The McRaven House
Andrew Glass built the first incarnation of the house circa 1797. The original bedroom of that time is still intact and is today is furnished by pieces of that time, including some that was originally used there. In 1836, Sheriff Stephen Howard purchased the house and the "middle part" of the house was constructed, which consisted of another bedroom and dining room. In 1849, then-owner John Bobb completed the construction in the Greek Revival Style. The new additions included the parlor, hallway and flying wing staircase, the Gentleman's dressing room, the master bedroom, and the finishing touches on the outside of the home. In 1882, William Murray purchased the house for his family and they would remain there until 1960, when the house was restored and opened for tours.
The Trail of Tears
The house and grounds served as a way station on the Trail of Tears. The name refers to the forced mass relocation of 15,000 members of the Cherokee Nation from their reservation to land in what is today Oklahoma. The relocation was a result of the Treaty of New Echota, signed by the U.S. Government and members of a faction of the Cherokee tribe, who did not represent the whole tribe. The treaty was enacted under the provisions of the Indian Removal Act of 1830 that was signed into law by President Andrew Jackson. Though the majority of the Cherokee Nation implored the Senate not to ratify the new treaty, it was ratified through the influence of Jackson. In 1838, Jackson's successor, President Martin Van Buren, directed General Winfield Scott to forcibly move the Cherokee who had stayed behind. The relocation would result in over 4,000 deaths and would forever be known as The Trail of Tears.
The Civil War
The house would also serve as a field hospital and campground for Confederate soldiers during the Siege of Vicksburg. It is believed that several soldiers died during that time and were buried on the surrounding grounds. The house also underwent punishment by the Union artillery during the siege.
The Ghost of Captain James McPherson
After the fall of Vicksburg, General Grant placed it under the control of Colonel J.H. Wilson. The Colonel knew his aide Captain James McPherson had lived in Vicksburg, but had defected north after the onset of the war. Based on his local history, he designated McPherson as the official liaison between the Union Army and the residents of Vicksburg. However, McPherson would later be declared missing after he never returned from making his rounds one night. It is said that a few weeks later, Wilson saw a bloody McPherson sitting in a rocking chair in Wilson's room by the bed. He was soaking wet and quickly informed Wilson that some residents that never forgave him for joining the Union side had murdered him and thrown his corpse was thrown into the river.
Later in May of 1864, McRaven owner John Bobb would come across Union soldiers picking flowers out of his garden. A minor scuffle broke out and Bobb would report the incident to the Federal Commander at the time. Upon returning home from that meeting, he was met by 25 Union troops who quickly grabbed and drug him 100 yards from the house and killed him.
Other Deaths in the House
Over the years, several more deaths occurred in the house. In August 1836, Howard's wife Mary Elizabeth Howard died while delivering his child in the new room of the house he had just constructed. Several members of the Murray family would also pass away in the house; including William Murray (1911) and his wife Ellen (1921), daughter Ida (1946), and a son in 1951. The last death was that of Ella Murray in 1960, after which the house was sold and opened to the general public for tours.
The house is recognized as one of the most haunted houses in Mississippi and the home to several different spirits. Countless people reported seeing apparitions, being shoved or touched, voices, and other strange activity. The ghost of Mary Elizabeth Howard has been sighted in the dining hall, staircase, and is thought to be the spirit that turns the lamp next to the bed she died in on and off on occasion. The Murray's daughters have also been reportedly spotted, as well as the ghosts of soldiers walking around the grounds and in the house itself. Finally, one owner reportedly spotted the ghost of William Murray on the staircase in the house. After the sighting and another encounter when a desk drawer slammed on his hand, he called in a local priest to exorcise the house. Since then, the activity has remained friendly for the most part, but there is no shortage of reported sightings.
Today the house is currently on the market for sale, but is still open for tours that explore the history and haunts of the house. The tours are given seven days a week during normal business hours and last around an hour and a half. Visit the official site below for more information.