Monday, November 5, 2012

Carter's Grove Ghost: A Slave Named Jim

Do souls linger because of some trauma or tragedy that occurred while they walked among the living?

This is just one story from America’s shameful 250-year history of human enslavement. During colonial times most large plantations used slave labor. One such plantation, Carter’s Grove Plantation, by the north shore of the James River was completed in 1755 near Williamsburg, Virginia. 

Jim his wife Beth and their three children were one of many slave families that worked at Carter’s Grove. Their lives were filled with hard labor and pain but they had each other, which was a comfort. But even this comfort was about to be taken away.

Mans inhumanity to man is most stark when talking about slavery. One practice that was especially cruel was the fact that slave families were often separated from each other. A common practice during colonial times was plantation masters, finding themselves strapped for cash, would rent their slaves out to other households.

The master at Carter’s Grove finding himself in this situation rented Jim out to the Governor of Williamsburg. So Monday through Saturday Jim would work at the Governor’s Palace at Williamsburg working in the fields. Then late each Saturday Jim would walk the long lonely road back to Carter’s Grove in order to spend one day with his family.

Jim devoted to his family continued to make this journey back and forth every week. But late one Saturday night as he approached Carter’s Grove he was informed his wife and children were no longer at the plantation. The master had rented them out to another household. 

Now distraught Jim became determined to find his family. Every Saturday he made the trek back to Carter’s Grove but his questions were always greeted with silence.

The legend states Jim never gave up his search but tragically he never saw his family again. The loss of his wife and children broke his heart--which some state was the cause of his death. 

According to many witness reports Jim’s “lonely soul” is still seen wandering 'Old Country Road', walking back from the Governor’s Palace hoping to find his family at Carter’s Grove.

After hundreds of years of private ownership the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation acquired Carter’s Grove in 1964. For many years the plantation was open to the public for tours. 

In 2003 Hurricane Isabel caused serious damage to the eight-mile Old Country Road that linked the property to historic Williamsburg. The foundation in 2007 allowed a private business to buy the plantation. Today it is used as a thoroughbred horse-breeding farm.

Here are just two of the interesting sightings of "Jim"during the time the plantation was open to the public. 

The first witness was a man that worked at the plantation after hours. This man stated that while working in a field with the plantation's horses he spotted a large black man dressed in rags enter the field from the nearby woods. This man appeared to be dazed so the employee headed toward him to see if he could help. But the figure then just disappeared. 

Another account was told by tourists who where driving their car back toward Williamsburg after visiting the plantation. They slowed down as they approached a large black man dressed in old torn clothes who was walking in the middle of the road. 

At first they thought he was an actor still in costume from the plantation. But his odd behavior alarmed the driver of the car for the man was looking down and didn't seem to notice they were behind him. The driver not having enough room to pass shouted toward the man at which point he walked slowly over to the side of the road. As the car passed the driver was surprised to see the man was no longer there.

1 comment:

Eric S Moore Jr said...

Both me and my father saw him back in like 2005 ish...We were driving up to Williamsburg early one Saturday morning when we saw a weary man dressed in ragged clothes from the 1800s walking on the side of the road near the back of the plantation. I told my dad to look at him and just as soon as the past him I looked back and he was completely gone. We were completely caught off guard. I don’t know how to explain it but something deep down in you just knows that you just experienced a ghost. Years went by and I decided to look it up to make sure that what we saw was correct and I found this...crazy but true story!!! But also very heartbreaking as well.