Jottings: A ghost lurking at Oswego Heritage House?
A door slams … no one there. The toilet flushes … no one there … the sound of voices coming from the kitchen … the sound of papers shuffling … stairs creaking … no trace of anyone.
A figment of one's imagination? Not according to Oswego Heritage Council board members Timm Grauel and Candee Jones and former Executive Director Jude Graham, who all claimed they had experienced manifestations of ghostly behavior.
Candee overheard voices one day when she was alone at the Heritage House working on an exhibit; Timm was in the basement, alone, retrieving some artifacts and heard papers being shuffled. Jude constantly heard the toilet flushing when she was the only one in the building.
Conjecture about whose ghost might be making him or herself known, in my mind, centers around two individuals having a past connection to The Oswego Heritage House Museum: Dr. William Cane and Lucy Pollard.
A well-known Lake Owego physician during the '50s and '60s, Dr. Cane purchased the building from real estate developer Paul C. Murphy, remodeling it to serve as his residence as well as his medical office. Cane, only the second owner of the house, was not only a physician but also a musician. He enjoyed playing the violin and was an avid collector of the musical instrument. One of the shutters in the museum room of the Oswego Heritage House displays several small "f" cutouts which represent the "f" strut of the many violins Cane collected. Cane not only collected violins, but music stands as well.
Being rather idiosyncratic about where he kept his money — he didn't trust banks and had a vault built under the house where he stored gold bullion cubes — a ghost of Dr. Cane looking to cash in his gold is a possibility. But who knows. Maybe one of his patients died in his office and has returned looking for revenge. Trista Nelson, a fellow OHC board member and patient of Dr. Cane's, didn't die in his office but could be seeking revenge on Cane for piercing her ears one hole lower than the other.
Lucy Pollard, one of Oswego's first pioneer farmers, could be making a ghostly appearance. The Oswego Heritage House Museum received a donation of Lucy's wedding dress. Unfortunately, Lucy's marriage to taxidermist Edward Gonty lasted only two years. During this time Lucy and Edward lived with his mother, but neither she nor Lucy ever spoke to each other. Perhaps the ghost is her mother-in-law wanting to "have a word," or Edward getting even with Lucy for divorcing him.
Throughout her life Lucy maintained an avid interest in the history of the area and in local pioneer families. The Pollard family took up farming after Lucy's father fell 40 feet and cut his head open working in the Iron Smelter. Lucy's mother insisted her husband give up foundry work and turn to farming instead. Lucy bought, managed and worked the family farm, growing mostly beets, carrots, turnips.
Personally, I think the ghost is most likely Lucy looking for her wedding dress, seeking revenge on her mother-in-law and needing a warm place to sleep after visiting those interred at Oswego Pioneer Cemetery. Lucy attended funeral services regularly at the Cemetery — located just across Stafford Road from her family farm — whether she knew the deceased or not. The Pollard farm was located on what is now Bergis Road.
Nancy Dunis is a member of the Jottings writing group at the Lake Oswego Adult Community Center.
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