As this time of the year approaches, it puts us in a festive mood to listen and hear spooky stories and listen to tales of ghosts. Being located in Pennsylvania we have no lack of such stories. It has even gone as far that Pennsylvania was voted the most haunted state. The most familiar haunted grounds would probably be the Gettysburg battlefields, but it is always interesting to hear stories about local paranormal activity. One story that we have to share with you is the story of Moll Derry better known as “The Witch of The Monongahela”.
Moll or Mollie Derry was born in Germany around 1760 and came to what would become the United States during the Revolutionary war. Her husband served in the British Army, but they would end up deserting and joining up with the Colonial forces in what would become Charleston, West Virginia. After the war they would go to settle in what would become Bedford County and after some years they would go to settle in Fayette County just south of Uniontown. The couple lived off of the countryside, and Moll’s husband, Valentine was a great hunter, but salt and other provisions were hard to find so she had to pick up some form of employment. Legend has it that she was a local fortuneteller and healer. She helped many of the locals with any issue they may have from lost items to livestock issues to sickness.
One of the better-known stories about Moll was one where a young woman named Pollie Williams came to her to hear her fortune. Much to her dismay Moll told her to beware the man who was her fiancé at the time saying that it would be the end of her. Pollie ignored Moll’s advice and she would go on to be murdered by her husband throwing her off of the White Rocks near Fairchance in Fayette County.
Even though Moll was well respected in the area as a kind and caring person she was not one to be angered or taken advantage of. One other story about Moll was where a few locals were mocking and tormenting Moll. She told them that if they did not stop they would face a death by hanging as their fate. They did not stop and they were all later found hung as Moll said. There are other stories involving livestock perishing and other things along those lines, but the story of the three men is one of the better-known tales.
Moll would go on to live in the age for the remainder of her days until she passed away in 1843 at an old age of 83. She had at least five children as well, many of who would move out of the area. Moll would go down remembered as a kind hearted witch however, and most people referred to her as a healer instead of a witch. This is probably because of all the good things she had done for the locals. Moll’s cabin stood in Georges Township in Fayette County. It is likely that some of her descendants still live in western Pennsylvania, and perhaps Moll’s spirit still roams the grounds.