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Monday, July 2, 2012

The Oyster Creek Ghost by John Allwright

This story comes from Fort Bend County Ghost Stories II by John Allwright (1990).  The author was a native of Fort Bend County and a published local historian.  He died in 2005. Here’s an obituary.

I haven't changed any of his story, but I'm sure he's referring to Oyster Creek when he says 'lake.'  Oddly enough, I think I have photos of the diving structure.  Here they are.

Note the wooden tower in front of the tree.  I assume the camera is located on Dam #1, or Cook's Dam as some people referred to it.

The tower has been floated out into the Creek.  I believe the camera is looking northwest.  If I'm correct, Constellation Energy Park (where the Skeeters play) is on the land at the right.

The swimming parties in Allwright's story must have looked something like this.
“Oyster Creek Ghost”
When we were in high school, we used to go see some girls in Sugar Land. They took us swimming in a lake back of where Nalco Chemical is located. There was just a dirt trail leading up to the lake. Some evenings when we went to Sugar Land, we would go to the general store and buy everything to make a picnic lunch. The second summer that we went to Sugar Land swimming, someone built a frame structure on the bank of the lake. We would climb up the structure and jump off in the lake.

The swimming lake was on Imperial Sugar property. There was no Highway 6. The dirt trail was the other side of farm foreman Schumann’s house. The Harlem prison buildings and Harlem prison farm land joined the Sugar Land farm land. This was during the period of 1928 through 1932.

A convict escaped from Harlem prison #1. He was making his way through the Sugar Land property. The convict saw the wooden structure and climbed to the top to look toward the prison to see if the guards and dogs were on his trail. He saw no one any place, so he relaxed and rested on the top of the diving structure which was on the very edge of the lake.

The convict slipped and fell in the water. He could not swim so he drowned. The convict’s ghost stayed at the diving structure. Every month on the date he drowned you could see his ghost jumping from the diving structure. Needless to say, this eliminated our swimming and picnicking at the lake.