Tuesday, September 17, 2013

A Mourning Wreath Comes to Life in Eskdale, WV!

Victorian Mourning Wreath
Hey everyone!  Sorry I didn't get around to posting a new haunted location today as promised, but its been a LONG day and I'm still not feeling great for whatever reason.  I didn't want to leave you hanging without anything, though, so I thought I'd share this REALLY awesome article that was passed on to me today.

The following excerpt was given to me by my mother-in-law who grew up in the Cabin Creek/Eskdale area.  Update: This article is from a paper called the Messenger, dated April 4, 1912.   Hope you enjoy this strange tale as much as I did!

Strange But True

The daughter of Thos. Crouch, of Eskdale, died in the Sheltering Arms Hospital last August, following an operation for appendicitis.  Her remains were taken to Eskdale for burial, and friends in that town gathered from a flower garden that was the pride of the young woman flowers enough to make a wreath which was placed on the coffin.  The flower is known as Bachelor Button.  As the coffin was being lowered in the grave the mother of the deceased, requested that the wreath be retained.  She took the flowers home, and placed them in a frame under a glass.  In a day or so they died and turned brown.  Recently, or more than four months afterwards the flowers have taken on new life, and are as fresh and beautiful as they day they were cut from the flower bed.  New buds are coming out and opening in all their beauty.  It is one of the strangest things that has claimed the attention of residents of that section, and the curious are paying daily visits to the Crouch residence to have a look at the transformation.  The flowers have not been removed from the frame hanging on the wall, there is no earth in the frame or anything to account for the strange phenomena.

Sheltering Arms Hospital, 1888-1923

I've spent the last hour or so trying to find the family history and give a name to this young woman, but the Vital Stats section of the WV Division of Culture and Ancestry.com have both come up short for me.  I have found a few clues.  I believe Thomas Crouch was married to Wilminna or Minnie (spelled at least 5 different ways, lol).  There are three daughters listed on the 1900 census:  Pelie (age 15), Dora (age 3) and Sallie (age 1).  By the 1910 census, Pelie and Sallie have disappeared from the household.

The daughter listed as "Pelie" appears to actually be Pearl, and by information from Find-a-Grave, got married and lived to a ripe ol' age, marrying first a Crum, and then a Pruitt.  I have yet to find ANY death information for Dora and Sallie.  Apparently I'm not the only one, lol.  I've SCOURED records and family trees on Ancestry and no one seems to know what happened to the two younger girls.

The mother died in 1935 and the hospital where the girl died closed in 1923.  Therefore the girl in the article HAD to have died prior to 1923.  If Sallie DID die, it appears she died before or around the age of 11.  Dora is listed on the 1910 census, so she possible could have been aged 13-26 when she passed away, leaving both girls as potential subjects.

I guess I'll keep looking!

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