Chapter IV: Smittson’s Mill and Witch Hill

In 1828 the Ghent and Warsaw Road ran along the river front, and would now be just in front of Mr. Stucy's and Mr. Scott's houses. The bridge crossed the creek just above Mr. Scott's and beyond the bridge was a long, low flat, here stood Smittson's Mill. It was a neat three story brick building built on a stone foundation. It was first a saw mill and grist mill and afterwards the first power machinery in this country was put in this mill to make flour and do weaving; this old mill was a busy scene on Saturday; people came from all over the country to bring their corn and wheat to be ground; it was also a woolen mill, wool was carded made into rolls, spun, and wove into blankets; they wove rag carpets and coverlets. The miller, old Mr. Smittson, who was also the presiding genius of the place was a "little, fat, pudgy man" and knew how to make very penny count. Just inside the lower door, on the wall was placed this motto: "a bird in the hand is worth two in the bush;" which was no doubt put there by Mr. Smittson, who meant that it was better to get his money at once than to wait for it. He doubtless knew how to push a trade. This was the busiest section of the town, and on Saturdays must have been something like election days here now; this mill was afterwards torn down and a frame building put up for a saw mill, the road was changed to its present position and this low flat has long since crumbled with the washing of the waves of the many over-flows into the Ohio.

Just beyond this flat was Witch Hill, a dreary, lonesome spot, that ghosts and witches haunted after night fall, and any belated traveler was apt to see very strange lights and hear sounds unaccountable in such a place after night.

One crisp, frosty night, in late fall, Jeff Littrell was on his way to Louis Craig's above town; it was just 10 o'clock as he was passing through the woods on Witch Hill; he did not believe in ghosts and so made his way leisurely as boys will do. The moon shone bright and clear; the dry, dead leaves crackled under foot; the wind moaned and whistled through the bare trees with a weird mournful cadence; an owl hooted over head; suddenly he heard another sound, it was a long, low moan that was distinctly human. But how could there be any one up in that lonesome spot? Jeff's hair stood on end, his teeth chattered and cold chills raced over him; he stood still and listened, surely he must be mistaken, he could not see anyone, but no-there it was again. This time it sounded a little nearer. Just the other side of a big log; he ventured near determined if possible to unearth the ghost. He looked over the log and there flat on his back, drunk, lay a man. He looked up with a meaningless leer and said "Hello thonny," so that was the end of at least one ghost story.



from the March 15, 1901 edition of the Carrollton Democrat