Sallie Dean Murder

The people in the town of Denton seemed to used to like to take matters in their own hands when it came to justice. Their infamous cases of murder and misconduct with Jim Wilson and Wish Shepard are two of the most known cases the Denton prison has been involved in. The third, and most talked about, was the murder of Sallie Dean.

Not far from Denton, Maryland is a small town called Harmony. In 1895 this small quiet town was shook by a horrific murder. On March 26, 14 year old Sallie Dean left for school, taking her usual route walking to school. She was usually accompanied by her friend, James Corkran, but he did not go to school with her that day. When her mother met to pick her up from school, she learned that Sallie never made it there. Her family immediately searched for her on her path to school. They found her in the woods near her route with her throat slashed.

Whoever murdered Sallie did not finish what they intended. Sallie had a bruise on her head from being hit, and was in a position of being pinned down. It looked like the murderer had attempted to rape her but panicked and made a quick decision to kill her instead. Detectives from Denton were called in and the search for her killer began. Locals insisted on helping with the investigation. Marshall Price, a local 23 year old blacksmith, was the most willing to help. Detectives appreciated the assistance at first but Price seemed to know a lot of details to the point he became a suspect. Price started claiming to have dreams of the murder and even found the murder weapon based off of his dream. Price was finally arrested on April 5th when his alibi put him in the woods at the time of the murder.

Price denied everything in the beginning. Eventually his story changed and he claimed that he witnessed U.G. Corkran, older brother to Sallie’s friend James, murdered her in the woods. Price later changed his story again and said he was an accomplice of Corkran and that Corkran was going to rape Sallie. According to Price, Corkran hit her upside the head with a rock and then slit her throat. They both then tried to bury her and left. Corkran denied all of these allegations against him. In the several days following however, Price finally broke down and confessed to the murder of Sallie. He hoped that he would get a lesser sentence since he did not molest or rape her. Price was moved to a Baltimore City prison until his trial, for fear of a lynching mob.

On April 30 Marshall Price stood trial. He originally was sentenced to hanging but since he gave a full confession and did not rape Sallie, his sentence was lessened. The community was outraged. Price plead to be kept in Baltimore prison but was denied. On July 2nd around 11 pm an angry mob arrived at the Denton jail. The sheriff tried to protect Price but was held at gunpoint to allow 5 masked men to take him. Some claims say that the mob beat and dragged Price before hanging him, others say he was only hung. He was hung from a tree behind the courthouse. Price was buried in Denton Cemetery a few days later.

Of course afterwards strange stories started to circulate the town. The 5 masked men that hung him apparently all died horrible deaths shortly after the lynching. One was burned to death, another hit by lightning and one also drowned. The tree that he was hung from also died shortly after, as well as a tree next to his grave! People claimed to have seen Marshall Price dancing on his grave on a full moon.

Sallie Dean’s house also has had reports of paranormal activity. When Sallie’s body was found she apparently was brought back to her home and laid on the floor. In the mid to late 1980s, owners of the house claim that there is always a stain on the floor from her blood. They placed almost an inch of new wood over the old floor to install new carpet. Years later when they went to replace the carpet they found the new floor now had the blood stain on it. Other strange incidences occur in the house such as seeing figures on the steps, strange odors, a mirror being moved and windows being opened. Since then current owners say the home has quieted down.

Resources

Burgoyne, M. (2009). Haunted Eastern Shore: Ghostly Tales from East of the Chesapeake. The History Press.

Hurst, D. (2014). Living in Harmony: An Eastern Shore Village Redeems Discord. Author House Publishing. Bloomington IN.

Rasmussen, F. (2011). Murderer Was Lynched on Eastern Shore in 1895 [Electronic Version]. The Baltimore Sun retrieved http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2011-10-29/news/bs-md-backstory-lynching30-20111028_1_murderer-judge-lynch-eastern-shore.