Sunday, February 11, 2018

Investigation - Ramsdell House 1

Investigation Location:

Z.D. Ramsdell House
Ceredo, WV

October 2009


The town of Ceredo was founded in 1857 by Eli Thayer, a strong abolitionist who was determined to prove that a town could be prosperous without the use of slave labor.  The following year, he personally invited another abolitionist from the Boston area, Zopher D. Ramsdell, to join him.

Z.D. Ramsdell was a businessman who soon settled in the area and opened a boot and shoe factory.  In 1858, Ramsdell completed his home at 1108 B Street, Ceredo, a lot he purchased from the Jordan family.  This brick building was the first of its kind in Ceredo, and was built by Mr. Denney Shine, a mason with the Chase Brothers Contractors. The home was built atop a mound, rumored to be an Adena Indian burial mound, and also contained a "hidden" basement.

According to local legend, this hidden basement was used as part of the Underground Railroad.  Slaves would be sheltered there before being ferried out during the night across the Ohio River into Lawrence County, Ohio.

During the outbreak of the Civil War, Ramsdell enlisted with the Union Army as a member of the Quarter Master Corp in the Fifth Regiment Virginia Volunteer Infantry.  He was later promoted to Captain.  After the war, he returned to Ceredo, where he was appointed as a special agent of the post office, elected to the WV State Senate (1869-1870) and sat on the board of commissioners for the Ceredo Independent School District.  He was also instrumental in writing legislation establishing the area's first "free schools" for ex-slaves.

Ramsdell lived in the home until his death in 1886, and the home remained in the family until 1977.  By 1982, the city had appointed a Historical Landmark Commission and together with the American Legion, restored the building.  Visitors to today's museum may notice a big steel "S" on the side of the house, supporting a bar that stabilizes the structure.

Due to its involvement with the Underground Railroad and its location atop an Adena Mound, many ghost stories arise from the Ramsdell Home. Poltergeist activity such as doors opening and closing and lights switching on and off on their own accord are commonplace.  In addition, it is rumored that you can hear the moans of slaves and chains rattling in the "hidden" basement.  Apparitions of slaves have also been seen, as it is rumored that there are several who are buried on the property.  Several Civil War veteran's graves are also said to be located on the property.  
Investigation Results:

Our night at the Ramsdell House was quiet, that is until we reviewed our audio recordings. 

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