Deep in the very haunted Egypt Valley Wildlife Area is Salem Cemetery (aka Salem Church Cemetery), an early pioneer burial ground which was originally located across from the Salem Church. The church is long gone now--according to one report, it was burned by vandals in the 1960s--but the graveyard remains, and is still being added to.
You can't tell the story of Salem Cemetery without talking about the ghost stories in Egypt Valley--specifically those surrounding the 1869 murder of Louiza Catharine Fox by her ex-fiance, Thomas D. Carr. Louiza is buried here, alone beneath an oblong marker worn smooth with time.
Her epitaph makes mention of her murder, which was the first in Kirkwood Township, and her murderer, who was the first person legally executed in Belmont County. The case caused a sensation when it was current, and it spawned the legend that Fox and/or Carr haunt Egypt Valley. This graveyard is one of the places where people are supposed to see Louiza Catharine Fox, sometimes crying near her grave. For more on the ghost stories in the Valley, click here.
Aside from the Fox family and their murdered daughter, Salem Cemetery contains hundreds of graves from the early days of Belmont County. The old section is full of tall stones which have made it through the years surprisingly intact. Shelley, the helpful lady from Hendrysburg who helped me and Katydid find the graveyard on the backroads of Kirkwood Township, says that every year during hunting season locals guard the cemetery in shifts; they've had problems with out-of-towners on hunting trips who vandalize the place.
Above you can see the grave of Darby Murphy, a Revolutionary War soldier who enlisted, according to his stone, on July 17, 1776. The United States of America was just thirteen days old.
This gravestone, belonging to the Ward family, is in the new part of the cemetery, where there's much more empty space for future burials.
I wish I could provide good directions for finding Salem Cemetery, but we had such a hard time finding it that we had to be led there; the twisting county roads in Egypt Valley are hard to follow on a map. According to Shelley, the road is called Salem Ridge Road; you can find it somewhere off Route 800, south of Piedmont Lake. If you know anything further about it, or have come across any ghosts while visiting, please drop me a line and tell me about it.
Special thanks to Katydid for the excellent photographs.
New Philadelphia Times-Reporter: "19th Century Love Story Has Happy Ending"
Interment.net: Salem Church Cemetery
Baker, Jon. "19th Century Love Story Has Happy Ending." New Philadelphia Times-Reporter, November 18, 2002.
Caldwell, J.A. History of Belmont and Jefferson Counties, Ohio. Wheeling, WV: Historical Publishing Co., 1880.
McKelvey, A.T. 1903 Centennial History of Belmont County, Ohio. Chicago: Biographical Publishing Co., 1903.