What does Mother’s Day, the first land battle of the Civil War, a spooky TV show character and a bunch of buried treasure have in common? The answer is Barbour County. Surprised? This county is located in the north central area of the Mountain State and has plenty of history and mystery. Mother’s Day was founded by county residents Ann Marie Reeves Jarvis and her daughter. Did you know that Ted Cassidy who played Lurch from the 1960s TV show, The Addams Family, hailed from this county? The very first land battle of the War Between the States took place in Philippi on June 3rd 1861. And what about that buried treasure? I thought you’d never ask.
A very wealthy man by the name of Earl Booth owned a large farm in the county. He also operated a profitable sawmill and raised many cattle on his farm. In the late 1880s, he had accumulated a small fortune and was well known for his aversion to banks and due to this aversion, was known to bury his money in the ground. It would eventually be his downfall.
Two strangers had appeared in town and while shopping at the local general store, has heard of Booth and his buried stashes of cash. By the time they left the store, they had concocted an evil plan. That evening as Booth slept soundly, the two scallywags broke into his home and rudely awoke him with threats of death unless he did their bidding. The thieves threatened to take his life unless Booth gave up the locations of his buried treasures. After describing one spot to dig, one man held him at bay while the other left into the darkness with a shovel and a sack to get the buried goods. The thief was pleased when his digging exposed a small chest filled with silver and gold coins. He returned to Booth’s home and demanded to know more locations for the other treasure boxes. Booth refused as was his stubborn and defiant nature and the thieves turned vicious. They beat the old man until death gripped his body and as his last breath came forth he uttered a curse upon them. He vowed that his ghost would return to guard his earthly treasures.
The men left Booth’s body in the farmhouse and hurriedly left the next morning but promised themselves they would come back in time and search for the rest of the buried money. Fearing they would be caught and possibly lynched, they left the area and returned 3 years later. As they began to dig and search for the money, one man dug around under a large boulder which looked promising as a good “hidey hole”. The large rock shifted and rolled upon him taking his life as it crushed him. The thief that was left standing decided that perhaps the curse Booth had thrown upon him was indeed true and tried to ride away on his horse. On the trail across Booths land, a neighbor recognized him as a suspicious sort and approached to question him. The killer eventually confessed to the murder. No trial was ever held as just two days later he was found stone cold dead in his jail cell, apparently killed by a massive heart attack. His face was frozen into the look of terror as is he had seen a ghost. Some speculated that he had seen the ghost of old man Booth.
The legend still survives and to this day, some say the buried treasure is still there on the old home place. They also say the ghost of old man Booth still guards it from his spirited home in the afterlife. As the old timers say, don’t go looking for what ain’t yours.
Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at HauntedHistory.net.
The pioneers were a sturdy bunch. They had to be…they had no choice. Death, starvation and sickness were common. Fear of the Native American Indians caused many a sleepless night.
Henry Morris had married himself a young girl from Virginia. Mary Bird came from Bath County where she and her sister had been captured during an Indian raid. They lived seven years with their captors before escaping. Mary well knew the dangers of the pioneering live but none the less, followed Henry into what is now Nicholas County. To this union were born seven daughters and one son.
One fall day in 1790, a man appeared at the cabin appearing to be a friendly Indian. The man and Henry became friends and they spent the winter hunting together. In the spring of 1791, Henry made a solo trip to nearby Fort Clendenin where he spoke to others about his native friend back at Peters Creek. Some cautioned Henry that the stranger could be the renegade, Simon Girty. Girty was a dangerous man to be around and Henry knew this. He was told that Girty had a deep scar across the forehead and that he should look close for this telltale sign which would alert him to his dangerous house guest.
Henry returned home and upon arriving, grabbed his friend while pushing his long hair back from his face. Indeed, a scar was present and Henry realized the danger he had exposed his family to. Girty had murdered many men and when he was told to leave immediately he did so with great anger.
Things were peaceful enough for a few months after that. In the summer of 1791, Henry killed a bear and when he was walking back thru the forest. He noticed his dogs acting very strangely. He returned home and was asked by his wife if two of their daughters could go get the cows. The girls, Margaret (Peggy) and Betsy went up the path towards Conrad Young’s cabin. It was there that they met danger. Their parents heard the screams and within seconds, Henry had his gun and was making tracks.
He found Peggy lying in the path almost within sight of the cabin. She had been tomahawked and her back appeared broken. She died before he could get her back to the cabin and to her grieving mother. She named a “mysterious stranger” and two Indians as her assailants.
Henry hurried out to find Betsy and saw an Indian crossing the creek. He attempted to shoot but his gun failed to fire. Seeing nothing of Betsy and believing she had been carried away, he went back to the cabin. Peggy died after uttering “Father, I am killed.”
They found Betsy’s body scalped and thrown into the underbrush when day broke. A rude coffin was shaped from slab wood and the two little sisters were buried in a solo grave. Henry planted an apple tree where Peggy had fallen. Grafts from this tree in orchards of local neighbors preserved the “Peggy Apple” for many years to come.
Several years later while Henry visited Fort Clendenin, he saw some of his friends. Among them was an old Native American, who was heavily intoxicated and was bragging about the scalping of Peggy and Betsy. No one knows who this man was but legend says it could have been Simon Girty of one of his accomplices. After he left, Henry Morris followed into the darkness. A shot was heard and no one ever saw the old Indian again.
Henry Morris was the son of William Morris, the first permanent settler of the greater Kanawha County area of West Virginia.
Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at HauntedHistory.net. To purchase her most recent book from Amazon, follow the link below.
I first heard the term “screaming like a banshee” when I was a young girl. I remember thinking that this must be a sound that no one wants to hear and oh, how right I was. The word Banshee comes from the Gaelic language and bears several definitions mostly identifying with a female messenger or spirit alerting us of death.
Other phrases describe the entity as the Lady of Death or the Woman of Sorrow. In Scottish mythology, she is known as the bean nighe or the “little washerwoman” or bain seade meaning “woman of the hills or mound”. Sounds kind of cute and harmless, right? Think again. This is one creature you don’t want to encounter.
Banshees are frequently described as being dressed in white or grey and often having long hair which they brush with a silver comb. Their hair can be copper colored, white as a ghost, dark blood red or even raven black. As a rule, however, most Banshees are only heard and not seen. These wraith-like spirits can wail, moan or scream. Occasionally, tales are told of Banshees clapping their hands or tapping and scratching at windows. Some Banshees kneel and wail while others sit astride white horses with their long locks blowing in the wind as they gallop past. One old timer told me years ago that if she is washing a shroud along a creek or river when you see her, she may merely signal a major life changing event in your future. The way to determine this is to go home and burn a homemade beeswax candle after seeing her. If it burns in the shape of a shroud, her appearance foretells death. I’m not sure if I would want to know this or not but I do keep some beeswax candles around…just in case. Hey, you never know!
According to many old Celtic sources, there are particular families who are believed to have banshees attached to them, and whose cries herald the death of a member of that certain family. Most, though not all, surnames associated with banshees have an Ó or Mac in them. In other words, if your ancestors lived in Ireland for a couple of generations, your family has its own banshee. The following is a list of surnames I have compiled while researching.
Adamson, Ahren, Barry, Bowe, Brady, Brennan, Browne, Caldwell, Carrol, Cartwright, Carey, Cassidy, Coady, Colahan, Conroy, Conway, Cooney, Coughlin, Cox, Cullen, Culleton, Cuskelly, Daly, Dawson, Dempsey, Dewan, Dillon, Doyle, Dowd, Duggan, Dwyer, English, Ennis, Fallon, Faris, Flanagan, Flynn, Fogarty, Fox, Gaffney, Gallagher, Galligan, Gannon, Gavigan, Geoghan, Geraghty, Gill, Glennon, Griffin, Griffith, Halton, Hanley, Hannon, Hayden, Hayes, Hegarty, Higgins, Holohan, Jennings, Jordon Keane, Keany, Keating, Keegan, Kehoe, Kenny, Kirwin, Lacey, Lawrence, Lee, Lonergan, Lynch, Lyster, Madden, Malone, Manning, Martin, Meehan, Miller, Monohan, Moran, Morrissey, Mullen, Mulligan, Murphy, Murry, MacBride, MacCarthy, MacCormack, Mac Dermott, MacDonnell, MacEntee, MacGoldrick, MacGovern, Mac Grath, Mac Guinness, MacGuire, MacKenna, MacMahon, Mac Manamon, MacNally, Mac Namara, MacNiff, MacPartlan, MacQuaide, Naughton, O’Brien, O’Byrne, O’Connor, O’Donnell, O’Donovan, O’Gready, O’Hanlon, O’Keefe, O’Leary, O’Malley, O’Neill, O’Reilly, O’Rourke, O’Sullivan, Peters, Potterton, Power, Quin, Roche, Roe, Rehill, Ryan, Rynne, Scott, Shanahey, Sherlock, Sinnot, Smith, Stafford, Steward, Strong, Sullivan, Sutton, Sweeney, Tully, Wall, and Walsh.
Keep in mind this is not a complete list of names. If you head home tonight and pass by the river, watch for a woman along the banks. If she is kneeling and washing a shroud, count your blessings and continue on. A major life change is just around the bend and you will live to see the sun rise again.
Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at HauntedHistory.net.
In 1919 actor Charlie Chaplin ruled the motion picture market. The song “Forever Blowing Bubbles” was at the top of the American music charts and the average car cost just $525.00. The pop-up toaster had just been invented and crime rates everywhere were low. Life was good. Perhaps that is what made the violent murder of an innocent woman in a small town in West Virginia more horrifying.
Sarah Louisa Linn was born in Fairmont in 1853. Most called her “Sis”. She taught school at several locations in the state before marrying Mr. Chrisman in 1905 and at the matronly age of 52. It is not known why, but her husband abandoned her just six months later. The courts allowed her to take her maiden name back and it was well known that she had acquired a fairly large estate.
Sis lived in a house that is now part of the grounds of Glenville State College. In February of 1919, and by an attacker never found, she was beaten to death leaving the town reeling in horror at the violent act. She had been found in her bedroom with an old and bloody club nearby. No valuables were gone and no money had been taken. The assailant was never found. Sis Linn had become an cold case.
Several years later, her home was bought and was demolished to make way for the building of a new women’s dormitory. It was named after Verona Mapel. The hall was completed in 1926 and became home to 80 students. The building was later torn down in 1978.
Unusual occurrences have happened on campus and many speculate it may be the spirit of Sis Lin who is behind the acts. Most activity reported seems to be centered on Clark Hall and the site of the old Verona Maple Hall. Most activity experienced ranges from strange sounds to the old cemetery gates being left open for no reason. Many stories seemed to circulate by the time the 1970s rolled around with some tales making the schools newspaper, “The Mercury”. Individuals who came forward with stories included staff, students and faculty.
One professor stated that she had been in her office on a top floor before the school session started. She heard loud noises like people moving metal desks and throwing things around yet the noises seem to come from all over. She was totally alone. She thought “I wonder if this is Sis Linn?” and suddenly the sounds stopped.
Another incident was of a student working alone in the basement of Clark Hall. He heard loud noises coming from up above and when investigating he reached out to turn on the light switch and the lights came on even before he touched the switch. He ran to the top of the steps, and the lights went off casting him into darkness. He then looked down the hall and by the glow of the red exit sign he saw an object about the size of a small black bear. He noticed it looked as if it were swaying back and forth. The light suddenly came back on.
Other occurrences are in the form of hearing unexplained noises, feelings of being watched all alone and blinds moving when no one is near and no indoor breeze can be explained. One couple swear they saw a “dense gray mass” rise up from the cemetery grounds located behind Louis Bennett Hall.
The curiosities continue to happen on the campus. More recent reports surfaced again in 2010. Some say she is continuing to search for her murderer while others say she just wants attention.
If you drive through Glenville during the day, stop at the old cemetery were Sis is buried. Pay your respects, be sincere and say a prayer. Perhaps one day she will find eternal peace.
Sherri is a paranormal investigator and author. Visit her online at HauntedHistory.net. Purchase her most recent book at Amazon using the link below:
What is so homely and comforting on a winter’s day as a bowl of hearty stew? Its tasty blend of meat, vegetables and seasonings bring back memories of summer’s gardens. If you are a hunter, the autumn hunt for venison provides the meat, and if a farmer, the annual fall butchering and freezer-filling comes to mind as you fill your bowl with rich broth and tender chunks. As the poet Robert Burns observed,
“Some hae meat and cannot eat,
And some would eat that want it;
But we hae meat, and we can eat,
Sae let the Lord be thankit.”
While we may know the source of the meat in our stew, what about the other ingredients? Where did they originate? The storyteller in me is always interested in the story behind traditions, superstitions and the everyday things we take for granted, so I decided to find out just where my stew came from.
Surprisingly, none of the things I use in my recipe are native to North America. Potatoes, for example, were originally from South America, discovered first by Pizarro and later brought to England by Sir Walter Raleigh in the early 1600′s. For some time many people refused to eat potatoes, believing they caused leprosy, among other things. Ireland quickly adopted the potato and it became the mainstay of the Irish diet. This had terrible consequences when a blight struck the Irish potato crop in the mid 1800′s, causing widespread starvation and death-and a huge migration to the United States and other countries.
Carrots came to us from Afghanistan. The Greeks believed it made people more ardent, so used it as a love potion. The carrot made its way to Europe in the Middle Ages, and it was in Holland that the variously colored carrots were hybridized to become the orange carrot we know today. Carrots were grown in England by the 16th century, as this early gardening manual tells: “Sowe Carrets in your Gardens, and humbly praise God for them, as for a singular and great blessing” –Richard Gardiner (1599 gardening book).
The shores of the Mediterranean Sea are the homeplace of celery, known to the Romans as sedano. The celery seed often used in pickles and other recipes comes from the small native plant called smallage that is still grown just for the strongly flavored seeds, while the stalks we generally think of as celery were first recorded as being grown in France in the 1600′s..
Develops the jaw,
But celery, stewed,
Is more easily chewed.
–Ogden Nash (1902-1971)
Stew isn’t stew without onions. Onions came from the regions of Israel and India and have been grown in gardens since before the time of Christ. In the fifth century BC, slaves building a pyramid for Herodotus held a sit-down strike until they got their onions. Folklore has it that Columbus planted onions during his visit to the Caribbean islands, and the first settlers in the US also brought onion seed with them and Grant refused to move his troops during the Civil War unless he got onions to feed them.
Stew must have its seasonings. Salt has been used as a preservative since early civilizations, bay originated in the Mediterranean and has been used both medicinally and as a culinary flavoring since before recorded history. Black peppercorns are native to India, while the red, green, hot, mild and other peppers grown for their flesh instead of their seed derive from the southern Americas.
So there we have it: our humble beef or venison stew is truly a cosmopolitan dish, coming to our stewpot from all the corners of the world.
For more history of the foods we eat, check out these websites:
Visit Granny Sue online at http://www.grannysu.blogspot.com.
The temperature never reached 32 today. Tonight will be even colder than last night, with the expected lows in the single digits. For my northern and western readers this is probably nothing new but this has been an unusually warm winter here and this coming week will be the coldest weather we’ve had this year–and if I think about it, probably last year too.
Before we went to town yesterday we checked on our lettuce bed. It was still green and good to eat, but we knew the cold was coming so picked what was left of the lettuce, and a good thing too because it froze solid last night. We’ve never had lettuce this late (or early) in the year so I’m not too unhappy about its demise–and I still hope that it might come back from the roots later when the weather warms.
Last night’s wind made the night feel even colder, and kept the stoves going to keep us comfortable. Today I decided to help warm up the house by canning.
Even in winter, it’s possible to put up food. I had bought a big bag of pinto beans at the store, so those went into the cookpot. I had also had Larry bring down the remainder of the frozen cider.
Freezing cider is a quick and easy way to process it in the fall when we’re so busy and the weather is still warm. I prefer it canned, however because it’s easier to use, and I don’t have to worry about losing it if the electricity goes off.
So that was today’s project. I ended up with 13 quarts of cider and 7 quarts of beans. And a warm and toasty house. Free gas makes canning my own beans feasible but I am not sure it would be a saving if I had to pay for the utilities to do it.
Here is what I love about my 1950 model Tappan Deluxe range: I can easily fit two big canners on it, and in a pinch, even three. What modern stove can handle pots of that size and weight except the ones built for commercial kitchens?
A conversation on the Storytell listserve the other day made me think about my early days on this farm, and my first winter here when I decided to tap the maple trees. Here is a copy of the story I posted about that:
And yet a little more on the topic of maple syrup:
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.