Ghosts of the Past

25/09/12 9:05 PM

Since Brett and I have started this wonderful journey, there has been one question we seem to get over and over. When people see the manor house and find out that it is over 221 years old, we are asked, “Is there ghosts?” I can’t say that I haven’t asked the same question when I have gone to some of the historic homes Brett and I have done our research it over the years.

Well, with October just around the corner and a Wine Fest almost every weekend and the air cooling off in the evening, we wanted to answer this question head on so everyone knows.

Yes, Belle Grove has “ghosts”


The “ghosts” that I am talking about may not be the ones you are thinking of.

The “ghosts” I am talking about are the ghosts of days past. This plantation has been around for 342 years and the home has been here for 221 years. During this time, the people that have passed through the plantation have left their mark on it. It is these marks that have made Belle Grove the plantation it is today.

Belle Grove
July 1894

As I walk the plantation, I see the outbuildings that were once new and think of the hands that tolled there preparing meals for the manor.

Then I see the trees around the plantation and think of when they were first planted. What wars have them witnessed or marriages have taken placed below their branches?

I see the old boxwoods that line the driveway near the manor. What hands worked to plant them and later took care of them?

Leather Pieces and Shoe Heel Artifacts

And then there are the artifacts that we have found at the plantation. I look at pieces like the shoe heel and have “haunting” thoughts of who may have worn it and what work they may have done at the plantation to leave their mark.

Then there are the cup and plate artifacts. Who may they have served and what words were spoken that may have changed the course of the plantation?

So are there “ghosts” at Belle Grove that you expect to hear about around a fire during a cool October night?

That answer is up for debate.

But if you look at the plantation, you will find “ghosts” of day’s pasts that “haunt” it’s every corner.

Posted by Michelle Darnell | in Year of the Virginia Historic Homes | 77 Comments »

77 Comments on “Ghosts of the Past”

  1. terry1954 Says:

    awesome, and i loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee ghost stories of days gone by and old mansions that are still haunted by previous owners and guests

  2. Haha… I love a good ghost story too. But what I was saying is that you don’t have to see a white mist or hear a door slam to be haunted by the day to day things that are staring us in the face of ghostly remains of days gone by.

  3. terry1954 Says:

    this is so true, everywhere you look at your property are ghost of the past with many stories to tell. if walls could speak and leaves could tell the stories of people who sat under them taking a break from the heat. i just love your blog, love history, stories, ghost, love all u write and say!!!!

  4. Thank you Terry! What you say is so true! I wish they could “talk”. It would make my research a whole lot easier! Be on the lookout this weekend for a surprise post! I think you are going to like it!

  5. terry1954 Says:

    i can’t wait!!!!!! hurry up!!!! lol

  6. Mike Marshall Says:

    My wife and I used to live in an old house in Bowling Green, VA, and then in a 200 year old house in upper Essex County. Going to and from work took me by Belle Grove almost every day, and always admired the grand old place. I never really looked into its history, but your website prompted me to do a bit of research. I won’t include it here, but there is a story called “Phases of Belle Grove Are of Great Interest,” by the noted architect Thomas T. Waterman (author of Mansions of Virginia and other books). The story appeared in the 16 Apr 1950 edition of the Richmond Times Dispatch. There is an obituary for Carolinus Turner in the 19 Dec 1876 edition of the Alexandria [VA] Gazette that was reprinted from the Fredericksburg Herald: “DEATH OF A PROMINENT CITIZEN OF KING GEORGE.–The many friends of Carolinus Turner, of King George Co., will regret to learn of his death, which occurred on Monday last at hs home in that county. Mr. Turner was a large landholder, and previous to the war, owned a great many servants. He was a gentleman of excellent education, and commanded the respect and esteem of a large circle of friends.” From the same paper dated 18 Apr 1874: “MARRIED. On the 7th of April, at Belle Grove, the residence of the bride’s father, Carolinus Turner, esq., in King George county, Va., by Rev. Edward McGuire of the Episcopal Church, Capt. F.C.S. HUNTER to Miss SUSAN ROSE TURNER. May their’s be a life of continual sunshine and unalloyed happiness.” The groom was Frederick Campbell Steward Hunter. Their son, Thomas Lomax Hunter (1875-1948) was a lawyer and poet, and named poet laureate of Virginia by the general assembly in 1948. Also from the same paper, dated 5 Aug 1875, this sad note: “DIED. At Belle Grove, the residence of his grandfather, Carolinus Turner, esq., on Wednesday July–, CAROLINUS TURNER, the loving and interesting little son of Robert L. and A. Augusta Robb, aged one year, eleven months and seventeen days.” My wife and I will definitely come for a visit when you are open for business.

  7. Wow! What great finds! I will see if I can pull that information and add it to our history resources I have collected. I knew of the marriage of Susan and Frederick and of their son Thomas. He was born at Belle Grove too. So much history. Thank you for your research and help! We really look forward to meeting you and your wife at the plantation some day soon!

  8. punkymama Says:

    I had an old house and I loved finding strange treasures. The inn is beautiful. What a great place!

  9. Thank you! I love finding a new piece of the past that connects me to its past.

  10. maureenc Says:

    What are ghost stories, but history kept alive! Please keep sharing your stories with your readers!Years back I visited St Helena Island,an hisotoric penal settlement off the coast of Moreton Bay, It was so interesting to see the kilns used to reduce sea shells to lime for buidling, and to find old bottles and broken crockery in an old rubbish tip.

  11. I love your view of ghost stories! That had to be so much fun to see! I just love history!

  12. maureenc Says:

    Just another reason why I am so enamoured of the history of your country. If only walls could talk, what wonderful (and frighteningly sad) stories we would hear

  13. I would love to hear these stories! I know the history, but to know the personal side of them! It would just be too much to hope for!

  14. talkavino Says:

    I’m sure there is at least one (friendly!) ghost living in one of the rooms…

  15. haha.. we will have to see 😉

  16. Dianna Says:

    That old picture of Belle Grove is “mystical”. You know that I feel the same way about Bacon’s Castle: I can just FEEL my relatives there whenever I visit.

  17. I saw the new picture of Bacon’s Castle tonight and shared it on my personal facebook! It is such a beautiful place, but this photo makes it look so creepy!

  18. Dianna Says:

    The folks in charge just seem to be grasping at straws to find SOME way to make that old home profitable. As you probably read in a previous post of mine, I’m not really pleased that they’re focusing on the haunted aspect, but that’s just my 2-cent’s worth! I prefer to think of the type of “ghosts” that you wrote about in your post.

  19. I can understand you feelings. But there are a lot of people who enjoy that little charge of knowing they are in a haunted location. And it if comes down to closing the place or allow a month of creepy hauntings, well I would hate to see a beautiful and historic place like Bacon’s Castle disappear.

  20. vanbraman Says:

    What a great way to answer the ghost question. I am looking forward to learning even more about the fantastic history of the plantation.

  21. Thank you! I can’t wait to share the next chapters to come!

  22. Ankit Says:

    this is so cool…. adding your own tales to those that are hidden deep within the walls…
    i’m a little jealous… 😛

  23. Hey!! Where have you been! (don’t say India) You were one of our first followers! We have missed you! Yes, we have come a long way since we last talked! What tales these walls have to tell! And the story has only begun!

  24. Ankit Says:

    well yeah…. i have been hiding under a rock. (check your email for details)
    and about the tales…. i am sure they will only get more interesting as you add your bit to them

  25. I got your email! I will have to answer it later, but it was quite a roller coaster you have been on! Have you seen the new silent auction? Now you can own a bit of Virginia!

  26. Ankit Says:

    nope no idea about that…..
    what is it about?

  27. Look to the left column of my blog page, under the About Us page is a page called Silent Auction. You can bid on an item if you find something you like!

  28. Ankit Says:

    you have quite a collection there….

  29. virginiaplantation Says:


  30. Oh my goodness, how you have transported me – thank you so much. I am intrigued by this as I am working on a novel about a Victorian psychic detective and am doing a lot of research around it.

  31. That is so cool! I know a great place for you come do some research!! You must let us know once it is published! We can add it to the library!

  32. Thank you. I’m looking forward to reading your other posts and finding out more about the wonderful place where you live.

  33. Thank you! We look forward to reading your book!

  34. Excellent. The Virginia Plantation must be a wonderful place to live and work. From the pictures, it looks so welcoming and yet mysterious, I imagine you will have some ghostly happenings along the line because of all the people who have lived and worked there in the past. Do write about it when it happens – lots of people are very interested in the supernatural.

  35. I will have to see about that.. October is coming soon!

  36. Yes, it’s certainly the right time of the year.

  37. Oh, that I could fly over the ocean and stay…possibly forever! Thank you very much for liking my Halloween post. Sarah

  38. You are so welcome! What a very nice thing to say too! I wish I owned an airline. We have so many overseas followers that want to see the plantation. Maybe we can get some videos done to help you see the beauty of this historic place!

  39. Videos would be marvellous! I look forward to it. Sarah

  40. Nickerson Says:

    It’d be so cool if you DO actually experience or witness something extraordinary. Then again , this place very well IS 😀 I bet you can feel it at times , sense the history and the emotions the place has witnessed. I wish I had a plantation of my own. Waiting for more 😀

  41. You know I love how you said that. It is exactly how I feel at times.. “sense the history and the emotions the place has witnessed” You know you could always come and spend the day and night with us when we open and pretend for a time it is yours! 😉

  42. Nickerson Says:

    I’d love to come visit sometime! quality meals , gracious hosts and ofcourse , a nice comfy grand place. Sounds like quite a treat huh? 😛

  43. We are there to serve 😉

  44. Jenn Says:

    The Plantation is so beautiful! Ghost stories are the best!

  45. Thank you so much! We think it is too! Ghost stories are always good, especially if they are true!! 😉

  46. elizabethshore Says:

    The plantation is stunningly beautiful, and I think the “ghosts” add just the right amount of additional spice. Great post!

  47. Thank you so much! Great way to see the “ghosts”. We all need spice from time to time!

  48. gardeniahung Says:

    Since October is getting closer and just around next Monday, Ghost Stories at the Belle Grove Plantation in 1894 makes good Halloween reading for All Hallows Eve. I was reading about 1894 myself and Victorian Times…

  49. Haha.. maybe I can dig up some stories to share later in October.

  50. gardeniahung Says:

    Reblogged this on GHung's Blog and commented:
    Ghosts at the Belle Grove Plantation

  51. GiaOnTheMove Says:

    Love the old black and white photo. Totally amazing.

  52. When I found that picture I was just amazed! Can you image taking it! Wow! And the lady on the porch was more than likely a former slave.

  53. Then I say you sure do have “ghosts” all around you. After we get back from our trip I will be starting to save up for a trip to visit with you and your many treasurers, your beautiful B&B, and the ghosts of Belle Grove. You can probably have your own story hour in the evenings telling of all the past stories of Belle Grove. You have a way with words!

  54. Aw thank you Pat! We are excited to know that one day we will have a chance to meet you face to face! But I don’t know if I should tell stories at the plantation! Brett says I tend to be long winded.. 😉

  55. LOL but that is what makes you a good story teller!! 😉

  56. Well at least I know you and I will have tons to talk about!

  57. Gee maybe we should stay longer than a weekend!! ha ha

  58. I wouldn’t mind 😉

  59. 🙂

  60. Wonderful. Bit of old world charm. Reminds me of the wonderfully spooky stay we had in Edinburgh where we were took on a haunted tour. Those catacombs were creepy, but you’d give the Scots a run for their money.

  61. Haha, I don’t know about that! I hear that Edinburgh and the catacombs are really scary! I don’t see Belle Grove being that way. But it does have a charm about it. And if we did have ghosts that haunt the corners they are more than likely past members of the plantation that loved it too much to leave.

  62. Really enjoyed your ghost story! Maybe you’ll find some real ones too!

  63. Who knows! Maybe we might have one or two!

  64. It would certainly be interesting and make for wonderful Halloween marketing!

  65. Wow, by far one of my favorite entries — you’ve answer the question of ghosts perfectly! Love it, and oh, so very true, I think.

  66. Thank you so much! I am so sorry, I got your friends request today on Facebook and didn’t realize it was you. I will send you an friends request and we can connect there too!

  67. sued51 Says:

    I love this post. When it comes to antiques, I always wonder who owned them and what their life was like…
    And I agree with unsouthernbelle this would be a great marketing scheme for Halloween. My husband and I stayed at The Crescent Inn in Eureka Springs AK and they supposedly had ghosts. It was the most uncomfortable bed I ever slept in, but they had good marketing!

  68. Well, if you come to stay with us, our beds won’t be uncomfortable 😉 But I agree with you about wondering who has owned the antiques and what their lives were like.

  69. juliesruth Says:

    I love old houses, and I kind of like the occasional ghost story; except when I’m getting ready to go to bed.

  70. We love old houses too! As for the ghost stories, well.. October is coming soon so we may have to see 😉

  71. James B Hearn Says:

    This is a wonderful old plantation on the banks of the Rappahannock River. My Uncle Charles Kendall Hearn at one time lived on this plantation and managed it and raised his family there.I have quite a few old pictures of the place. Some that show the workers working the fields with the old farming implements pulled by teams of horses. taken around the beginning of the 20th century.

  72. Oh my! I need to meet you! Are you still in the King George area? We are going to be up there next weekend and I would love to see if we can meet up! Do you know which family he worked for? I am trying to find information on the families and the plantation from around 1900 to 1930s. This period is pretty hard to find since the owners during this time were from California. You can contact me directly through email at

  73. Reblogged this on Practically Historical.

  74. That’s awesome!

  75. Thank you! I like to think so too!

  76. You have the best posts! Whenever I have a minute I can not stop…I just like them all! 🙂

  77. Thank you so much! We really enjoy sharing the fun.