Monday, September 28, 2009

The Sultana








This mansion in Lisbon was once owned by a man named Anton Brewer. He was a well known lawyer back in the mid 1800's. When the Civil War broke out, he was quick to sign up. I am yet unable to find much about his military career. I know he was an officer and ended up being a prisoner of war. Where he was kept I do not know, though I hope it was not Andersonville.
In April of 1865, the war finally ended. A few day later, President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and the country changed forever. But, a little known story about that tumultuous time came to light as I investigated Lisbon for the ghost walk. It would seem that Officer Brewer was released from the POW camp he had been confined to and he was making his way back to his beloved home. He boarded a Paddle Wheel boat on the Mississippi called the Sultana. It was made to carry only 400 people. But at the time Officer Brewer was aboard, there were about 2400 men being taken home to Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan. One night, one of the boilers blew up, destroying the ship and causing the deaths of at least 1500 men. There is not an exact count but it was estimated to be between 1500 and 1800 people. The pictures above are of the Sultana and an artists rendition of the explosion of the ship. Unfortunately, Officer Brewer was a casualty of that disaster. Many people do not know about this particular incident because it happened during the time of President Lincoln's assassination.
Today, this beautiful mansion is owned by a man named Ryan Hillman. He is also the owner of the Steel Trolley (which has excellent food!!) in Lisbon. He says that his home is haunted, though he tries not to think about it too much. Doors opening and closing by themselves, phantom footsteps, whispers of conversation that seemed muffled and far away, like in another room, are all things he has experienced. Is this the ghost of Officer Anton Brewer? I sure would like to find out.
Our little village of Lisbon has such a story attached to it. And no one knows. I will be writing about the other pieces of history I uncovered in my search of the Lepper Library for the Lisbon Ghost Walk. I am delighted to do so because our county has some fantastic history that I can't wait to tell you about. You are going to be pleasantly surprised.

1 comment:

Autumnforest said...

Keep seeking the truth. I love these history lessons. I find the more stories I hear, the more I feel like the characters from the past are alive right now just because we're thinking about them. It makes me wonder what folks in the future might say about my life and time. I want an interesting story too!