Ghosts of Lawrenceburg’s Past

Camdenville Turnpike, looking east towards Main Street

Camdenville Turnpike, looking east towards Main Street

Lawrenceburg’s ghost stories and hauntings are well known and even have been featured on national television.  But, these stories aren’t a recent phenomenon and go back to the city’s early days and were famous enough to make the history books.

Fascination with ghosts here in Lawrenceburg have been popular ever since the creation of the Lawrenceburg Ghost Walk by Jeff Waldridge.  The walk, which features numerous stories of hauntings and paranormal investigations of downtown buildings, has been a great success that attracts scores of visitors every year.  It even attracted Paranormal Lockdown, a national television show, to film an episode last year at the old Anderson Hotel above Heavens to Betsy on Main Street.

But, back before the start of the Civil War, Lawrenceburg was a much different place.  Main Street would not be recognizable as a large fire would destroy much of the town in 1873.  Road names were also different then.  What is today’s Glensboro Road was the Camdenville Turnpike, named after the original name for Glensboro.  It is also the location of one of the oldest ghost stories recorded in Lawrenceburg’s history.

Back in December 1859, the first five miles of the Camdenville Turnpike had been completed.  Heading just a mile west of the center of Lawrenceburg, the road workers filled in a low area, creating a large culvert.  The culvert was large enough to create a deep pond.  A short time later, it would be the site where Strother Taylor would drown.

After the accident, “A History of Anderson County” records that there were numerous ghost sightings.  Although it was stated that the sightings were always different depending on the person, one story stood out and was recorded in the experiencer’s own words.

One dark, misty night after the accident, George Mitchell was riding a horse from the western part of the county to his home in Lawrenceburg.  After getting home and immediately asking his wife to check his breath to prove he was not drunk, he explained what happened to him as he passed by the pond:

Now you see I am not drunk. I was riding along the Camden pike a while ago, and when I got to a place near where the old pond was located, I noticed a man walking by the side of me; his head and body was on a level with me, and I looked for a horse but could see none. I listened and could hear no horse hoof beats.

I put my horse into a faster pace, but this thing seemed to keep even with me.  There was no noise save that made by my own horse. By the time I reached the grade towards Lawrenceburg, my horse was doing his best, but this man or beast, whatever it was, was still even with me.

As I started up the grade, I looked again and he had disappeared. No words were passed between us, except when he first appeared at my side, I said, ‘How do you do?’ No answer. Thinking he might not have heard me, I raised my voice and said, ‘What are you doing out so late at night?’ No answer, then I knew the ghost was with me.

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