The name “Dead Woman’s Crossing” is one that you hope is just a colorful name for a normal looking place but in this instance the all-too-literal name comes from a very real incident.
On July 7, 1905 a 29-year-old woman named Katy DeWitt James boarded a train with her 14-month-old baby Lulu Belle on her way to visit her cousin. She had filed for a divorce from her abusive husband the previous day and when her father bade her farewell at the train station he fully expected to hear from her upon her arrival. Weeks went by without a word from Katy and her father hired detective Sam Bartell to locate his daughter and granddaughter.
What Bartell uncovered was unsettling. Rather than get off the train and meet her cousin, Katy instead got off in Weatherford with a notorious prostitute named Fannie Norton. Witnesses reported seeing Norton take Katy and the baby for a ride near Deer Creek for just under an hour before returning with just baby Lulu, who she left at a farm before fleeing. When Norton was finally found by Bartell she was taken into custody where she poisoned herself after being questioned. The following August a man who was fishing with his son along Deer Creek found a fully clothed skeleton under a wooden wagon crossing. The skull lay three feet away with a bullet just behind the right ear and a .38 caliber gun was found nearby, it was concluded that the body belonged to Katy DeWitt James and was left there after Norton killed her the month beforehand.
The wooden crossing where Katy’s body was found was torn down 80 years later but a concrete bridge was built nearby and was quickly dubbed with the tragic moniker of Dead Woman’s Crossing.
Know Before You Go
Take I-40 exit 84, north 1/2 mile to stop sign, 1/4 mile east, north on blacktop 1/2 mile to bridge/crossing.