Touted as “One of America’s Most Haunted Homes,” the Myrtles Plantation has a reputation for strange happenings but the most frighteningly tragic story may be the poisoning of two children that occurred at the home.
Built by David Bradford, who had earned the nickname “Whiskey Dave” thanks to his participation in Pennsylvania’s Whiskey Rebellion, the palatial estate was finished in 1796. The estate was an actual plantation, complete with slaves. It was one such slave, named Chloe, whose tragic story would spark the site’s reputation for hauntings.
As the story goes, Chloe was banished from the main house for some minor transgression. In order to regain her position among the family, Chloe decided that she would attempt to cure the family of a mysterious illness. To this end she mixed Oleander leaves into a cake for the family, believing that if she could treat their ensuing symptoms she would redeem herself in their eyes and be allowed back into the main house. Unfortunately, she overestimated the dosage of the poison and the children as well as their mother all perished. Another version of the legend posits this as an act of revenge against the father of the family, for repeated sexual assault, but tragically only the wife and children ate the poisoned cake. Regardless of the version, as punishment for this tragedy, Chloe was hung from a tree in the yard, and subsequently thrown into the Mississippi River with some bricks to weigh her body down. However no historical evidence of Chloe exists in records of the house’s enslaved population. One of the supposed victims in the story was well known to have grown to reach adulthood, while the other two victims were recorded to have died from yellow fever at least two years apart, in 1823 and 1824 respectively.
As the plantation shifted owners through the years a number of the owners’ children ended up passing away from disease and other ailments that were not out of the ordinary for the time. But the legend of the house being cursed began to grow. In the 1800’s a man was actually murdered at the site, dying on the home’s interior staircase.
Today the Myrtles Plantation is operated as a bed and breakfast that claims to have dozens of ghosts and to have possibly been built on an Indian burial ground. The ghosts seem to be fairly benign, with the figure of Chloe, a seemingly friendly presence, figuring large in the plantation’s mythology.