Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Erastus Eells-First Undertaker in Ohio

Erastus Eells lived in this house, which was built in 1843. He was the pioneer undertaker of then New Lisbon. His business, the first funeral home in the county and possibly the state of Ohio, is still in business today through 4 generations of his family.

The pic of the gray barn is the actual barn owned by Erastus. It was in this barn that he built coffins and had them shipped up north to places like New York State and Canada. There are some historians who believe that Erastus was heavily involved in the Underground Railroad. While no proof apparently exists to back up this belief, for me, that means Erastus was very good at his job. As the story goes, somewhere down along the creek there was a tunnel that lead under the village of New Lisbon. This Tunnel branched off to several locations in the city and includes The Old Lincoln Theater, The Ivystone Lounge, and The Federal Order of Eagles (formerly the home of Joshua Hannah). It also leads to the home of Erastus Eells. Once there, the slave who bravely traveled those long dark tunnels would be smuggled out of the country to Canada in the coffins that Erastus was making. There are advertisements in some old newspapers, like the Ohio Patriot, put there by Erastus himself to advertise his business. Was there any Underground Railroad activity in Lisbon, Ohio? The debate rages on. Personally, I have seen enough to believe there was.
More recently, the home of Erastus was owned by a couple named Fred and Ruth Anne Pasture. They have both passed on, but when they still lived in the home, they talked of an angry spirit named George who haunted the house. He had been known to knock pictures off of walls and slam doors. He even tried to push Ruth Anne off of a ladder once, or so she claimed. Today, the current residents have no complaints of any such hauntings. While the ghost story totally has my attention, the awesome history behind this home and barn are what really shine to me.

Ghost Walk At Gretchen's Lock On October 17

The house is long gone at Gretchen's. There is only a cement slab sitting where the house used to be.

One of my most favorite building in all of Columbiana County is the Grist Mill or Hambleton's Mill. I love when I get to come here and show people why it is so great.
Since this is October, I have tried to do some extra things for Halloween. The rules are a little different now to have an event at Gretchen's Lock since all the attention it received over the summer, but I got permission this morning. So, on October 17 at 6pm we will be down at Gretchen's Lock to take you on a tour of the area, show you where the ghosts are that we have encountered, and maybe do some ghost hunting too. You are invited to attend. There is, as usual, no charge.
You might have more luck talking to the ghosts if you know where to look. Hope to see you down there on October 17th. Questions? email me.