Published October 24, 2019
Reprinted from the Interim Archives, Winter 2004/ 2005
In the Spring 2004 Interim we reported a mysterious gravestone found up in the woods above the Fair Pavilion. The name wasn’t completely legible. We turned to the F & W Community for help! Former Sheriff Sam Frank had some excellent suggestions. Andy White put us on the scent, remembering something about an old SAM prank. Then Bruce Ergood, former SAM director and TL staff revealed the rest of the story . . .
The Mystery of Mad Morgan’s Grave Stone
It all started with Ken Webb. He created mad Morgan, his Potato Patch, his adventures. And all of us believed he really had existed. Ken created for us a reality that – whether true or not – lived in us.
One afternoon we had just finished learning whitewater canoeing skills on the Ottaquechee (probably Otter Creek) near the Marble Company dam just west of Rutland, and were carrying our canoes to the trailer. As we passed a wall made of discarded gravestones which were either imperfectly cut or with poorly engraved lettering, I noticed a stone which read:
______ent US Navy.
And a light turned on. One of my SAM counselors and I quietly returned to the wall once the campers were tucked into the van, and surreptitiously carry the imperfect stone back to the van, tucking it into the canoe trailer. Once the camp was asleep for the night, the counselor (I can’t remember my co-conspirators name. Probably Pittman Floyd) and I drove down to the fairgrounds, walked up into the woods, dug a foot deep hole, and set the stone inside. We were careful to tamp the ground and strew leaves around the newly planted gravestone so it looked like it had been there for a while.
Several nights later, I told a campfire story of Mad Morgan’s alleged Naval service, the rumored account of his death and the return of his body to Plymouth for burial. I noticed that no one I knew had ever seen his grave. And I wondered aloud whether or not he had been buried near Woodward Reservoir inside of his beloved Hills.
The following week we planned an all-Camp game of Capture the Flag with TL down by the fairgrounds. And wouldn’t you know, by some stroke of fate or luck, about half hour into the game we heard shouts of excited campers, running up to the lodge, calling “we found it we found it!” Several counselors and I ran to meet them. “We found Mad Morgan’s Grave!!” they burst out. And with all due respect, we replied, “Are you sure? How do you know?” “Come on down and we’ll show you.” And we did, and they did. And to this day, unless grave robbers have- dare I say- whisked away the stone, it still rises 10 inches above the ground down in the woods above the fairgrounds.
In tribute to Bruce Ergood, who passed away earlier this year and whose camp pranks were legendary.
Editor’s Note: Sam Arfer and I spent a lovely afternoon searching for the gravestone. Alas! The stone eluded us and we found nothing but gorgeous scenery. In the interest of this article, I took a photo of an old cinderblock and doctored the photo to say “Morgan” but the real stone is out there somewhere . . . or is it? -HR
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