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.

A Walk Along The History Of Lisbon

The Lisbon Ghost Walk went great. About 20 people came and for me, that is the perfect size group. We took them all over the village and told stories that most people do not know. Ghost stories were hard to come by, but Lisbon is so full of great historical occurrences, that was all I needed. Above pictured: Jon, me, Belinda Mike, Amber, Amy, Sarah, and Sammi.
Here we are in front of the Eells Legget funeral home. I think there is a Stauffer in their name too. But the spelling is off, I think.

Here and explanation comes about the letters C D on the stone pillar. Civil Defense.

A little lesson about the history, or lack there of, of the Masons. They also guard their secrets well.

Walking toward the home of Erastus Eells, the first undertaker of the county. He may have been involved in the Underground Railroad, though no proof exists. Personally, a lack of proof suggests he did a good job at smuggling out the slaves. He used his coffin making business, hiding the slaves in the coffins and sending them up north, like to Canada.

Here is our little group standing in front of the home of Chris and Debbie Shivers. For many years, their home was haunted by a little girl they called Cathy. She created a lot of mischief inside the home, though it was tolerated with great affection. They even went so far as to buy little Cathy Christmas presents. A more elaborate story about this will come later this week.

This is some climb. We walked up the steps toward the F.O.E. building. Benjamin Hannah had this house built for his son Joshua. There is a rumor that there is a ghost on the second floor, but no one would elaborate. Also the home was a station for the Underground Railroad itself.

They look sadly at the grave markers of the little German Cemetery in Lisbon. They all expressed dismay at the state the markers are in.

Everyone listens as I tell the story about the little cemetery and point out the row of pine tree the Lisbon Garden Club had planted to hide what the public thought of as an eyesore.

Standing beside the police station and talking about the architecture of the old Presbyterian church across the street, wondering if the Masons had a hand in building it.

Bad Frogs. Closed forever. Haunted forever, too. It has a Lady in White that floats down the stairs to look at the bar patrons and then glides back up to disappear. Formerly the Ivy Stone Lounge, it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad.
By the end of the tour, my ankle throbbed, but it was so worth it. I think people liked the tour. I was happy they took the time to come and I hope they felt they got their moneys worth. They helped the CCFHV to get that much closer to their goal of non profit status. Thank you to everyone who came. Please check the list of tours on the side. The next event is October 3 at Thompson Park. I don't charge for any of the tours I do, except for the one today. It was a charity event and ALL THE PROCEEDS went to CCFHV. Looking for some fun Halloween activities? Check out the side of the blog and see if there is anything you'd be interested in attending. Hope to see you at one of them!