Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Ghosts of the Cedar Grove Inn, MS

It's somewhat bittersweet; the first round of Haunted America is almost at an end.  Just two more states remain after today's blog about a beautiful and extremely historic southern B&B in Vicksburg, Mississippi.

That bed and breakfast is known as Cedar Grove and was once the main house on the plantation of the same name. It was built by John Alexander Klein, a local planter and businessman who dabbled in many areas of commerce.

 Construction on Cedar Grove began in 1840, shortly after John met a young lady named Elizabeth Day who was visiting New Orleans with her parents.  Elizabeth was a mere 14 years old at the time, but following her 16th birthday, the couple was married.  An extended European honeymoon allowed the couple a chance to purchase plenty of furnishings for their new home while construction continued in their absence.  When they returned, they lived briefly in a nearby guest house until the elaborate home was in livable condition.  Still, construction wasn't completely finished until 1852.

The couple were able to spend only a decade enjoying their new home before the outbreak of the Civil War turned life upside down for them and many other southern families.  A skirmish left a cannon ball embedded in the wall of Cedar Grove, which can still be viewed today, but luckily the home was saved by its use as a Union Hospital.

The family was also able to hide much of their fortune in plain view, within a secret compartment in a piece of parlor furniture...yet times were not all happy for the Kleins.  One of the sons was killed in a accident on the back stairs when he dropped the gun he was carrying and it discharged.  A young daughter died of presumably natural causes on the second floor, and two infants were also lost.

With the amount of death and tragedy this home has seen over a period of close to 200 years, its easy to see how its gained a haunted reputation.  John Klein is said to still be lording over his former residence and will make his presence known by the smell of pipe tobacco near the Gentleman's Parlour.  Elizabeth has been seen walking down the front staircase and throughout the house, seemingly going about her normal routine.

The little girl who died upstairs has been seen looking sad and confused, wandering the staircase, and has been heard playing and giggling throughout the house.  The sound of babies crying has also been witnessed.  In more recent sightings, housekeeping staff have reported that they will make a bed, then come back to find it indented, as if someone unseen were lying there. Disembodied footsteps are heard on the back staircase where the teenage son died. And, of course, there are Civil War soldiers, presumably those souls who passed away when the home was used as a hospital, seen wandering the home and grounds.

Today the home is a huge and elegant bed and breakfast owned by Colleen Small.  It has grown exponentially since Buzz Harper first opened a 2-room B&B there in 1980. But, despite all these changes, it seems as if life goes on for the Klein Family, who are still presiding over their home.

Bonus Fright:  Nearby is another B&B known as Annabelle.  Annabelle was built in 1868 by John Klein for his son, Madison Conrad Klein, on the original plantation land.  Today, this location is also said to be haunted.  A one-legged Confederate soldier has been seen in what was formerly known as the Dixie Room!

Cedar Grove Inn Website

Haunted Houses of Vicksburg

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