Buckley House

A truly tragic series of events occurred in 1881 in the picturesque cottage which now serves as the Buckley House Bed and Breakfast. At least one earthbound spirit is said to haunt the house to this day because of the circumstance of his death, and the heartache he experienced before taking his own life.

His name was William New Kim, and he was a Chinese immigrant to the United States who was sponsored as a missionary student at a preparatory academy in Marietta by Maria Morgan Woodbridge. He was even given a room to live in at the Woodbridge House, 332 Front Street. And it was here that his problems started.

First of all, he fell in love, which is never good for your emotional well-being. The object of New Kim's affection was a chambermaid, Sophia Hoff, who worked in the Woodbridge home. They pledged their love to each other and probably ended up bumping uglies, which meant to New Kim that they were man and wife. Unfortunately, the Woodbridges had her sent to Cincinnati, but Hoff and New Kim kept up a regular correspondence and even managed to make the trip to see each other from time to time.

Things were fine until Mrs. Woodbridge discovered the love letters. She asked the pastor of the First Congregational Church nearby to have a talk with New Kim. He counseled the young Chinese man about sin, the devil, hell, and all that cheerful Christian stuff. By the time the pastor was done with him, New Kim was monumentally depressed.

The next day after school, he bought a bottle of chloroform at the pharmacy on his way home from work. Then he dressed himself for burial and killed himself with it, either by inhaling an overdose or actually drinking the stuff. Either way, he was found dead the next day in his bed in what was probably the middle upstairs room at the Woodbridge House.

He was buried beneath a unique headstone just north of the chapel at Oak Grove Cemetery. His epitaph is written in three languages: English, Chinese, and Latin. It reads:

William New Kim surrendered his life at Marietta, O.,
Nov. 7 1881. Aged 26 Years.

"I shall not wholly die;
what's best of me shall escape the tomb."

Though New Kim's earthly remains have lain beneath this gray pillar for well over a century, his presence has not yet vacated the premises at 332 Front Street. The owners of the bed and breakfast claim to have seen and heard strange things, including creaking on the stairs and the floorboards when no one is there to make the noises. Dogs shun the middle bedroom upstairs, which is the one with the most "negative vibrations." It's believed by many that this was William New Kim's bedroom, and that it was here that he took his life one November day in 1881.



Cartmell, Connie. Ghosts of Marietta. Marietta: Marty's Print Shop, 1996.