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1900 ft. long Spurlington Train Tunnel haunted by ghost?

Spurling Named: "Spurlington was named by the first post master, John Kipsey Spurling," -Mark Phillips, December 24, 2009
Rail line through train tunnel at one time saw four trains a day carrying freight and passengers to Campbellsville and Greensburg. Local legend says slain woman's ghost put a curse on tunnel and any who pass through. (Author, "Indiana" Smith, has explored the tunnel without apparent ill effects.) Some still think Jesse James' Gang's plunder is buried in area

By Larry Smith, WHVE FM 92.7, the Wave
With thanks to Nell Wise for information of historical note

Since I posted the photo of the old Spurlington Train Tunnel on Columbia Magazine I've received numerous comments of facsination as to the historical status of the Tunnel and of the Spurlington community..Here's what I have come up with:

The Spurlington community in Taylor County is located 8 miles north of Campbellsville.

It began as a small settlement of farmers in the 1840's, while Taylor County was still a part of Green County.

Taylor County was created in 1848 and shortly after, work on the rail-line began.

A 31 mile rail-line from Greensburg to Lebanon was created and with the creation came the Spurlington Tunnel.

It took 7 years to build...historians say that the construction date was March 1,1867, and was completed on July 1,1874.

The tunnel excavation was mostly blue limestone with a ledge of black flint. It took the average force of 75 men, 24 hours to go 6 feet into the rock.

The tunnel is 1900 feet long with a 100 foot shaft hole carved out of the middle so the exhaust from the train could be realeased from the tunnel.

The first train came through the tunnel in October of 1879, There were four trains a day to use the rail-system. The train carried passengers and shipments of freight to Taylor and Green Counties.

For more than 100 years the legend of a witch has hovered over the Spurlington Tunnel and her name is Nancy Bass.

Bass, who lived in the small community of Spurlington in the last century is thought to be buried on top of the train tunnel.

People claim "Aunt Nancy" as some called her, may have been related to several prominant families in the settlement had witnessed a group of robbers led by notorious Jessie James were digging a hole to hide some stolen silver and gold that had been taken in a train robbery that occurred in the Cumberland Mountains.

The men noticed that Bass was being a witness to a crime so the James gang robbers killed Bass, burying her body with the treasure somewhere on top of the tunnel,there are no grave markers.

Legend says that Bass has haunted the tunnel and put a curse on anyone who tried to dig up the treasure.

Some still think that the James Gang loot is buried in the vicinity of the tunnel. And, in years past, treasure hunters pitted the ground searching for the alleged fortune.

Note...information in the story has been handed down over the years by the families of the Spurlington area, Thanks to Historian Nell Wise for helping in this article, Wise is a former school teacher in the Taylor County district.

Click here for photo of Spurlington Train Tunnel

Click here for letter from Joe Auker asking about the Spurlington Train Tunnel.

Click here for recent photo of the author.

Click here to verify with your own eyes that "Haunted Places" has Spurlington Tunnel officially listed among Kentucky's haunted places. While there, read about other haunted places in Campbellsville, including the Fine Arts Building at CU, and the Hiestand house. Learn for yourself that the Greensburg Courthouse is haunted. And, we suppose, be relieved that no place in Adair County is officially listed in "Haunted Places."

Information needed: Spurlington is apparently named for a Spurling. Does anyone have information on who? Why? When?

This story was posted on 2007-05-26 05:18:38
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Larry Smith Picture from the Past: Spurlington Trestle

2007-05-26 - Spurlington, north Taylor County, KY - Photo From the Larry Smith collection.
This aerial photo was taken on an early fall day, many years ago. It shows the impressive Spurlington Trestle near the Spurlington tunnel, the focus of the accompanying article by Larry Smith.

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