Myrtles Plantation                                          Back to Famous Haunted Places

by Walter Bissell
The Myrtles Plantation was first constructed in 1796 by General David Bradford in St. Francisville, Louisiana, near Baton Rouge.  He named this beautiful estate "Laurel Grove."
myrtles plantation
Clark Woodruff married his daughter, Sara Mathilda, in 1817. After David Bradford died in
1808, Clark and Sara managed the plantation for Elizabeth, Bradford’s widow.  They had
three children: Cornelia Gale, James, and Mary Octavia.  Elizabeth sold the plantation and
its slaves to Ruffin Gray Stirling.  Stirling and his wife Mary added rooms to the house,
nearly doubling its size.  They renamed the plantation “The Myrtles.”  Five of the  Stirling’s
nine children died at young ages.  Lewis Stirling, the oldest son of Ruffin G. Stirling, was
reportedly stabbed to death in the house “over a gambling debt.”  Ruffin Stirling died in
1854 and left the plantation to his wife.  In 1865, Mary hired William D. Winter to help
manage the plantation.  Winter was married to the Sterling’s daughter, Sarah.  Sarah and
William Winter lived at the Myrtles with their six children, one of whom died from typhoid at
three years of age.  In 1871, William Winter was shot by an unknown man on the porch of
the house and died.  Sarah remained at the Myrtles until her death in 1878 and the
plantation passed to Stephen, one of her sons.  Stephen sold it in 1886 to Oran D.
Brooks.  It was purchased from the Brooks family in 1891 by Harrison M. Williams who
divided up the land among his heirs.  In the 1950s, Marjorie Munson became the new
owner of the house.  Marjorie was the first to report odd things happening around the
house.  At some point in the 1970’s the plantation was sold to Arlin Dease and Mr. & Mrs.
Robert Ward who completely restored it.  James and Frances Kermeen Myers were the
next owners of the Myrtles.  The Myers apparently believed the house was haunted, and
began to feature it in books and magazines about haunted houses.  Billed as "one of
America's most haunted homes,”  the plantation is reported to be the home of at least
twelve ghosts.  The "ghost with the green bonnet” is the one seen most often.

Legend claims that Clark Woodruff was quite promiscuous.  He took Chloe, one of his
slaves, as a mistress.  Giving in to Woodruff's sexual advances kept Chloe from hard labor
in the fields.  Always fearing that Woodruff would send her back to the fields, she listened
intently for any word of his displeasure.  She would stand by the door of Woodruff’s study
and listen to his private conversations through the keyhole.  One day he caught her
listening in.  Clark ordered his servant to cut off one of Chloe’s ears to teach her a lesson.  
It is believed by some that she always wore a green turban around her head to “hide the
ugly scar that the knife had left behind.”  It is uncertain why Chloe put a handful of crushed
oleander in a birthday cake that she was told to bake for Woodruff's oldest daughter.  
Some claim Chloe only intended to make the family sick and then by nursing them back to
health she would regain favor with Woodruff.  Others say she intended to kill the Woodruff
family to avenge being sent back to the fields by Clark.  In either case, only the two children
and Sara had slices of the poisoned cake.  Woodruff didn't eat any of it.  Before the end of
the day, all of them were very sick and some believe they all died.  Others believe that only
Sara and one of the children died, but Mary Octavia survived and lived to see adulthood.   
Legend contends, “the other slaves, perhaps afraid that their owner would punish them
also, dragged Chloe from her room and hanged her from a nearby tree.  Her body was
later cut down, weighted with rocks and thrown into the river.”  Woodruff was supposedly
murdered in New Orleans in November 1851. Chloe continues to haunt the plantation
where she lost her life.

The only verifiable murder to occur at the Myrtles was that of William Drew Winter.  He was
shot by an unknown assailant while he was standing on the side porch.  Winter staggered
back into the house onto the staircase that rises from the central hallway. He then
managed to climb to the 17th step where he died in his wife’s arms.  Another murder
allegedly occurred in 1927, when a caretaker at the house was killed during a robbery.   
During the Civil War, three Union soldiers were killed when they tried to ransack the
house. Supposedly, “there is a blood stain in a doorway, roughly the size of a human
body.” Other legends say “that cleaners have been unable to push their mop or broom into
that space.”

The Myrtles plantation house is reportedly built over an Indian burial ground and the ghost of a nude young Indian woman has been reported.  Also, “a young girl, with long curly hair and wearing an ankle-length dress, has been seen floating outside the window of the game room, cupping her hands and trying to peer inside through the glass.”  Perhaps the apparition is that of a “young girl who died in 1868, despite being treated by a local voodoo practitioner.”  She supposedly appears in the room where she died, practicing voodoo on people as they sleep in this room.

Other strange phenomenon occurs at the Myrtles Plantation. The grand piano on the first
floor is said to play by itself, usually playing the same chord repeatedly.  There have been
others who report hearing odd sounds while staying at the plantation.  Also, a mirror
located in the house supposedly holds the spirits of two children - perhaps that of two of the
Stirling children who never reached adulthood.

The house at the Myrtles Plantation is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is
now a bed & breakfast owned by John & Teeta Moss, who offer historical and mystery
tours. The Myrtles Plantation truly has become an american legend of tragedy and haunting.

Ghost Pictures taken at the Myrtles Plantation:
Famous Myrtles Plantation Ghost Picture
Myrtles Plantation Ghost Pictures
Myrtles Plantation British Red Coats Ghost Photo  
Myrtles Plantation Apparition Ghost Picture
For more information visit the:
Myrtles Plantation Official Site
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