Friday, March 18, 2011

Mai Moore Mansion

In tri-state ghost-lore, Bruce Chapel’s haunted history is often tied in directly with the haunted history of the Mai Moore Mansion.  The Mai Moore mansion was once the home to Charles Page Thomas Moore, his wife Urilla Kline, and four daughters, Ida, Rebecca, Lauretta Mai (often referred to as May, Mae or Mai), and Elizabeth V.  It was located in the Mercer’s Bottom/Apple Grove area of Mason County.

The Mai Moore Mansion was built around the time of, or shortly after the Civil War.  It was originally believed to have been a later residence of George Moore who died in 1880 while in residence.  George Moore was the uncle and adoptive father of Charles Page Thomas Moore.

Charles, who was born in February of 1831 in Greenbrier County, came to live with his uncle shortly after the death of his mother when he was 14 years of age.  His father, Thomas, died when Charles was just an infant. Charles would go on to attend Marshall Academy, and several other institutions of higher learning in his quest at obtaining his law degree.  While at Jefferson College in Canonsburg, PA, Charles co-founded the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity in 1852.  He was admitted to the bar in 1856, and served with Union forces during the Civil War.  After serving in the war, he returned home to practice law.  He went on to become a justice of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals, retiring in 1881 to live in Mason County in the Mai Moore Mansion.  Charles Page Thomas Moore died on July 7, 1904.  He is buried in Bruce Chapel Cemetery.

After the death of Charles P.T. Moore, the mansion remained in possession of the Moore family.  It was located near a small Adena Indian mound, named the Mai Moore Mound after Charles' daughter, Lauretta Mai.  Mai, as she preferred to be called, remained in the home after his death, and the mansion thus became known as the Mai Moore Mansion. It was consumed by fire in 1959.  Vandals soon stole or damaged what was left, and by 1968 another fire had completely gutted the structure, leaving nothing but ruins.  Lauretta Mai, born on January 19, 1873, never married.  She passed away on March 12, 1965 and is also buried in Bruce Chapel Cemetery, along with her mother, and two sisters who also never married.

UPDATE February 2012:  HPIR has completed its second investigation of Bruce Chapel and Bruce Chapel Cemetery.  The ruins of this one stately mansion do still exist, about a half a mile away from the site of Bruce Chapel.  It is said that the chains, used for the slaves, are still evident in the basement ruins.  The mansion is located on PRIVATE PROPERTY.  Please seek proper permission before heading out to explore the site for yourself.

UPDATE June 2011:  I found this newspaper article stating that the lost WV Highway Historical Marker for the mound, originally placed in the 1960s and then later lost, has been replaced!  That's the great news.  The bad news:  it also appears that the author of this news article visited Theresa's Haunted History of the Tri-State's old site (or the HPIR site), and copied my text for the historical information on Mai Moore Mansion nearly word for word, without any source citation for myself or HPIR.  Imitation is the most sincere form of flattery, right?

3 comments:

  1. My mother and I happened upon this site looking for the Moore Mansion. She was pregnant with me in 1959 when a fire broke out at this house. My mother heard Miss Moore tell the firemen that they needed to be careful around the house. It had at least 6 wells. We don't know if another fire took place after the one in 1959.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes it burnt the second time in the 1960's. My mom is from the area and my father has been to the mansion with my grandpa and said there was alot of wells there that you had to be careful of. Wish I could have seen this place!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well unfortunately a couple friends I knew in high school skipped school one day and went down there and burned the place. That was back around 1969-69 when we were seniors. I didn't like it very well because I always planned on visiting it. They were apprehended by law enforcement.

    ReplyDelete