Heady Hollow: Haunted or Not?
Delaware Township School #2 sat at the corner of the West Libertyville Pike and the small road south of Big Branch. That school sitting up on the banks of the hollow was called the “Heady School.” Today that intersection is Allisonville Road and 126th Street. One must wonder why they placed a school in a hollow that some said was haunted. An old Mennonite record in the 1850’s referred to Heady Hollow as “Devil’s land” and cautioned travelers against the screams and moans of dead children.
There are countless tales of travelers accosted by ghosts as they negotiated down the steep hill that approached the dark, narrow confines of the hollow, especially when they got to the rickety iron bridge. Some even gave the spirit a name: Ebenezer Heady. Like most legends, the fact that there was no Ebenezer Heady on record mattered not.
Glenn Beaver, a 1906 graduate of Fishers High School, had speculated that people “invented” those ghoulish events perhaps inspired by stories like “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and the proximity to Eller’s Bridge. It was common for unwary travelers to be waylaid within Eller’s Bridge. Bandits would hide in the rafters and attack with knives.
It could be argued that some inspiration might have come from the Ebenezer Scrooge in the Dickens tale. And if one were to name a ghost, I suppose Ebenezer is as funny a name as any; it does rhyme with geezer.
But before we discount those tales completely, remember the area was called “Devil’s Land” twenty years before Eller’s Bridge was built. And there are many stories of sober people encountering ghost, ghouls, goblins and German speaking spirits of small children. And, if one doubts the credibility of the citizens of Fishers, there was one encounter attested to by a prominent nearly sober Noblesville attorney.
Some say the area was so rich in wildlife and panthers that the noises were of natural beings, (and near sober citizens), and not supernatural specters. Actually, the area called Heady Hollow was named after one of the first families to settle Delaware Township.
Around 1823, James Heady settled much of the area between Big Branch (just north of 126th Street) and the south boundary of Section 36 (116th Street). In fact, credit must be given to James’ wife Dorothy, since James died soon after bringing his family of eleven children to Delaware Township from Massachusetts. To quote Georgianne Neal of the Noblesville Ledger:
”Dorothy Heady, a native of Massachusetts, was evidently a pioneer woman of legendary determination. With her children, eleven in all, she stayed in Delaware Township and farmed. She is shown entering land in county records for the year, 1827, the first of several entries. Later census records show taxable property sufficient for Dorothy Heady to have been considered a woman of means.”
Actually that was quite an understatement. After James Heady died, Dorothy bought 80 acres from the government and encouraged her children to do likewise. Soon there was a total of 750 acres belonging to members of the Heady family and another 322 acres belonging to those who were married to the Heady girls—a total of 1072 acres in Delaware Township. For instance, Sarah, one of the Heady daughters, married Michael J. Castetter. They owned 220 acres by Lantern road and 126th Street.
Some of the Heady children were Joseph P., James F., C.W., A.T. and Thomas. In 1856, Thomas Heady sold a small corner of land truncated by the Indianapolis, Peru and Chicago Rail Road. That 12 1/2 acre triangle was the south east corner of Section 36. The railroad had separated a small chunk of the southern most corner of the Heady land holdings.
Thomas Heady sold those 12 1/2 acres to Salathiel Fisher, a new-comer who had brought his nine children to settle in Delaware Township, Hamilton County. On June 11, 1872 Salathiel Fisher platted that small corner along the railroad and called it Fishers Station.
Within the Sunblest residential area is the oldest grave marker in Hamilton County. It dates back to 1812 and is located in the Heady cemetery. Thomas Heady is one of the many Headys buried there. And, although there are no Headys currently living in Fishers, there are many families whose ancestors married into the Heady family. They are the Brooks, Castetter, Eller, Humbles, Redwine, Pinger and Fausset families.
Reprinted by permission from “The Mudsock Scrapbook.” To read more stories from “The Mudsock Scrapbook” about the old times in Fishers, visit www.mudsockindiana.com or click here for links to each chapter from the book.