Lecture series to start

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Two infamous trials from the past will come to life this February, through the first in a series of presentations through the Great Stone Viaduct Society as the group launches its winter lecture series.

The first event will be held at 6 p.m. Feb. 7 in the basement of St. Mary Church in St. Clairsville. The two presentations will include Belmont County Common Pleas Judge Frank Fregiato’s summation of the case of a notorious killer who met his end by hanging.

“My presentation will primarily be on Thomas Carr, who was hung in Belmont County, right here in St. Clairsville, in 1870 — the first and only execution in Belmont County, Ohio,” Fregiato said. “We’re excited about this event.”

He added that Carr was convicted of the murder of 14-year-old Louisa Fox, his fiancee.

“We’re going to discuss the surroundings of that, and also three basic mysteries,” Fregiato said, adding that he will discuss where the hanging occurred, the location of Carr’s unmarked grave and the story of John Waye, the judge of the case.

“He came to an interesting end, which kind of pulls the story together,” Fregiato said.

He said murder of Fox occurred near Hendrysburg in an area that today is known as Egypt Valley.

“There’s a stone there and a memorial,” Fregiato said, adding that Fox’s grave is in a cemetery nearby. Fregiato described the research that has gone into presenting the facts surrounding this case.

“This was very exciting to research this. It was very exciting that we went to the various cemeteries and the various location to find information on this. We did a ton of reading on newspapers around the 1870 era, not only in the local Belmont County area, but also in Marietta, Cambridge, Columbus, a lot of newspapers,” Fregiato said.

Meanwhile, Daniel L. Frizzi Jr., a local attorney, will make a presentation on Judge Robert Chambers and a case in 1872 concerning the ownership of the current Bellaire Public Park, which had been in dispute for many years.

“It was ultimately decided back in the 1870s. That case ultimately went all the way up to the Ohio Supreme Court to be decided. It was appealed from the Belmont County Common Pleas Court all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, and the individuals who were involved in the case were very prominent individuals here in Belmont County,” Frizzi said.

These people included John H. Sullivan, former president of the Central Ohio Railroad; John H. Heaton, former editor of the St. Clairsville Gazette; William G. Barnard and Benjamin Rush Cowen, business leaders.

“This is part of the Winter Lecture Series hosted by the Great Stone Viaduct Society in Bellaire,” Erica Keller, society chairwoman, said, pointing out the importance of informing the public about the local area’s roots and history. “This is our sixth year. We host local historians and local authorities on different topics, and they lecture on their specific subject.”

The presentation will be free of charge. There will be a total of eight events, held on Wednesdays. Ed Mowrer, vice chairman, said a large crowd is expected. The other events will be held at the Bellaire Public Library, with the exception one that will be held at Ohio University Eastern’s Shannon Hall at 6 p.m. March 7.