Near Fairchance, in Fayette County, there's a precipice called White Rock. It's a lover's leap where New Salem's 18 year old Polly Williams met her doom in 1810, according to centuries-old local lore.
The story goes that a neighborhood rich dude, Phillip Rodgers, had promised to take her as his wife, but kept putting her off. Wanting to become an honest woman, Polly pressed the issue. He finally told her to see him at the top of White Rock late one night.
It was their favorite meeting spot, but when their last conversation there was overheard, in bits and pieces through the evening breeze, it wasn't lovers cooing, but an argument about their wedding.
Some versions say that the debate ended when he pushed her to her death; others claim she jumped in frustration at Rodger's betrothal betrayal. Deep scratches in the stone from her fingers supposedly remain along the edge of the sandstone cliff.
The next day, her father found her body on the rocks of White Rock Hollow below, shattered after plunging 60 feet through the air. Rodgers took off and joined the army.
But he returned to the scene of the crime after the war, according to one version, and filled with remorse over William's fate, took the leap himself as told in Charles Skinner's Myths and Legends of Our Own Land.
In Ceane O'Hanlon-Lincoln's yarn, written up in County Chronicles, the cad Rodgers was tried in court and found innocent, since no one could prove whether he actually did the dirty deed or she leaped to her own demise.
Her grave is located in Little White Rock's Methodist Cemetery on Hopwood-Fairchance Road, and its epitaph reads:
Behold with pity you that pass by
Here do the bones of Polly Williams lie
Who was cut off in tender bloom
By a vile wretch, her pretended groom."
Not much doubt about which story the locals bought into, hey? But the tale wasn't quite over. It's said Polly still haunts the cliff, searching for her lover, through its fog and mist. Even in the afterlife, she won't rest until she's wearing that diamond ring.
A reader posted that "White Rocks is now owned by the Pennsylvania DCNR. It is State land open to the public. There is an access gate across from the Little Whiterock Church. No parking though, so park across at the cemetery, and you can also see Polly's gravesite."
White Rock has always ben a fairly popular site for rock hounds & hikers, so feel free to take a climb and see if Polly is still looking for love.