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Museum, library hosting ‘Spooky Tales of Local History’

Staff Report
The Oct. 10 event will include a walk to nearby Union Cemetery where participants will learn about the history of the cemetery and hear more local legends.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Do you know the Legend of Lady Bend Hill? Have you heard the tragic story of 13-year-old Louiza Fox whose 1869 murder made Thomas Carr the first and only man legally hanged in Belmont County? Storyteller Judi Tarowsky will share these and other spine-tingling tales of local history and legend on Saturday, Oct. 10 in front of the Belmont County Heritage Museum.

The event, co-sponsored by the museum and the St. Clairsville Public Library, will begin at 12:30 p.m. with a presentation by Jon Walker with the Belmont County GIS about an exciting new tool to find cemeteries in Belmont County. Library staff will also share how to explore history through our local cemeteries.

The ghost of Louiza Catherine Fox is said to haunt the area where she was brutally murdered in 1869 by her suitor, 22-year-old coal miner Thomas Carr. A small marker is located at the site of her murder and her grave is located in nearby Salem Cemetery, where she has also reportedly been seen weeping. People have also claimed to see Carr's ghost near the murder site.

At the time, Egypt Valley as it is now known was the small farming village of Egypt. Louiza was a 13-year-old house maid who worked for a local family who also employed Carr. There are conflicting reports as to whether she and Carr were ever engaged at all or if her family retracted the engagement due to learning of his character and temper.

What is known from the highly publicized court proceedings is that Carr was a member of the Union Army during the Civil War Era and reportedly struggled with alcoholism, fights, and even committed murders before being discharged. It was late afternoon on January 21, 1869 when Carr attacked Fox. He hid behind a fence post until she passed by, leaving her body in a ditch on the side of the road. This is the area where many have reported seeing the ghost of the girl.

Before he was apprehended, Carr attempted suicide, first with a knife and then a gun. After being treated for his wounds, he was sentenced to death just five days later. He confessed not just to Fox's murder, but many others. He was hanged on March 24, 1870.

After hearing the story of Fox and Carr, participants will take a short walk to historic Union Cemetery where Judi will continue with more local legends. The library will hand out information about the cemetery and lead participants in the proper method of gravestone rubbings. Union Cemetery, 211 Maple Ave., is a large, historic cemetery containing the graves of six U.S. Congressman and one U.S. Senator.

The rain date for this event is Oct. 17. For information, visit belmontcountyheritagemuseum.org or call 740-298-7020. The Belmont County Heritage Museum is located at 101 E. Main St. in St. Clairsville. The museum is open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is by donation.