Haunted Myrtles Plantation, plus history of slavery on Louisiana plantations.
This picture was taken at Myrtles Plantation by the current owners. Some people claim that the shadowy image standing between the two buildings (behind the third pillar from the left) is the ghost of Chloe. Do you see her?
Our story is just one of many adaptations circulating around about the mysterious happenings at Myrtles Plantation. If you’d like to hear the true story, or perhaps experience the hauntings for yourself, why don’t you pay Myrtles a visit?
Myrtles Plantation is located on the outskirts of tiny St. Francisville, Louisiana. St. Francisville claims to have more haunted plantations per capita than any other Southern city. While the current owners operate the plantation primarily as a bed and breakfast, they are quite willing to promote the house’s haunted past. In fact, they offer special “Mystery Tours” on weekend nights. Contact information for Myrtles Plantation is located at the bottom of this page.
While the story of Chloe and Judge Woodruffe is certainly the most popular legend to come out of Myrtles, there have been at least 10 homicides and suicides on the plantation during its history. As a result, many more ghosts are rumored to haunt the property.
Why does Myrtles Plantation have such a checkered past? Some believe it is because the original owner, David Bradford, built Myrtles on top of some Tunica Indian burial mounds. Bradford fled to what was then West Feliciana (Spanish territory) from Pennsylvania after a price was put on his head due to his leadership in the 1794 Whiskey Rebellion. He died in 1817, and the property was passed on to different people, including his daughter, Sara Matilda. Whether Bradford knowingly built the home on the Indian mounds is debatable.
For more information on Myrtles Plantation, including how you can see the ghosts for yourself, visit their official site.
The family plantation was a huge part of the Southern economy before the Civil War, and Louisiana was certainly no exception. By 1850, nearly two-thirds of America’s millionaires were planters on the Great River Road that ran between New Orleans and Natchez, Mississippi.
Plantation life began in the early 1700s when Louisiana was a French colony. The French originally tried to populate the colony by emptying its jails, but soon discovered that a safer method was to offer large tracks of land to those who could bring in laborers to farm it.
When laborers could not be found, slaves from Africa and the West Indies were brought in. Slaves were shipped into New Orleans, where they were kept in pens while the various plantation owners inspected them. Once they were selected – and typically separated from their families – they were transported to the fields. They were driven hard on the plantations by drivers with whips – typically another slave who was observed by an armed white overseer. The slaves lived in small cabins on the plantation grounds, sleeping on rough blankets and eating a monotonous dinner of corn meal and pork. It is estimated that nearly 140,000 slaves were working in Louisiana by 1840.
In the 1790s, the invention of the cotton gin and the discovery of a method to granulate sugar led to a boom in family-owned plantations. The rich soil along the banks of the Mississipi River in south Louisiana was perfect for growing sugar cane, while cotton was king in north Louisiana.
By the time the Civil War erupted over the South, Louisiana had 1600 plantations in operation, with approximately 50 slaves working on each. The planters were powerful men, and dominated Louisiana’s political life from 1812 to the early 20th century. Because Louisiana didn’t face the widespread destruction that states like Georgia did during the Civil War, many of the old plantation homes remain standing to this day.
Perhaps due to bizarre family histories, or the daily misery faced by the slaves, there are numerous ghost stories connected to the Louisiana plantations. But at the very least, they serve as vivid reminders of Southern economic pride, and human shame.
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