"Spooks Hold High Carnival, A Shoemaker's Ghost Terrorizes the Inhabitants of a Missouri Town"
The story goes that mysterious lights are seen and mysterious noises heard in the old vacant house where John Oats, a shoemaker, was murdered nearly a year ago, at Missouri City, and which murder remains a mystery to this day. Several tenants have moved into the house only to move out after a very short stay. Shortly after the murder a family moved in. No sooner had they extinguished the lights and retired to bed when the most agonizing groans and cries greeted their ears, some unknown power snatched the cover from the bed and ghostly forms flittered hither and thither through the rooms. The occupants fled in terror to the house of a neighbor, and removed their goods from the haunted house the next morning. The Star says Officers Wood and Foley saw the lights Sunday night. The lights would appear and disappear, and could be plainly seen through the windows, but when the officers searched the house nothing could be discovered. The account concludes by saying "No credence is given to the reports by the beeter class of citizens but very queer things happen that are not easily accounted for."
We tell the story in brief as reported in the Star, but do not vouch for the genuineness of the Missouri City spooks. Perhaps one of our subscribers there would like to investigate and expose the trick-if trick it be. John Wesley investigated the doings of "Old Jeffrey" at the Wesley homestead, and proved to his satisfaction that what occurred was outside of human agency. But this proves nothing for the Missouri City haunted house. In this age every haunted house must stand on its own bottom, so to speak.
A gentleman whom we addressed at Missouri City, in regard to above story, made the following reply: "I have never been an eye witness, to the truth of the stories concerning the old Oat's residence, but I know parties who say they have been an eye witness to the ghostly manifestations. When Oats was murdered it was generally supposed that he had quite a snug sum of money hidden somewhere about the house, and that whoever murdered Oats failed to get it. AS the Star says, the class of people inhabiting that quarter of town are very superstitious, and that many account for the ghost stories. Yet there may be good foundation for the stories, I cannot say. No one will live in the house more than one night. I suppose there have been a dozen or more families who have tried to live in the house since the crime was perpetrated, but all failed to stay there any lenght of time."
Our correspondent is one of the most intelligent residents of Missouri City. The thought suggests itself that perhaps someone wishes to search on the quiet for the treasure old man Oats was supposed to have hid about the house, and wishes to keep out intruders.
Source: Richmond Democrat, Richmond, Ray County, September 23, 1886
The general query around Marquand at this time is, "anything about the haunted house?" It seems that this house is located about one half mile north of Bessville and was owned by Andrew Whitaker some five years ago. Strange and weird tales are now told of happenings in the vicinity of the houe, one of which is about nineteen months ago a lady living in the house started to Marquand afoot. When about a mile and a half from Bessville, she was accosted by an Indian chief, who informed her that near Union church, on Crooked creek, a large amount of money was buried. The "chief" described the spot very minutely and after imparting this information the "chief" vanished into air.
It is said that Will Collins met this spirit chief and had a talk with him and he also told Will about the money and where it was buried and went with him to the spot and told him to dig. Two more persons living in the vicinity of Bessville have run across the "chief" and money has always been his theme. It is said that the "chief" held quite a lengthy conversation with one of the people living in that community and imparted to him the following story as to how the money came to be buried in that particular location.
"Many years ago the Mexicans would travel from their home country to Mine La Motte, the trip being made to get lead, which was hauled to the river and sold. One old Mexican prospector, named Juan Jesus de Garcero, had been particulary fortunate and had accumulated a large amount of money. He had a beautiful daughter who had shared with him the privations and hardships endured while working at Mine La Motte. He started for his old home in Mexico with his daughter, intending to live in comfort the balance of his days.
When he left Mine La Motte he was followed and when near the spot where this house stands, he was set upon killed and robbed, and his daughter outraged and killed by four men who had followed them. It is said that he carried his money, which was in gold coin, in three old pots which were sealed up and swung across a mule which carried their other luggage. The robbers, after securing the trasure, had a falling out among themselves as to a division of the money and one night before a division had been made and while the money was still in the pots, one of the Mexicans stealthily arose and killed his three companions, throwing their bodies in Crooked creek. He, then fearing to take the money with him, buried it in the sands of Crooked creek. On his way back to Mine La Motte he stole a horse, was captured by a posse and hung, and his ill gotten money never did him any good. It is said to be the spirit of the murdered Mexican who hovers around that country in the guise of an Indian Chief."
Be that as it may, several parties have prospected in the vicinity of Union church, three holes have been dug, one of which is about 14 deep. It is also said that the spirit of the girl is often seen around the place. One lady states that she saw the girl at the house and that she was dressed entirely in black with a bible in her hand. The vision was also seen by other parties. Steve Huffman, who slept in the house one night, says he was awakened about midnight by a spirit walking about the room and finally a hand rested on his shoulder. It was a woman's hand and he took hold of it and pushed it off his shoulder, but was unable to see any face.
Other parties who have seen and conversed with the spirit say that they were told that they only would be found by parties digging for it, but not before about September 15. Whether there is anything to this weird tale or not your correspondent is unable to say, but one thing certain, it has some of the people in the neighborhood of Bessville worked up.- Marquand correspondent to Fredericktown Democrat News.
Source: Marble Hill Press, Marbel Hill, MO, July 22,