Bet on hogwash.
No one seems to know how or when the legend of the warlock’s grave, a very large grave in a small, mostly forgotten cemetery at Ridge Rd. and University Dr. in Goshen Township, got started.
But middle-aged Tuscarawas Countians can tell you that they visited the graveyard in their youth. The legend also is told on several Internet sites, and the cemetery has attracted visitors from around the state.
Legend has it that a warlock – “one that breaks faith, the Devil,” according to Merriam-Webster dictionary – was buried in the grave in 1875.
His body supposedly was buried with his head cut off and placed at his feet. Every year his head supposedly inches closer to his body. When the two get back together, the warlock will come back to life.
The Times-Reporter tracked down a descendant, but he declined to comment. The descendant, as well as others, have said they would like the story to be forgotten. There is no documented evidence that the story is true.
Vandalism, meanwhile, has scarred the cemetery. The “warlock’s” headstone is broken into pieces. Stones are scattered on the ground. Other smaller headstones in the cemetery also are broken.
A sign on the cemetery calls the area “Ridge Road (Rehobeth) Cemetery” and reads that it was established in 1836. The Rehobeth Church stood by the cemetery from 1850 until 1877.
Goshen Township Trustees Bill Miller and Glenn Carlisle, who maintain the cemetery, don’t seem to know much about the warlock legend, but there is ample evidence of footprints and tire tracks that show the grave still is visited. A few candles and plastic flowers were placed there recently. The trustees contemplated putting a larger fence around the cemetery to keep people out of the area.
Little is known about the man in the grave. His name is known by few and at least four of his relatives also are buried in the cemetery. A history book says that he donated the land for Rehobeth Church.