Speaking of Mrs. Crouch…

May 4, 2011 | 3 comments

Mary Woods Little & her son, Bill – 1914

     By now, most people who are acquainted with us even slightly or who have been in our house a few times know that we cohabitate with a ghost.  Her name is Sarah Crouch.  She lived in this house in 1892, back in the days when it was the parsonage for the Baptist Church across the street.
     Mrs. Crouch came to Oysterville from Gladstone, Arkansas, with her husband Josiah Crouch.  He was the very first preacher hired by the Baptists to conduct services in their new church.  But things didn’t work out very well.  As my grandfather’s friend Tommy Nelson told it:
     “He was a tall, handsome fellow – had an alpaca overcoat.  He could sway the women!  Why he baptized one woman who’d been a Catholic all her life.
     “I heard Crouch’s wife singing when she was alone and she could sing like a mocking bird.  But when a stranger was around, she had nothing to say.  My sister went there once.  She said she was kind of embarrassed the way Crouch would talk to her and turn his back on his wife.
     “One day he took his wife and baby on a church call up the Willapa and their sailboat tipped over.  Well, Crouch swum ashore with the baby, but his wife drownded.  Well, he was interested in another woman at the time.  Well, the sheriff found marks on Mrs. Crouch’s neck.  Crouch was exonerated, but it got too hot for him and he left town.”
     This past weekend, I spoke of Mrs. Crouch to our houseguests, the Kosher Red Hots.  And, wouldn’t you know, that night there was a ‘visitation’ by her, or so it seemed.  On Monday morning a framed photograph that had been hanging in the upstairs hallway had inexplicably come off its picture hanger and was on the floor, leaning against the wall.  No one knew how that had happened.
     It was a picture of my father and his mother, taken in Dover, New Hampshire when dad was about five years old.  I can’t think of any possible connection with Mrs. Crouch.  She had been buried in the cemetery at Menlo 13 years before the photograph was taken—a continent and a lifetime (my dad’s, anyway) away.  But, it’s not the first time she has manifested herself after her story had been told.  I’m not sure it’s a sign of approval or disapproval… or if it is a sign at all.   


  1. Stephanie Frieze

    I love this story! Too bad the trail is rather cold for fleshing out the people more than what you know. It’s intriguing! Is there anything in the jail records about the incident?

    • sydney

      No, there is nothing in the “Jail Book” as the evidence against the preacher was inconclusive; he was not arrested.

  2. Stephanie Frieze

    Maybe she’s just grateful to not be forgotten. We ought to go to Menlo sometime and take her flowers.


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