Catawba County News
Haunted Catawba: First Citizens Bank Newton
Published: October 21, 2022
Former Site of the Adam Gross Hotel, First Citizens Bank ,11 S College Ave, Newton, NC 28658
(Boiled Corpse Plot)
The Adam Gross hotel was the site of a gruesome plot hatched by a couple of young doctors and their friends. The issue started with the young Dr. Cobb, possibly Dr. Gaston Cobb from Alamance County. As a new physician, Cobb was in need of a skeleton for his office because it was seen as a necessity for anyone practicing medicine in the mid-1800s. Dr. Cobb and his friends had heard a story that a local man had choked to death on cabbage while drunk and had recently been buried in a nearby cemetery.
Knowing this information and with a dire need for an office skeleton, Dr. Cobb and his associates leapt into action. The group met at Dr. Cobb’s place of residence, at the time was the Adam Gross hotel, and hatched their plan to steal the body of the recently deceased. According to a letter in the July 28th, 1889 Newton Enterprise the body that was stolen after his interment was a Newton local named Steven Richardson. It is currently unknown which cemetery Mr. Richardson was interred during that time.
After imbibing a fair amount of whisky the young doctor’s party exhumed Mr. Richardson and tossed him over the saddle of a horse ridden by one of the party members. The group made their way to a vacant house on Goshen Hill, where the group boiled the body until the flesh was removed and so obtained Dr. Cobb’s office skeleton.
Later Dr. Cobb married a Newton woman and moved to Fort Mill, SC to continue practicing medicine until his own death. It is unknown whether Mr. Richardson’s skeleton also moved to SC with the couple or stayed behind in Newton.
To learn more about this story, visit the local history room at the Main Library in Newton.