Myrtles Plantation: Louisiana’s Most Haunted Plantation
The infamous Myrtles Plantation in Louisiana is considered one of the most haunted places in America. Located on 650 acres of land in St. Francisville, Louisiana. The farm was built in 1796 by General David Bradford. What the general, along with several other future owners, did not know was that before the Spanish took over the land, it belonged to a local indigenous tribe known as the “túnicas.” These Native American peoples used the land as a sacred cemetery. As any ghost hunter or supernatural historian will tell you, this type of sacrilege is a breeding ground for supernatural activity, and it is not usually a friendly activity, as the spirits of the dead are never content to be rudely molested.
Some years later, one of David Bradford’s law students and family friend, Clark Woodruff, married Bradford’s 14-year-old daughter, Sarah Matilda. Woodruff was a 35-year-old mature man, but arrangements like this were quite common back then. Together, the couple had three daughters, Cornelia Gale, Jane, and Mary Octavia. In 1808, after Bradford’s death, Clark and Sarah moved their family to the Myrtles’ home. As was the custom back then, the wealthy from the south owned slaves. Some worked in the fields and others were domestic servants. One of these house servants was a young woman named Chloe. Chloe had particularly close ties to the family, as she cooked and personally cared for Woodruff’s daughters. It is believed that she and Clark were having an affair. It is unknown if Sarah Wood Ruff knew of this.
Now Chloe, who had mingled so closely with the Woodruffs, had the opportunity to hear certain happenings on the farm. Most of the time he eavesdropped to find out what was going on with his fellow slaves. Things like, if new slaves were brought onto the property, or what slaves were to be sold or traded with another owner. But lately, Chloe was eavesdropping to find out what was going to happen to her. You see, lately she had begun to suspect that Mr. Clark was getting tired of her. She thought he would send her to the fields, instead of risking her saying something to Sarah Woodruff about their steamy date. However, one day Chloe was caught. His punishment was cruel. For the crime of espionage, they cut off an ear.
Fearing that she would now be sent to the fields, Chloe hatched a plan to save her current state. He collected some leaves from an oleander plant and boiled them in water. This would create an arsenic-like liquid that he planned to pour into the batter for a birthday cake he was making for one of the children. It is widely believed that his intention was not to murder, but only to make the girls and their mother sick, so that she could take care of their health. This would thank the family and she could remain as the family’s personal servant. But Chloe’s plan went terribly wrong. He had underestimated the strength of the poisonous mixture and a couple of hours after eating the cake, two of the girls and Sarah were dead. Chloe confessed what she had done. Then, as revenge for the two girls, an enraged mob of black and white men and women took her and hung her from a tree on the site grounds. Woodruff stayed until 1834, then sold the property and moved to New Orleans. He died in 1851.
These days, the Myrtles plantation has been restored and now operates as a Bed & Breakfast. Many guests of the house claim to have seen ghosts and heard sounds, such as footsteps. The ghost has been identified as Woodruff’s daughters, Cornelia Gale and Jane, along with their mother, Sarah Matilda, and the house maid, Chloe, has also been seen. Girls have been seen playing around the house (usually upstairs) and in the gardens. Sarah Matilda’s ghost is mainly seen on the main staircase, coming down as if to greet guests when they arrive. Chloe is often seen wandering the gardens and has been seen next to the tree from which she was hung.