Monday, October 15, 2012

Boydville's Otherworldly Inhabitants

Boydville Manor in Martinsburg, WV has a history going back to 1812, when General Elisha Boyd bought the property from Adam Stephen for $290 and built his Georgian style mansion.  Elisha lived in the home until his death in 1841, and willed the estate to his daughter, Mary.  Mary married into the Charles Faulkner family, another prominent family in the Martinsburg area, and over the years, hosted many notable historical personalities in the home.

Mary is also credited with saving the home during the Civil War when Captain F.O. Martindale arrived to burn the estate in retaliation for the Confederate burning of Governor Bradley's home in Maryland.  Mary and her daughters were given one hour to leave the home, with only their clothing, but somehow they got a message to President Lincoln, who ordered the house be spared.

The home stayed in the Faulkner family until 1958 when Roderick and May Cheeseman purchased the property.  During their tenure, the home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  In 1987, the Cheesemans turned the property over to LaRue Frye.

Until just recently, it seems that the home operated as a bed and breakfast, known as Boydville, The Inn at Martinsburg, but there is no indication on the home's website or elsewhere that the it is currently being used at such.  Still, the home is being enjoyed in the community as a historic destination where many historic events take place throughout the year.

All of these history-themed events at the home may be enough to make the resident ghosts feel right at home...and there are no less than four such beings that are believed to roam the estate.  The first ghost is heard, rather than seen.  Visitors to the home often hear a woman humming or singing what sounds like a lullabye in the former nursery.

The second ghost is the protective spirit of a former slave named Henry.  Henry is most often seen in the hallway, and he shows up quite often--around once a month.  Another ghost that is seen is that of a doctor who was said to have visited the home in order to treat his own grandson.  The grandson unfortunately could not be saved, and passed away in one of the bedrooms.  Filled with grief over not being able to save his young grandson, the grandfather also passed away in the same room, just a few weeks later.

One last ghost is said to be that of a Civil War soldier.  At various times during the Civil War, both Union and Confederate troops camped nearby, and several buildings on the property were used as medical facilities to treat the injured and ill soldiers.  The apparition of the soldier is seen walking the grounds at night out in front of the manor house, carrying a lantern. Perhaps he is one of the soldiers who died on the property in one of the makeshift medical facilities?

*Theresa's Note:  The information on the resident ghosts of Boydville came from the book, Haunted Inns of America, by Terry L. Smith and Mark Jean. In addition to these ghost stories, the entry for Boydville notes that the home was also famous for Belle Boyd, Confederate spy, shooting a Union soldier on the stairs.  The book also states that Belle was the daughter of Elisha Boyd.  In reality, Belle Boyd was born 4 years after Elisha died, and her father was Ben Reed Boyd, who at one point, DID work for Gen. Elisha Boyd.  The home where Belle killed a Union soldier was located along Race Street.* 

*Elisha Boyd also built a home in 1839 named Edgewood, for his son, John Boyd.  That home is also haunted, and information can be found on Theresa's Haunted History!*

More info on Boydville:
National Register Application

Photo from Wikipedia


  1. Ms. Frye no longer owns this property and it is no longer a bed and breakfast. She sold to the Farmland Preservation several years ago. It fell into further disrepair and has recently changed hands again.

    1. Thanks for the information! Please keep us informed as to the fate of the home.

  2. I was a renter at Boydville, the one room school house, located behind the main house, beside the carriage house. While renting there, many unusual things occurred. Once, saw a small girl outside dancing around the by the cemetery, located beside the school house, when I ran out to see her, or talk to her, as it was a very cold day, and she had no coat on, but very pretty dress, she vanished. Later, I discovered, her portrait was hanging in Boydville, and she had been deceased since the 1800's, died as a young girl. My son, and I heard a child's piano playing at night, from the unfinished, upstairs attic area. My son also reported seeing a young boy wandering around at night. Once, while walking around, helping my other son gather leaves for a science project, I felt something brush quickly past me, and then a metal object,came flying past me, as if thrown.Most unusual, was our dog. She was 10 at the time, but a very happy content dog, until we moved there. She became extremely anxious, and would bark at nothing. If we got ready to leave, she would bark, in a strange, high pitched cry. When we would return, she was so happy to see us, but we knew she had spent her time digging at the door to get out, almost destroyed a threshold. We had to invest in a crate, and she would hurt herself in there too, trying to dig her way out. Soon after moving to our permanent residence, as it was under construction while renting at Boydville, and settlement date kept getting delayed, she was never the same, and passed away. I have never forgotten the oddities of my time spent there, as there were more, these are just a few. I would say my prayers before bed each night, and sleep with my gold cross around my neck. As of the fate, I can tell you it was recently sold again, with new family, hope the spirits RIP around there.