The Slave Girl of Myrtles Plantation: Louisiana Ghost Story
Louisiana ghost story about the well documented hauntings at Myrtles Plantation. Collected and adapted by Craig Dominey. Told by Veronica Byrd.
When folks think about the American South, one image that always comes to mind is the old plantation house. Before the Civil War devastated the South, the plantation homes were about the closest thing America had to magical European palaces.
But what some folks don’t know – or maybe don’t care to think about – is that many of these plantations were built upon the backs of slaves. These slaves toiled under the whip of the white plantation owners, harvesting cotton and sugarcane for days, weeks and months on end. Some were literally worked to death, only to be replaced like an old shoe when the next boatload of captured slaves came into port.
So while the plantations may have been wealthy palaces to some, they were places of misery and death to others. So it should come as no surprise that many of the plantation homes remaining in the South are rumored to be haunted. This is the story of one of those houses:
Back in the 1800s, many plantations were located north of New Orleans along the banks of the Mississippi River. These plantations fueled the national economy with cotton and sugar cane, and their owners were some of the richest men in America.
Myrtles Plantation, located a few miles outside of St. Francisville, Louisiana, was one of these homes. It was a beautiful example of Old South Antebellum architecture. Upon arrival, a visitor would be greeted with the magical sight of Spanish moss swaying in the breeze, sweeping wide verandas with ornamental ironwork, and the sweet smells of pink-blossomed myrtle trees. Inside, one would find a lavishly decorated home in the Gothic style, with ornate plasterwork, European antiques, winding staircases and sparkling, crystal chandeliers.
But all this beauty hid a very sinister history – which many believe started with a slave girl named Chloe…
At that time, Myrtles Plantation was owned and operated by Judge Clark Woodruffe and his wife, Sara Matilda. The Woodruffes had two young daughters, with a third child on the way. The judge was well respected in the community as a man of integrity, and a staunch upholder of the law. But he also held a dirty secret – he was a compulsive womanizer.
Whenever he had the opportunity, the judge would sneak around and have relations with his female slaves. Chloe, a slave of mixed blood who served as governess to the Woodruffe children, eventually became the target of his advances. Chloe was disgusted with the thought of the judge having his way with her, but knew if she didn’t follow through she would probably be sent back out to toil in the fields with the other slaves. Working in the “big house” was as close to freedom as a slave could expect at that time, so Chloe did what she had to do.
But after awhile, Chloe began to suspect that the judge was getting tired of her, and would soon be looking for a new lover. Terrified of being sent back to the fields, Chloe began eavesdropping on the family’s conversations to find out if her fears were true. One day, the judge caught her and was so enraged that he grabbed her and sliced off one of her ears. From that day forward, Chloe wore a green turban around her head to hide her shameful wound.
With the judge now furious at her, Chloe knew she had to do something fast to prove her worth to the family – but what? Her opportunity came one day when she was directed to help set up a birthday party for the Woodruffes’ eldest daughter. The judge was away, and his wife and daughters planned on celebrating the birthday by eating cake in the dining room.
Chloe came up with a plan. She crept outside and picked one of the oleander plants growing beside the house. She knew that the leaves of this plant contained a small amount of poison, which she secretly added to the birthday cake. She figured if she made the family sick, she could nurse them back to health and prove herself invaluable to the family. She cared for the children, and was careful to only add enough poison to make them slightly ill.
As the family ate the tainted birthday cake, Chloe soon found out she had made a terrible mistake. One by one, they dropped their utensils and began writhing and moaning in agony. Chloe helped them to their beds and tried desperately to save them, but it was too late. Soon the young girls, their mother and her unborn child were all dead.
As word spread throughout the plantation, the other slaves were terrified that the judge would take his anger at Chloe out on them. To save their own hides, they knew that they had to do something to prove their loyalty to their master. So one night, a lynch mob grabbed Chloe while she slept and hanged her from one of the oak trees. After she died, they cut her down, weighted her body with rocks and tossed her into the Mississippi River.
The judge promptly sealed off the dining room and never used it again. In later years, the plantation house was turned into a bed and breakfast, with many visitors attracted to its beauty and Old South charm. But visitors and future owners alike would soon discover that they were not alone in the house.
One day, one of the new owners of Myrtles Plantation snapped a photo of the front of the house. When the picture was developed, she could see a shadowy figure standing near the veranda; her head wrapped in what appeared to be a turban. At night, some of the guests reported hearing restless footsteps wandering the hallways of the house. Others said they were jolted from their sleep by a black woman in a green turban, who lifted up the mosquito netting around their beds, as if looking for someone.
Soon other strange incidents were reported in the house. Some guests claimed to have seen the images of small children in the hallway mirrors. Others heard their names called out from distant rooms, only to find they were alone in the house. And others spotted two playful little girls in white dresses playing in the hallways, peeking through the windows, bouncing on the beds – even swinging from the chandeliers!
Is the mysterious woman in the green turban the ghost of Chloe, searching for the judge who caused her such grief? Are the mysterious little girls the ghosts of the Woodruffe children, forever trapped in the home where they died? We’ll leave that up to you to decide. Or, better yet – next time you’re in Louisiana, spend a night in Myrtles Plantation near St. Francisville, and find out for yourself!
- THE END –
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46 Responses to “The Slave Girl of Myrtles Plantation: Louisiana Ghost Story”
Wow! I heard this story before and this is just unbelievable! I wanna travel to Louisiana and the Southern states to learn more about the culture. Very fascinating!
That is so creepy. If I visit I sure don’t want to bump into Chloe!
I am going to tell my friends.
I’ve heard this story before. I think slavery is WRONG! No human should “OWN” another. That being said, I would like to point out that the slaves that the South bought were sold by their own people.(1) The slaves were expensive property. Would you destroy your valuable property? The fact that all you hear about slavery in the South is all negative, is typical. The slaves that were brutalized were the exception not the rule. Most plantation owners treated them so well, that the slaves took the last name of their owners.(2) Still, I don’t like the thought of slavery.
If you want to talk about ‘Whites’ being brutal, lets talk about Native Americans. No, don’t get me started….
Peace out!!!!! This is d very first time i have heard this story and I”m real thrilled and practically after reading Lori’s comment i swear I’m never gonna slave somebody……
This is really a terrifying story…really cool..sad that people back in the old days are into slavery. Famous ghost appearances in my country Malaysia, is usually the angry spirit of women whom dies while at childbirth, also called the Pontianak..really freak me out!! there are also others, but not as creepy as the pontianak.
i really must tell ms. lori that while she thinks cruelty was the exception, not the rule of slavery, let’s see how many lashes with a whip she could endure. Anyone forced to do anything against their will is a form of mental torture and I think it’s a cop-out used by whites to justify slavey. I can’t count the number of times i’ve heard whites say that the slaves would have died earlier had the whites not provided them with a better way of life. what total crap. by the way, i am white. Chloe was wronf for the poisining, but I’ve never walked in her shoes, so I can’t say I would’nt have done the same thing. God rest her soul.
tanesha white eagle:
i loved this
I toured the Myrtles a couple of years ago. While on tour I was allowed to take a photo of the famous mirror that has a handprint on it even when the mirror was replaced. When I blew up the photo on my computer I saw what looked like two children faces on the stairs as it reflected in the mirror. It was very creepy. maybe it was an optical illusion but I think it was something supernatural. My son and I have toured many antebellum homes in Lousiana and Mississippi and find it an enjoyable hobby. We have had other experiences of a ghostly nature at Merrehope plantation in Meridian, MS. Yes many of these old homes are haunted and sometimes if you are lucky enough you will encounter something extrodianry as we have.
okay, look…slavery was done wayyyyyy back then, there are no slaves now! get over it, okay?
and just think for a second…It was white men that imprisoned you, but it was also a WHITE man that set you free. THINK ABOUT IT.
anyways. good story:D
i find it very interesting coz i can actualy see ghosts and not be afriad unlike other people(look above)
I LOVED IT!!!!!! AMAZING story
Hello been there first time in 2009 and The kids and Mother died in their bedroom even when they got sick in the dinning room. It was fun when i gone there. all the story is true of course.
I want to visit, but 1) No way my mom would go to Louisiana just to stay in a haunted place and 2) No way would my mom believe me. My dad will but we’re tight on money… :/ I’ve heard of it before, I heard some audio stuff of foot-steps and children giggling. Gave me chills 😀
Yes, Slavery was very real, and in some countries it’s still going on behind close doors; my great grandmother, has mention about how cruel and rude some of the masters were!
” I can recall one of the stories, how my grandmother had worked in the fields for over twevle hours, on more than several occasions she needed water to drink, and how thet refused her; ‘ They tied her to a tree and beat her with a whip till she pissed on herself, and they caught the piss in a container and made her drink it since she were thirsty.
” Nevertheless, she forgave them, because she was taught that forgiveness was divine, so she did!
wow that was interesting and that was the first time that ive heard of this story and since the first word i couldnt stop reading it. It was amazing and sad i mean the girl was trying to make her life easier but i guess she tried to hard to make it easier that she ruined it completly. what a shame and i dont agree with slavery its not right to MAKE someone do the work for u and even if u do u dont want to hit them because 1) thats mean 2) its going to make the slaves weaker 3) u are making ur property look bad. I totally dont agree with slavery its making a person feel ashamed because they get there name changed there family taken away most of the time and they have to move somewhere else. I liked the story though.
Im reading a book called The Secret Of laurel Oaks and it has a similar storyline.It is a good ghost story and it explains what the slavee woman was thinking when she did what she thought was right.
I find this story so heartbreaking. Of course Chloe willingly put the children’s well-being at stake for herself, but under the circumtances, I can’t help feeling deep sympathy for her, and downright contempt toward the judge.
I also want to point out that I find one of Lori’s comment about slaves being brutalized the “exception, not the rule” extremely odd. I would think that most slaves were treated like livestock property-tortured/mutilated, dehumanized, and sexually assaulted at their owners’ whim (throughout history and the world; not just African Americans, and not just in America). I suggest Lori should do a lot more (non-biased) reading on the subject of slavery before commenting on it. Also, I really don’t feel that a victimhood contest between African Americans and Native Americans is productive in any way.
I’m sorry, but I really feel compelled to make one more comment towards one of the commenters (and I’ll totally understand if this one does not pass moderation). Also, I apologize beforehand if I come off as rude/disrespectful (for making social debates on this site).
I found what DeathWish said extremely upsetting, and I don’t think it’s his place to proclaim that African Americans should just “get over themselves” about slavery. If you went through even a fraction of the discriminatory injustice that African Americans had to undergo throughout the centuries, shared similar history of oppression, and had to deal with the racial discrimination – however mitigated – they are still facing today, maybe you’ll be a lot more open minded and empathetic (unless of course, you’re closed to any arguments that racism is all but dead).
About the liberator of the slaves being white, I wonder if it occurred to DeathWish how long and how much it took to happen: Someone with the unique mix of adequate influence and authority, along with tremendous bravery, conviction, and sense of morality (not to mention intelligence and pragmatism). And most importantly, someone who was white, so his voice would be heard among enough of the masses to gather sizeable support. If Martin Luther King, Jr. was sent back in time of American slavery, how much difference do you think he could make despite all his extraordinary brilliance and courage, simply because he was black?
I truly hate to ruin the quaint atmosphere of this website library full of lovely, charming stories. I’ll make it a point to resist reading other comments, and just enjoy the story themselves.
Thanks for your thoughtful comments, Virginia.
My mother and father told me this story and I got chills… I love hearing a good ghost story…!
I’m probably very late to the party, but I saw this and had to comment:
Virginia: “I would think that most slaves were treated like livestock property-tortured/mutilated, dehumanized, and sexually assaulted at their owners’ whim (throughout history and the world; not just African Americans, and not just in America). ”
That is incorrect. Slavery has existed in many forms throughout history.
Some slaves in ancient Rome were well educated and performed highly specialized jobs. Slaves also worked as civil servants and politicians, some holding influential office. Slaves also had certain rights under legislation passed by the Senate.
In the Muslim world, there was a caste of warrior slaves called Mamluks who had a great deal of power and influence. Some Mamluks even attained ruling positions despite being property.
This post is not meant to condone slavery, but to offer some background information so you can be more informed.
i did not like that house
I Am Doing A Research Project On This House. This Subject Makes My Project Very Intresting .
I’m also reading The Secret of Laurel Oaks & it explains everything that went through Chloe’s mind. It’s so interesting & cooooool. I love stuff like this.
Lori please, what’s so brutal about Native Americans they were almost exterminated by whites. How can anyone minimized the injustice of slavery. Read your history.
WOW sound s really cool im goona check it out but i hope i dont see chloe… lol
The girls died..lol How can that be when Mary Octavia lived to be 78 and died at Oak lawn plantation near New Orleans,Also two slaves had taken care of the sick kids one was a girl and the other a boy who died of a fever years apart.And the plant Oleander is not harmful when cooked .Look it up
The story is really interresting im reading all about i really wont to go to the house and see chloe.
To the Idiot Deathwish,
Youre such an ignorant loser!!! Such a disgusting excuse for a human!
I assume youre a white male baboon!!!
The Mother of the Earth, The original, The Black One!!!!!!!!
im doing a project on this and it gives me the chills i might go this summer hopefully i dont bump into chole……
Hi, my name is laura and my family on both my mother and father side endured slavery. My mother family the most as for me I was not born back in those day’s thank god, but my great great grandmother and grandfather would tell me storys and it would make me angery but it would exsplane alot of my history and what the black people before me went through. Now as for my father’s family my grandmother was half white and half black her mother was born into slavery at the end of it and was not a happy person because she was not excepted by either black nor white so it was hard for her and when I read some of these comments I laugh cause unless you know someone who was there or have family that can tell you about share cropping and all the vil and wrong dueing that black america went through your thoughts are just that thoughts. I don’t hate any white people for the past and I just wish they would stop trying to make us as black men and women feel better the past is the past lets go from the here and now some wrongs can’t be right and not all rights are make up for the wrong doing black people have endured so just live your life and teach your kids to work with us and stop your daughters from dating them damn no good black men that hurts your race not ours……
I bought the secret of laurel oaks at my book fair and I never read it. I picket it up 2 years later and I just finished it! I am so surprised that the book is exactly similar to this and I can not even believe this is actually a real place!
Okay I wasn’t going to comment but after reading some of the other comments I felt as though it was my moral obligation.
To Lori- You sound absolutely stupid. Do your research sweetie. Most slaves were brutalized whether it was physically, sexually, mentally or spiritually although it was often times all of the above. And the slaves did not WANT to take their master’s last names, those names were given (forced upon) them. Duh! They probably didn’t teach about slavery in what I am assuming to be your suburban school but look online, read a book or better yet find some older African Americans to talk to so you can get a clue since you are obviously clueless!
To Deathwish- You must have one. It doesn’t matter how long ago slavery was it was wrong, it was brutal and it never gets easier hearing how your ancestors were abused in so many ways. It is forgivable (just barely) but it will NEVER be forgotten. You and Lori need to get together and get a clue. smh
To Virginia- I love you. You said exactly what I wanted to say in a more sophisticated way. I wanted to go that route but I guess that is not going to happen now.
To John- Virginia said MOST slaves which is probably true. Of course there were other slaves who were treated well throughout the Earth but there are still slaves (unpaid servants, captured workers, SLAVES) to this day that are being brutalized. It is not as prevalent and it is not to the extent that slavery was 400 years ago but it is still going on.
To Gin- You go! 🙂
To Fran- My sentiments exactly! lol Love it!
To Laura- I was with you until your last statement… o.O
Overall, it was a sad story but a good ghost story, I guess. I am interested but I can’t see myself going to LOOK for Chloe or the children’s ghosts. I’ll pass on that one!
Just thought I would comment here. This story has no proof whatsoever!! I have been to Myrtle’s multiple times. Of course they like this story it reels visitors in which creates revenue. The wife did not die and if the children did it was not because of this said slave woman. Please please research before believing everything you read. Not to mention many posters need to learn to spell
Oh, dont you just love a true ghost story!
im doin this project
A cool story based on fact. Happy Halloween!
Yes this story is true, but also there were a lot more deaths in the house other than this story. When you go and get a tour, you find out about other people that have died there. I myself went, nothing happened until I looked at my pictures on a computer.
I think slaves were treated badly. I found out that my family in the pass own slaves, I cry most of the time now. I am ashame of my history that my family own slaves. My family lie to us saying they work so hard. Well, I am upset of this because they didn’t work at all. It was the poor slaves that work on my family farm. How dare they lie to us & how dare they own slaves. This is totally wrong of them. But their is a God & I don’t think he slept. God Bless all the slaves.
I once had a cat named Chloe but he was a male. I think the name “Chloe” resonates firmness and resoluteness. No wonder, my cat used to be hard headed and unbending. He was sweet quite a few times.
There are no doubts that the Myrtles are haunted. That place has seen much tragedy. Sarah Mathilda was not murdered. She died from yellow fever (according to historical record) in 1823. Her children, a son and a daughter – not both daughters, died more than a year after she did. They certainly did not die from the result of a poisoned birthday cake. Also, with this legend, Octavia would not have existed at all (her mother was supposed to have been pregnant when murdered) but we know that she lived with her father, got married and lived to a ripe old age. In addition, Woodruff was not killed either. He died peacefully at his daughter and son-in-law’s plantation in 1851.
I’ve actually been on the Myrtles tour, and I just went yesterday, and the tour guide said that the Woodruffe children were two twin boys, not girls. Also, the judge was out of town on business when the murder happened, and when he got back he told the slaves to hang her and then weigh her down with bricks and throw her into the Mississippi River so she could never return to the plantation (but her spirit did).
For Chloe, and for her many brothers and sisters…
I know moon-rise, I know star-rise,
Lay dis body down.
I walk in de moonlight, I walk in de starlight,
To lay dis body down.
I ‘ll walk in de graveyard, I ‘ll walk through de graveyard,
To lay dis body down.
I ‘ll lie in de grave and stretch out my arms ;
Lay dis body down.
I go to de judgment in de evenin’ of de day,
When I lay dis body down ;
And my soul and your soul will meet in de day
When I lay dis body down.