|Death: ||Jul. 26, 1882|
A Quaker named James Willson built a home in what is now called Denton around 1750. The home, which still stands today on Route 404 near Holly Road, became known as Willson's Chance.
Prior to the Civil War, Colonel Richard Carter purchased Willson's Chance, and it was in this house that his daughter Annie Belle fell to her death from the second floor balcony.
Annie Belle Carter was just 17 years old when she returned from Europe to Willson's Chance in July of 1882. She had been studying art in England and the Netherlands. On July 26th she woke up feeling ill and walked out onto the second floor porch for some relief from the summer heat. As she leaned against the rail she fainted and fell over the railing. A tree had been cut earlier that day, and Annie fell on the tree root system and was pierced by some of the roots. She died from her injuries within a few days.
There have been sightings of Annie dressed in white standing on the balcony and sightings of her dancing in the front yard of Willson's Chance. Most of these sightings stem from African American religious revivals that were held in a building directly across the street from Willson's Chance. Those that attended these revivals would sing and play music. During the music, some would notice a woman in white dancing on the Willson's Chance lawn. Her white dress was bright in the moonlight and highlighted her graceful moves.
Mrs. Mary Ann Walsh has lived at Willson's Chance since 1963, and she confesses she has had no encounter with Annie Belle Carter or any other ghosts for that matter. However, she remarked that her grandson Bill saw an apparition in her home when he was four years old. He woke up screaming that he saw a lady dressed in white in the room nearby. This room was the same one that opens on to the second floor balcony of death. The woman – or apparition – was gone once Mary Ann entered her grandson's room.
Col. Carter, Annie Belle's father, was consumed with inconsolable grief at losing his only daughter at such a young age, under such tragic circumstanced. At the time of Annie's death, Col. Carter was on the committee that was forming the new Denton Cemetery. All the plots for graves were laid out to face north and south, and Annie Belle was one of the first people buried there. Col. Carter arranged to have Annie buried east to west with her feet facing east, so that on judgment day when all souls rise, Annie will rise with her face to her Maker. Later Col. Carter and some other family members were laid beside Annie Belle - all facing east.
In 1895 Marshall Price, the lynched killer of young Sallie Dean, was also buried in the cemetery in an east-west direction, but Marshall's feet are pointed to the west. So he will rise on judgment day with his back to his Maker. Marshall Price and the Carter family are the only graves in the entire Denton cemetery laid in an east-west direction.
Annie Belle Carter's gravestone is the most ornate of all the grave markers in the cemetery and easily noticed by anyone who scans the grounds. The headstone is ornately carved with flowers and ferns, and a large cross leaning against a tree stump. Some believe the stump is a reminder of what caused her death. An ornate scroll resting at the foot of the cross and stump reads ...
"Annie Belle Carter, daughter of Col. R.C. and S.E. Carter died July 26, 1882 in the 17th year of her age. 'Afar in yonder sky I'll find my home, and wait in realms of light for thee to come.' "
The ornate headstone with scroll has low stones extending outward outlining what looks like a bed with an urn for flowers or plants at the foot. Inscribed on the footstone are the words .... "How many hopes lie burried here."
Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales East of the Chesapeake
by Mindie Burgoyne
Daughter of Col. R.C. and S.E. Carter 17th year
Maintained by: gennie
Originally Created by: theresa tatman
Record added: Jun 10, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8898823