If you have ever found yourself traveling down state route 879, near Karthaus Pennsylvania, then you may have acquainted yourself with the ghost of Clara Price, who is known to walk these parts early in the morning. By most accounts, she is friendly and unassuming, and her lovely presence is hard to ignore. The beautiful sixteen year old with the flowing head of hair was at the prime of her life when she was viciously murdered by thieving scoundrel, Alfred Andrews, an Englishman from Ponsanooth, Cornwall, England.
Alfred relocated to the area after learning that he could become gainfully employed due to the immense bed of coke and iron ore where the manufacturing of pig iron was made. Alfred was known for being a bit unsavory, unpolished and by most accounts, inferior to other men. Because of these traits, he held many jobs and never remained in one place for long. He had a reputation for being a thief with a sad lack of moral boundaries, and even though he was married, he had an eye for the ladies, especially young, pretty ones.
State route 879 was not always a well traveled road, in fact it was at one time nothing more than a dirt path that was frequented by locals traveling by horse and buggy or more commonly in those days, by foot. During the fall of 1889, just before the Thanksgiving holiday, Clara had been seen out walking along the path, heading towards the Susquehanna River.
Several people had spotted the young beauty that day, including the highly respected Mrs. Watson who by all accounts was a constant source of current local happenings and didn't easily miss something as unnatural as a dirty, smooth faced, stocky man donning a derby hat, following the young Clara as she unknowingly walked amongst the peaceful setting that surrounded her. Her lifeless body was discovered sprawled out on the desolate road that was embedded with muddy terrain in a way that was unbecoming to those who knew and loved the friendly teenager.
It was quickly discovered that the young beauty had been shot in the head several times. Later, upon examining Clara's body, it was quickly uncovered that she had been raped. Witnesses stepped forward, claiming that a short, stocky man in a brown derby hat had been seen in the area where her body was discovered. Several other witnesses soon came forward, giving the same description of a man that was seen in the vicinity of where Clara had been walking earlier in the day. In no time the police closed in on Alfred Andrews, who clearly matched the description given by the locals.
On the day that Clara was murdered, Alfred had set out on a deliberate stealing spree as a means of providing for his family. He had previously shot a killed a neighbor's pig, to which he later admitted to, but claimed that he would never harm a human. Alfred had high hopes of robbing the general store in Karthaus that day, hiding in the thick woods that bordered the riding trail in an effort to remain hidden from prying eyes as he made his way towards his targeted goal.
Several people had walked the trail that day, and a few of them had noticed Mr. Andrews after he came out of hiding in thwarted attempts at robbing a few of the loaded down peddlers, but opportunity never gave way to the brazen thief. He then spotted the lovely Clara Price walking in his direction. Seeing Alfred, the young woman attempted to step around him by edging towards the woods. Alfred seeing an opportunity to talk to the girl, asked her her name. She responded and began to walk faster, away from Mr. Andrews.
Entering the world on June 16th 1873, Clara Ida Price was born the daughter of David and Margaret Price of Karthaus. At the time of her vicious attack, rape and murder, she had been staying with Mrs. Meeker, a close family friend. After staying at the Meeker home for an undetermined amount of time, Clara had set out for her home in Karthaus early in the morning with a basket of goods in her hand when she was accosted by the evil Andrews.
Having a friendly disposition, it is entirely possible that Alfred Andrews was able to approach Clara quite easily, making it easy for him to manhandle the young girl and later kill her when no one was around. What Mr. Andrews didn't bank on was the numerous eye witnesses that spotted him following the naive young girl in her attempt to return home in an otherwise safe area.
On a cold, damp and foggy day in January, just after six days of deliberation , Alfred Andrews was executed by hanging. Sheriff Robert Cooke, members of the clergy and several deputies escorted the accused up the steps and into a noose that hung several feet above a trap door. A black bag was placed over Alfred's head. The lever was then pulled, dropping the murderer like a sack of potatoes, breaking his neck instantly. His body was placed in an undisclosed location after the cemetery officials refused his body for interment.
Today a new memorial marking the site of the murder can be viewed just a half-mile east of the bridge over the West Branch of the Susquehanna River. However it is not her final resting place. Clara Ida Price was laid to rest, nearby at the Keewaydin Cemetery in Covington Township, Clearfield County. Clara's parents, David and Margaret Price were laid to rest beside her three decades later. Clara never had the chance to tell her family and friends goodbye.
In the early morning, cars passing by the area have reported seeing a young, female ghost walking along the area of 879, close to her marker, where she was found murdered over one-hundred years ago. It is believed that she is still attempting to make it home today, but Alfred Andrews prophetic words spoken just before he died concluded his inhumane deed when he loudly stated, "I am sorry I took the life of that girl, and I hope to meet her in heaven." A promise such as this has given the young girl no choice but to keep running away from the man that ended her young life.
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