The spirit of little Annie Conner is said to haunt Cry Baby Bridge near Tulls Corner in Marion Station, MD. People have heard the faint sound of what sounds like a child crying when all is quiet by the bridge. Annie Conner drowned near this spot in 1875 when a cart she was riding in was cast into East Creek by a horse that was spooked by lightning.
Annie Florence Conner was born on December 10, 1871. One July morning she and her mother were riding to in a wagon on what is now called LQ Powell Road. They were coming from the direction of St. Paul’s Church toward their home in Tulls Corner. It started to rain and just as the horse was pulling the cart over the bridge that crossed East Creek – formerly called “Mill Dam Bridge” a large clap of thunder spooked the horse and it reared up. The wagon was overturned and fell into the rushing waters. The waters quickly carried little Annie downstream and he mother couldn’t reach her. Annie was just 3 years old.
According to the newspaper, they didn’t find any that day. It was over 24 hours before her little body washed up way down the creek.
For over 100 years folks have talked about how you can hear a cry in the distance when you stand on this bridge (now protected with guardrails). Some say it sounds light a loud cry that stops abruptly as if someone drowned. But I’ve heard commentary as recently as last year that people fishing on the bridge at night heard a loud cry – the cry of a child. The lights in the house nearby were off and the trailers that sit along the creek there were vacant at the time. It was disturbing.
Double Sorrow for the Conner Family
One year after this terrible accident, Annie’s mother, Eliza Conner gave birth to a little boy. They named his Charles Wesley. On August 22, 1883 when Charles was just 7 years old, he was killed by the shafts of horse cart that had been suspended in the air above where little Charles was standing. The shafts broke loose and fell on the little boy, crushing his skull.
Despite the tragic deaths of two of their children, Nathan and Eliza Conner went on to raise a large family of seven children who reached adulthood. They gave part of their farm to build Quindocqua Methodist Church and the shadowy ruined remains of their old farmhouse still sits in the same old spot, just a short distance from Cry Baby Bridge where the cries of their little Annie are said to still be heard.
Annie Haunts Me – Coincidences Abound
The first bus tour I ever conducted was of Somerset County. The one official ghost story I found in a book was called the Ghost of Mill Dam Bridge. I found a corresponding ghost story in the Nabb Research Center’s folklore collection – same story – same place, only it was called Cry Baby Bridge. I only had the information that a child had died long ago and people heard the cries. I had no information on what year the child died or who the child was . I was even suspicious about the story having any substances because “Cry Baby Bridge” is the title of an urban legend. It’s like the “hitch-hiker” and “the lady in white” and the girl hearing scratching on the car roof after the boyfriend leaves the stalled vehicle for help and then finds out that his severed head is on the top of the vehicle. These same stories are in every state in America.
But since I found two unrelated accounts, I decided to put Cry Baby Bridge on the tour.
On that first tour, a guest told me that she’d heard the story before (no surprise), but she sent me an email after the tour saying that she checked with her aunt and knew details about the incident and the name of the child – Annie Conner.
Annie’s relative was on my bus.
I went to the Crisfield Library and checked out the book on Quindocqua, by Woodrow T. Wilson – a Somerset historian / genealogist – who grew up near the old Conner homestead. I found a lot of info about Annie and her brother Charles and her parents. I took notes on dates of birth and death. I wanted to mark the page with her information on it so I pulled out the little “return by” card from the library pocket on the back cover. I noticed the date book was due back was July 29th.
My book was due on the date of Annie’s death.
It was four years before I did another bus tour of Somerset and while I was preparing my tour using many books on Somerset County. I was including graveyards and was telling the story of Vance Miles (the spirit who haunts my house) and thought that it would be nice to know about the other Vance’s relatives in the surrounding graves. I reached for my copy of The Thirty-four Families of Old Somerset –another book by Wilson, and opened to a random page – p.258. There was a family picture on the page – the Conner family – Nathan and Eliza and five of their seven children. And there was a picture of the old house in Tulls Corner.
Eliza and Nathan are in the center of the first row. Clockwise starting at lower left is eldest daughter Mollie, Ralph, Sallie, Nathan S., Bernice, William and Ruth.
Eliza was only 66 years old when she died. Nathan was 68. He died on a Wednesday – February 7th and Eliza followed him in death 3 days later on February 10th.