The Legend of Hawes House

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Eleanor Rose

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Hawes House was rumored to have been haunted by the "Grey Lady."
(Photo courtesy Mary Wingfield Scott/Scott Collection/The Valentine)
Nobody who ever resided at the Hawes House knew where the Grey Lady came from, but they did know that on occasion she would drift through the gardens or appear along the paneled walls. Some visitors said she laid her "small cold hands" upon them. When Hawes House became an orphanage in 1873, some said the children mistook her for a nurse and were surprised each time she vanished. Later, when the house became a center for destitute men, many continued to report her presence.

The Hawes House was a unique residence remaining from the antebellum period. Mary Wingfield Scott, an architectural historian and author of, “Houses of Old Richmond,” wrote of its lovely mantels and doors, the graceful stairway and “chair-rails and paneled wainscot, the wide floor boards of random width, the plaster cornices — all admirable.”

The house referenced as the Hawes House was built around 1816 by William Mann. Ann Clap purchased the house in 1844 for her son, Samuel Hawes. Samuel was a deeply religious man and a pragmatic businessman. He claimed to have experienced at least fifty visitations of the Grey Lady, but swore his nine children to secrecy because he feared if word got out that the house was haunted, it “wouldn’t sell for another half-century.”

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The Grey Lady
(Photo courtesy The Valentine)

Samuel’s third child, Mary Virginia Terhune, became a writer and finally broke her family’s silence about the Grey Lady in 1898 when she devoted an entire chapter to her in her book entitled, “Where Ghosts Walk: The Haunts of Familiar Characters in History and Literature, Series I.” Mary described the Grey Lady as wearing a high, carved comb in her hair.

Mary Terhune wrote how laborers unearthed, some six feet away from the drawing room window and four feet underground, a small skeleton wearing the deteriorated tufts of a dress when the house was converted into an orphanage administered by St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in 1873. Mary said under the skull rested a decorative tortoise shell comb. She offered no speculation about who the woman might have been.

The Grey Lady eventually found her way into numerous books, newspaper and magazine articles. Perhaps most notably she was featured in Marguerite DuPont Lee’s 1930 "Virginia Ghosts."

The Hawes House was torn down in 1968. Today much of the neighborhood has been eradicated. Many wonder where the Grey Lady has gone since her haunt was destroyed.

 

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mofederal

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https://exemplore.com/paranormal/The-Colour-of-Ghosts

Grey Lady ghosts seem to be a common thing in both the US and England. There are more than a few across the US. Richmond has four, one being a ghost at Sherwood Forest, one at Tuckahoe Plantation, the Hawes House ghost, and the last resides in Virginia's Executive Mansion. Grey is a popular color. Above is a link which gives some glimpses of why ghost are of a certain color.
 
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tbuckley

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https://exemplore.com/paranormal/The-Colour-of-Ghosts

Grey Lady ghosts seem to be a common thing in both the US and England. There are more than a few across the US. Richmond has four, one being a ghost at Sherwood Forest, one at Tuckahoe Plantation, the Hawes House ghost, and the last resides in Virginia's Executive Mansion. Grey is a popular color. Above is a link which gives some glimpses of why ghost are of a certain color.
There is said to be a Gray Lady ghost at Camp Chase Confederate Cemetery in Columbus, Ohio also.
 

Northern Light

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That's a great story, and similar stories are fairly commonplace about these old houses. What's odd and interesting to me is how some of these ghostly presences seem to "haunt" some house residents but not others.
It depends on how sensitive one is to the paranormal. Some people are very sensitive and others wouldn't see a ghost if it jumped in front of him and shouted "Boo"!
 
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