GHOSTS OF HARNETT COUNTY
Two spirits are said to walk the banks of the Cape Fear River near Erwin in Harnett County.
The first is that of Matthew Smiley. A man of a quiet and gentle nature. His father was a man of
prominence in the county, so much so that a rapids of the Cape Fear is named for him.
One day Matthew sitting as his table, was shot dead. After an investigation of the murder no suspect
had been identified along with no known reason for the murder. Shortly after Matthew was buried, citizens
of the area reported seeing a glowing figure of a man walking along the mountain ridge as if looking for
something or someone. To this day, there are reported sightings of Matthew.
Another ghost said to be walking the area is that of "Red" Neil McNeill. Red was a huge man, 6' 5' worth,
with red hair. A very personable Scot who made an impession upon many people. Red spent numerous hours fishing,
and trapping game with his friend Archie Buie.
In the late 1760's Red fell victim to the 'fever'. He asked Archie to bury him in the cemetary at the foot
of Smiley Hill which is located across the river. At last Red succumbed to the fever, but the Cape Fear has
risen to high that Archie could not cross it. Archie buried his friend, Red, in a shallow grave on the
eastern side of the hill.
Red was not happy with this situation, his ghost is said to of walked the banks of the Cape Fear, pointing
to the other side. The Cape Fear flooded in 1865. After the waters had receded, local townspeople found Red's
coffin which had been unearthed and had been washed up on the western side of the Cape Fear, near Smiley Hill.
At last Red reached his desired resting place. Source: Gail Shearin
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