Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Stull #1.2

Anthony Broyles lived in rural Rock Creek Township about a mile or so north of Twin Mound. He drove the same route to and from work in Tontzville every night. Nothing ever changed on his drive except once every week when something would cross the road. The figure, a woman dressed in white would cross the road from a creek that bordered a cemetery and vanished upon entering a field across the road.

Many people saw the ghostly woman cross the road but usually blamed it on their eyes or light reflections, a wild animal or mist rising from the creek.

This time was slightly different. The ghostly figure crossed the road, startling Anthony who veered off the road and slammed into a tree.

Two weeks later, Anthony Broyles' wife came into the Historical Society and walked into Frank's office. "Mr. York? I'm Lillian Broyles, my husband Anthony was in a car accident a couple weeks ago on Twin Mound Road."

"I remember that. I'm sorry Mrs. Broyles. How is your husband?" Frank asked.

"He's fine. He's at home now," Mrs. Broyles said. "Have you ever heard of the Albino Lady?" she asked.

"Of course. She crosses Twin Mound Road about once a week at Captains Creek."

"I want you to investigate the ghost. She nearly killed my husband and the police don't care. You come highly recommended by Judith Lawrence," Mrs. Broyles said.

Frank smiled then cleared his throat. "So what exactly do you want me to do?"

"Find out who she is and why she crosses the road. If possible, get her to stop," Mrs. Broyles said.

"Okay, Mrs. Broyles. I'll do what I can."

"The Poor Farm"
Frank, Matt and Katie stood around a huge map of Stanton County. The map showed every house, creek, stream, pond and cemetery in the county. The three of them focused on the area of Twin Mound.

"The Albino Lady typically crosses here," Frank pointed where Captains Creek crossed Twin Mound Road just south of Roanoke Cemetery. "So the obvious thing would be to check out the cemetery."

"So we're going to spend the night in the cemetery?" Katie asked.

"We're probably going to have to spend several nights in the cemetery because the Albino Lady doesn't have a set schedule," Frank said. "Katie, you will probably stay here, if that's okay."

"That would be fine with me," Katie replied.

"There's a cemetery across the street," Matt said.

"What?"" Frank leaned down for a closer look. On the map was a small dotted box with 'Cem' written next to it. "It is a cemetery."

"Did you know about it?" Katie asked.

"No. I didn't know it was there. Looks like we should get out there during the day. Matt, you and I will get ready to spend the night in the Roanoke Cemetery and we'll find and investigate that other cemetery. Katie, I want you to research that cemetery. I don't have any information on it so you may have to research county records. We'll be back tomorrow morning. Let's go, Matt."

Frank and Matt parked in Roanoke Cemetery and walked across the road into the field. Neither saw a cemetery but they continued walking.

"How far in was it? Do you remember?" Frank asked.

"It looked like about a half mile or so. I'm not really sure," Matt replied. They continued walking for a few more minutes until Matt tripped on a rock sticking out of the ground. "Ah! What the hell?"

"Watch where you're going," Frank said.

"There are more," Matt said and pointed to other stones that were sticking out of the ground "and here's a headstone."

Matt and Frank walked over to the stone that was lying flush with the ground. Frank knelt down and read the stone. "'David Callahan 1936-1952.' He was only sixteen. And those other stones must be graves, too."

Frank's cell phone rang and he answered it. "What's up, Katie?"

"From your records I found out who owns the land that cemetery is on. His name is Donald Taylor and I called him and left him a message but I decided to go to Tontzville anyway and look through their old records and I found out that the land used to belong to the county where it was originally used as a poor farm and after that, a boy's school," Katie explained.

"Wow. You got a lot done in an hour," Frank said. "Matt and I found the cemetery. It's very neglected but we're going to take pictures and we can try to record them," Frank told Katie.

"Okay. When Mr. Taylor calls me back I'll arrange a meeting with him for you. He'll probably be able to tell you a lot more about the land than me," Katie informed. "I'll talk to you later."

"Bye," Frank hung up. He pulled his camera out of his backpack and began taking pictures of the rocks sticking out of the ground and the three actual headstones they found.

An hour later, Frank and Matt were standing with Donald Taylor, who owned the land. They stood next to an old cement staircase that was covered in young trees and tall grass. A broken sidewalk led from the steps to the road.

"The Stanton County Poor Farm was built here in 1871. This land was chosen because at the time Twin Mound had services but was far enough away from the main towns of Tontzville, Delia, Liberty and even Stull," Mr. Taylor began. "The Poor Farm was always a busy place until about 1913 when the county quit funding it."

"Why'd they do that?" Frank asked. "The Poor Farm was obviously something that was offering a service to people who needed it."

"It was but it was losing money so the county closed it and converted it into a hospital which lasted until 1931 when the Great Depression forced its closure," Mr. Taylor continued. "It stood abandoned for several years until 1946 or 1947 when it was renovated into the Stanton County Boy's School."

"Boy's School?" Matt asked.

"It was a school for boys who had problems adjusting to society or had committed crimes. It was kind of like a military school only...well, to be honest, it was more like a prison," Mr. Taylor said.

"What's the cemetery out by the creek? Was it used by the Poor Farm or the Boy's School?" asked Frank.

"It was. First by the Poor Farm. Then by the School," Mr. Taylor began. "I've tried to take care of it by mowing it. I think there are many more buried out there than the stones reveal. People who died at the Poor Farm are marked with the stones but residents of the Boy's School didn't receive a headstone unless the parents paid for them."

"There are only three headstones out there now," Frank said.

"I'm sure there were more that are now lost to time but there were probably very few to begin with. You'd be shocked at how parents won't spend money on their inmate son's headstone," Mr. Taylor said.

"Well, thank you for your information Mr. Taylor," Frank said and shook Mr. Taylor's hand. "We're just going to take a few pictures up here and then we're going to head back to Roanoke Cemetery."

"All right. It was my pleasure. Please, take your time," Mr. Taylor walked back to his truck that was parked on the road. Frank and Matt commenced taking pictures of the steps, sidewalk and parts of the foundation that could still be seen.

"We're losing the light, shouldn't we get ready to wait for the Albino Lady?" Matt asked.

Frank had spent the last hour walking up and down all the rows of graves in Roanoke Cemetery comparing names on the stones to names in the Poor Farm Cemetery. He had heard Matt but didn't say anything.

"Frank! We're losing the light. What are you doing?" Matt said louder.

"I was thinking that maybe the ghost is related to someone in the Poor Farm Cemetery. That may be why she crosses the street. 'Callahan,'" Frank suddenly said.


"Callahan. This woman's name is Callahan, the same as in the Poor Farm Cemetery."

"Do you know how common the name Callahan is? What are the odds they would be related?" Matt asked.

"I'm betting pretty good," Frank said and began calling Katie on his cell phone.

"Hello?" she answered.

"Katie, are you back at the office?" Frank asked.

"I was just about to leave. What's up?"

"I need you to find some proof that David Callahan is related to Dorothy Callahan," Frank said.

"Okay," she began typing on the computer. "What are the birth and death dates?"

"Dorothy, 1904 to 1972; David, 1936-1952," Frank said.

Matt crossed his arms and rolled his eyes as he sighed. "Newspaper obituary dated in 1952," Katie said and began reading, "'David Callahan, 16, of Twin Mound died at the Stanton County Boy's School. The cause is unknown. David is the only son of George J. and Dorothy Callahan, also of Twin Mound. David was sent to the Boy's School in 1950 after maliciously burning down a neighbor's horse barn resulting in $1,500 in damage and causing the deaths of 15 horses. In lieu of re-payment, Mr. Callahan agreed to send David to the Boy's School despite his wife's protests. David will be buried in the Boy's School Cemetery.'"

Frank stuck his tongue out at Matt. "Told you," he said. "Thanks Katie. We'll see you tomorrow."

Frank hung up. "So are we going to spend the night in the cemetery tonight?" Matt asked.

"I think I have a better idea. She--the Albino Lady--just wants to visit her son, she wants her story told. I say we give it to her," Frank smiled.

Within two weeks, a new light pole was installed and a sign marking the Poor Farm Cemetery was erected near a new gravel trail leading from the road to the cemetery. Research was done and the sign told the story of both the Poor Farm and the Boy's School and the harsh conditions both residents went through in order to survive. The ghost sightings continued but they weren't as numerous.

When a young girl is raped and murdered, the Historical Society investigates the possible return of a cult that was based in Rock Creek.