This story was told to me by my Grandfather.
Back in the days of old, worldly possessions were rare. A shawl of lace, a silver framed hand mirror, or a beloved Sunday dress were often just a handful of treasures that were dear to a poor family that traveled across the land in search of a place to settle down and call home.
Families traveled hundreds of miles for many months at a time without seeing another soul. Hospitals and physicians existed only in big cities, therefore sickness often visited, sometimes without the hope of survival of a loved one. Prayer was often the only hope when a loved one was struck down by an illness. Families accepted death as a part of prairie life, but the pain over losing Elizabeth ached in the heart of her mother for the rest of her life.
The Townsend family was almost home. After years of farming in the Mid-West, promises of cotton farming in Selma, Alabama seemed like a promising prospect to leave his family with a legacy. In a rural area that would be called Johnstown in present day, their little girl was overcome with fever. The family of seven set up camp in hopes of finding a town doctor in a nearby town called Blocton, a booming coal town that was about ten miles away. Elizabeth died in her mothers arms before they reached town.
Heartbroken, they returned to camp with the sad news to her older brothers that their little sister had gone to heaven. She was laid to rest dressed in her beloved lace dress with three pearl buttons and laid to rest. Her grave was marked with deep square stone. Under the light of the moon, her father lovingly carved a capitol E into the stone. One lone tear fell, this was the last gift he could give to his three year old baby, his only daughter. Time would dull the aches in their hearts. More births would occur in the family, but nothing would replace the empty corner that Elizabeth’s passing had left.
Many years had passed and looters crossed the country and often disturbed graves, looking for treasure that was often buried with loved ones.
In the year 1979, my grandfather told me of a story, a ghost story. He and his family were very poor and walked to church every Sunday, they walked several miles over into Johnstown from Woodstock. After church they would stay and eat Sunday dinner with their grandmother before heading home. On their way home, it was often twilight passing into the darkness of the night. In the bend of the road where the massive oak tree curved over the road, a little shape would cross the road and disappear. These appearances occurred every Sunday on their way home from church. Grandpa and his family started paying closer attention to this shadow. A little girl dressed in her Sundays finest.
A year passed, Grandpa and his family began wondering what had happened to disturb this little spirit. One night, they followed the little spirit to the place where she disappeared. They marked the spot with four sticks stuck into the ground, so that they may find the spot when they could return in daylight.
Grandpa and his family decided to head home early one Sunday so that they could investigate the area where the little spirit disappeared. Under the clearing on a slope on the hill, they found a rock with a rough inscription of an E. Below the stone, the dirt had been disturbed. My great-grandfather dug around in the dirt and found three pearl buttons. He lined them up one below the other about an inch apart. Carefully, my great-grandfather carefully covered up the buttons as not to disturb their position.
The next week, on their way home, just as darkness was about to fall, the little shadow appeared and crossed the road, to the area where the buttons was found. She turned and looked at us, she turned around and disappeared. We never saw the little spirit again.
Sent in by Angela Smith, Copyright 2011