The Myrtles Plantation is located in St. Frances, Louisiana, and consists of 600 acres. It was built in 1796 by General David Bradford, a successful lawyer and deputy attorney-general for Washington County, Pennsylvania, who was forced to flee President George Washington’s army in 1794 due to his role in the Pennsylvania Whiskey Rebellion.
General Bradford was eventually pardoned in 1799 by President John Adams at which time he moved his wife Elizabeth and their five children to live with him on the Plantation’s originally named “Laurel Grove.”
Bradford died in 1808 and his widow Elizabeth ran the plantation until 1817 when she handed over the management of the Plantation to Clarke Woodruff. He was one of Bradford’s former law students, who eventually married her daughter, Sara Mathilda.
Elizabeth Bradford died in 1831 and one of her daughter’s children, Mary Octavia, who was then overseeing the Plantation, moved to Covington, Louisiana, and left a caretaker to manage the property in her place.
In 1834, the family’s land and slaves were sold to Ruffin Gray Stirling and his wife, Catherine Cobb. Once they took over the plantation, they remodeled the home, nearly doubling its original size. After the remodel, the home was renamed “The Myrtles” after the crepe myrtles that grew on the property.
The Myrtles consists of 22 rooms spread over two stories. Stirling died in 1854 and left the plantation to his wife. The plantation survived through the American Civil War, where it was robbed of the furnishings and expensive accessories. The family fortune was also lost during this time as it was tied up in Confederate currency.
The plantation was sold again in 1868.
The Hauntings of the Myrtles Plantation
In the 20th-century, the surrounding land was divided and sold among heirs. In the 1950s the house was sold to Marjorie Munson, who was one of the first to notice strange things happening around the house, and this resulted in numerous ghost stories. The home went through many more ownership changes until it was finally bought by John and Teeta Moss, who are now the current owners.
There are many legends surrounding the home.
It is reported to have been built over an Indian burial ground and listed as “one of America’s most haunted homes.” The home is said to be haunted by a young Native American woman.
The plantation is said to have around 12 ghosts and reports of 10 murders that occurred in the house, although historical records only indicate the murder of 1 person, William Winter, an attorney who lived at the plantation and was shot in 1871 and died on the 17th step of the staircase. Employees and visitors have said they can still hear his dying footsteps.
One of the most well-known ghosts is a slave girl named Chloe. In 1992, the proprietress of the plantation was taking photographs for insurance purposes and happened to photograph what appeared to be a slave girl standing between The General’s Store and the Butler’s Pantry of the mansion. The National Geographic Explorer examined the photograph and appeared to agree with the owner.
One of the legends says that, during the Civil War, the house was invaded by Union soldiers and claims three of them were killed inside the house. Another alleged haunting involves a mirror located in the house that supposedly holds the spirits of Sara Woodruff and two of her children, one of the former owners of the plantation.
Another young girl supposedly died in the house in 1868, who was being treated by a voodoo practitioner. It is said she appears in the room where she died and practices voodoo on whoever sleeps in that room.
In 2002, Unsolved Mysteries featured the hauntings at the plantation. Host Robert Stack stated that the production crew experienced technical difficulties during filming. The Myrtles was also featured on an episode of Ghost Hunters and Ghost Adventures, as well as an episode on The Most Terrifying Places in America.
The Myrtle Plantation is open for ghost tours and as a Bed and Breakfast.