Posted 22 November 2004 - 10:22 AM
In 1810, Polly, an 18 y/o blonde girl who lived in New Salem became a servent to the well-off Jacob Moss family. She attracted the eye of a man named Philip Rogers who was 5 years her senior. Polly's family moved West in 1808 and Polly chose to stay behind to wed with Philip Rogers. Philip Rogers kept putting off the wedding date for 2 years at which time Polly confided in the Mosses that she feared Philip meant to kill her. Mrs. Moss pled with her to break the engagement, but Polly cried and said she much marry him even if it meant her death because she could not live without him. In August of 1810, Philip told her he had arranged with a squire who lived on the slope of Chestnut Ridge to marry them. So a happy Polly dressed in her best and proceeded on a 14-mile walk with her afianced to be wed. The next day, four children picking blackberries found her crumpled body at the foot of White Rocks, 3 miles east of the Hopwood-Fairchance Road. Polly was clutching a piece of laurel bush in her hand where she had apparently ripped it out as she fell from the top of the cliff. Her body was carried to the Nixon Tavern in Fairchance, PA and a coroner was called in from Uniontown to identify the cause of death. Mr. Moss heard the story, and his suspicions aroused, had the grave opened and the authorities contacted. Findings showed she had her forehead bashed in apparently by a rock. She was buried in a small nearby cemetary, now known as Little White Rock Cemetary. Sheriff Jacob Harbaugh went to the Rogers home to see Philip and overheard Philip's mother berating him for taking up with some of the local "trash". Sheriff Harbaugh arrested Philip for murder. Philip's family spared no expense bringing in Senator James Ross from Pittsburgh to act as his lawyer. Philip admitted to quarreling and parting ways with Polly, but denying he had pushed her off the cliff. Philip was acquitted of the crime; however, the judge commented that the evidence against Philip was "very strong". Being condemned by public opinion, Philip moved to the Greensboro area of Greene County where he became a stone mason, married and raised a family until his death at the age of 74. Philip never admitted to the murder of Polly Williams. There have been 3 head stones placed at the cemetary for Polly over the years due to weather conditions with the inscription:
Behold with pity, you that pass by,
Here doth the bones of Polly William lie.
Who was cut off in her youthful bloom,
By a vile wretch, her pretended groom.
I plan on making the hike up the mountain to the site of Polly Williams murder and visiting the cemetary since I now live about 2 miles away. Did I mention that I live at the base of the mountain where the incident occurred?!
The eyes are the mirror to the soul. They can be masked; but the truth still lies within.