>Travel Blogging 4

>From “Theophilus The Battle-Axe: A History Of The Lives And Adventures Of Theophilus Ransom Gates And The Battle-Axes”, by Charles Coleman Sellers, 1930:

“A highly eccentric old lady of sixty-one years, Hanna Shingle [or Schenkel, or Shenkel]  lived alone at the head of the Valley, just above the old church, in a little stone house surrounded by rocks and brambles and in a state of general disrepair. She had a few acres of ground which the neighbors tilled in return for a share of the produce. Her eccentricity [had] been traced to stern parents. It is said that she had been very handsome once, with curls down her back, and had ridden to church on horseback, to the admiration of all who saw her. Some of her wedding clothes had been made, and the time of the wedding near, when her parents found fault with her lover and intervened.

The Shingle (or Shenkel) Homestead

 “Now we find Hannah Shingle a very peculiar old person, with a very small and slovenly farm, three cows, a sow and some pigs …. Small boys would come sneaking through the briars to steal her pears, scattering like startled deer as the old woman would rush from her door, an ancient and quite harmless musket in her hands, threatening death in her shrill voice. She had two weapons for her protection, the old gun and an axe. The gun was chiefly for small boys, the axe she kept under her bed, against more formidable intruders. There were rumors abroad that the old soul had laid away a hoard of gold, and an attempted robbery had increased her watchfulness. In October [1855] her sister visited and sought to persuade her to live with relatives, but Hannah had her gun and her axe and would not think of leaving.
She’s here somewhere, I used to know where the headstone was. Unfortunately many more are illegible now.

“A week later, John Miller, who was helping with the farm, found the door locked, and could get no answer to his knocking. He brought some neighbors and they forced an entrance. [Finding prepared food cooling in the otherwise empty kitchen,] …they stamped hastily up the narrow stair. In a little whitewashed bedroom above lay Hannah Shingle, her feet on the floor, her body and crushed head stretched out on the bed. There were marks of fingernails on her throat. The furniture was in disorder, the white walls splashed with blood, and there was a crimson pool on the floor, flowing out from under the bed. On a pillow, the murderer had left a bloody print of his bare foot, showing even the toenails. The robber had climbed a ladder to an upper window, probably in the early evening, and the old lady had left her cooking below to show him her prowess with the axe. It seemed obvious that the murderer was familiar with the ground, was someone in the Valley.”

(The culprit was never found. This is part of a somewhat longer history of the Valley which includes a naturalist, spouse-swapping religious sect, but that’s for another day.)

3 thoughts on “>Travel Blogging 4

  1. >A sad story – but unfortunately not so seldom, as I think. In Tyrol I can remember two such incidents in recent times – and I don´t know wether they were solved.And this site really looks a bit haunted. Although this must be due to the light/fog (Maybe on a bright day the house will look like on out of an Astrid Lindgren story).Despite that I can imagine the places you have shown till now as I would understand home. An area, maybe 5 to 10 km diameter, were almost every place and every tree is connected with special stories and meanings. When travelling I always think about that. Travelling is nice – but it is highgly important that at the places were you travel by people live, that feel at home there and maybe never left those place….


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