Watertown Daily Times Investigates Haunted House On Cedar Street In 1877
Cedar Street, in “The Sand Flats” area of Watertown, was rumored to have a haunted house located on it back in the 1870s. Cedar Street, as many have fond memories of, is where Morgia’s Restaurants were located for over 50 years. Nearly 1/5 of a mile from it, described as the first house on the east side of the street from Arsenal Street, was a residence the Watertown Daily Times investigated.
Determining which house it was, and if it’s still there, is a bit tricky considering the street’s layout was once much different as there was no Arsenal Street Bridge. According to earlier maps, Cedar St. connected directly to Arsenal Street, which sloped down and crossed the railroad tracks. The number of serious injuries and tragic fatalities alone, even after the overpass crossing was built, is enough to make one consider the area in general to have, at the least, an unfavorable opinion back then.
Nevertheless, the city’s real property database shows that the first house on the east side of Cedar Street from Arsenal Street was constructed around 1830, so it could be the one there (provided there weren’t any others previously closer to Arsenal St.) That being said, the following is the article printed in the January 31, 1877, of the Watertown Daily Times, which had conducted several investigations during the era on purported haunted houses in the North Country.
The Mrs. Foley referenced in the article may have been Bridgette Barrigan Foley, who died in 1876. Her husband, James Foley, 37, was killed in 1875 while working on the Sackets Harbor Rail Road, leaving her widowed with several children. She died the following year at 33, and, per the article below, her children were taken by friends in the city. No further information could be found on the death of Bridgette Foley other than what’s printed in the article below.
A haunted house on Cedar Street is the latest. It is a large white house on the east side of the street, the first house from Arsenal. A reporter from the TIMES visited the house this forenoon and learned the following particulars.
Several years ago Mrs. Foley died in a certain bed-room in the house, leaving a large family of children who were taken by friends here in the city. Nothing in particular has ever been heard about the house being haunted, till about two weeks ago, when a family named Smith moved into the front part, since which time they have complained about the strange noises they heard every night.
The mysterious sounds increased, and for the past few nights the family plainly saw the ghost of the departed Mrs. Foley in the different rooms. They could have stood it, if the ghost and the mysterious sounds had been satisfied with one or two visits, but when they persisted in coming nightly, it was more than Smiths could stand, so last evening they sent for a carman and had their household goods moved to another house on Meadow Street that heretofore has borne a good character.
Mrs. Storms, who resides in the rear rooms of the Cedar Street house, informed our reporter that she never saw any ghosts or spirits around there and never heard any sounds which she and her husband could not account for. It was her private opinion that the Smiths were not bothered as much with ghosts as they were with creditors, and that they related the ghost stories for the express purpose of an excuse to get into some other part of the city. Mrs. Storms says she, herself, is not a believer in ghosts and such.