From Ohio History Central
Moonville was a small railroad and mining community in Vinton County, Ohio.
In 1856, Samuel Coe gave the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad permission to construct a railroad line across his property. Coe hoped that the line would then provide him an easy means to ship coal and clay that was located on his property. The railroad accepted the offer for two principal reasons. First, Coe offered the land for free, and second, Coe's land would provide a more direct route for the track from Marietta to Cincinnati.
Moonville soon originated on Coe's land. It is believed that the community was named for a local storeowner, a Mr. Moon. Moonville principally housed miners and a few railroad workers. At its peak in the late 1800s, the town boasted approximately one hundred residents. Over succeeding decades, the community declined, especially during the early 1900s as coal deposits were no longer available. In 1947, the final family left Moonville, making the community a ghost town. Today, only the foundation of the old schoolhouse, a train tunnel, and the community cemetery remain. Not even the railroad track that helped the community form exists. In 1887, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad acquired the Marietta and Cincinnati Railroad. In 1973, the track through Moonville became part of the Chessie System. In 1986, Chessie abandoned this portion of the line, and in 1988, the track was removed. Today, portions of this railroad line are being converted into walking and biking trails.
Despite being abandoned in the 1940s, Moonville still remains well known, principally due to the purported presence of ghosts. Believers contend that at least three ghosts haunt Moonville. The most famous ghost purportedly was a miner or railroad worker who was struck by a train in the Moonville tunnel in the 1920s. Reportedly, numerous people have seen this ghost, who is waving a red lantern, hoping to signal the oncoming train to stop. Another rumored ghost is a conductor or brakeman, who was decapitated while riding on a train through Moonville. The final ghost is purportedly a woman who was struck by a train during the first decade of the 1900s.
- Howe, Henry. Historical Collections of Ohio in Two Volumes. Vol. II. Cincinnati, OH: C.J. Krehbiel & Co., Printers and Binders, 1902.