Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Boatman Cemetery Widow-Portrayed By Nicki Thomas

This week has been truly busy for me, but everything is coming together for the May 25 Ghost Walk at Scenic Vista Park! Today I was joined by Nicki Thomas, who helped me with props and costumes.  She was also spontaneous enough to model some of them for me for a small photo shoot and she did great!  Nicki is portraying our Boatman Cemetery Widow this weekend.  The Boatman Cemetery Widow legend comes from East Palestine.  It would seem that a dark mass has been seen wandering in the little cemetery, pausing at some of the stones as if reading them.  Many believe it is a young widow whose husband never returned from the Civil War (not actually sure which war as most are represented in the Boatman Cemetery.  Since we are working with a Civil War Re-enactment, we are saying Civil War.)  She wanders the cemetery, looking for her lost love. 
Nicki did fantastic today and I am truly grateful she is working with us on this event! We will be out at Scenic Vista all day on Saturday with a booth, sharing stories and ghostly facts.  We have posters about local legends, Jack the Ripper, Lizzie Borden, and many other tales. There are also Civil War Re-enactments all day and lots of things to do!  Our Ghost Walk is May 25, 2013 at 10:30 pm at the Scenic Vista Park.  Please come and enjoy a little history and maybe even a scare with us!


G12P has done many haunted and historical tours of Spring Grove Cemetery.  It is an old Paupers Cemetery and despite its small size, has over 8000 people buried in it.  To have that many in such a small place, they have to be stacking people one on top of another.  Because it was a paupers cemetery, many people buried here do not have head stones.  Sadly, most of those are children.  As I was walking in the older section about two years ago, I noticed a new grave had been put into this area.  Fresh dirt was laying about and in that fresh dirt was pieced of metal and wood.  When I picked them up, I realized they were parts of a coffin.  One of the pieces of metal, which is above, is what is called a coffin plate.  The grave was for a child (no surprise there) and it was unmarked.  Because no records were kept properly for Spring Grove (long story), it does not surprise me that things like this happen. 
Now to the mystery of this little coffin plate.  As I have researched this, I can not find much information about it.  It was meant as a keepsake, being displayed with the child during the funeral, and then removed by the family to keep with them as a remembrance.  I have to wonder why no one kept this coffin plate.  It was buried with the child. It is very ornate with intricate etchings.  Often, depending on how much money the parents had, a name would be put on the plate.  Well, it was a paupers cemetery, so no name.  Still, I find myself wondering who this little one was.  Spring Grove Cemetery guards her secrets well, so I think I am in for a long haul to discover who was buried there.  I am starting with this little coffin plate.  If you have any information about it, please email me at or leave a comment.