Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stull #1.1

The Rock Creek Historical Society was located in the former Stull Library. The old library was a Carneigie library and was used for 82 until 1994 when a new, bigger library was built near the intersection of County Road 460 and Stull Cemetery Road.

Frank York, the founder and curator of the Society put out everything he could find pertaining to Stull and Rock Creek Township including pictures, farm utensils, books and anything else he deemed important enough. Frank opened the Society to record the history in and around Stull but also to investigate the so-called "Stull curse".

Frank possibly knew more about Stull and the surrounding area than anybody else and people came in all the time to ask questions about their family and the town but no one ever asked about the curse.

Judith Lawrence had lived in Stull the last 65 of her 72 years. She walked up the stairs to the old library and entered its massive entryway. She went to the left and stopped in the doorway of Frank's open office.

"Mr. York?"

Frank looked up. "Please, Frank. How can I help you?" he asked.

"My name is Judith Lawrence. I hear you know a lot about Stull," she said.

"I do. Let me just pull up my spreadsheet and I'll find everything you want on the Lawrence name," Frank wheeled himself over to a desktop computer.

"No, I want you to investigate the death of my husband and son back in 1962."

Frank stood up. "Why? If you don't mind me asking?" Frank asked.

"Because, like you, I also believe in the Stull curse."

"The First Case"
Frank, Matt and Katie drove to Lake Marshall located in the next township and began retracing Judith's husband's route back. "So he crashed into a pond?" Matt asked.

"That's what the police said. He lost control of the car and wound up in a pond," Frank explained. "Both he and his son drowned."

They stopped at a stop sign at a T-intersection next to a small cemetery. Frank turned and parked the car on the side of the road. They all got out, Frank carried a yellow legal pad.

"Quick, Frank! What cemetery is this?" Katie laughed.

"Dodder. Named for the abundance of Dodders buried here," Frank replied. "This is the intersection where they died. They were coming from this way..." Frank pointed toward the way they themselves had come, "...but continued going straight."

Dodder Cemetery sloped up so Frank walked up to see if he could see over the small trees that hid the pond. The pond was still there. The three of them walked to the ditch between the road and the pond and stood next to the sign indicating that you could only go either left or right.

"It's not a straight-shot," Matt noticed.

"What?" Frank inquired.

"Now I realize that is happened more than 30 years ago but these roads don't change very often. And if everything is still the same as it was then, then they would've had to have been going pretty fast to ramp up over this ditch and into the pond," Matt explained.

"I see your point," Katie began. "The ditch is deep enough to stop anything from winding up up there."

"So you two don't buy the 'car-in-ditch' story?" Frank asked. Both shook their head. "We should probably inquire with the landowners for permission to view the pond."

"Do you have an address?" Matt asked.

"Of course."

Frank, Matt and Katie drove back to Stull. "So what's the plan now?" Matt asked.

"Well, since those people so rudely informed us that they didn't want us wandering around in an area they didn't even know they owned then we're just going to have to look over the sheriff's report," Frank said.

"So we're going to Tontzville?" Katie asked.

"Two of us are. I want someone to go back to the office and look through the old topo maps of the county. I have them all dating back to 1959. I want you to photocopy that intersection every year since 1961. I want to look over them when I get back," Frank explained.

It took nearly thirty minutes to get to the sheriff's office in Tontzville. Frank and Matt walked up to the lady sitting at the front desk. "I need to look at the report for an accident that happened in 1962."

"1962?" the woman was taken aback. "That's quite a long time ago. Those records are not on computer but they should be in the archive in the basement. Go down in the elevator and when you get out, go right and the follow the hall around and the last door on the left are the archives. Across from there is the office of Saundra Colfax, she'll unlock the door and help you if you need it."

For half an hour, Frank and Matt thumbed through all of the police reports from the early sixties. "I need to come here and copy these reports. It's really interesting. I never realized Irving was such a troublesome town back then," Frank said. "Now Irving is, like, half the size of Stull."

"I think I found it," Matt pulled a report out and read it aloud. "'Date: March 15, 1962. Location of incident: North 4100 and Dodder Road. Victim one: Edgar Lawrence. Victim two: Jack Lawrence.'"

Frank took the report from Matt and looked at it. "This is it. 'Speeding, ran stop sign, failed to turn.' There's nothing here that's different from what Mrs. Lawrence told us," Frank complained.

"So what do we tell her?" Matt asked.

Frank thought for a second while continuing to read the report. "I'm going to still look over a couple more things but we're going to tell her the truth."

"Negligence," Frank said to Judith as Matt and Katie stood behind him. "I have looked over the sheriff's report, maps of the area both past and present and have reason to believe that nothing was wrong with the car. We have determined that it was just an accident. Your husband was driving too fast and failed to stop at the sign and turn. I'm sorry Mrs. Lawrence," Frank said.

"Don't apologize. I figured you wouldn't find anything," she said.

"Then why did you hire us?" questioned Frank.

"To see if you were any good. Like I said, I believe in the Stull curse and I want you to investigate if. All of it."

Frank looked at Matt and Katie in surprise. "Well, that is very kind of you..."

"I plan on paying you, of course. And I am sure you will be getting more customers because it's all becoming too big to ignore," Judith stood up. "Thank you, Frank. And to your assistants. I'm sure we will see each other very soon."

Judith left Frank's office. Frank sat very still and clasped his hands. "Very soon, indeed," he said.

Matt rolled his eyes. "No more detective movies for you."

The team investigates a mysterious ghost near the former Stanton County Poor Farm.