithstanding the strong guard of spirits that many suppose are there in the evening. The above is a plain statement of the old haunted mill that for four or five years has been a specter to all the inhabitants’ thereabout. The truth of these strange manifestations we are not prepared to vouch for as there is room for speculation. The tragedy, as it happened at the time, is truthfully recorded above by the writer, who was a witness to all that happened on the evening above referred to. 

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Saturday Spotting - Yankee Prisoners March in Procession

Published the 15th of May in 1863 in the Richmond Whig out of Richmond, VA
Two Processions
Tuesday, the 12th of May, 1863, will long be remembered by the citizens of Richmond. About 9 o’clock, the head of a long column of Yankees – said to be 1,600 strong – appeared on the upper part of Main Street. These Yankees were clad in the uniform of the United States army, and their clothing was worn and soiled by long service. They had no arms. For two years they had been trying, by dint of bayonet and ball, to reach this place; but not until they had laid down their arms and surrendered themselves prisoners of war, were they able to accomplish their object.
     The procession, though not unusual, of late, was a arrange one. Sixteen hundred captured, but not humiliated warriors of the North, walking slowly down the principal thoroughfare of a Southern city, guarded by less than one-third their number of Confederate soldiers, is no ordinary spectacle. Here were the men, who, night after night, and day after day, during many months, had gloated over the fancied prized of beauty, of gold, silver, household stuffs, which were to be theirs when they had conquered the city through which they were now passing as captives.  Murder, lust, race, theft, arson, all demoniacal motives that can actuate fallen and depraved men, had filled their hearts, had been cherished by them as good men cherish virtues, and had implied them to encounter toils, privations and sufferings inconceivable. All they had endured was nothing compared to the hope of sacking Richmond.
The procession was a very silent one. Thousands of spectators, who had gathered to see it, were equally, silent. File after file, the long column of dusty blue passed slowly down the street. No jeers, no taunts, no reproaches from the men and women whom these captives had doomed to the worst sorrows. Silently the Yankees marched along, watched by the countless throng of lookers on. They stared back at the crowds that gazed from the sidewalks, and showed no shame, no remorse – nothing but impudence, brutish, cold, hard and brazen impudence. So many mean, sensual, cunning, inhuman faces, we never saw before.
     An hour or two later, another procession passed up the same street. Artillery, cavalry, infantry and bands of music were in this procession, but the arms of the soldiers were reversed, their banners were draped in mourning. The drums were muffled and the notes of trumpet and horns were funeral. The tolling bell and cannon booming at long intervals, told a mournful story.
The war-worn veterans of Pickett’s division – their mild-eyed, guileless faces contrasting strongly with the brutal features of the previous procession – were there. Ewell, brave, modest and maimed, rode close to the hearse of his great commander. The President of the Confederate States, pale and sorrowful, was there. The good Governor of Virginia, stricken with grief for the loss of his noble townsman, was there. The Heads of Department, the State of Metropolitan Authorities, and many citizens, walked humbly and sadly behind the coffin, decked with Spring flowers and enveloped in the folds of a flag which nations of earth have never be held. A great multitude of all ages, classes and conditions, stood by to see this procession pass. And they were silent as before. All was hushed while the mortal remains of the best and best beloved chieftain in all the land passed onward to the Capital of the State and the Confederacy, which he had so heroically defended and died to save from pollution. The body of Stonewall Jackson was in the hearse, and this great procession was in his honor.
     The day was cloudless, brilliant, beautiful exceedingly. If there are eves immortal that see the souls without the body, that take interest in the affairs of men, what hindered that they should behold these pageants in this much afflicted city? And if they behold and care for these things – what then?

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Haunting at Old Andalusia College

I'm sure you can tell by now this is one of those months that I love searching for ghost, witches and goblins of years past. This one reminds me of some of the haunted homes on Fort Leavenworth in Kansas.
Printed  Sunday the 26th of December 1886 in the Kansas City Time out of Kansas City, Missouri
A Remarkable Apparition to Two Frightened
[Philadelphia Times.]
There are two men in this city who are willing to take oath that the building at Andalusia known as “Old Andalusia college” is haunted. One of them is H. W. Eshaback, a member of the Philadelphia bar, and the other is Frank Tygh, a cigar manufacturer. A short time ago these two gentlemen passed the night with a friend, John Endiectt, in the old college, and since that time they have been starting their acquaintances with frightful stories of a ghost seen there. As a proof of his statement Mr. Eshback exhibits a bad looking upper lip, which he says was swollen up by coming in contact with the bonafide ghost. Their stories have gained considerable credence at Andalusia, where the affair is said to have taken place, and the citizens look upon the old college buildings with more than ordinary suspicion. Old Andalusia college is a three-story wooden building with a mansard roof, and is nearly fifty years old. It is situated at the junction of two roads about ten minutes’ walk form the Pennsylvania railroad station. The structure presents a ghostly appearance, and being surrounded by large, tall cedar trees, is not a place where any citizen would like to pass a dark night alone. It has been said or many years that the house was haunted.
When the college was in a flourishing condition under Dr. Chapman, twenty years ago, Mrs. Chapman and a young man named Minor become enamored of each other. Feeling that the doctor was an obstruction to the free enjoyment of their love, they accomplished his death by the aid of arsenic. In trying to obliterate traces of the crime some of the arsenic was thrown into the yard, where some of the ducks ate it and died. The death of the ducks in such a manner led to an investigation, resulting in the arrest of both Mrs. Chapman and young Minor. Minor was hanged. Mrs. Chapman escaped the law. Since that time the house has had the reputation of being haunted. Persons in that neighborhood say they saw lights in the house for years, and few of them would pass it after dark. After the murder the college proved a failure, and no one could be found willing to occupy it. The owner of the premises had a portion of the building torn down, and the remainder fitted up as a boarding house, but the unsavory reports concerning it prevented him from getting a tenant. Mr. Endicott finally offered to occupy the place, and has now been living there for some months.
Horace W. Eshback said yesterday; “A friend of mine, John F. Endicott, resides in the old Andalusia college, and the other day he invited me over to pay him a visit. Of course I accepted the invitation, taking with me Frank Tygh, a cigar dealer of this city. The weather was none of the best in the morning, and by afternoon a rain and snow storm arose which lasted until early the next morning. We had intended to return to the city on one of the late afternoon trains, but, as the storm raged without promise of early abatement, we decided to remain over. It must have been near midnight when we went to bed. We were shown to the spare room. This apartment was very large, with three deep windows, two doors and a fireplace. The old college has about twenty rooms, the larger number of which are unoccupied, and Tygh, who is a short, fleshy man and much given to the subject of spooks, shuddered as we walked down the hall, and muttered something about its being an elegant night for ghosts to play football. We entered the room, and Tygh thought someone was yelling but he grew more composed when I told him it was only the wind. The wind was really howling as if the very imps of iniquity were frenzied in the delights of a free night. With the wind whistling through the tall cedar trees it was almost impossible to sleep. Anyhow I could not sleep, and lay listening to the noises outside and to the snoring of my roommate.
Suddenly a light spread through the room, a light like that produced by a candle. In the surprise or rather astonishment of the moment I turned and sat up in the bed. I tell you what I saw made me feel sick and wish I was almost anywhere else.  Before me was what appeared to be the bust of a man, perhaps 45 years of age, the shoulders covered with a mantle. The face had a perfectly natural appearance, only it lacked mobility, and the whole seemed to be resting on a cloud of snow. The terrible apparition was moving about the room and I thought it might be a robber, but I noticed that there were no lower limbs, but that it gilded around like a balloon. Now, I am not a believer in spirits, but I was frightened. “What do you want?” I asked, hardly aware of what I was saying. The sound of my voice awakened Tygh. He sat bolt upright in bed, gave one glance and tumbled over onto the floor and began to pray. Tygh is not a religious man. The answer I received from the ghost was in the form of a severe blow to the mouth, cutting my lips badly and stretching me at full length on the bed.
“Almost simultaneously with the blow the figure noiselessly exploded and seemed to go straight up through the wall. The light did not go out for some time, but gradually died away, leaving us in darkness. I jumped up and lighted a lamp and found Tygh doubled up in a heap on the floor, almost insensible. I looked around the room and found the windows closed, the doors locked, and everything in the condition it was when we retired. I will admit that I was frightened and the quickness with which I dressed myself and hauled Tygh down stairs was something wonderful it is perhaps unnecessary to say that we spent the remainder of the night before a glowing fire in the sitting room. When Endicott saw me in the morning he laughed and wanted to know where I got my thick lips. I did not cate to tell him the truth, so I replied that I had struck it on the bed post in getting into bed. Now, as I said before I do not believe in ghosts or anything of the sort, but I’m going to investigate that matter and capture whatever it is, that is, providing it is anything human.”

Mr. Tygh swears that he saw the whole business and relates to a story similar to that of Mr. Eshback. He says he knows there is a ghost in the old building and money could not hire him to pass another night there.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Witch Hunt in Mississippi

Printed Friday the 15th of June 1900 in the Evening Post out of Charleston, South Carolina
Curious Case of Superstition in Mississippi
It is not easy to believe sometimes that “the world does move.” When one reads of a “witch hunt,” which took place recently in one of the United States., it seems quite like the story of Salem witchcraft days. The actors in the medieval drama were white men and women in the State of Mississippi, and the witch hunt was within thirty miles of a large school for white people carried out by the Women’s Home Missionary Society.
A woman who became suddenly ill announced her belief that she was bewitched, and her friends consulted an old negro “witch doctor” in the place. He investigated that place with all solemnity, and declared that a dead tree in the yard was the home of the evil spirit, and that if it were burned the spirit would be obligated to take refuge in the body of the witch, who then might be discovered. By an unfortunate chance an old woman in the neighborhood was found to be ill and it was ascertained that she was the witch. So a party of men with dogs and guns went to her house and drove her before them to the home of the woman who was “bewitched.”

They kept the poor old creature there without food or drink from Monday until Thursday, trying to make her confess. Finally she was taken to the county poor house, after the question of killing her had been seriously discussed, as the “witch doctor” decided that the evil spirit would go with her to the poor house. The one ray of brightness in the story is the fact that the persons engaged in the affair were indicted by the grand jury and heavily fined for assault and battery. –New York Tribune.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Enjoyed Presenting at Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society

This past Saturday I was the guest speaker at the Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society in Dover. I presented on “Searching Newspapers” pointing out some of the wonderful nuggets of information that can be found when including newspapers in your research. The turnout was great as were the questions and the presentation was well received. I don’t know about most of you but I love including newspapers in my research you never know what you might find relating to those you’re researching. Plus the pages offer you a glimpse into their lives, helping to paint a larger picture of them and what was happening in the world at that time.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Sunday Cemetery Harris Free Cemetery

Published the 11th of December in 1882 in the Patriot out of Harrisburg, PA
A Belief That the Expose Will Aid in Remedying the Evil – Additional Facts in Relation to It – A Meeting of the Board of Trustees Called for Tuesday Night.
     The facts laid before the public by the PATRIOT on Saturday, relative to the horrible condition of the Harris Free Cemetery, caused much talk throughout the city. Although the charges were horrible and almost next to impossible, yet it was admitted on all hands that the facts were presented in such a plain and unvarnished manner as to leave no reason doubt of their truth. Among the colored people it created must comment. Yet there were none willing to dispute the terrible condition of affairs. The general opinion seemed to be that it would prove beneficial to the cemetery association in aiding them to procure necessary relief. A number of additional facts in connection with it have been gathered by PATRIOT reporters. One of these (the names of the parties for the present being with-held), is that a body was taken out to the cemetery one evening, and because no tools were at hand to dig a grave, it was placed without covering in a corner an allowed to so remain until it was necessary on account of the stench to have it interred.
     A PATRIOT reporter called ou Prof. W. Howard Day yesterday. “What in your opinion is the general feeling among the colored people in regard to the PATRIOT expose of the condition of the Harris Free Cemetery?” was asked.
     “The people as far as I have learned are satisfied that it is vastly true – too true – and that they had no reason to disbelieve even the most horrible portions of it. They have lamented the condition of the cemetery for some time but every effort to raise money and place the grounds in a respectable condition has for some reason or other failed. The old board of managers had no money and the new board is not an improvement on the old in that regard. The old board empowered a committee of women to raise funds for the purpose of constructing a new bridge over the stream to the south of the graveyard. In this they succeeded and expended about seventy dollars on a culvert at this point, but a flood afterwards washed it away.”
     “Who do you regard accountable for the state of affairs in and about the cemetery?”
     “Well, the white people are largely entitled to blame in this matter and in a double sense. The soldiers in 1877 broke down the fences, gates and tool house, and destroyed or lost the tools belonging to the cemetery, thus doing damage to the amount of nearly $200. Again, public sentiment has largely brought about this terrible shame. The doors of other cemeteries are closed to the blacks, and the only alternative left them is to bury in this miserable cow pasture. This I regard as all wrong. Death blanches alike the black and the white, and demands for all a common grave. Several efforts have been made to secure lots in the Harrisburg cemetery by respectable colored people, but they have been barred and double barred. I regard as a significant fact that the black and the white cannot lie together in “God’s acre’ even in death. The exposure will no doubt be instrumental in remedying the evil. There is no question but that the cemetery has been receptacle for the bodies of infanticide.”
     After a chat of a few minutes with the professor, Major Simpson, secretary of the board of manages, was called on. The major said: “The sunken graves have been noticed, but there was no revenue to repair them or the fences. There are rules for the government of the cemetery, but they cannot be carried out. Some people come for a permit and other bury without it. One man came to me stating that his mother-in-law had been dead three or four days and that he had no money with which to furnish a coffin or to pay for grave digging. He went away and did not again return. It is to be presumed that he buried without permit or coffin. No record has been kept of the burials by permit ant it is impossible to give correct data in this respect. The burials by permit would average about thirty-five to forty per year, but since the Lincoln cemetery was opened there are not so many.” Mr. Simpson says that a meeting of the board of managers had been in contemplation for some time, but that the PATRIOT’S expose has hurried them up, a meeting being called for Tuesday evening when steps towards remedying the evil may be looked for.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Presenting Today "Searching Newspapers"

I'm excited today to be heading down to Dover and presenting on some of the fun things and hidden information you find while "Searching Newspapers". Thank you Downstate Delaware Genealogical Society for inviting me to present today.

A Connecticut Witch Catherine Harrison

Printed Saturday the 24th of November 1894 in the Grand Forks Daily Herald out of Grand Fork, North Dakota 
A Paper on the Early Witch Lore of Connecticut. 
Dr. C.J. Hoadly read a paper on “Catherine Harrison, Witch,” at a meeting of the Connecticut Historical society, Dr. Hoadly said that while Catherine Harrison was not executed two were undoubtedly executed for witchcraft in Connecticut, and there were others about whom there might be some doubt. This community was not swept by superstition as were some parts of Massachusetts, but there were those here who held to it.
Catherine Harrison was a house servant before her marriage, and one of the daughters of the house where she worked made oath that she was “notorious liar, a Sabbath breaker and a fortune teller.” The depositions said she had caused sickness to some people, death to others, had an unholy influence over animals, had been seen to appear as a calf and change back to her own shape, and that her form or face had frequently appeared at people’s bedsides and other unlikely places. At this trial she was not convicted. She was arrested again in May, 1669, and again committed to jail. At the following term of court she was indicted, pleaded not guilty and was tried before a jury. This jury then failed to agree, and she was remanded to jail until court should convene again in the fall. At that time the jury rendered a verdict of guilty, but the court was not satisfied. It obtained an expert opinion on witchcraft form some ministers, and still not being satisfied refereed that matter to the general court. She remained in prison until May, 1670, when the general court released her on the payment of the “just fees” of the trial and on condition she should leave the state.

Catherine Harrison left the state and went to Westchester, N. Y., but her reputation preceding her the inhabitants complained to the governor. For some time she was placed under bonds for good behavior. She was afterward released. –Hartford Times.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Halloween and a War

This isn't the typical Halloween article that I've been sharing this month but thought it brought a good reminder that even with a war going on some still tried to carry on with a show of respect. 
Printed on Friday the 4th of October 1942 in the Dallas Morning News out of Dallas, Texas
Halloween Monkeyshines Out;
Rowdyism Will Mean Jail Cell
Dallas is due for one of the quietest Halloweens on record if the authorities have anything to say about it.
Every restriction hitherto imposed will be drawn tighter, Chief of Police J. M. Welch said Saturday. There will be no toleration on this first Halloween of this war of pranks which destroy property or disturb peace.
And military authorities will be equally vigilant. Lieut. William A Gogreve of the detachment of military police here said every precaution would be taken to prevent any trace of hoodlumism by soldiers.
If necessary, he said, requests for special detachments of military police will be made for Halloween weekend.
Elm Street will be roped off as usual Halloween night from Harwood to Lamar, Chief Welch said, and several police officers will be placed on duty in each block.
Cruising squads in the residential areas will be doubled. Every policeman in Dallas will work that night.
Fireworks will not be permitted. Except in the downtown area, needless noise will bring swift arrest. Speeders will be harshly dealt with and such open unlawful acts as turning in false fire alarms or destroying property of any sort, public or private,  will be dealt with precisely as if they had occurred on any other day of the year.
“This is war,” said Chief Welch. It’s no time for any wild celebrations to keep our workers form their sleep or break up property we might not be able to replace.
“The city now has a rigid antinoise ordinance. The entire nation has been asked to conserve its rubber and automobiles as a direct contribution to the war effort.
“We are going to see that the laws are not broken, Halloween or no Halloween.”
Police would prefer that the persons who feel they must make a racket and celebrate go downtown, where they can be watched in a group.
They say one large crowd is easier to handle than roaming troupes wandering in residential sections.
For the quieter celebrants, however, all community centers in the Dallas park system are planning Halloween parties. Virtually all will include special programs.

USO headquarters at the Baker Hotel will have a special Halloween program and its usual Saturday night dance for soldiers. A Halloween party is being considered for the club at Love Field. 

Monday, October 5, 2015

Scary New Orleans Legend

This is a Halloween type of tale that I haven't heard of before and found it while researching on and thought I would pass it along for a fun read. 

Printed on Tuesday the 27th of January 1857 in the Easton Star out of Easton, Maryland
From the Home Journal
In the upper part of New Orleans, not far from the Mississippi river, stands an old house well known in that part of the city as “the haunted house.” It is said that no tenant can be induced to remain long in it; but all disturbed by supernatural sights and sound, speedily seek another dwelling. These nocturnal disturbances are sufficiently explained – to some at least – by the following legend:
Long time ago, long before New Orleans was a great city, and when the quarter now known by the name of Lafayette was occupied by cane fields and partly by the marshes, the old house – old even then – stood, as now, not far from the band of the river, and surrounded by blocks and squares of substantial buildings, as to-day, was the centre of plantation and was haunted only by sunny faces and merry voices. Its owner was an old gentleman- a widower- who had seven daughters- all beautiful, intelligent and amiable.
When the oldest daughter was of an age to marry, she was wooed and won by a young planter of the neighborhood, and for once the course of true love seemed to run smooth.
All parties were agreed as to the suitability of the match, and when the wedding night arrived, willing guests flocked from all quarters to do honor to the occasion. The old house was brilliantly illuminated, and the sounds of music and of dancing echoed through its chambers. In short, everything went merrily onward, and gay Louisiana never saw a gayer assemblage. But all the merriment was doomed to meet a strange and sudden end. Scarcely had the nuptial benediction been pronounced, when it was observed that the bride was missing. The evening passed on and she did not return. Wonder was followed by anxiety. Search first was made through the neighborhood, but all without success. All that night, and for days and weeks after, the search was continued with all that sleepless energy and vigilance which love could prompt, but all in vain; not the slightest trace was ever found of the missing bride.
Had she, in some sudden aberration of mind wondered into the boundless swamps, and perished miserably of hunger and exposure? Or had she some fearful and unbosomed grief, which had caused her to cast herself into the turbid waters of the Mississippi? Or had she, perchance, met and loved some person so far beneath her in station as to render an open union hopeless, and they had fled together in distantlands?
Such were some of the conjectures of the gossips concerning her fate, while others told scary stories of the dreadful and desperate deeds of the pirates of the Gulf, of late nights with terrified glances cast over their shoulders towards the door; whispering ghastly tales of the doings of demon huntsman, whose horn was often heard among the woods and marshes, and the baying of whose dogs mingled with the rustling of the wind among the leaves, as it struck upon his ear in the dreary hours of night, caused many a pious Acadian to hastily cross himself and utter au Ave Maria and a petition  for protection against the devil and all his angels.
It would be tedious to tell as to hear save in the briefest manner how one after another five more of the seven daughters disappeared in the same way each in their wedding night till one was left the most beautiful, the best beloved of all. A strange infatuation seemed to enchain all who concerned; and while, when each was lost, the same scene of frantic search, of wild grief, of despairing acquiescence was enacted, none ever dreamed of making the mysterious fate which seemed to hang over the family, an objection to the marriage of the younger girl. And thus it came to pass that the last daughter became betrothed, as the rest had been, to one well worthy of her, and in due time another large company assembled to grace the nuptials.
But on this occasion there was but little of merriment. The guests clustered together in groups of two’s and three’s, and in whispers spoke of the lost sisters. All seemed to feel as though they were shadowed by the wings of some dark and terrible misfortune hovering over the doomed house. No one was found bold enough to utter a jest, or to speak of gay or thoughtless word.
In the meantime all possible care was taken to guard the bride form the fate of her sisters. A chosen body of friends watched constantly over her, and never permitted her to be absent from their sight. Thus were matters situated when the hour appointed for the nuptial ceremony arrived.
But the final vows were scarcely spoken when the sound of a distant horn was heard and the thrill of terror struck to each heart.
It approached nearer and nearer, till at last the heavy tramp of a man, accompanied by the pattering sound of the feet of hurrying dogs were heard upon the veranda. All eyes was fixed upon the closed doors connected with  crash, and a gigantic huntsman, clad in green, and surrounded by a pack of huge and panting hounds stood upon the threshold. Fixed to their places, the spectators stared with glassy eyes on the terrible visitor, and a waited in speechless terror, his future movement. Fixing his flashing eyes upon the bride, with imperial air he raised his right hand toward her. With tottering steps she advanced and sank fainting in his arms. One blast upon his mighty horn, one yell from his ferocious pack, and the green huntsman sprang from the house, bearing with him the inanimate form of the doomed bride. Fainter and fainter grew the sound of the horn and the dogs, till they faded quite away in the distance, and then and not till then, did the beholders of this scene recover from the spell which had deprived them of the power of moving or speaking.

All those who were present at this supernatural abduction have long since mingled their ashes with the parent earth but the old house still stands a witness to the truth of the legend, and on stormy nights, the daemon huntsman’s horn and the laying of the tempest, may be heard sounding along the Mataric Ridge and through the swamps and woods adjoining’ and at midnight hour the ghost of the bereaved old father, yet wandering through the deserted chambers of the ancient house weeping and wringing his shadowy hands and repeating in agonizing tones, the seven lost brides.  

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Evil Eye Witch in Chicago

Printed Saturday the 12th of October 1901 in the Washington Bee out of Washington D.C. 
Thomas Kelly Discovers a Woman with and Evil Eye and Is Arrested for Stoning Her.
The curse of Salem is on Chicago: According to Thomas Kelly, the same old witchcraft that used to cause the good Puritans of the colonial town to lie awake nights is exercised by a woman who is his near neighbor.
“Her vengeance is awful,” Kelly said to a Chicago American reparter. “Her curse is the curse of Satan. Only recently she had a quarrel with Mrs. Cohen, another of my neighbors.  Mrs. Cohen won and the witch put a curse upon her.
“First Cohen’s horse died. That was a few days after the curse was pronounce. Cohen was almost helpless without the horse. Then Mrs. Cohen became ill. There was grief in the house. No work for the man and the wife sick. To cap all Cohen became paralyzed in one side.”
This Chicago witch was acquired the city’s commercial spirit. The curse did not last forever. Mrs. Cohen finally became well. Then, according to Kelly, she offered the witch $10 to remove the curse. But the witch demanded $30.
Kelly’s blood boiled. He determined to punish the witch for her witchcraft. He made himself a martyr for the ills of the Cohnes. He could not throw the witch into a pond, bound to sink or swim. He could not burn her at the stake, according to the most approved custom. So he decided to stone her. This was a course almost as well sanctioned by precedent as burning.

The woman of uncanny powers was in the house when Kelly went to stone her, so he threw the stones through the windows. She had him arrested, and he was taken before Justice Sabath, where the story came out. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Only One Room Vacant

Well that time of the year has rolled around again, one of my favorite holidays "Halloween". So yes you have guessed right, as years past I wanted to share things that I have found while search on that fit within the spirit of Halloween. So here we go with the first article  on a haunted room at the inn.  On election night would you sleep in a haunted room at the inn?
Printed Saturday the 14th of August 1875 in the Stoughton Sentinel out of Stoughton, Massachusetts 
A room in the principal part of a country town had reputation of being haunted. Nobody would sleep in it, and it was therefore shut up; but it so happened that at an election the inn was chock full, an there was only the haunted room unoccupied. A gentleman’s gamekeeper came to the inn, exceedingly fatigued by a long journey, and wanted a bed. He was informed that unless he chose to occupy the haunted room, he must seek a bed elsewhere.
“Haunted!” exclaimed he; “stuff and nonsenses! I’ll sleep in it. Ghost or demon, I’ll take a look at what haunts it.”
Accordingly, after fortifying himself with a pipe and tankard, he took up his quarters in the haunted chamber, and retired to rest. He had not lain down many minutes when the bed shook under him fearfully. He sprang out of bed, struck a light (for he had taken the precaution to place a box of Lucifer matches by his bedside), and made a careful examination of the room, but could discover nothing. The courageous fallow would not return to bed but could discover nothing. The courageous fellow would not return to bed but remained watching some time. Presently he saw the bed shake violently; the floor was firm; nothing moved, but the bed. Determined, if possible, to find out the cause of this bed-quake, he looked in the bed, and near the bed and not seeing anything to account for the shaking, which every now and then seemed to seize on the bed, he at last pulled it from the wall.
Then the “murder come out.” The sign-board of the inn was fastened to the outer wall by a nut and screw, which came through to the back of the bed, and when the wind swung the signboard to the fro, the movements was communicated to the bed, causing it to shake in a most violent manner. The gamekeeper, delighted at having hunted up the ghost, informed the landlord the next morning of the real nature of his unearthly visitor, and was handsomely rewarded for rendering a room, hitherto useless, now quite serviceable.

All the ghost stories on record might no doubt have been traced to similar sources, if those to whom the “ghost” appeared had been as “plucky” as or gamekeeper.