An excerpt from When Waterford and I Were Young, by John E. Divine, with Bronwen and John Souders

Of course every churchyard has its stories, and one of these involves Fairfax Meeting. During World War I, people reported seeing a spectral “woman in black”, wandering around the grounds, always in or near the shed used to shelter horses during services. Neighbors finally decided that the woman, whom they recognized as one living just beyond the village, was extremely anxious about the absence of her husband in the army and somehow felt reassured being in that place. But forever etched on my mind was the morning that I heard an old Civil War veteran say, “The woman in black was seen again last night.” It sure made a little boy stay in after dark.

c1940 photo of Fairfax Meeting House and Cemetery

Fairfax Meeting House and cemetery, pictured circa 1940

In addition to the Meeting grounds, the Quakers owned several acres of pasture immediately behind their cemetery. At one period this pasture was rented to the man who carried the mail from Waterford to Point of Rocks. During the summer, this renter had a routine of taking his horse to the pasture each evening at dusk. To shorten his walk back to town, he would cut across the burying ground.

On one occasion there was an open grave, prepared for a burial the next day. Some of the boys from town thought it was a good idea to scare this man as he came through the cemetery. One of them got into the grave with a white sheet draped over him. As the man approached, the boy rose up from the ground, making a weird sound. The postman happened to be carrying the bridle, which had a heavy steel bit. When the apparition suddenly appeared before him, the postman instinctively swung his bridle and yelled, “Get back in your hole you s—b—-!!” The bit made contact with the would-be ghost’s head, opening a bloody laceration. Never again did anyone try to scare this man.

Find this and other stories in When Waterford and I Were Young by John E. Divine, with Bronwen and John Souders, available online here.