Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Soule Chapel: Resting Place of the Greenbrier Ghost

 Soule Chapel Cemetery is a small, rural cemetery adjacent to an 1849 white clapboard church.  It is located in the Meadow Bluff region of Greenbrier County, off of the old Kanawha Turnpike.  The church was named after an early Methodist circuit-rider who helped establish it.

While seemingly innocuous enough, this little church cemetery with graves going back to the mid-1800s, will forever be known for being the final resting place of Elva Zona Heaster-Shue...The Greenbrier Ghost.

Zona was buried here in an unmarked grave on January 25, 1897, two days after she passed away.  She was later reinterred after being exhumed for an autopsy.  She is buried beside her parents, and her grave is now marked with a modern granite tombstone.  The money for the tombstone was raised by the church's congregation, and put into place in 1979.

Today, the cemetery is visited frequently by those seeking out the Greenbrier Ghost.  The grounds of the cemetery are well maintained, but many of the older tombstones are in various states of disrepair.  The grave of Mary Jane Heaster, Zona's mother, is one such grave that has fallen victim to the ravages of time, and has fallen off its base.

For more information on the Greenbrier Ghost, I suggest reading the book, The Man Who Wanted Seven Wives, but for a quick primer, check out this link from Prairie Ghosts!

Note from Theresa:

My mom and I visited this cemetery in early August 2009...that's me behind the tombstone!  I was 28 weeks pregnant at the time of the visit, which was on a Saturday.  The following Tuesday is when I went into early labor and began my month-long hospital stay.  I'm so grateful that I didn't give birth in the middle of nowhere.  We literally took the most round-about way possible to get to the cemetery, and by the time we got there, I was in desperate need of a restroom, cutting our stay a little shorter than I had hoped!  However, we went on to Lewisburg, and spent the rest of the day perusing the town, including the Confederate Cemetery! 

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