A haunted house and ghosts in uniform, now that’s genealogy!
You may remember my daughter was married a couple of weekends ago in Virginia Beach. I was really surprised and incredibly happy all my siblings made the trek from Ohio to Virginia.One sister made her way to the wedding via a two-day stop in Gettysburg. (These genes run deep huh?)
Another sister drove home from the wedding via a stop in West Virginia. Our oral family history has a branch of our family, the Van Meters, coming from Hardy County and at one time owning a haunted house. Legend has it a woman dressed in white roams the place, a large home with a huge sweeping staircase, and she shares the house with a man in a uniform. My sister loves this story. She’s hooked.
So she conned her husband to drive home with a pit stop in Hardy County. They end up in this part of West Virginia early on a Sunday afternoon. My sister and brother-in-law stopped at a small flea market for any bit info or directions they could get knowing full well this all could be a waste of time. Who knew if anyone would remember the family name or if the house was still standing?The folks at the flea market were very helpful to strangers from Ohio. Yes, the family still lived in the area. Yes they had owned a huge old home with a sweeping stairway on the outskirts of town, and yes the house was haunted. The people at the store knew of the lady in white and the man in uniform! Many stories had been told of their appearances. The store proprietors made a couple of phone calls, checked with customers as they came into the shop and gave my family members some tidbits of info, directions to a cemetery and an abandoned home outside of town.
Now my sister is all ramped up. She’s on a ghost hunt! The stories are true! First they stop at the cemetery. It’s old and beautiful. There’s a monument dedicated to fallen Confederate Civil War soldiers. It has stood through time honoring those who have served. Then she found a couple of men listed with our very same family surname on the monument. Van Meter.
These men are probably cousins to my Ohio Van Meters. We know my direct line moved from this area in the mid 1850′s. Wow, what a neat revelation, I, like so many others would have family that fought on both sides in the Civil War. Now there’s some family research I can’t wait to get into! So after a couple of photos, my sister and brother-in-law are on their way to the haunted house.
Believe it or not they find the house! It’s bordered up, marked with many No Trespassing signs. They can’t get any closer than these photos. My sister is itching to trespass but my brother-in-law isn’t keen on spending the night in jail. So she satisfies herself with pics and comes home with a great story.
But my sister knows who to tell that story to back in Ohio! The Gettysburg sister and I are all ears. A nine-hour drive from here, huh? What if we check courthouse records, etc., contact the local Van Meters, etc. Hmm, yeah, haunted house and ghosts.
I think sometime this summer we’re going to have to bust out our Ghostbuster equipment and take a road trip. You gotta do what you gotta do in the name of genealogy research. Right?