The Myrtles Plantation – Claw marks on the mirror, older woman adorning a green bonnet, hangings, and face appearing on the mirror are some of the things that will come to your mind when you hear this name.

If you are a fan of ghost stories and love to hear, read or watch such stories, you would have come across the myrtles plantation.

Even if you have not, here you will get all the details and incidents that took place in the myrtles plantation house.

1. More About the Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation, One of America's Most Haunted Homes

Before you get to the spooky part that intrigues everyone, the architecture and beauty of the building are also something you should not miss. So, let us get to that first.

General David Bradford constructed the Myrtles Plantation in 1796. It was called Laurel Grove in the old days. You can find this place situated in St. Francisville, Louisiana.

1.1. The Architecture of the Myrtles Plantation

The exterior of this historic home boasts a Creole cottage-style construction. The house contained six bays as well as three dormers on the roof. It was later extended and doubled in size. The bays also increased in number, and a new double-door entrance came into existence.

One of the prominent features of the Myrtles is the lengthy veranda that stretches the full length of the exterior and cloaks around the southern end.

Also, when the initial roof of the house underwent an extension to incorporate new additions, the existing dormers were replicated to keep up the smooth line. There is a central, open loggia on the westward rear exterior, and the roof contains five pedimented dormers similar to the front.

1.2. Interior of the Myrtles Plantation

Now that you are familiar with the architecture of the Myrtles Plantation, don’t you want to find out how it looked on the inside? The rooms in the Myrtles extend beyond two floors.

The hall is very vast. Adding to the beauty is the enormous French Baccarat crystal chandelier. There is a cantilevered staircase as well. You can come across a music room to the hall’s left. It is adjacent to the first-floor bedroom, the sole bedroom on that floor.

Want to discover what is on the hall’s right? You get to discover the main rooms of the house. Some modifications were also done including the walls of the original house being removed and rearranged.

This was necessary to make room for four large rooms. These were utilized as similar ladies and gentlemen’s parlors, as well as a game room, and a formal dining room.

1.2.1. What About the Second Floor?

You can find five bedrooms on this floor with integrated bathrooms. Of this, the biggest bedroom is the Judge Clarke Woodruff suite. You can access this room through the main staircase at the entrance of the hall.

There is a general sitting room that separates the rest of the four bedrooms. These rooms can be accessed through a staircase ascending from the rear loggia.

1.3. Grounds of the Myrtles Plantation

The Myrtles Plantation
Image by mfmegevand from DepositPhotos

You can find the oldest structure here, currently called the General’s store. This place is situated at the back of the main house. While the main house was under construction, General’s store was where General David Bradford lived.

What happened to this place now? It has been turned into a gift shop, plantation offices, laundry facilities, and a guest breakfast spot. You can also come across a restaurant in the south. The ground also houses contemporary wooden cottages to be accessed by guests.

Now, we have arrived at the most awaited part – getting to know the story of how the Myrtles Plantation entered the list of the most haunted houses.

2. Meet General David Bradford

General David Bradford is the person who originally constructed the Myrtles Plantation. He was American born and had four siblings. He was a lawyer, and businessman as well as a Deputy attorney general in Washington County, Pennsylvania.

. He went on to marry Elizabeth Porter. To meet the growing needs of his family as well as business, David Bradford built a new large home in the town of Washington.

The house turned out to be quite popular due to its size and spectacular artistry which included a mahogany staircase along with woodwork that was imported from England. Bradford used the house’s parlor as an office to meet with clients.

2.1. The Whiskey Rebellion

Bradford could not live long in his newly built house, as he fled while his family was left behind. But why would someone flee from such a luxurious home? It was because Bradford played a major role in the Whiskey rebellion.

The United States government was in a bad state due to the debt from the revolutionary war. To obtain revenue a tax on whiskey was proposed. This was not received well by the residents and resulted in a revolt against their government.

2.2. The Incidents That Occurred Next

George Washington put a bounty on Bradford’s head for his involvement in the affair. Later, Bradford first traveled to Pittsburgh and his family remained safe there. He then traveled down the Ohio River to the Mississippi river.

His final settling place was Bayou Sara, nearby what is currently known as St. Francisville, Louisiana. Here, he acquired acres of land and constructed his home containing eight rooms near Baton Rogue, and the name Laurel Grove was given.

President John Adams, who was newly elected pardoned Bradford for his involvement in the Whiskey rebellion. How did this happen? Bradford’s pardon was a token of appreciation for his Elcott’s line – which creates a boundary between Spain and the United States.

2.3. What Was His Next Action After Being Pardoned?

After being pardoned, Bradford traveled to Pennsylvania with the intent of bringing back his wife Elizabeth, and five children to Louisiana. They all lived comfortably at Bayou Sara.

Bradford would sometimes accept law students. Of them, one was a student named Clark Woodruff. He became a successful lawyer and married Bradford’s daughter Sarah Mathilda.

3. It is Time to Get to Know More About Clark Woodruff

The birthplace of Clark Woodruff was in Litchfield County, Connecticut. His father was a farmer, and Clark who didn’t want to follow the same profession left Connecticut at an early age. He finally ended up in Bayou Sara.

The year he arrived was when the Feliciana Parish citizens revolted against the Spanish garrison at Baton Rouge. The Spanish were defeated, and a new territory was set up with St. Francisville becoming its capital.

Woodruff who hadn’t made his fortune yet placed an advertisement in Timepiece -the St Francisville newspaper announcing the opening of his academy where students will be admitted.

3.1. What Happened to the Academy?

Clark Woodruff couldn’t continue the academy for long as he went on to take part and fight in the battle of New Orleans alongside Andrew Jackson. When the war ended, Clark came back to St.Francisville and desired to study law.

This was how he came under the wing of Bradford, and graduated with a law degree. He also met Bradford’s daughter there, and love blossomed between the two.

They then got married and went on a honeymoon to the Hermitage – which was the house of Clark’s friend Andrew Jackson.

4. Clark Takes Over the Reins

After the passing away of David Bradford, Clark Woodruff managed Laurel Grove for Bradford’s wife Elizabeth Bradford who was also his mother-in-law. He increased the holdings of the plantation and planted indigo and cotton as well.

Clark and Sarah became parents to three children. They named them James, Mary Octavia, and Cornelia Gale. However, Sarah died after she contracted yellow fever. Clark was devastated, yet he managed the home and also took care of his children with assistance from Elizabeth.

The wrath of yellow fever didn’t end with Sarah, and went on to take the lives of Clark’s son James, and also Clark’s daughter Cornelia.

5. Clark Gets Chosen as a Judge

The Myrtles Plantation
Photo by DanaForeman from Shutterstock

After his two children died, Clark purchased the house from Elizabeth. She continued to stay with Clark, and her granddaughter Octavia.

However, after Elizabeth Bradford died at Laurel Grove, Clark desired to practice law, and he along with his daughter Octavia left the place, and a caretaker was appointed to manage the plantation.

Clark gets chosen as a judge in District D in Covington and continued to stay in that designation for some years. Woodruff sold Laurel Grove and Ruffin Gray Stirling purchased it.

6. Mary Octavia

Clark resided at Rampart Street in New Orleans and was named President of public works. Octavia was at a finishing school in New Haven, Connecticut. However, she returned home to be with her father.

A couple of years later, the wedding of Octavia and Colonel Lorenzo Augustus Besancon took place. They both shifted to Lorenzo’s plantation Oaklawn.

Louisiana governor chose Clark as the auditor of public works, and he remained in that position for a year. After his retirement, he moved in with Octavia and her husband. Clark died there peacefully, and his resting place is in Girod Street Cemetery in New Orleans.

7. Meet the New Owner – Ruffin Grey Stirling

The Stirlings were very rich and was the owner of numerous plantations. Ruffin Grey along with his wife Mary Catherine Cobb became not only the new owners of the house and buildings but even of the slaves who served Clark.

To match their social status, the Sterlings decided to redesign their house. This was how the gentlemen’s parlors, a formal dining room, as well as a game room, came into existence which we saw earlier.

Elaborate plaster cornices were designed for the majority of rooms. This was made from a combination of clay, Spanish moss, and cattle hair. After the building was remodeled as per the requirements of the Sterlings, the plantation also got a new official name – The Myrtles.

7.1. The Death of Ruffin Grey Stirling

Stirling died due to tuberculosis, and his wife Mary Cobb Stirling became the new owner of the vast properties. Many people termed Mary Cobb as a remarkable woman as she had good managing qualities, and she solely took care of all her farms for many years.

On the other side, there was no scarcity of tragedy too. Stirling and Mary Cobb had nine children, and of these only four children survived and got married. Their eldest son Lewis passed away the same year Stirling died.

7.1.1. More Tragedies

The Civil war also had a heavy impact on the Stirling family. The war wrecked the sugar plantations in which Mary Cobb had invested, resulting in her losing her entire property.

She recruited William Drew Winter who was her daughter Sarah’s husband to assist her in managing the plantation lands. As part of the agreement, the Myrtles were given to Sarah and William winter as their home.

8. Sarah and William Drew Winter

William Winter and Sarah had six children. Their names were Mary, Sarah, Kate winter, Ruffin, William, and Francis. Of the six, Kate winter passed away due to typhoid.

Winter was also bankrupt as a consequence of the war and sold the plantation as there was no other solution. However, the plantation returned to them a couple of years later.

William was murdered on the front veranda of the house, and a devastated Sarah remained at the Myrtles along with her mother and siblings till her death.

9. What Happened to the Plantation?

Eventually, Cobb also passed away, and the plantation passed to Stephen who was her son. Due to heavy debt on the plantation, Stephen sold it to Oran D. Brooks who again sold it to someone else.

The plantation found itself in the hands of various owners, and finally landed in the hands of Harrison Milton Williams. Again, the plantation started getting different owners, and this time it was James and Frances Kermeen Myers who purchased it and operated it as a bed and breakfast.

Now, the present owners’ John and Teeta Moss, pursue making the house available for tours as well as overnight guests.

10. Meet Chloe – The Alleged Ghost of the Myrtles Plantation

Myrtle's Plantation Ghosts

Chloe was a slave owned by the Woodruff family. According to the tale of the Myrtles, it was Chloe who murdered the wife of Clark Woodruff, and his two daughters. Let us proceed into the particulars of the story.

The story goes on to say that Chloe was forced to become the mistress of Clark. She was scared that if she did not give in to Clark, she would be asked to go to the fields which was a very tough job.

So, she started eavesdropping on Clark and Sarah. When she got caught in the act, she had one of her ears cut off and wore a green turban to conceal the ugly scar. Chloe then baked a poisoned birthday cake containing oleander for the birthday celebration of one of the Woodruff children.

10.1. Was it Revenge?

While some claim this was done to make the family fall ill so that Chloe could utilize this opportunity to nurse them back to health, and as a result get in the good books of Clark. While some say it was utter revenge taken by Chloe.

Clark was the one who was spared as he didn’t taste the cake, while Sarah and two of the children who consumed the cake died of poisoning.

The other slaves afraid of the consequences they would face from Clark, hanged Chloe from a nearby tree on the property. Also, when Sarah and her children died, the mirrors were concealed to save them from being trapped. Unfortunately, one of the mirrors was left uncovered leaving Sarah and her children trapped.

11. Spirits in the Mirror

When you visit the Myrtles Plantation, the tour guide will take you to the mirror, and describe people’s experience of seeing a face, fingerprints of the children, and also claw marks. According to them, the face belongs to Sarah, and the children are also hers.

The claw marks are nothing but Sarah attempting to escape from the mirror. Quite spooky to hear, and if you are a brave heart, and love to experience paranormal activities, do visit the Myrtles Plantation.

12. Was Chloe Even Real?

Though there are tales about Chloe being a slave of the Woodruff family, historical records say otherwise. There is no evidence that a slave named Chloe worked with Clark and Sarah. Yet, people have claimed of witnessing a ghost adorning a green turban.

The house appeared in Life, where the tale of Chloe was also present, and also in a list of the most haunted houses in America.

13. Myth Surrounding William Winter’s Death

When Winter was killed on the veranda, the myth is that he managed to crawl back inside the house and died on the steps. There were reports that his blood is visible on the stairs, which can be found while cleaning.

However, Winter never made it inside and died on the front porch.

14. Further Legends and Ghost Stories

The plantation house often witnesses mysterious occurrences. Rumour has it that the house is allegedly erected on top of a graveyard. However, at present, it is simply a bed and breakfast and provides historical and mystery tours.

Though there were reports of many murders in this house, records show only the murder of William winter. Guests have also disclosed random footsteps on the staircase, lights getting automatically switched on and off, the rattling of doorknobs, and much more.

Not only this, the plantation is allegedly haunted by a young girl, who visits the room in which she died. Additionally, the first floor comprises a piano that plays on its own.

15. Paranormal Activities Encountered by Film Makers

A film that had a portion of it shot at the Myrtles, gave its cast and crew members a nerve-chilling experience. Once, the crew moved the furniture in the dining room for filming. Upon their return, they found it moved back to its initial position, though none was present in the room while the crew left.

Mysteries also faced several technical difficulties while filming a segment regarding the supposed hauntings at the Myrtles Plantation. It also featured on an episode of Ghost hunters.

16. FAQs

Where did William Drew Winter Die?

He died on the front veranda of his house and did not manage to reach inside the house as alleged.

Who Was the Surviving Daughter of the Woodruff Family?

Mary Octavia was the surviving daughter.

Bottom Line

The Myrtles Plantation offers a private tour where you get to visit the 6 rooms downstairs, and know about the mysterious happenings, stories, and much more. If you love the thrill of visiting haunted places, add this place to your list too.

History and spirits live on at Myrtles Plantation


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