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Haunted Historic Homes in Jonesborough TN

Updated on March 4, 2015
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Jules Corriere is a playwright and theater director, having written over 40 plays, one of them performing at the Kennedy Center in D.C.

Carolyn Moore's House in Jonesborough, Tennessee

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Tennessee's Oldest Town is One of America's Most Haunted

I've actually stayed in several of these homes. The pictures I've taken of these wonderful buildings and homes in Jonesborough certainly show how historic they are, but don't even begin to tell the stories of the people who once resided (and some say, still do reside) within the walls. The town's local restaurant, the Cranberry Thistle, home of the Storyteller's Guild as well as the best homegrown bluegrass you'll hear this side of the Appalachians, boasts right on their menu to keep an eye out for their resident ghost. Across the street from the Thistle sits the Institute for Paranormal Technology. If you are interested in a ghost tour, they offer these nightly, up and down the historic Main Street, built in 1779, which is fourteen years before Tennessee even became a state. These buildings are not reconstructions, like you'll see in so many other "historic towns". Andrew Jackson and Andrew Johnson walked the same streets you'll travel as you visit these buildings. They stayed in the Historic Chester Inn, which now houses the International Storytelling Center, as well as the newly opened museum in the basement of the building. Daniel Boone and Davey Crockett both strode these streets. In fact, Daniel Boone's famous tree carving, "D. Boone cilled a bar. on tree in year 1790" (D. Boone killed a bear on this tree in the year 1790) was discovered just on the outskirts of the town. Senator David Crocket spent years going back and forth to the historic Courthouse on Main Street. Those are some of the famous people we know about. But the real stars, according to guests of the Eureka Inn, or perhaps visitors who stop in to visit my friend Sue Henley's home at the end of Main Street, are the strange orbs of light, or the sudden cold spots that move through the room, sending goosebumps up the spines of everyone present. In this lens, I take pleasure in sharing with you the very beautiful, historic homes, and stories about the people who lived in them. I'll leave it up to you to decide if you believe. As for me...I lived in some of these homes (while working in Jonesborough on the play I wrote about the town's oral histories), and I will tell you one thing...I believe.

Carolyn
Carolyn

Carolyn Moore's Home

I Was Lucky Enough To Live Here For 6 Spooky Months

In this picture, the window immediately above the turret was where I called home for 6 months. Most of the days were uneventful. It took some time to get used to the hissing sounds of the radiator, and the odd creeks and moans of the house. I lived here while I was working on a play that I wrote for the town of Jonesborough. The woman who owned the home, and who was really a supporter of the play and the project, sadly passed away just months before we began rehearsals. I interviewed her for the play, and actually used one of her stories in the play. When the town was looking for housing for the artists working on the project, myself included, her daughters offered the home to us, and said, "Mom always hosted the storytellers who came for the National Storytelling Festival in Jonesborough. She certainly would want you to stay here." A somewhat spooky coincidence then occurred. Ray Hicks, one of America's most famous Jack Tale storytellers, stayed in the room across the hall during the storytelling festival, year after year. Well, I happened to have gathered a Ray Hicks story and used it in my play, "The Whole World Gets Well", which ended up touring in London and Edinburgh. Ray passed away a few years ago, but I would imagine his lanky 6'7" frame walking through the home. I did hear footsteps, coming up the main set of stairs, many a night. One person told me it was "Sarah". I'm not sure who or what it was, but I know that I heard the boards creek-- and I know it was NOT the radiator, no matter what anyone tries to tell me.

The Christopher Taylor House - Circa 1778: Andrew Jackson Slept Here

christopher taylor house
christopher taylor house

The Christopher Taylor House is perhaps one of the most striking buildings you will see on Main Street in downtown Jonesborough. It was built in 1778, although Main Street was not it's first location. The house was moved about a mile from it's original location and then restored. Andrew Jackson stayed in this home for several months when he lived in Jonesborough.

The house was built by Christopher Taylor, who was sent to Jonesborough from North Carolina, in order to "fend off Indian Attacks in the region."

The home is a 2 story log cabin. A small narrow stairway leads to the upstairs. A brick fireplace provided heat during the cold Jonesborough Winters. Taylor lived in this modest home with his wife and 13 children. Keep in mind that the home, in total, is about the same square footing as 2 modern day living rooms-- No more than that. I think codes compliance would have a problem allowing that many people in such a small space according to today's standards!

The Taylor house is reported to be one of the most haunted buildings in America, even after it's move. Andrew Jackson's ghost has been seen by generations of frightened visitors.

The Taylor House Before the Move - We're Talking History!

christopher taylor house
christopher taylor house

The Christopher Taylor House in its original location, about a mile and a half from main Street. This image is taken from a vintage Jonesborough postcard from over 100 years ago. Imagine, a hundred years ago, this house was already seen as an historic home and a tourist spot! It really reminds you of just how old this region is, how long it has been settled, how much history has passed through these hills.

The Historic Chester Inn Circa 1797 - One of the liveliest places for Ghosts in all of Jonesborough

The Historic Chester Inn has been in in continuous use as an inn, apartment complex or dwelling since it's beginning in 1797. It is often a site visited on the Paranormal Institute's nightly ghost tours of the town. It is one of the places where ghost hunters have been able to capture images of orbs of light, especially under the upper balcony on the left hand side of the building.

The Inn has deep roots in American History. Andrew Jackson held a reception for his friends on the upper balcony. Andrew Jackson, Andrew Johnson and James K. Polk, and John Sevier, all frequented this establishment.

Ghost Stories at Jonesborough's Festival
Ghost Stories at Jonesborough's Festival

Ghost Stories at the Storytelling Festival

Do You Know About The Festival?

For 39 Years, Jonesborough, Tennessee, has been the host of the National Storytelling Festival. In fact, the town has been named the "Story Telling Capital of the World". Beginning the first Thursday in October, 10,000 people descend upon the town to hear some good old fashioned storytelling. It is a long tradition of the festival to have "Ghost Stories" in the evening, when the sun has gone down, and there is a chill in the air. Hundreds of people gather on the hillside near the Gazebo and just yards away from the Colonial Era Old Mill Spring. They lay out their blankets and quilts, sipping hot cocoa, apple cider, and most recently, caramel apple cider. Then, when the stars begin to twinkle, the best storytellers in the world take to the small gazebo stage and lure the audience in to their web of haunted horrors for an evening full of ghost stories.

This Halloween

Put Ghost Stories On Your Bucket List. No Pun Intended.

Put Ghost Stories on Your Bucket List - If You Dare!

If you love stories, especially ghost stories, this should definitely be a bucket-list event. Click this link to check out this event in October. Come for the Haunted Homes, and stay for the haunted stories!

Rosolowski's Home
Rosolowski's Home

Lucky Luciano's Girl Friend Lived Here

This 140 year old home on College Street belongs to my good friend, Katy Rosolowski. She loves to give tours. (And she was also kind enough to allow me to spend a week there while I was in town gathering stories and holding auditions for their latest historical play, which I wrote. But I digress...) Katy loves to give tours of the home, including the basement, where you can actually see thumbprints in the plaster by workers from the middle of the last century. I love putting my hand prints on theirs, knowing that so long ago, those long gone hands carefully built this masterpiece of construction.

Katy takes delight in showing all of the hidden locations in the house, including the "Harry Potter" closet under the stairs, which is accessible only through a disguised door in the bathroom.

The claim to fame of this home is that a previous owner was a one-time friend of Lucky Luciano. Not only that--- this brave lady went against Lucky and his mob, and was instrumental in helping the police finally "get him!", as she says. It's hard to imagine now this sweet grandmotherly woman once ran around with the likes of Lucky. Makes me want to ask my grandparents who they hung around with, back in the day.

Buffalo Soldier's Home
Buffalo Soldier's Home

Alfred Martin Rhea's Home

Buffalo Soldier and Great American

Alfred Martin Rhea was born a slave in the year 1849. After freedom, he joined the re-United States of America's army. He was part of the 10th Cavalry Division, known as the Buffalo Soldiers. He fought in the Spanish-American War, and it was his honor to be the man who planted the U.S. Flag on San Juan Hill. After he retired, he moved back to Jonesborough, bought property there, and built a house on Depot Street, across from the church that his great neice, Nancy, attends today. The American Dream. It didn't come to his family before him. It didn't come easy, when it came to him. But it's never easy being the first at anything.

Nancy told me her great-uncle's story, which I used in the play, "I Am Home".

I think about Alfred's story a lot, especially during times when I think I'm having it rough, and don't know if I'll make my goals, and I look at everything Alfred accomplished. He is a hero in so many ways, and I am so glad that Jonesborough has made such an effort to save his humble home. His home and lot is an example of a small but huge contribution he made to his community.

Institute For Paranormal Technology
Institute For Paranormal Technology

Ghost Tours?

You Bet

Right on Main Street you can walk in and sign up for a ghost tour. Really. Each night, the Paranormal Technology folks take tourists and townfolks through downtown Jonesborough in search of the many reported ghosts. My friend Brandi has gone ghost hunting with her dad, and took a very eerie photo of a glowing orb under the Historic Chester Inn. I do not want to give away other usual characters that are spotted on a regular occasion during these tours. I wouldn't want to spoil it for you. So you should definitely sign up for a ghost tour one night while you're in town. No trip to Jonesborough would be complete without it.

Book Your Own Ghost Tour

Follow this link and talk to the very folks who run the Ghost Tours in Jonesborough. Bring your cameras-- video and still. You will be AMAZED. And probably a little bit creeped out!

Ghosts are on the Menu At the Cranberry Thistle - Read For Yourself

Cranberry Thistle Menu
Cranberry Thistle Menu

The folks at the Cranberry are proud of their resident ghost.

Cranberry Thistle
Cranberry Thistle

The Cranberry Thistle Restaurant

This restaurant is just a few doors down from the International Storytelling Center. It's one of my favorite places to grab a cup of coffee. It's on the honor system there. You put your dollar in the bucket, pick out your mug, and pour yourself a cup of joe. All the cream and sugar is there, too. You can tank up as much as you want, for a buck. While you're there, you might see a shadow. Or did you? You might feel a chill. Or did you? The Cranberry Thistle has long been known to have unseen inhabitants among them. But, they're the friendly sorts. They must love music, too, because each weekend, you'll hear the best local bluegrass music. The ghost must love stories, too, because every Tuesday evening, the Storyteller's Guild gets together and they swap stories for all to hear. Be sure to check out the back room. Your chances of spotting something spooky are much greater back there.

Davy Crockett's Home Site
Davy Crockett's Home Site

Davy Crockett Slept Here

No, Really, He DID

In fact, he was born here in this log cabin, built in 1771. Senator David Crockett entered into legend even before his untimely death at the Alamo. Serving as Tennesee's Senator, Crockett was known for his down-home speech among the political set of the day, ruffling many feathers. He was the common man's (person's) Senator, and went to work at the Senate dressed like the common man. And talking like him, too. A red-head, he was also tempermental, and when he was finally fed up with the political system, he told the rest of the folks in Tennessee, "You go to hell, I'm going to Texas!". Which he did. And then...well, ever heard of the Alamo? He did too. He fought there. That's pretty much the end of the story. But this is his birth place. It's on an amazing piece of land, which is still mostly wild and free, as it was when he lived here. I walked down some fields, and then along the stream which runs in front of his home, and I imagined, "yes" I would be fierce about my home and my place if I grew up in such amazing beauty, too. He was a fighter, but this was something truly worth fighting for. The home sits a little ways away from downtown, but it is well worth the drive off the road to get there. Just be careful of the poison ivy in the summer.

A Book Worth Reading - Halloween or Anytime

Skeletons of the Civil War - True Ghost Stories of the Army of Tennessee
Skeletons of the Civil War - True Ghost Stories of the Army of Tennessee

Tennessee was split during the Civil War. Especially in the town of Jonesborough. ONe church went with the Union. The other Church went with the confederacy. They were the last state to join the confederacy because they were so divided. It was truly bother against brother, Mother's hearts ached as their families were torn apart. Because of all of this turmoil, there are so many reported ghosts, perhaps looking for home, perhaps looking to make amends. This is a great book to peruse, if you want to get a feel for the people of the region, their struggles, and how extraordinary it is that their town and all of it's history still exists.

 
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Sometimes, when you're alone at night, and you hear a sound, do you think it is just the house settling, or does something more enter your imagination?

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

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Comments - Have you ever stayed in a haunted home?

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      Eileen Fitch Douvarjo 9 months ago

      Have lived in one, saw the ghost age 8, slept in a family home where a terrific lady lived and died..she made her presence know to myself and younger brother. As an adult, in our own new home..built on the grounds of a Civil War battle site, as did all three of our children.

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      Guest 2 years ago

      I use to ghost hunt, but my side kick died. She was my best friend and I miss doing it. I was closer to the spirits then and seem to have lost it. I really hate that. My friend could see them, and would tell me when it pasted me as I was going to her side, and them to my side. We have picked up ghost hitch hikers, and I have had one go through me. The old farmhouse I live in is way over 50 yrs. old. I would say about 75 to 80 yrs. old. I would be on the computer early morning and smell coffee brewing. Bacon cooking and eggs frying. It would make me so hungry. When I first moved here, which my friend who lived here before, for 7 yrs. The first week, I had a mattress thrown down in the back bedroom. I had gone to bed, lying in the middle facing the bathroom. And as good as you talking to someone face to face, it said "Good night honey, I Love you. Talking about a shock, it did that. I have seen the bottom of a woman's gown in my bedroom. Things have been misplaced. Calls with no one on the other end, or strange noises. I have seen a man ghost wearing overralls and a checkered shirt, heading to my land lords shed where his office and farm vehicles. And he disappeared when he got to the sliding door. I also heard a woman and 2 men talking on the other side of the door. When the woman talked, the men were quite, and when they talked she was quiet. I could not understand what they were saying, its was mumbling. Like my friends Dad said, it was not meant for us to understand. I have also seen soldiers in gray, protecting the land. One on 1 side, two on the other. The one would go by the side of the house to the back and the other 2, one would go by the other side of the house, to the back, and the other one would pass me and go to the other side. I have seen a house across the road that had been torn down many, many years ago. My friend told me, he use to go over there to play. My sisters Yorkie was put to sleep 12-26-2014 of cancer he had. I have seen him, and other different kinds of dogs, laying down wagging their tails. So this is my, never a dull moment. This house I live in is a 4 room house. 2 bedrooms, a kitchen and living room. Each door lead to one of the 4 rooms. A small addition was added for a small bathroom on one end, and a small laundry room. A small porch in between. I have seen 3 women dressed in Victorian Style clothes. I see to much. LOL But i'm sorry its long, I have so many to tell. I told my Mom and she thinks I lost it and crazy until the living room fan came on by it self. Thanks for reading.

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      halloweenprops 5 years ago

      No, I've never stayed in a haunted home. Enjoyed the lens!

    • wheresthekarma profile image

      wheresthekarma 5 years ago

      Fun lens!! Love anything paranormal!

    • MargaritasWorld profile image

      Margarita Boettcher 5 years ago from Morrison, Colorado

      I love! If I was an angel i'd bless it. If I were a ghost I'd haunt it!

    • profile image

      JoshK47 5 years ago

      I absolutely love haunted history - and I not only stayed in one, I'm fairly certain I lived in one. Blessed by a SquidAngel!

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      sheezie77 5 years ago

      Nice lens, I like it! Squidlikes!

    • MJsConsignments profile image

      Michelle 5 years ago from Central Ohio, USA

      I had family that lived in Jonesboro for many years. I've seen a few of these. Pretty cool stuff. Squid Angel Blessed!

    • VeseliDan profile image

      VeseliDan 5 years ago

      No, luckily I haven't stayed in a haunted home yet. I believe in ghosts and I find these stories very scary. *blessed*

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      kimmanleyort 5 years ago

      Not that I know of. This town sounds like quite the interesting place. Beautifully written.

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      ya, only for 2 years, but i must say it was a horrible experience.

    • TransplantedSoul profile image

      TransplantedSoul 5 years ago

      Whether ghosts, imagination or other, "hauntings" can be entertaining and intriguing.

    • TolovajWordsmith profile image

      Tolovaj Publishing House 5 years ago from Ljubljana

      Yep, I did! But there were nice ghosts, so nothing really spooky happened... Very cool lens, thanks!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      I love old, spooky places. I frequent Tennessee a few times a year, so I'm going to have to make Jonesborough in 2012. Thanks for sharing!

    • WriterJanis2 profile image

      WriterJanis2 5 years ago

      I would love to visit these places and stay in one of them. Very enjoyable lens!

    • waldenthreenet profile image

      waldenthreenet 5 years ago

      Appreciating your topic and enjoying your presentation. I cast my ballot for "LIke" on this one. Thanks so much.

    • norma-holt profile image

      norma-holt 5 years ago

      Gosh, one doesn't think of famous people living in these types of places. Featured this on Most Haunted Houses. Well done

    • dahlia369 profile image

      dahlia369 5 years ago

      just the right time for haunted homes lens. Great job, congratulations! :)

    • Retro Loco profile image

      Vicki 5 years ago from USA

      Fascinating lens! I envy you for getting to live in some of these beautiful, spooky houses!! ;-) I enjoyed this lens about haunted historic homes in Jonesborough, TN.

    • Vikk Simmons profile image

      'Vikk Simmons 5 years ago from Houston

      Great idea for a Halloween subject. My friend was telling me about a ghost tour she went on a few weeks ago here in Houston. Congratulations on making it to the top 50 in the Halloween contest finals, too.

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      BeyondRoses 5 years ago

      As a child, I lived in a Haunted Historic Home for 7 years. I know enough about it to know that today, if someone offered to pay me to stay overnight in the house, I would not do it. It's kind of like an old movie, where some one comes up with the idea, to pay a million dollars to anyone that can last the night alive in a haunted house.

    • MariaMontgomery profile image

      MariaMontgomery 5 years ago from Central Florida, USA

      A really (spooky) nice lens that I enjoyed reading. Keep up the good work.

    • APackageAtTheDoor profile image

      APackageAtTheDoor 5 years ago

      No, but now we know where to go if the urge to stay in a haunted home strikes. Nice lens, thanks!

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      mothersdayflowersmacon 5 years ago

      There are a ton of haunted homes in Savannah GA as well.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 5 years ago

      Congratulations on your lens being included on the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night"

      monsterboard!

    • profile image

      Jellyrolldesigns 5 years ago

      Boy, this is giving me the creeps! Great lens and the ghost story tellling festival sounds like so much fun!

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      anonymous 5 years ago

      Your "I believe" got my attention for sure! I've never stayed in a haunted home that I'm aware of but have had spiritual encounters that can't be explained in the natural. Nicely done!

    • iWriteaLot profile image

      iWriteaLot 5 years ago

      I used to live in a small town in Ohio and we had a Ghost Story Festival every Halloween. So much fun! I live in Kentucky now. Jonesborough TN would be a neat weekend trip. Thanks for the info.

    • MadScience profile image

      Candace Bacon 5 years ago from Mad Laboratories

      These are spooky places. Jonesborough is just down the road from me. I love to go to the ghost stories during the Storytelling Festival. Happy Halloween!

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I used to get scared when alone in our century old home so I would not be able to stay in those houses.

    • GypsyPirate LM profile image

      GypsyPirate LM 5 years ago

      No, I don't really think that I have. I'm not sure what I would do...as it is, I can get pretty jumpy just at regular house noises. But, I really enjoyed reading about them here. Thanks for sharing!

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      NevermoreShirts 5 years ago

      Great spooky lens! Awesome work!

    • KevinLerner profile image

      Kevin Lerner 5 years ago from Washington, DC

      Good lens. (makes me want to avoid Jonesborough!). How about something about top 10 haunted homes in America?

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      Donnette Davis 6 years ago from South Africa

      Lovely lens, thank you..

    • Beaddoodler profile image

      Jennie Hennesay 6 years ago from Lubbock TX

      Great history of haunted houses. Thanks for sharing.

    • LissaKlar LM profile image

      LissaKlar LM 6 years ago

      Cool Halloween lens! I learned a lot...thanks!!

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 6 years ago

      Yes, I lived in one for a year - we got quite used to it :) Loved this article, many thanks.