Elizabeth Polly

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Elizabeth Polly (?-1867) was a hospital matron at Fort Hays, Kansas during the cholera outbreak of 1867, died of the disease and it is reputed her ghost is still seen walking the area.

History[edit]

She was the young wife of Ephriam Polly, the Hospital Steward or male nurse during the cholera epidemic at Fort Hays in 1867. Elizabeth was the hospital matron that helped sick and dying soldiers deal with what was for many, the final hours of their lives. In the evening she would often walk to the hill south of the fort, now known as Sentinel Hill, where she supposedly found some comfort and spiritual healing.

When it was apparent that she had contracted the disease herself, she pleaded with her husband that he bury her on top of the hill. She was buried on the hill, though not at the top. According to the legend, her gravesite was marked with four heavy limestone posts. These posts were stolen by thieves in the early days of Hays, Kansas. The legend claims that tragedy found each of the thieves in the hours after the theft. One was felled in a gunfight, two killed in a carriage accident, and the other was hit by a train.

Sadly, due to the thefts, her exact gravesite has long been lost. Some contend that the grave found at the base of the hill was not Polly, but rather a Mexican cattleman, due to the marker's Spanish inscription. In fact the "Lonely Grave," as it is called, may not be an actual burial site at all as no remains were found in attempts to fulfill Miss Polly's wishes by moving her to the top of the hill. This is also refuted because the actual Sentinel Hill is completely made of bedrock, therefore making it a highly unlikely burial ground. Multiple attempts to locate her exact burial site have been made, and surprisingly, multiple bodies have been exhumed, but none have been conclusively determined to be that of Elizabeth Polly.

Blue Light Lady[edit]

To most people who live in Hays, she is known as the "Blue Light Lady." Her spirit is said to still walk the hill looking to comfort her soldiers. Many people have made attempts to witness her spirit first-hand. Some have claimed that she has appeared wearing a blue, prairie-style dress and bonnet while others claim that she is a misty blue light. Other people have claimed that while waiting at the top of the hill for Elizabeth's spirit to arrive, footsteps have been heard walking up the hill and suddenly disappearing at top, yet nobody else was to be found around the hill.

One specific case happened in 1950 when a police officer radioed a report to dispatch that he had just hit a woman dressed in blue not far from the hill. He then quickly exited his car and searched for a body. None was ever found.

Memorials[edit]

Today, there is a monument to her on the top of Sentinel Hill that was put there in 1967. There is also a park in her name[1] located in Hays, Kansas, dedicated in 1982, that also includes a statue figure.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Elizabeth Polly Park