Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Myrtles Plantation - St. Francisville, Louisiana

In 1796 by General David Bradford built an antebellum style plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana which is located near Baton Rouge.  He named his pride and joy Laurel Grove and moved in with his wife and three children. 
The Myrtles Plantation in the pre-Civil war era

Over time, the children grew and married.  In 1808, General Bradford passed away and his daughter Sara and her husband Clark Woodruff took over management of Laurel Grove for her mother, Elizabeth.  They moved into the plantation and they too raised three children of their own.  The Woodruff's allegedly owned a slave named Chloe.  It is said that Cloe was caught eavesdropping on Mr. Woodruff and his legal dealings, and as punishment her ear was cut off and there was talk of her being returned to the fields to work.  Chole, out of concern for keeping her job in the house, came up with a plan to win the favor of the Woodruff's again, by baking a cake with a touch of oleander in it in hopes that in making the Woodruff's sick, she would care for them and nurse them back to health and in appreciation they would allow her to stay in the house.  Chloe's plan went dreadfully wrong, when only Sara and at least one and maybe another of her children ate the cake and finished it off.  They ingested a higher amount of oleander than Chloe had planned and they died from the poisoning.

After the other slaves on the plantation had found out what Chole had done, the took it upon themselves to administer justice fearing that the owners would take retribution on them all.  They hung Chole from a tree on the grounds until she was dead.  They then threw her body in the Mississippi River.  What would follow for the plantation would be a history of death.

The front veranda of The Myrtles Plantation

Clark and his surviving children moved out of the mansion and sold it in 1834 to Ruffin and Mary Stirling.  It was they who enlarged the plantation and renamed it The Myrtles.  They lived there with their nine children, however five of them died at very early ages while they lived on the plantation.  When Ruffin Stirling passed on, Mary hired William Winter, the husband of one of her surviving daughters, to move in and manage the place.  In 1871 William Winter was mysteriously shot on the front porch of the plantation.  He crawled inside and up the stairs and died on the stairs.  It is also thought that during the Civil War, there were a few Union soldiers who found their way into the mansion in an attempt to ransack it and ended up dead on the threshold.

After the last of the Winter family sold The Myrtles, it exchanged hands many times over the next century.  Through the years there have been reports of many hauntings, beginning with David Bradford, the man who built the mansion.  It is reported that the house was built on an old Native American burial ground, and Bradford was said to have claimed seeing the spirit of a maiden strolling the grounds.

The ghost of a young girl has also been spotted roaming around the home.  It is believed that she is one of the Striling children who died in the home and never had a chance to live out the remainder of their childhood.

A mysterious spot is reported to be on the front threshold of the mansion that is about the size of a body that never goes away even after many attempts at cleaning it.  It is believed that this is the spot where one or more of the Union soldiers died. In the same area, many have repeatedly heard foot steps on the stairway only to find no one there. Someone caught onto the fact that if you count the number of footsteps, they stop at seventeen.  William winter died on the seventeenth step of the stairs after he was shot.

In the early 19th century, it was customary for mirrors in a house to be covered when a death occurred in the house to prevent the soul from entering it and becoming trapped.  After the deaths of Sara Woodruff and her children, one mirror in the plantation was overlooked and to this day it is said that the mirror can be wiped clean, but shortly afterward and hand print will appear on the mirror in the same exact place.  No matter how many times the mirror is cleaned, the prints always reappear.  Some people claim to have heard the sounds of children frolicking and playing on the grounds when none are present.  It is believed that these are the spirits of the Woodruff children.

The haunted mirror in The Myrtles Plantation is said to have hand prints appear on it after each time it is cleaned

This brings us to The Myrtles most famous resident, Chloe.  Many have seen her in the home and wandering the grounds wearing her trademark green turban which she wore after her ear had been cut off.  There is actually recorded proof that Chole is there.  She was captured in a photograph that was taken of the plantation, standing near the side porch of the mansion.  Her form is transparent, and you can clearly make out the shape of a turban on her head. This is believed to be one of the few genuine photographs of what is believed to be a real ghost.

A famous photo taken of the side veranda of The Myrtles Plantation that is said to show the apparition of Chloe standing to the right of the left most column
A zoom in on the area between the two structures of The Myrtles house, clearly shows the figure of a woman wearing what appears to be a turban. 
A closer inspection of The Myrtles resident ghost Chole, shows that the figure is transparent because the side boards of the house appear through the person as if they were transparent.

Today The Mrytles is open as a bed and breakfast.  Tours of the plantation are offered and perhaps visitors have a good chance at meeting one its ethereal residents face to face.

The Myrtles Plantation is today a bed and breakfast open for tours

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