"Death is no more than passing from one room into another." – HELEN KELLER

Hannah Caldwell

The next location TAPS will be investigating is the Union County Courthouse. However, it is the person who supposedly haunts the building that takes the spotlight. Buried in the nearby First Presbyterian Church cemetery, Hannah Caldwell, the first woman killed in the Revolutionary War, is believed to be still seeking a wrong to be righted.

A descendant of the pilgrims, Hannah Ogden married the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, James Caldwell, in 1763. When the Revolutionary War broke out, he, like his ancestors, took a stand against tyranny. As acting chaplain, he joined Colonel Dayton's regimen and accompanied the Jersey brigade to the northern lines. His efforts during the war fighting for American freedom won him the nickname "Fighting Parson" but also may have put his family in danger.

As the British neared their Elizabethtown home, James felt they wouldn't dare harm a mother caring for her three younger children. After sending his three older children to the safety of friends, he made a plea to his wife to flee their home, but she remained firm, sharing the same naivety about the British. He rode away on horseback not knowing it would be the last time he would see his wife alive. In preparation, Hannah filled a bucket with their valuables and lowered them in to the well. Then, put on her best dress and filled the pockets with silver and jewelry. She carried her infant daughter to her chambers for a feeding.

As she sat next to a window with full view of the road, an alarm went off alerting of the soldiers. Hannah still believed the warmth of their hearts to not injury anyone in her home. She would learn first hand not to underestimate your enemy. She had handed her baby to the nurse when a soldier broke formation and sprinted across the road to her window. Firing two shots, Hannah fell back on to the bed and died instantly. Afterwords, the British soldiers cut open her dress, rifled through her pockets, and transferred her body to a house on the other side of the road. The dwelling was then set on fire and burned to ashes.

The reason for her death has been left to dispute. Some historians believe she was killed by a stray bullet from either side. Others say she was mistaken as a sniper by the British. Another theory states she was killed in retaliation for her husbands participation in the war. Regardless, her death was reason enough to rally the area farmers who had remained on the fence about the revolution.

Hannah is buried next to her husband but some witnesses claim she has yet to rest in peace. Her death also inspired the Union County Seal. Although, a psychic has stated Hannah is less than pleased with how it was depicted. She has been seen wandering about the hallways, elevators and rotunda of the building. There are reports of her in the courthouse where a painting of her husband hangs. She walks to the painting and disappears. The doors in the record room are said to open and close on their own. She's also seen wandering the nearby cemetery where she is buried with her family. Is she the only one haunting the Union County Courthouse? Four inmates were executed behind the building. Maybe she has company.


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