Lake Shawnee Amusement Park

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Princeton, West Virginia, 1783-

Mitchell Clay and his 13 children found some land and decided to build their home there. People familiar with this slice of history say that he truly may not have realized that his new land had been a Shawnee Native American trading post and burial ground; Mitchell may have honestly believed he was the first person there. Either way, this was a deadly mistake, the Shawnee were not happy that their sacred grounds were suddenly inhabited. They quickly decided to do something about it, and Mitchell’s children would pay the price.

*All photos courtesy of YouTube

Young Tabitha Cole was attacked as she was washing clothes in the river, while her brothers Ezekiel and Bartley were taken from a field where they were playing. The Shawnee stabbed and scalped Tabitha and Bartley; Ezekiel was taken to Chillicothe, Ohio, where he was promptly burnt at the stake. As soon as Mitchell heard that his children had been captured, he traveled to Chillicothe to save them; tragically he was just a few moments too late. The hysterical father took his children back home to bury, then retaliated by killing several Shawnee.

We’ll skip ahead to 1926, when Conley T. Snidow purchased the land and built Lake Shawnee Amusement Park. It was really a nice place; there were cabins, a dance hall, swimming pool, a lake with canoes and paddle boats, rides like swings and a carousel. It was a very popular destination in it’s heyday, thousands of people spent their hard earned money to vacation here with their families; it was especially loved by coal miners.

Once this place opened, more tragedy ensued. Several people were reported to have died in freak accidents at the park. One little girl was hit by a truck as she swung on the circle swing; another little boy drowned while swimming after getting his hand stuck in a drain pipe, this poor kid was not found until late that night.

By 1966 the owner was forced to shut the place down, there had been too many tragedies. In the 80’s it’s owners planned to use the land as a fun mudding spot, when archaeologists heard of this they decided to excavate the area. They found foods from all over, weapons, beads, all sorts of artifacts, and many, many ancient native corpses. It seems most buried on the land were children who’d passed from malnutrition, anemia, etc. Some of the excavated bodies date back to the 1200’s. The land was not fully excavated, there are believed to be another 3,000 bodies there today, undisturbed.

Lake Shawnee Amusement Park still stands, and is available for visits. The family who owns the property today is more than happy to give tours, and last I checked they open it up every weekend in the month of October. If you go, make sure to have your camera ready. The place is widely reported to be very haunted – many unexplained things happen, and a bloody little girl in a dress can often be seen by the swings which move on their own.


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