Tombstone Tuesday: Haunted Eastern Shore Edition

This past weekend, I went on an 80-mile, 4-hour bus tour of various sites in Caroline County, Md., that are known for paranormal activity. One of the stops was the Denton cemetery, to visit the graves of Marshall Price and Annie Bell Carter.

Marshall Price was captured after the murder of 13-year-old Sallie Dean in Harmony, Md., in 1895. An angry mob dragged him from the Denton jail and lynched him after it appeared he may escape the death penalty on a technicality. He was 23. In the cemetery, all of the graves but a handful face north-south. His faces west “so that his back will be to his Maker,” explained Mindie Burgoyne of Haunted Eastern Shore, who led the tour. It is unknown who left the flowers by his grave. He had no children, but was survived by his wife and mother.

Tombstone of Marshall E. Price

It is said that all of the men directly involved with the lynching died horrible deaths (drowning, burning, struck by lightning, to name a few) and all within five years of killing Price. Sallie’s ghost is said to haunt her former home. Newspaper articles about the case are available online through the Maryland State Archives.

Annie Belle Carter, a young woman, died after she took ill at her home, falling from the second-story balcony of Willson’s Chance outside Denton. She was impaled on a tree stump, but it took days before she died from her injuries. The choice of a stump for her tombstone seems rather… morbid.

Annie Belle Carter's Grave

The phrase at the foot of her grave is especially poignant though: “How Many Hopes Lie Buried Here.” There have been stories about sightings of Annie’s ghost on the lawn of Willson’s Chance, a private home. Apparently she was the second young woman to die after a fall from that balcony — a teenager is rumored to have thrown herself from the balcony in protest of an arranged marriage.

The complete stories behind these individuals can be found in “Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake,” by Mindie Burgoyne.

52 Weeks to a Better Genealogy: Online Databases at Your Public Library

I’m just squeezing in this week’s challenge:

“Online databases at your public library. Search your library’s web site and see if your card grants you access to online databases. Libraries (even small ones) often have wonderful online tools including genealogy databases, historical newspapers and more! Take some time and play with these little perks that come with a library card. You just may get some help in your own genealogy research and gain some free research tools to boot. If you don’t know how to access online library databases or you’re not sure if your branch has them, ask a librarian for guidance. If you have a blog, discuss which databases (if any) to which your library subscribes.”

I constantly turn to the online databases available through the Talbot County Free Library, especially their genealogy and newspaper databases, most of which I can access from the comfort of my own home using my library card number.

Here are my go-to resources offered by TCFL:

  • HeritageQuest Online: provides access to census records, books and articles, Revolutionary War files, Freedman’s Bank records and the U.S. Serials Set.
  • Sanborn Maps of Maryland: great resource for viewing historical maps of towns across Maryland.
  • Archives of the Easton Star-Democrat newspaper via Newsbank (I only wish these went back further).
  • Archives of the Baltimore Sun via ProQuest.

I also can access the databases available through the Caroline County Public Library. When I did research in their Maryland Room, I registered my TCFL library card with them so I could access their databases too.

Their archives of the Denton Journal through Newspaper Archive are spectacular and have provided much needed clues for some of my research projects.