THE BANSHEE OF MARRTOWN
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Banshee of Marrtown be sure to read it all the first part is only Folk lure
from the area around the forest of Marr came a family named Marr, whose lives were marked for tragedy. their trouble began after the family left Scotland to settle down in West Virginia . Scottish immigrant Thomas Marr settled Marrtown, a small farming community southeast of Parkersburg , in 1836. he married a local woman named Mary Disosche. Mary Marr was an autumn bride, considered to be an ill omen. in years to come, Mary would lose six of the eight children that she bore. only two would carry on the Marr name.
times were hard for Thomas and Mary Marr, but they did not lose their dream of a better life. they poured their energies into a simple tract of land that became their home, and soon built a picturesque white farmhouse against the shadowy woods thick with sumac, milkweed, and blackberry brambles. the years of the civil war, as for most, were not happy ones for the Marr family. from their front window Thomas and Mary witnessed small clashes between Yankee and confederate soldiers that turned into bloody battles. there were public hanging on nearby fort Boreman hill. as the war drew to a close, marauding soldiers from both sides stole freely from the marrs, leaving them destitute. after the civil war, the Marr family's bad luck appeared to come to an end.
Thomas landed a job as night watchman at the Toll bridge that crossed over the little Kanawha river leading into Marrtown. Mary stayed at home to tend the family and the farm. still, there were ominous hints of what was about to unfold. on several occasions, as Thomas traveled to and from his work, he saw a robed figure riding a white horse. Thomas claimed he came upon this rider nearly every night, yet he was not able to say much about the figure, as its face was always covered by a tattered hood. as he approached the shrouded figure, the white mare would rear, and horse and rider would disappear into the mists of morning. on a cold February night in the year of 1878, Mary sat by the front window waiting for thomas to come home from his job. the middle-aged woman heard footsteps coming up the road, so she peered out the window. a white horse walked up to the front gate of the house and stopped. sitting on the horse was a rider whose face was covered by a ragged veil. Mary walked outside into the frigid night air. the rider remained silent.
as bitter winds gusted, Mary Marr pulled her woolen shawl close. she asked the rider what she wanted. there was no answer. plumes of icy air billowed from the nostrils' of the white horse. the decrepit ride sat stiffly in her saddle. underneath the gauzy veil, Mary saw that a woman's eyes radiated an eerie red glow. after a few moments, the woman on the horse spoke, "i am here to tell you, Mary Marr, that Thomas Marr has just died. say your prayers, lady. i bid you well." at that, the rider and horse turned abruptly and galloped away. Mary collapsed onto the front stoop in tears. within the hour, a man who worked with Thomas came to deliver the news. on one knows for sure what happened to Thomas Marr that fated winter evening. some say that while working at the toll bridge Thomas was shot by an assailant's bullet, then fell into the little Kanawha river and drowned. others claim t hat it was the cry of the banshee that startled Thomas into meeting his end in the river below. the truth is, Thomas Marr did die on February 5, 1878 the day the Marrtown banshee visited Mary Marr.
lived to be ninety years old, an exception for that time. as Mary lay as a
corpse in the Parlor of her home many years after her husband's death, family
members heard the rattling of chains in the attic. others claimed to hear the
shrieks of a woman. a few years after Mary died, one of the Marr children cut
off his hand in a tragic accident. as family members sat up with the boy, they
heard snarling sounds on the porch. when the women went outside, the stoop was
covered with blood as if a terrible struggle had taken place. what has become of
the banshee of Marrtown? it is said she still rides, bringing dreaded omens to
those of Scottish blood. you would be wise to avoid Marrtown on dark and
By JODY MURPHY
PARKERSBURG - Descendants of an area family rumored to be the-basis of a haunting by a banshee are casting doubt on the stories. Cynthia Buskirk and Fred Lambert, descendants of Thomas Marr; say documents detailing his death conflict with local lore of the alleged Marrtown Banshee that foretold his demise.
The story comes up-every year at this time' Buskirk said. She and Lambert want to set the record straight regarding the death of Marr. For years accounts of Marr's death have been -embellished, and tied to the legend of the Marrtown Banshee. According to Legend, Marr, a native of Scotland who settled Marrtown in the 1830s, often saw a robed figure riding a white horse as Marr went to and from work. Marr I was never able to make out the figure's face, as it Was covered by a tattered hood. When he approached the rider, it would disappear into the mist. For days, Marr saw the figure, until a cold night in February 1878.
Marr's wife Mary was waiting for her husband to return from work when the rider appeared at the gate in front of the house. Mary Marr went out to greet the rider. According to legend, the rider told Mary Marr her husband had just died. At that, the rider and horse turned and galloped away. Shortly thereafter one of Thomas Marr's friends came to the house to deliver news of Thomas Marr's death. According to legend, Marr was shot by an unknown assailant, fell into the Little Kanawha River and drowned. Other stories claim the wail of the banshee startled Marr and he fell into the river below.
According to records and newspaper accounts uncovered by Buskirk, much of the story is untrue. Stories get changed and embellished as they are handed down, Lambert said. Marr was found dead, but he died Feb. 6 1874. He wasn't shot. Nor did he drown: According to newspaper accounts, in the State Journal arid, the Parkersburg Examiner, Marr was found dead near the platform of the freight depot where he worked. It is believed he had fallen after climbing a top station box to clean out a stovepipe. He fell approximately 10 feet, and died, the result of a broken neck.
He borrowed a stepladder, Buskirk said. It made more sense that he fell off the roof Buskirk noted. the papers in Which she found accounts of Marr's death stated it snowed that day. Marr was close to 60 years old. In addition to uncovering a factual account Of Marr's death, Buskirk and Lambert also uncovered facts surrounding Marr and his wife's nationality. Local history' claims the pair immigrated from Scotland and settled in Marrtown in 1834.
Newspaper accounts of Marr's death list his birth as 1809. Lambert who has the original Marr family Bible (which is about 200 years old), lists Marr's birth as 1812. Buskirk said census records indicate Marr and his family didn't buy property in the area until 1845. Marr's birthplace in' a number of census records is listed as Maryland.
His wife Mary Marr's birthplace is in dispute and is listed as Ohio and Vermont, but not Scotland, as stories have told The Marrs were buried in the Bethel Baptist Church cemetery in Lubeck. Mart's wife Mary, who died at age 90 in 1904,'was buried beside him. She didn't get a headstone to mark her grave until the early 1990s,
Stories of a more grisly nature of Marr's death have been circulating for more than a half decade. Newspaper reports from the 195Os and a typed History of Marrtown an relate the alleged murder of Marr. Some even claim Marr's body was discovered by one of his sons. Buskirk said she stumbled across accounts :of Marr's death about three decades ago, and has been piecing things together ever since. Buskirk and Lambert don't put much stock in the ghost tales, specifically the Marrtown Banshee. I'm afraid I can't, Buskirk said. I believe it was embellished. This story would have gone on if I hadn't found the microfilm of newspaper