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William H Sketoe
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One of the South's most intriguing ghost stories swirls around a bridge over the Choctawhatchee River at the town of Newton, Alabama. It is a story of the Civil War, the lynching of an unfortunate man named Bill Sketoe and a "hole that will not stay filled."

Sketoe's Hole was a Dale County landmark for many years and became quite famous after Kathryn Tucker Windham wrote about it in her book Thirteen Alabama Ghosts and Jeffrey.

As the story goes, Bill Sketoe was a Southern soldier who came home to care for his sick wife during the darkest days of the Civil War. He supposedly had hired a substitute to fight on his behalf and was on his way home with
medicine for his wife when he ran into men from Captain Joseph R. Breare's company, usually described as the Dale County "Home Guard," near the Choctawhatchee River just across from the town of Newton.

Breare and his men accused Sketoe of
desertion, a charge that he denied. Despite his claims of innocence, they proceeded to hang him from the limb of a nearby water oak. His last words were said to be a prayer for God to forgive his killers.

Sketoe was a tall man and his feet touched the ground, preventing his death. One of the citizen soldiers, however, used his crutch do dig out a hole beneath the hanging man.

According to the legend, the hole remained long after Sketoe's body was removed. Local people came to regard it with a sense of horror. They would fill the hole with trash and debris, but would return the next day to find it once again swept clean. The story grew that the ghost of Bill Sketoe still swung from the tree and its dragging feet cleared the hole on
a nightly basis.--exploresouthernhistory.com
Added by: BK
6/15/2009
 
 
 
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