The Unresolved Death of Daria Wade

December 9th, 1976. Howards Bridge road in northern Iredell county.
Just after lunch time, a local resident named Claude Howard discovers the nude body of a deceased female on the edge of a farm field just off the main road, and near the bridge the road is named for. How and why she was there and just who left her there is still a mystery to this day.


Daria as a senior.

Daria Elaine Smith was born in Nottoway, Virginia on New Years Day, 1953.
I haven’t been able to find much about her early life, but by the time high school rolls around she’s living with her parents in Lanham-Seabrook, Maryland attending DuVal High School, which today is a prominent public magnet school.
Daria seems to have been a good student, and was involved with numerous activities, including the school’s forensic league and numerous musical groups. She also was a student government representative.


She graduate from DuVal in 1970, and disappears from the public record until 1973, when she enlists in the US Army and is sent to Vietnam.
It seems no surprise she would carry on a family tradition- her father Benjamin Smith was drafted into the army, served in Korea, and also in Vietnam. He would retire from the army after working for 20 years with a medical detachment and would earn the rank of major before his tour of duty ended.
Daria’s mother Viola was also a vet, having served during the World War II.

Daria (second from left in the Southern Pines, NC shirt) with the school forensic league.
Charles Ray Wade as a high school senior.

Of note, at the time of her enlistment women could only serve in a few capacities, and due to her rank at discharge, was most likely an army nurse with the WAC. Her enlistment ended May 2nd, 1975, and it’s highly likely that she met her future husband Charles Ray Wade during her time in the service. He also served in Viet Nam and was discharged as an E4 (specialist). Wade was originally from Wilson, NC.
The couple are married 15th of March, 1975, three months before Daria leaves the army. In the end, whatever drew Charles and Daria together wasn’t enough to keep them together. Though there was no legal divorce, the couple separated fairly quickly.

Livingstone College in 2012 via Wiki Commons

Based on what records are available, it’s believed that post marriage, the Wades moved to Salisbury to attend Livingstone College together, a historically black Christian school. It’s possible this was accomplished using funds from the GI Bill.
Daria’s parents either follow her to NC or had already moved here, though I suspect it’s the former, as they are living at 721 Old Plank road, which is on the street behind that runs behind the college. However, both Daria’s parents had ties to the area, with family in Landis and Salisbury.
Neither of the Wades ever appear in the Livingstone College yearbooks. Daria would not have been there long enough and Charles must have dropped out after his estranged wife’s death or transferred somewhere else.

Unfortunately, the uncertainty of life is that tomorrow is not promised, and what should have been the beginning of Daria’s post-service life, one likely marked by accomplishment, was simply not to be.

Howards Bridge road today. The line farthest right indicates the original road and bridge while the upper line indicates the old muddy path used to access the farm field at left, which is largely unchanged from the 1970’s. Today there are a number of houses within view of the area, but in 1976 it was completely secluded.

Midday of December 9th, 1976 Charles Howard noticed a woman’s fur coat laying in a muddy track that led to a farm field. As he stopped to investigate, he also found shoes and a pair of dungaree style pants with a black belt before realizing that they belonged to the body of a young black woman, who was laying not far away in the middle of the road, near a mud puddle.
Daria Wade was nude, but retained curlers in her hair, earrings, a ring on each hand, and a third ring was found on the ground nearby.
To the Iredell County Sheriff’s department, who responded to the scene, there were no obvious sign of what had killed her. The NC State Bureau of Investigation, who were called in to assist had the same experience. Wade had a scratch across her back and a noticeable bruise on her hip, but no signs of major trauma or injury. There was no ID or a pocketbook, and it would be a day or better before the hard work of Lt. Detective Deane Barnette of the Iredell County Sheriffs department paid off, and the young woman they found in the mud would have her name back.

Standing on the new bridge, which was built in the 1980’s, the old bridge embankment of stacked rocks can be seen on the left side of the creek. The path where Wade was found is past the field seen behind it, beyond the tree line. The Howards owned the property in the 1970’s and still do today.

Tom Thompson, the sheriff of Iredell county was quick to tell the Statesville Record & Landmark at the time “That place is used as a lover’s lane and for drinking parties”.
However, I have been unable to substantiate that claim with anyone in the area. At any rate, it seems highly unlikely a nearly impassable muddy wallow would be the scene of that kind of carrying on, and seems even more unlikely an African American girl would, in the year 1976 with race relations being what they were, be out partying with the local farm boys of north Iredell.
He also noted that a witness or witnesses had seen a light colored Chevrolet station wagon in the area that night. It’s unknown if, and probably unlikely the vehicle was ever found.

The bridge which replaced the old one that would have been present in 1976.

The weather the night before had been particularly cold, with the temperature remaining below 20 degrees Fahrenheit from midnight until about 8 or 9 AM, a couple hours before Wade’s body was discovered. An autopsy performed in Raleigh would eventually conclude the cause of death as exposure, but would also indicate that Wade had a blood alcohol level of .18, which would be considered in most people “very drunk”, and a good bit higher than the legal state threshold of .10. It was also casually noted that there was “some evidence of drugs in the body”, but this is never clarified or further explained. The only other evidence of note was that Wade had scratches on her knees, as if she had been crawling on the ground before her death.

Wade’s obituary in the Salisbury Post on December 13th was brief, and mentioned very little other than the way she died. She would ultimately be buried in the Salisbury National Cemetery, her headstone noting her service to her country in Viet Nam. The same place her parents would be buried years later.

Daria’s final resting place at the Salisbury National Cemetery in January, 2022. Her marker is just inside the gate on the left, section E, site # 25.

After an article on December 11th noting the autopsy results, no other word is ever published about Wade’s death in Iredell county or Rowan county ever again. She is either purposely forgotten or the case goes cold.
Perhaps Sherriff Thompson thought enough attention had been paid to the accidental death of a drunken black girl from another county. Perhaps there simply was no other course of discovering what happened with no further leads or evidence to pursue. Any attempt to understand what happened and why would be speculation.

But it has to be noted that someone brought Wade to that muddy path in Iredell county, over an hour from home, and completely off the main road. Someone left her there in the below-freezing temperatures, and someone is owed some blame for what happened to her.
Who this party or parties might be is not likely to ever be known. It would of course be no great leap of the imagination to think that Wade’s estranged husband must have been looked at, but he was never arrested, and so whatever evidence or suspicions there might have been (if any) it would not have been enough to pursue charges. Wade remarried not terribly long after Daria’s death, but it’s presumed that marriage failed as well, with no mention of Wade in his second wife’s obituary. Wade died himself at 45 years old in 1999.

The exact events that lead to Daria Wade’s death are unknown, but I would like to make a few conjectures based on what evidence there is.
Terminal burrowing and more importantly in this case, paradoxical undressing are well established phenomena that are seen in cases of hypothermia, and Wade shows signs of both, having been found nude and with abrasions on her knees.
I have to believe that whoever brought her to Iredell county had planned something untoward. Either abandoning her, as happened, or something far more appalling. Whatever the case, I would deduce that the bruise on her hip might have been a result of that action- perhaps suffered as she was shoved or kicked out of a vehicle. Left there in the dark woods, drunk, alone, she wouldn’t have had much of a chance of surviving the night, and ultimately didn’t.

The state Wade was found in raises some questions as well. It seems she wasn’t prepared in such a way as to spend a night out on the town or at some secluded party spot.
Before I went about fleshing this story out I posted a basic synopsis on Websleuths and the r/unresolvedmysteries subreddit. Some of the commenters on Reddit were quick to note something I did not: the curlers left in her hair make it seem more likely that she was “in for the night”, and somehow ended up deciding to go, or was forced to go somewhere with someone. Generally, women don’t “put up their hair” if they are getting ready to step out. This runs contra to any perceived or implied notion Daria was out “partying”.
She was also found with a coat, but no shirt. There are a couple possible reasons for this. First, if my belief she paradoxically undressed is wrong, and she were dumped already in the nude, then perhaps whoever brought her there threw out her clothes with her and simply missed the shirt when discarding of her things. Second, it could be that Daria was taken from somewhere suddenly and only had time to put on the coat before being removed. Third, if she willingly went with the party or parties who ended up dumping her out in Iredell county, maybe she originally thought it would only be a short ride, or no ride at all, but maybe a short time in a vehicle to talk or do something else and she wouldn’t need a shirt under her coat. If the missing shirt is the result of any of the three of these, it speaks to Daria being unprepared to be where she was found, and the perpetrators guilt in her death.
Her lack of a pocketbook or identification also supports the idea that she was unprepared for the trip she ended up taking. Although the three written articles about this case never mention whether her belongings were found at her home or not at all. It could be that detail was necessary to keep back from the public, but it’s almost impossible to determine now.

I also want to note that the chance of accidentally finding the location where she was left is almost impossible. Most of the highways that would make the drive shorter today were not present in 1976, and the path from Salisbury would be across numerous rural roads, making numerous turns. To randomly arrive on Howards Bridge road in the middle of the night is a near impossibility. While the road does start at NC highway 901 just in front of Union Grove school, the road itself only goes further into country, really heading nowhere unless someone makes several specific turns off it.
I myself drove the most probable route when visiting the Rowan County Public Library looking for past issues of the Salisbury Post related to this case. Using a GPS, I still had to take careful note of turns. I don’t think it’s a round trip a person unfamiliar with the rural areas it passes through (and which would have been even more rural in 1976) could make at night without prior knowledge.

So why would someone have known the area?
The late 1970’s were the raucous beginning of the end for the Union Grove Fiddle Convention, an old time/bluegrass festival that had been taking place since the 1920’s, but which had devolved into drugs, fighting, and if the rumors can be believed, rape. People came from all over the country to attend the festival, and in it’s last years, there were a lot of unsavory types coming too, including the Hell’s Angel, and another rival biker gang, the Outlaws.
In 1974, the Hells Angels were barricaded from entering the festival by the Iredell County Sherriff’s Department lined up across highway 901. There’s a picture of this available in Ken Jurney’s excellent book about the festival.
They are standing right in front of where Howard Bridge meets NC-901.
The year Daria was found, the festival was held in March, and it was noted that there was at least one death by drug overdose.

The state would eventually step in and use force of law to shut down the festival in 1980.


The circumstances and reasons for the events of December, 8th and 9th of 1976, and the person or persons responsible will likely never be made known. But Daria’s death ties her to the Union Grove community forever, and as such, her story, tragic as it is, is part of the it’s story as well.

It’s unknown to me whether Iredell County still considers this an open case. I reached out to the sheriff’s department via e-mail, but at the time of this post, have received no response.
However, in lieu of attempting to contact them, if you do have any information pertaining to this case, I would like to hear from you. Please visit the About page to contact me.

Daria her junior year (at far left standing apart from the group) in a student government photo.



Almost 50 years later, it has been a task to assemble this information.
My thanks first of all to Steve Hill of the Statesville Historical Collection, who turned me onto this forgotten case.
Ken Jurney’s book The Union Grove Old-Time Fiddlers Convention: The Real Story is a great resource for learning about the festival mentioned above, and includes some interesting stories of the various things that went on in the final years, including the Hell’s Angels shooting up a van.
The Iredell County Public Library in Statesville and the Rowan Public Library in Salisbury have also been a great help in fleshing out a story that only appears as a single column printed in an old newspaper.

Zion School

It always pays to notice your surroundings.
On a trip through the back roads of Iredell county while dropping off a family member at a friends house, I happened to spot what I thought to be either a school or church hidden in brush and brambles.

What became confusing was the interior of the building. Despite looking like a school or church, the space was broken up into oddly shaped rooms and what remained of “artifacts” seemed like household items. But, as it turns out, after a bit of research, this was once a school called Zion.

Students from the school and their teacher John Sharpe in either 1918 or 1919. The only image I can find pertaining in any way to the school’s history. This image comes from the Iredell Citizen in 2001 when a reunion of sorts was held at the school. It would seem the last two decades have not been kind to the building.

Unfortunately, there is almost no information available about this school. It seems almost lost, as it has no mention in the Iredell County Heritage books, nor in the files at the county library save a copy of the article the photo above came from.
What scant little I was able to find I will include here.

April 6th, 1911 Statesville Sentinel. The Earliest mention I could find of the school.
April 4th, 1912 Statesville Sentinel. A mention of one of the teachers.
April 16th, 1918 Statesville Landmark. School closes for the year, mention of the teachers.
January 12th, 1922 Statesville Landmark. A fairly large list of student names on the honor roll as well as the mention of a baseball team.
February 27th, 1922 Statesville Landmark. By “outfit”, I believe they mean a goal or goals and one or several balls.
June 3rd, 1926 Statesville Landmark. The school will be closed. The same fate befell several other small schools in the area including Liberty and the much larger Henderson school.

The school was in operation for 15 and maybe as many as 20 years, serving a very rural part of the county. What happens between 1926 and when the first aerial photo of the area appears in 1955 is anyone’s guess, but I would like to make one. Generally when schools were closed the county school board would sell off the property, and judging by the photo from 1955, it looks like the building is being used as a home. Add to that the fact that the interior of the building has clearly been broken up into rooms, and that the back of the building appears to have an addition (the slanted roof line you may notice in some of the last exterior pictures) of several more rooms.
I’m unsure when the building was left empty, but in 2001 it’s still apparently in decent shape, if not occupied. Quite frankly it’s amazing it has survived this long after it’s closing, as many times these old buildings were burned or bulldozed to make way for farm land, which surrounds the property now.
It really is a shame that the building has made it this far only to be left to rot.

WWII Signal Corp Photos

It took me hours, but I’ve finally finished uploading a collection of over 3600 jpegs, being a large group of Signal Corp photos from WWII with their original descriptions to my archive.org profile.
These consist of pictures of people, places, battles, equipment, and anything else you can think of. They really open a window into the past and give you an idea of life on the front and at home.
I can’t remember where I got these photos, but they also came with a spreadsheet that has descriptions for each file, allowing the collection to be searched. In addition, the original typed descriptions for each photo (which were usually on the back) are also included in the collection, meaning unlike many old photos, most of these can be put in context, and many are even dated.

As an example, here’s one of my favorite photos from the collection- a shot of the USS North Carolina.

And here’s the back of the photo, describing what’s going on:

Speedway Possibilities.

If the governor signs the current budget that both the NC house and senate approved this week, it cold mean millions of dollars set aside for the restoration of the North Wilkesboro Speedway- an old NASCAR track that has been largely abandoned since 2011.
While I think the chance of ever having any actual NASCAR race at the facility again is slim, there’s so much more that could be done with the property. Wilkes, for example, is really one of the proper homeplaces of stock car racing and moonshining, stomping grounds of the late Junior Johnson. If nothing else, a racing museum would make sense, but this doesn’t preclude using the property for smaller races, concerts, events, weddings, whatever you wanted to do with it. More importantly, it would mean that a piece of local history could be saved from decay and the wrecking ball.
Here’s hoping that the money is made available and some concrete plans can be established for the old speedway.

A Somber Anniversary.

when will you return signage
Photo by NOHK on Pexels.com

October 29th, 1982 is now 39 years removed from us. Next year it will be 4 decades since Angela Gray Hamby disappeared from Wilkesboro, NC.

I feel like Angie’s case has never gotten the attention outside of the local area that it should have or that other missing person cases have in the past and do now in the present. I think the search has been a victim of circumstance and location, and that has relegated it to only being prominent in the minds of people who knew her and locals who know of her.
Looking for information, it’s difficult to even get ahold of old articles about the case. Many are lost to time, many are not digitized, and so finding them means sifting through years worth of microfilm at local libraries hoping to chance upon the right day and page, or relying on the original authors to have kept copies. That’s one reason I have tried to gather what little bit I can.

It’s my belief that every mention, every page, every post is another point of contact, another chance for the right eyes to see this story, and to possibly contribute that one piece of information, that one loose end that could lead to a solution to this mystery, and some closure for her family and the people who loved her.

For those of you with social media or websites of your own, please take a moment today to link to Angie’s Charley Project page.

Health Sciences building opens on the site of the old Davis Hospital.

The new health sciences building Mitchell Community College has been constructing on part of the land that was once Davis Hospital has finally opened. If you look through the pictures included with the article, you might notice portraits of Miss Hill and Miss Norket adorn the walls.

Sources relating to Clio

I’ll try to include as much as I can relating to my search for Clio here. These will be in no particular order.

This historical sketch of Samuel King from 1883, mentioning Clio’s Nursery being built on a plantation called “Keaton Place”.
June 23rd, 1883
1905 ad for Hager’s store.
1904 ad for Hager’s store.
Historical sketch of Clio Presbyterian Church from 1929.
Obituary of one of the church’s long-serving ministers. S.L. Cathey.
An da from Hager’s store, 1889.
Historical sketch from 1875 with information about Clio’s Nursery.
Listing from the NC Department of Agriculture showing J.W. Hager at one time had 100 bee colonies.
1959 article relating to the church’s 50th anniversary

Also, see O.C Stonestreet’s column “The demise of a church” for information about the church’s end.

Clio Presbyterian Church

This church was founded in 1879 and closed down by it’s presbyter in 2011. If you would like to know more about it and the former community of Clio it was a part of, see my article on Clio, NC, and the sources I used for it.

This church is now private property, with the owners living directly next door, within easy view of the church. There are also several other houses nearby where neighbors can easily see you.
At the time of this post, there is a massive bee hive in one of the walls, and the bees tend to be all around the building’s exterior.
In short, enjoy the pictures, but please don’t go there yourself.

Clio, North Carolina

A rather playful interpretation of Clio by Johannes Moreelse.

It’s only fitting that this story is about a place called “Clio”. If any of you reading this are students of or familiar with Greek mythology, you might know Clio as the muse of history, with the responsibility of calling to remembrance things past.
In this case, the muse strikes in a rather crafty manner, and a discovery of ephemera sent me on a journey I did not expect to take.

J.W. HAGER
It begins with a cache of papers given to me. This bundle of ephemera had items related to the work and history of a man named James Washington (or “J.W.”) Hager.
Hager was born in 1855 in Iredell county, probably not far from where he lived and died. Little is in print about his life, and none of it easily discoverable. However, through various sources I have been able to find that he was a prolific beekeeper and was by trade a merchant. His store would have been active in the general area we will from here on out call Clio sometime after the Civil War.

A letter from the cache showing Hager’s address as “Clio”.

When the store exactly began, when it ended, and where exactly it was, I have been unable to discover. His own father, Samuel C Hager also apparently worked as a merchant and miller after being released from a Union prisoner of war camp at the end of the Civil War, and so it could have been a family business that J.W. took up.

An advertisement for Hager’s store from Oct 31st, 1889.

The building was likely somewhere near Liberty Hill road, which today is just west of NC Highway 115, with Statesville to the south and the cowboy town of Love Valley to the north. This would give us some idea where Clio might have been.
The earliest direct account I can find of the store’s existence is 1883, when the Clio post office was established in Hager’s store with Hager himself as the community’s postmaster.
The store makes it past the turn of the century, with ads appearing as late as 1908. In 1915, Hager would move to the Stony Point community , and would later die there in 1929 at the age of 74.

CLIO’S NURSERY
But where the heck is Clio? It’s not on any modern maps. But I knew from the papers I had it was local, somewhere in Iredell, and the information about Hager’s store gave me an area to pitch horseshoes in.

There was one clue I already had though. A memory of a state marker on NC Highway 115 for a place called “Clio’s Nursery”. There is unfortunately only slightly more known about it than about Hager. NCPedia has a brief account of that institution.


Clio’s Nursery, established by pioneer Presbyterian minister James Hall, was a successful eighteenth-century classical academy located in what is now east-central Iredell County, about ten miles north of Statesville. Although the exact date that the school opened is uncertain, a certificate given to a student in 1780 confirms that it was in operation by August 1778. After the first building was destroyed by a fire, the second schoolhouse was built on top of an adjacent hill.
Hall maintained an active interest in the academy while leaving the teaching to others. During the Revolution, he served both as captain of a militia company and as regimental chaplain. When Hall’s militia unit was called to active service, classes continued at Clio’s Nursery under the supervision of Hall’s brother-in-law, James McEwen. McEwen died a short time after his appointment, and he was succeeded in November 1779 by Francis Cummins. Cummins, who later became a Presbyterian minister, had been born in Pennsylvania and moved to Mecklenburg County with his family.
Because of the invasion of the British army, Clio’s Nursery was closed from May 1780 to April 1782, when it was reopened under the direction of John Newton. The last teacher at the school was Charles Caldwell, who began teaching there in 1785 or 1786. The school apparently never reopened after Caldwell left in 1787 to reestablish Crowfield Academy in the bounds of Centre Presbyterian Church in Mecklenburg County.
In the short history of Clio’s Nursery, an unusually large number of prominent individuals attended the school. A sketch of the academy published in 1858 listed as alumni George W. Campbell of Tennessee, who served as secretary of the treasury in the James Madison administration; Moses Waddell, who later became president of the University of Georgia; a U.S. congressman; three judges; and eight ministers.


-NCpedia entry


To quote an article I would find later, “It has been said that where ever the Scotch-Irish built a church to the glory of God, they built beside it a schoolhouse for the education of their children“. There would then be a high likelihood of a Presbyterian church near the site of Clio’s Nursery, and it’s existence might give some boundaries to the area that was once called Clio.

Map of unknown date showing a church and school (building with flag) side by side at an area marked “CLIO”. Also note the store marked with an “X” as well as J.W. Hager’s land.

CLIO PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH

Despite Clio’s Nursery having such influential students, little of it’s history remains. Not so for the church built nearby, and it was easily found in the various sources. Despite the quote I mentioned above, the church was not built when the Nursery originally was, but it was chartered in 1879 by 26 members from what was the Concord district, which is just west of Statesville near what today would be called Loray. It seems they had been members of Concord Presbyterian Church, which was inconveniently far from Clio. The presbytery decided the best way to remedy this problem was to open another church closer to the congregants. And so the church at Clio was born.
It’s history is as long as the Nursery’s is short, and so I wont list every detail and name associated with it, but will include all I can on the sources page for this article.
To simplify things, a Google search lead me to an article by local historian O.C. Stonestreet. Through that article, I discovered the church remained in use until 2011, when membership had fallen into the single digits, with only a handful of elderly congregants remaining. That year, by order of the Salem Presbytery, the church was finally closed. I now knew where Clio had been.

The church on the day this article was written, 9/28/2021.

As an aside, when looking for old churches, the easiest tool a genealogy or history enthusiast can use is most likely going to be Find A Grave. If a church exists or existed very long it most likely has a cemetery. If it has a cemetery, the volunteers who keep Find A Grave updated will have found and catalogued it.
Unfortunately, there were no listings for a “Clio Presbyterian Church” when I looked. This could mean one of several things. First, it could mean that the cemetery is lost and uncatalogued, which is a particularly exciting prospect for someone interested in such things. Second, it could mean for some reason the graves were moved. Lastly, there’s the slim possibility that despite the church being active for so long it could be atypical and not have a graveyard at all.
Despite having no luck on Find A Grave, through genealogical research I was able to find a single burial at the church. In December of 1917, James Lola Hill was buried there upon his own instructions. He would be the first and the last person to laid to rest on the church’s plot. An unknown time later he was disinterred and his body reburied at Pisgah UMC in Hiddenite. So, no graveyard for the church.

After reading Mr. Stonestreet’s article, I knew a visit to the church was in order. With hours of poring over names, dates, histories, and maps behind me, it was time to see something tangible, and with my own eyes. Today, I visited what is left of Clio.


Despite now knowing roughly the area Clio occupied, I still know very little about the community. Here’s what I can find committed to print.

-A newspaper from 1883 mentions that the Nursery was built on land that was part of a plantation the people at the time called “Keaton Place”. That plantation’s beginning and ending are unknown to me.

-Likewise, Clio’s Nursery begins at an unknown date, but would have been in operation by at least 1778. I don’t think NCPedia’s listing for it is entirely accurate.
I wholeheartedly believe that the name of the school came before the community was ever called by the same name. Naming an institution of higher learning after a classical figure from mythology with ties to history seems more than apropos.
The location and building change over the course of the years, being at one time along Snow Creek, and called “Clio’s Nursery” in the early years, and in later times would also be known as “Clio Academy”. For more on this, see the sources page that will be linked at the bottom of this article.
It’s unknown how these various iterations of the school are related.
According to one article from 1875, the original academy building burned in 1787. The son of a “Col. John Walker” and a “negro belonging to John Sharp” were charged with the arson, and were eventually deemed not “innocent”, but “not proven guilty”.

-In 1879 the church is chartered, and building started. The completion date is unknown.

-In 1883 the community gets a post office, which is based out of J.W. Hager’s store.

-The church was completed at an unknown date and finally dedicated in 1892.

After this, there seems to be no great changes. Hager’s store continues, and he is installed as a deacon in the church. A position he keeps until he moves away to Stony Point. I would assume his store is sold, shuttered, or taken up by family if it was still open for business.
There are various articles in the local papers through the years about anniversary celebrations at the church, mentions of it and the academy in obituaries, but it seems to slowly disappear from the collective consciousness. In 2011, the church is closed for good.
The community that was once called Clio gets simply swallowed up by Statesville’s limits, and today even the church (if it still had an address) would be listed in Statesville. All that remains is an empty church building and a small dirt road called Clio Lane.


I hope this article isn’t the muddled mess for you, the reader that it seems to me. If it is, it’s only because the actual story I’ve tried to discover is just as hazy. With that in mind, I’m including many of my sources on a separate page, just as I did for the Trivette Clinic.

You can see many of my sources here.

In addition, the original papers that catapulted me into this search can be found on the ephemera page.

Also, if you would like to see more pictures of the church, it will have it’s own page and will be linked from the locations page.



The 130th Anniversary of the Bostian Bridge Train Wreck.

A grim anniversary today, as 130 years ago one of Statesville’s worst disasters was playing out.

Early in the morning of August 27th, 1891, just outside of Statesville proper, a train derailed and fell off a railway bridge.

All photos of the wreck on this page via the State Archives of North Carolina

To this day, no one really knows the cause, but when the dust settled and everything was accounted for, 22 people had died.
The event became fertile ground for a “ghost train” story, and tales of a phantom locomotive began to circulate locally. These of course follow a familiar pattern of urban legends all across the country, and much like the Munchkinland story, seem copied and pasted from other urban legeneds with only small details changed to make the story locally relevant.

The Statesville Record & Landmark has a fairly thorough write up on the incident published today for anyone interested in the actual details of the event.

I will say that I went out to the tracks on the anniversary once many years ago, well before the young man “ghost hunting” was killed there. I don’t believe in “ghost trains”, but I was curious to see if anyone still kept the anniversary.
Sure enough, before dark, people began gathering along the roadway in front of the bridge, (many even from out of state) all hoping to catch a glimpse or hear a sound related to the spectral engine and it’s fall from the bridge.
That night people clambered up the embankment to walk along the track in the dark with various paraphernalia related to ghost hunting. Their endeavors were ultimately cut short by repeated blasts from a train horn.
While many cheered, many others realized what this meant, and those on the bridge quickly made their way back to solid ground, some just in time to see an actual train lumber across the span. As it turns out, Norfolk Southern still uses the line, and no doubt knows about the anniversary.
One has to wonder if that night in 2010 when the 29 year old man was killed if it’s possible a new crew was conducting the engine across the bridge and didn’t know about the likelihood of people being on the tracks, or else, simply forgot.
Whatever the case, it wasn’t many years later that his death was added to the list of those killed on the bridge, and that second tragedy became part of the oral ghost story that passes from person to person in the area.

Though I haven’t been there myself since the anniversary night I went, I would assume the Iredell County Sheriffs Department probably keeps people away from the bridge these days. Surely I would not suggest going at night and risking life and limb in the dark climbing the track.
But if you would like to visit the bridge, it’s best seen in the daytime and can just be spotted from Buffalo Shoals road where it passes over Third Creek, near the landscape supply business.