Back out on Oil Well Road, after crossing the bridge at Skaggs Creek, the road goes up a hill and passes an intersection with Mansfield Road. It continues on for a distance until it comes out at a junction with Hwy 1318. 1318 comes at an angle up the hill from Roseville and joins Oil Well Road for about two miles before 1318 turns right and heads over to Hwy 31 E at Lucas. On this section of road that 1318 and Oil Well Road share, an old road cuts off across the country, and comes back to Hwy 249. The road was abandoned in the early 20th century, and only the landscape now shows there was ever a road there.
About a quarter mile off the Oil Well Road, on the old Black Hill Lane, there was a two story log house built by Reuben Harrison. He purchased the land in 1839, that was part of an old military land grant. The house was built shortly thereafter, and Reuben lived there with his first wife, who was Martha “Patsy” Sanders. She died sometime before 1850 and was buried in a small cemetery that was behind the house in a field. Reuben sold the property in 1871 to GW Young and moved to Glasgow. He and his 4th wife were buried in a small family plot on what was known as the Vivian Rousseau place off of Hwy 90. It sat on a hill behind the cinema, and was moved in the last decade when the house was torn down and the land has since become part of the new Outer Loop Project.
On this farm off of Oil Well Road, it was claimed a black woman that was disliked in the neighborhood, was killed by the landowner after an altercation in the front yard. She fell upon some large rocks near where the tobacco barn now stands, and it was claimed for many a year that when it rained, you could see her blood splayed across said rocks.
I had a friend that lived on 1318 (Renfro Road) for several years, about one-half mile from its intersection with Oil Well Road. She claimed that on some nights, if you were outside, you could plainly hear a woman’s screams coming from the direction of this house on Black Hill Lane. At the time she told me of these occurrences, in the early 1990s, we were centered on tales of Green Mansion, and things that supposedly went on there. But Green Mansion is quite a few miles away, and so I had dismissed this at that time as of no consequence to the Green Mansion legend. I’m still skeptical on this, but it does seem to fit this tale of the altercation and subsequent murder in the yard on Black Hill Lane.
Another person that is known to be buried in the small cemetery off of Oil Well Road and Black Hill Lane is an unknown woman who was passing through the area. At some time in the distant past, after the property left Reuben Harrison’s possession, the house was used as a traveler’s stop, and they had many overnight guests. A man and woman stopped there to spend the night, and they were put to bed in the front room. The next morning the woman was discovered dead in the bed, and bruises on her neck indicated that she had been strangled. The man had vanished and was never found, to the best of my knowledge.
There were only fieldstones to mark the graves in the cemetery, and they were still there in the 1990s when I was cemetery hunting. Martha Powell Harrison lived at this place with her first husband back in the early 1960s, and she told that after her ex-father-in-law passed away, the land was sold to a young man who eventually tore down the old house. It is possible that the graveyard is gone as well. There were about 10 to 12 graves there, and it’s possible some of them were Elmores, as there are more of them buried in another cemetery nearby.
This area in particular is rife with tales of the supernatural, and this is only factual evidence that the possibilities are there. In any case, it makes for a good ghost tale – or two!
Happy Hunting… if you dare!
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