Mystery of work near 'Black Widow' victims' grave site solved

Each of Elizabeth Routt's seven husbands died mysteriously and was buried at a site near her home.
Each of Elizabeth Routt's seven husbands died mysteriously and was buried at a site near her home.

If you live near Hazel Green, you may know the spooky tale of the "Black Widow." Not a spider, but a woman whose seven husbands all died under mysterious circumstances. Pieces of the graveyard where the men are buried still remain today.

Many viewers saw work crews in the area and wondered about possible renovations. Others heard rumors of a school or new construction on the site, so we brought those concerns to the county.

Even when the skies are blue and the sun is shining, folks say this property, sitting about a mile east of Hazel Green, can send shivers up the spine. Gravestones from centuries ago sit guarding the site where an old plantation home once stood. It is said to have belonged to one Elizabeth Routt.

"She was a widow a lot of the times because her husband just didn't last long," explained Madison County Commissioner Roger Jones. "Within about a year or so, something mysterious happened to them. The tale I've heard is they would be buried out back and their hat hang on a nail at the back door."

Not much is left of the homestead, and the gravestones show their age. "A lot of these old cemeteries have been vandalized and haven't been kept up as they should," said Jones.

Jones said the property is privately owned, however he said there are no plans to build or redevelop the home. He said any crew seen working in the area was just clearing old trees and debris, allowing for easier access to the cotton fields.

But no matter what the site becomes in the future, those who believe the story of the Black Widow said the past will always remain.

"I don't know if that is a true story or not, but it makes for a good story for a haunted house," Jones remarked.

You can learn more about the life and legend of Elizabeth Routt from this account on and this blog post.

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