52 Ancestors Week 44: Scary Stuff

+12 votes

Time for the next 52 Ancestors challenge...

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Scary Stuff

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in The Tree House by Eowyn Walker G2G Astronaut (2.0m points)

28 Answers

+11 votes
Scary stuff huh?

I like making Halloween Scrapbooking pages. Is that scary enough? LOL   NO? OK then...

Well I guess you can say that my family went though a bit of a scary time back in June (2020) when my husbands health got worse and he ended up spending 9 days in Hospital - in the middle of a Pandemic!!!

We could not go and visit, and we had to juggle some money between bank accounts so that I could still purchase food while hubby was laid up.

That was a scary time for our family. He is of course now back home and doing much better. He does have a serious diagnosis which calls for some dietary changes but we are managing.

Actually when you think about it - this whole entire pandemic is scary!!!!
by Robynne Lozier G2G Astronaut (1.1m points)
I dunno. I can imagine....

"And then....the glue stick ran dry." MWAHAHAHAHAHA!

I hope things improve for your husband. Yeah....All of 2020 has been a nightmare.
Glue stick? What glue stick?

Oh My mistake. I forgot to mention that these are Halloween DIGITAL Scrapbooking pages!!

Okay. Okay. "And then the screen got a dead pixel on it! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"
+10 votes

2G Grandfather William Carswell was born Nov. 5, 1836, in Wilkinson County, Georgia. He was educated at Jeffersonville Academy, and passed his life as a planter. In 1861, he enlisted in the Carswell Guards, a company named in honor of his father, who equipped them at his own expense. Third lieutenant at the outset of the Civil War, he was soon promoted and he led the company as its chief officer during the major part of the war, participating in a number of engagements, and received several serious wounds. The principal engagements were: Malvern Hill, Roan Station, Gettysburg, where he received a ball in his left leg, Petersburg, where he was wounded, Sharpsburg, Cold Harbor, Wilderness, Chancellorsville, and many minor engagements.  How scared a 20something year old who had never traveled far from home must have been not only to be so far away from everyone and everything he'd ever known, but to know that at any moment he could be seriously wounded or killed.

by Dorothy O'Hare G2G6 Mach 7 (77.0k points)
+9 votes

Scary Stuff in Mammoth Cave

Many of my ancestors were natives of Edmonson County, Kentucky, with the last to arrive there about 1830. Several of my family owned land or had homesteads in or near what is now Mammoth Cave National Park. My patrilineal ancestor, Reuben Vincent is buried on the Nolin River directly across from the park. Other relatives of mine have worked as cave guides there. 

Mammoth Cave has been the source of many eerie stories over the years. There is little doubt that any visit to the cave could spark the imagination, to which I can personally attest having made numerous tours there over the years. Many of these stories have found their way into books and websites with links to some examples here:

Ghost of Floyd Collins

The most recent ghost stories surrounding Mammoth Cave center around the death of local cave explorer Floyd Collins in Sand Cave. Mammoth Cave is not only immense in size near its historic and best-known entrance, but is also the longest cave system in the world. The entire area is riddled with cave entrances, most of which have eventually been found connected by passages to Mammoth Cave. To cave explorers, finding a private entrance to Mammoth Cave might provide a steady source of income from would be visitors. In years past, participants in the Cave Wars would lure or redirect tourists into these caves with roadside signs and billboards, many of which could be quite misleading.

This was the situation for local cave explorer Floyd Collins whose neighbor owned land with a promising cave entrance. In Jan 1925 Floyd was exploring their Sand Cave when his foot became stuck, trapping him in the cave. The efforts to rescue him became international news and included would be rescuers from far and wide. He survived for 14 days, only three days before his body was reached by a hastily dug parallel shaft. His body remained there in the cave for two months before it could be recovered. In a bit of irony, many years later explorers from Mammoth Cave were able to reach Sand Cave through interconnecting passages. It is said that the ghost of Floyd Collins still inhabits Sand Cave, exploring those connecting passages to Mammoth Cave. See: Floyd Collins’ Ghostly Presence Haunts Mammoth Cave. While working as a guide, my great Uncle Hack Lane told me he was certain that he had glimpsed the ghost of Floyd Collins peering out at him from one of the cave's dark recesses. Are you scared yet?

Floyd Collins

by Bill Vincent G2G6 Pilot (157k points)
edited by Bill Vincent
+15 votes

Throughout my life, I have had nightmares. My absolute worst ones have been where someone is coming after me and is trying to kill me. This is exactly what happened to my great grand aunt's husband Francis Jeffers, who is also my first cousin four times removed. Francis was the victim of a terrible murder. His assassin evidently was hiding, and the first rifle shot hit him in the breast and came out his left shoulder. Wounded, he must have leaped from his wagon and ran under a bridge. Francis put up a fight for his life, and there were teeth marks on Francis's nose and his skull was cracked. Francis was then shot three more times. Francis, who was only 33, was a respected citizen of Palmer, Texas in 1881. His death left my great grand aunt with four little children, and she had no other choice but to move back home with her parents in Pike County, Illinois. This photo was probably taken only a short time before Francis's horrific and bloody death. 

by Alexis Nelson G2G6 Pilot (692k points)
Alexis, how absolutely horrific. So many years ago and this murder still haunts you. May he rest in peace.
Thank you C Ryder. I have a great great grandfather that was shot in the back, but from newspaper accounts he never knew what hit him. This murder where Francis was shot and chased is such a frightening thing.
+10 votes

Hey, I just discovered that back around 1868 the word 'scary' didn't have exactly the same usage as today. Flooding, rising prices and business slowing down led to people getting scary.

"River getting up. Lumber in danger, if near the shore. Price of produce not encouraging. Road, muddy but little grain arriving. Business dull and people getting scary..."

  – The North Iowa Times, 11 November 1868, page 3 (via newspapers.com) 

by C Ryder G2G6 Mach 8 (83.2k points)
edited by C Ryder
+12 votes

This story came to me from the niece of Elizabeth Bray. In 1910, Elizabeth and her husband Ernest Auger (my great-grandfather's brother) were homesteading in Big Sandy, Montana. Her sister Phemie and Phemie's husband Fred lived nearby. On this scary day, Phemie was at Elizabeth's house.

The sky looked dark and stormy; then, as it looked like a possible windstorm, she started home. Before she got halfway, a heavy wind hit--and it was only the edge of the cyclone. The winds were so strong that she had to crawl on her hands and knees--sometimes lying flat. She finally made it to within sight of the shack and started yelling for help. The children heard her and were looking out the windows and crying--they thought they could see her whenever the lightning flashed.

Fred took the lantern and tried to get her--they finally struggled back into the house and the screaming frightened children.

In the meantime, Elizabeth had left the old house and gone into the cellar of the the new house with the dog and cat. Then as the wind increased she heard a huge crashing sound. She thought surely the house was going. A little later she emerged from the cellar to the window, and when lightning flashed she saw that the old house had blown upside down.

by Joyce Vander Bogart G2G6 Pilot (185k points)
I'm so glad we don't live in hurricane regions. We do get really strong winds sometimes, but not enough to turn a house up-side-down.
When I lived in Kansas, a coworker was at the bank when a tornado hit. When she got home, her house was gone and her car was in the cellar.
+8 votes

The story goes that my third great grandfather, Jesse Edwards, left home after his wife died in 1930 and was never heard from again. There are some theories floating around as to what happened to him, but the one that seems most likely to me was that perhaps he got robbed and killed. I think his story is more sad than anything, but also frightening in that he went missing without a trace and even 90 years later no one knows exactly what happened to him. His surviving children were all grown and out of the house by this point as well, so who knows how long he was gone before someone noticed... Very scary to think about.

by Raven Martin G2G6 (9.8k points)
+13 votes

How's this for scary: my great-grandaunt Mollie's 1902 suicide note, published in the paper after she escaped from custody and drowned herself in the Mississippi River. She had killed all of her children a few months before.

In her list of the people she loves and hates to leave, she includes her mother, her husband, and her niece, as well as her younger brother Johnnie (my great-grandfather) but none of the rest of their siblings or their father. An intriguing glimpse into the emotional wreckage of their personal lives. I also find it interesting that she's so fixated on her telescope. Surely it was one of the last things she felt was important in her life.

by Jessica Key G2G6 Pilot (257k points)
Truly a scary story, horrid even. Worse than a six-month voyage in a small sailing vessel in stormy conditions.
+12 votes

I have good Scary Stuff this week! I am the 9th great grand niece of Mary (Bliss) Parsons, who was accused of Witchcraft in 1656 in New England. I've copied and pasted a section and 'testimony' from her WikiTree Profile, "Transcription of Testimony of Margaret Bliss regarding the gossip by Sarah Bridgeman about her (Margaret's) daughter, Mary (with spelling transcribed as written): "Margarett Bliss testifieth that Sara Bridgman tould her that she did heare that her daughter Parsons was susspected to be a which and that she had heard there was some discontent betweene the blind man at Springfield and her daughter & that she had done him hurtte and that there was some words between the blind man & her daughter and then the child of the blind man had asounding fitte. June 20 1656, testified uppon oth before us, William Houlton, Tho. Bascum"More information about the accusers, their motives and the accused can be found at: https://www.wikitree.com/wiki/Bliss-86

Mary Parsons Image 2

by Carol Baldwin G2G6 Pilot (757k points)
+7 votes
Here is scary stuff.  In the last half of the 17th c., in New England, people believed in witches.  It wasn't  just the gullible or kids, but even the clergy and the judiciary believed in witches.  The most famous witch trials were in modern Danvers MA, then called Salem Village, in 1692.  

I had ancestors in nearby  Andover, and Ipswich, other towns on the north shore, and they lived through this scary time.   There was even someone with the same name as one of my ancestors who was accused of witchcraft, Mary Osgood.  Her maiden name was Clement, and her story can be found at Clement-93.  

When I first read this, I was pleased that my Mary Osgood was not the unfortunate victim.  Mine was Mary Hooker Osgood,  the sister in law of the accused.  She was the mother of my ancestor, Hooker Osgood, (Osgood-202) who signed a petition on behalf of Mary Osgood (his aunt), along with 4 other women from Andover, Eunice Fry, Deliverance Dane, Sarah Wilson and Abigail Barker.

In a time of controversy, my ancestor stood up for his aunt and other townspeople.  Good for him, I thought.  Brave and on the right side of history.   But he wasn't the only one of my ancestors closely related to those ladies.

His son, Aaron Osgood, (Osgood- 298) married as his second wife, Mary Ballard, a widow.  Her maiden name was Dane.  Deliverance Dane was her aunt.

For generations then, my Osgood family was all too familiar with the witchcraft hysteria that took over the country.  They had relatives who nearly died. Surely this terrible time left a great impression on them, and how I wish I knew more of the stories of how close it came.  

It is a reminder that no matter how frightening the times are, we must remember that right eventually wins out, and we will eventually heal.  There is an allegory there to our current day scary stuff.
by Carolyn Adams G2G6 Mach 8 (83.0k points)
+5 votes
It's scary how one little event could change the course of history....

by Chris Ferraiolo G2G6 Pilot (611k points)
+9 votes

Week 44 - Scary Stuff. Very difficult week trying to find a scary incident this week, but I'll go back to another story about Viscount Robert Molesworth-131, which hasn't been shared yet, but my Grandfather included in his study of our family name. On his search through England, he found a monument, in the garden of "Woodhouse", in Edlington Wood, Doncaster. The house and land was a secondary residence away from Dublin, owned by the Viscount, probably used while in parliament. I will quote his book here: 

"The monument, erected by Robert Molesworth to commemorate a favourite hound, was beneath a fine yew tree. It consists of an urn supported by a square pedestal, in the front of which is inserted a slab of white marble, on which is carved in bas-relief a figure of the dog and the following inscription, composed, it is said, by Dr Lockyer, Dean of Peterborough."

"This is an English translation of the Latin inscription:-


"Tradition says the above dog saved his master's life in the following manner. When the Viscount was going to the outside toilet, he pulled his master by the coat flap, and would not let him proceed. On a second attempt, the dog behaved in the same manner. Surprised at this interruption, he ordered one of his servants to go to the place; who, on opening the door, was immediately shot dead by a villian there concealed, whose intention was most probably, to rob the house when the family was retired for the night."

So, what a scary thought, that in an attempt to simply go to the toilet, you could have been shot dead. And the fact that a faithful friend was able to save you. Big shame however, that the servant didn't return home to his family. Hopefully the family continued to be supported after this.

by Ben Molesworth G2G6 Pilot (147k points)
This is strange. Why would a robber hide in the outhouse? Surely someone would be along to discover him. My theory: the Viscount had his own private privy, fancier than the one everyone else used. And the guy with the gun was waiting there to assassinate him! Saved by the faithful dog (not to mention the faithful servant.)
+8 votes
I recall hearing some 'Scary Stuff" from my Great Uncle, Dale Omelia Allison (1903-1978).  Reluctantly, he would tell stories about several situations that he encountered during WWII.

He was a member of the secret service.  On other words, he was a spy! ... He spent quite a bit of time in Germany  ... so he was in the enemy's homeland.

Some of his stories were usually about events where he was close to being discovered ... they were scary times ... and some of the actions he had to take were pretty gruesome ... even the killing of German who were about to expose him ... some times using a knife to avoid the sound of a gun shot.

Anyway, he came home to tell the stories ... and he  was honored to have service!!
by Bill Sims G2G6 Pilot (120k points)
+7 votes
This is not about Halloween, but an actual nightmare that, fortunately was temporary for my 2x great grandfather, Lt. Robert Deane, British Royal Navy (born in England) and his family.


Robert's duty station with the Navy was in India, which is where he met his wife and had four children. Robert eventually retired from the Navy and his work building the Indian railway system. In the late 1860s he and his young family found themselves in the midst of a cholera epidemic, which was raging in Calcutta, India.

To escape this scary situation, the family set sail from Calcutta, India in a small sailing vessel for Brooklyn, New York City.  The vessel was a small schooner, probably crowded, and we don't know how seaworthy it was, but they had to get out of India so they left. They went from one scary situation to another.

They sailed around the Cape of Good Hope, because the Suez Canal was not yet complete. Evidently, the "good hope" part consisted of the many prayers uttered in desperation by the crew and passengers amid horrific storms in the vicinity of the "screaming 60th parallel," where strong winds whip the waves into mountain-sized monsters, as no land mass stops their progress. Their small schooner nearly foundered and the storms continued even when the vessel finally rounded the Cape and entered the Atlantic Ocean. Another storm forced them to land in Boston, Massachusetts, USA before they reached Brooklyn, New York, USA.

By the grace of God, all six family members survived six months at sea under what many people would consider to be rather uncomfortable (not to mention life-threatening) conditions. Consequently, the family was loathe to embark on another sea-going voyage. Therefore, they never returned to England, or India, for that matter. After having survived such an arduous journey filled with scary episodes, Robert's son, William Deane may have been the "first Deane who did not mind staying on dry land."
by Marion Ceruti G2G6 Pilot (241k points)
It must have been a scary voyage! Any idea why they wanted to go to Brooklyn? A lot of other places were closer.
Robert's brother, Henry, was already in Brooklyn and sent Robert glowing reports about what a great place Brooklyn was. Moreover, his wife's cousin was already in Brooklyn and offered the family $10,000 if they would come. Putting all this together, it seemed to the family a logical choice.

After they came and the cousin passed away, the family inherited another $10,000, so Brooklyn turned out to be a great alternative.
$10,000 in 1860 is about the equivalent of $320,000 now. Would you undertake that scary voyage for that much money?
I would sail also because this alternative offered a better prospect for survival, rather than to die in an epidemic. According to the family, the situation in Calcutta - the cholera outbreak - was life threatening and getting out of India was a good idea. It was not only about the money. It was about health and keeping the family together. My 2x great grandmother's cousin was made an offer that the family could not refuse. I get the idea that her cousin was loaded with $$$.
+4 votes

My wife's grandmother had an uncle, Philip Empey, whose wife Anna was a bit clairvoyant (she could tell you where a lost item was) and who believed in spiritualism. Her husband just laughed at the latter, and decided to play a trick on her one night. He surreptitiously tied a hammer to his toe and hung it over the foot of the bed. Then he awakened Anna and made out there was a spirit in the room. "Knock three times if you can hear me," he said, and then wiggled his foot so that the hammer tapped on the bedframe three times. He looked over at Anna to see how she was taking this: she had fainted!

by Richard Hill G2G6 Mach 6 (61.5k points)
Definitely a Halloween trick!
That is a very funny story.

When Anna regains consciousness, can she help me solve some of my family mysteries, such as who my 2x great grandfather Ceruti was, or what happened to my Aunt Phoebe Ceruti?
+5 votes

Well, I couldn't find a clever surname like "Fear" or "Dread" in my tree, I have no known vampires or zombies, and I've already featured the known or suspected murderers in my more recent ancestry. So the scariest stuff that leaps to mind is being imprisoned in the Tower of London, waiting to be executed by beheading by Henry VIII. That happened to two of my 12x great-grandfathers: Thomas Darcy and Nicholas Carew. Now it does seem like it was easy to get on Henry VIII's bad side... a lot of people did. High treason, though, carries the death by beheading sentence. And before they behead you, they "attaint" you (remove your civil rights and status; I had to look it up) and imprison you in the Tower of London. My husband and I took the tour of the Tower several years ago. Nice place... in the daylight, when you aren't waiting for death. I can believe it's haunted though... and knowing my family history now makes me so much more interested in those historical sites.

Thomas Darcy's son Arthur Darcy married Nick Carew's daughter Mary Carew; they are my 11th great-grandparents.

by Katherine Chapman G2G6 Mach 4 (48.5k points)
+4 votes

My 3rd Great Grand Uncle, Lyman Clark, built the "Baraboo House" Inn/Tavern in Baraboo, WI. It was the first Inn built in the city. Today it's a bar called the "Old Baraboo Inn". Apparently it's haunted.

by Chandra Garrow G2G6 Mach 6 (62.7k points)
+2 votes
Have a first Cousin who was born on holloween. And anouther who commited suicide after getting into a fight with his girlfriend and she walked out of the house. When she got home, she found him swinging by a rope in the home.
by Jennifer Robins G2G6 Pilot (168k points)
+1 vote
As I research my family, I have found that several of the men in one of my lines do not have headstones...Not sure if this is scary, but it is pretty sad.
by M Craighead G2G1 (1.3k points)
+2 votes

My scary stuff is a moment in time from my younger children's ancestor - Robert Neilson's life. 

It is only a couple of days after Christmas in 1847 in the Colony of New South Wales

Robert was the middle son. He had a brother Joseph 2 years older and his younger brother William was 3 years younger.

When Robert was 5 years old there are written accounts of  his father Arthur walking for miles carrying the young William and leading the older boys as they searched for the boys mother Eliza well into the evening. 

The search was unsuccessful. 

The next day his mother's body was found where she had been murdered returning from a shopping trip to the nearby town. 

Can only imagine how scared the young child may have been. 


by Rosalie Neve G2G6 Pilot (148k points)

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