Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Ohio: Salem Cemetery’s Ghosts

Salem Cemetery
Originally called Salem Church Cemetery this burial ground has been in use since Ohio’s pioneer days. It is located in Belmont County amidst the Egypt Valley wilderness area.

It got its name from the church that once stood across from it. Vandals burned down this church in the 1960s. This isolated area is prone to vandalism so during the hunting season people are posted at Salem Cemetery to protect the area.

This cemetery has two ghosts that wander through it. One was a murderer the other was his victim.

In 1869 Louiza Fox was a 13-year old girl who lived with her family in this sparsely populated corner of Ohio in Kirkwood Township.

The main industry in the area was coal mining.

Thomas D. Carr was a coal miner and a much older man than Louiza. The two met when Carr visited his employer--Alex Hunter’s home. Louisa was employed as a domestic servant.

Carr was attracted to her and despite their difference in age quickly obtained the Fox’s permission to marry their daughter.

But they changed their minds when they heard about Carr’s bad reputation and propensity for violence.

Born in Sugar Hill, West Virginia Carr enlisted at the age of 15 in the Confederate infantry. He was captured at Cheat Run WVA and held in a POW camp.

Finding out about his “notorious character” Louisa’s parents broke their promise to Carr. They cancelled the wedding.

Carr became enraged when he found Louiza also wanted to end their engagement.

On the night of January 21, 1869 Carr waited behind a fence along the route Louiza walked home from work. He waylaid her with her younger brother Willy.

Carr approached the siblings and sent Willy on ahead stating he needed to talk to his ex fiancé. He then kissed Louiza goodbye and slit her throat with a razor and stabbed her fourteen times.

He dumped her body in a nearby ditch. Willy saw the whole thing from a distance. He told his family what happened and a posse was quickly formed to search for Carr.

The next morning Carr attempted to commit suicide by slashing his throat and shooting himself but he was found alive and arrested.

The formidable Judge Way presided over an exciting 5-day trial. When his death sentence was handed down Carr laughed and stated he did “not care a damn if it was to be tomorrow.”

On March 8, 1870 while waiting to be hung Carr made a full confession. He also admitted to killing 14 other people. This makes him one of the 1800’s most prolific serial killers.

While being held Carr became a morbid celebrity. He entertained two female teenage visitors whom had crushes on him--the 1800 version of murder groupies.

He gave these two girls pictures of himself and his rings. He told them “they would all meet in heaven.”

Carr’s hanging was delayed by a “legal technicality” but he was finally hanged on March 21, 1870. He was the first person to be legally hanged in Belmont County.

Louiza’s worn headstone in Salem Cemetery reads:

Louiza Catherine
Daughter of John E. & Mary A,
Murdered by Thomas Carr
Jan. 21, 1869
Aged 13 years 11 months
and 13 days

There is also a marker at the spot where Louiza was murdered--it notes the same information her gravestone has.

Both Louiza’s and Carr’s ghosts have been seen wandering the Valley.

Louiza's gravestone
Louiza’s ghost tends to linger near her gravestone. She is heard crying near this spot. She is also seen on Starkey Road near the place where she was murdered. This spot is just a mile away from her burial site.

Carr was buried on the grounds of the county courthouse in St. Clairsville were he was executed. But this hasn’t stopped his ghost from wandering around the cemetery and valley where he once lived.

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