Adams County, Ohio


The Wickerham Inn was built around 1800 and is said to be the oldest brick building in Ohio's Adams County, which is located in the southwest region of the state. The ghost that haunts this place has been seen by hundreds of witnesses over the years and this spirit haunts the inn with a purpose... to find his missing head.

The Wickerham Inn was built by a man named Peter Wickerham, who came west around 1797. He had fought as a soldier during the Revolutionary War and looking for new frontiers, he traveled by flatboat from Pennsylvania along Ohio River. At some point in his journey, he landed in what would be Adams County and decided to settle there, building a log cabin. As it happened, the Zanes Trace, which was the first official road to the new Northwest Territory, ran right across his property. The constant stream of settlers gave Wickerham the idea to build an inn. He purchased a tavern license in 1801 for the princely sum of $4. The inn became a popular stopping place for travelers and later was used as a stagecoach stop. One night, a stage driver stayed the night at the inn and a rumor got started among the other lodgers that he was carrying a large sum of money.

The next morning, the driver did not come down from his room and even though a few of the other lodgers claimed to have heard a some noises coming from the room, no one had bothered to learn their source. The coach passengers were waiting impatiently for the driver to come down, so finally a boy who worked at the inn was sent upstairs to rouse him from bed. He came back downstairs in shock!

Several lodgers and passengers ran upstairs and found the driver's room to have been splattered with blood. The bedclothes were soaked in it and the walls sprayed with a gruesome design. A large pool of gore puddled on the floor, but strangely, there was no body to be found.

The sheets and blankets were burned and the floor of the room was scoured... although a dark stain remained behind. No one knew what had happened to the driver but a short time later, the boy who had first discovered the crime scene claimed that he saw the ghost of a headless man in one of the upstairs rooms.

Wickerham laughed at this, but soon, other people were claiming the same thing. Local residents, inn customers and stage drivers and their passengers were claiming to see the silhouette of a headless man in an upper window of the inn. Over the years, hundreds of people reported the ghost.... although many scoffed at the idea. They claimed that the story was just a legend to encourage business at the establishment.   Then one day, they had their proof.....

In 1922, the inn was remodeled and renovated. Some workmen discovered that the new furnace was too tall for the basement, so they decided to remove some limestone slabs from the floor to make room. They pried out the slabs and something horrible caught their eye. It was a very old human skeleton... which was complete except for its skull! The skeleton was given a decent burial in the hopes that the ghost of the Wickerham Inn would not continue to walk... but it was to no avail. The spirit of the murdered stage driver still haunts this historic building today.

The Wickerham Inn is located in Adams County, Ohio in the southwest corner of the state. The inn is located near West Union and can be found along the historic Zanes Trace road.

Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor

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