Saturday, May 6, 2017

The Ghost Of Foster Spicer - Potter County & Tioga County

A caretaker at the Phenix Cemetery (nowadays Phoenix Cemetery) arrived one foggy morning with his tools, preparing to do some work before the upcoming Memorial Day. As he entered the graveyard, the man's jaw dropped along with his supplies... a terrifying sight was ahead. The wooden casket which previously held the body of notorious Foster "Fawtt" Spicer was now empty, tipped on its side over a mound of dirt. There were clear drag marks, but no sign the dead mans remains.  People were soon gossiping over who could have done such a thing. As shocking as it was, they weren't entirely surprised that Spicer's corpse was stolen and disposed of, especially considering the controversy over his burial. 

Going back in time - Spicer was a hardened criminal and looked the part. His tall, muscular build accompanied by dark piercing eyes, unshaven face, and aggressive ways were enough to make everyone cower in his presence, including the law. The list of illegal activities committed by Spicer was a mile long and included counterfeiting, bootlegging, assaults, robberies, and he had been suspected in two murder cases which were never solved. About 10 years prior to his death, Spicer and his son had brutally attacked and robbed Mr. and Mrs. John Bates in Chatham Township, Mrs. Bates was said to have been left in a delicate condition. The infamous villain & his son were sentenced to serve time at the Eastern State Penitentiary. Upon early release, the elder Spicer began to cause trouble again right away.

In 1894 the law caught wind of illegal activities at a pigs ear in Galeton, but because Spicer was said to be involved, no Sheriff or officer of the law wanted to make an attempt to even find out. Constable James Higgins of Austin was not scared of anyone, and so he was called in to take the lead. He headed to Galeton with a personal weapon, his prized and pearl handled, 38 caliber, Smith & Wesson revolver, which cost $20 (expensive for those days). After a deadly duel there was only one man standing, Constable Higgins. As the smoke rolled off his gun, relief from the surrounding communities was felt. Soon the evil Fawtt Spicer would be 6 feet under... but the question of the day was, where? No one wanted his body in a cemetery at their town, or even their county. People in Tioga County felt because his death was in Potter County, that the burial should be there. Citizens of Potter County felt because he came from Tioga County, that it should be there. In the end he was buried in the closest graveyard to the county line, Phenix Cemetery. 

Spicers missing corpse was never found but talk from back then was that his body had been dumped in Phenix Creek in Pike Township where the stream crosses under the road. For years people thought his dark, vengeful spirit wandered the lonesome stretch and flowing creek from one end to the other... seeking revenge and continuing to scare the daylights out of people. His ghost was the blame for a number of tragedies which occurred in the following years along Phenix Run.