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A Grave Discovery: What…or Who…Rests Outside Sparrowk Hall?

Of all the haunted mysteries that surround the campus, none reach the level of anonymity achieved by the isolated grave that lies just outside Sparrowk Hall. A headstone shrouded in mystery, the exact identity of its occupant has been lost to time, as the plaque has been eroded by the elements. Further adding to the enigma is that small monument had been erected long before Charles Walton had purchased the mansion known today as Walton Hall, obscuring its year of origin as well. Just what lies under the grave, and where and when did it come from?

Believe it or not, a rather unlikely rumor provides the answer to the resident’s identity: a pet horse. But does it have any merit? Student Development Vice President Bettie Ann Brigham is familiar with some of grave’s history, which dates back to over a century ago. Back before Charles Walton purchased his mansion, a family known as the Harrisons purchased land in the area where the Fowler and Workman halls stand today. “Back when the Harrisons purchased the estate“, she explains, “the grave was actually already there. However, they left the exact site of the grave intact out of respect after learning of its history.” While the exact details of this decision are lost to time, she explains that the Harrisons were supposedly aware that a pet was entombed there, thus giving rise to the rumor.

It’s a case that has even famed Eastern historian Frederick Boelke, who prides himself on knowing every detail of the university’s past, stumped to an absolute answer; however, he believes the headstone hints at a pet of some sort. “While nothing about the site itself hints at a horse, the grave‘s plaque doesn‘t have any sort of epithet and instead has an eroded picture of some kind, so I’d imagine it’d be a pet.” Despite this uncertainty, he does admit a horse would make sense. Presenting a map circa 1875 (before the Harrisons or Walton purchased the other estates), he explains the area of the grave roughly coincides with that of a site formerly known as Hedgewood Farm.

And what sort of animal lives on a farm? Horses!

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