Saturday, January 3, 2015

Haunted Carnton Plantation

Carrie McGavock is sometimes seen on her back porch that overlooks a historic Civil War cemetery, adjacent to her home, in Franklin, Tennessee.

Her home's name is Carnton.

Franklin seeps of antebellum history, so non-residents don’t find it odd a resident of this small town enjoys the view from her porch.

People do wonder why Carrie wears a long white dress even in the hot summer months.

What these witnesses do not know, is there is something even more peculiar about Mrs. McGovack--she has been dead since 1905.

A former mayor of Nashville, Randall McGavock had Carnton built-in 1826 in the Greek Revival Style. This property quickly became one of the prominent farms in Williamson County.

Randall's son, John inherited the plantation and married Carrie Elizabeth Winder in December of 1848. The couple had 5 children 3 of whom died young.

Carrie McGavoc
In November of 1864, a five-hour Civil War battle was fought after dark near this plantation.

This battle is considered one of the bloodiest battles of the Civil War. Over 9,500 soldiers were killed, wounded, captured, or counted as missing. 7,000 of these soldiers were Confederates.

Wounded Confederate
The Carnton mansion, used as a military hospital served thousands of wounded and dying Confederate soldiers.

For more information about the Battle of Franklin-- check out this site.

This experience changed the McGavock family.

After the war in 1866, when they noticed farmland encroaching upon the shallow graves of the fallen soldiers, they donated 2 acres of their land near their family plot as a memorial burial ground for 1500 soldiers.

The family maintained this cemetery until their respective deaths.

Memorial cemetery.
According to Margie Thessin, a tour guide at the mansion, Carrie McGavock still watches over these graves.

Her daughter saw Carrie’s ghost wearing a long pink gown.

Typical reports include her sitting on the porch where there is a good view of the cemetery. Yet other witness reports state that she is also seen floating over the back yard in a white dress.

Other ghosts seen at Carnton are Confederate soldiers that died during the Battle of Franklin. This activity is most pronounced in the autumn, and at dusk when the battle was fought. 

The following describes one of these sightings.

A descendant of one of these fallen soldiers visited the plantation in autumn recently. He arrived in the late afternoon after the mansion was closed to visitors for the day.

He decided to walk around and followed a path to the back. He spotted a silhouette of a man dressed in uniform about to mount a horse.

Carnton back porch.
As the man did this, his horse vanished. The visitor approached another man dressed as a Confederate officer on the back porch and asked, “What happened to his horse?”

The soldier stated this horse had been shot out from under this soldier, just like his had been earlier. He explained that without their horses, they were at the mercy of the enemy.

He looked at the visitor and told him if he was going to stay he would need his pistol, or he wouldn’t last long.

The visitor then asked him what kind of gun he used. As the officer replied in detail, it slowly dawned on him that these men were not Civil War enactors, as he had first thought.

He choked out he did not have a gun. The officer alarmed at his announcement told him that he should quickly leave--to get out of harm’s way.

The officer then turned to another spirit that stood nearby. “Well if we are going to die, let us die like men.” He then threw his hat in the air forcefully and vanished.

Carnton Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and ghost and historical tours are offered.


Loves History! said...

My Son is 8, and we just moved to Franklin by Carnton. The lines of time are parallel and cross and blur here unlike any other place I have seen. Day 1, we moved in and as soon as I placed a Welcome Home sign on mantle- I came back to a fire in the fireplace with my son fanning the flames. We were just being welcomed. Taking out the trash- the smell of pipe smoke from another era is overwhelming. But now, as my Son confides in me and draws pictures, we have an issue. He has no idea of War or history. We have autism, and I saw spirits as a child until I shut it off. He describes battle, fear, Uniforms, artillery, injuries, amputations, confusion, a 17 year old boy soldier "wanting to just go home" and "not fight anymore ". He has a friend- a child from Carnton Plantation and has described his death and fever. His mother's dresses- her hair all up and then spiraling "like Medusa" and "Cinderella Hair". He calls cannon balls "wrecking balls" and "bowling balls" not knowing what they are. And he knows a few nuances that only a soldier would know that I would love to verify. I know at least one other Family is having this occur. Can we possibly message or see what is happening? I want to help my Son not be scared, I know what he is seeing is real, and he describes such in depth innocence detail, human emotion, it is amazing, unnerving, but remarkable. Please if interested or if you know specific details, email me at I would love to verify what he has said, seen, what neighbors have seen, and learn to not be afraid. It is a gift, but can be terrifying. My Son says "they are afraid of the light" and that they are "shocked and scared when they realize we can see them". The picture he drew tonight of a 17 year old wounded soldier "confused" "who just keeps saying "I want to go home!" bandaged with question marks took my breath away and tore at my heart. Anyone else experienced or experiencing this? Thanks!

Virginia Lamkin said...

Hopefully, someone who lives in your area can help you.

Loves History! said...

Unfortunately, no one has the courage to speak up! I do not want to have to move. My son now knows more about the Battle of Franklin than some history books. There are residual hauntings I think- like "the Widow" walking in her cloak, etc. But, a neighbor's relative witnessed a full blown polo match- she thought- by the stable house. It wasn't polo. I know that the Union dead were supposedly moved to Mufreesboro, but from what we know- there has to be a "dump" or "pit" mass burial grave. Still have not done research to verify the names, people, places, and facts. But, still needing some assistance! And the pipe smoke? Cherry wood.

Loves History! said...

Also, the widow "Carrie", is seen wearing a cloak. She "has two dresses." One red, one black. She crosses the creek where a bridge must have been and disappears between two homes. Her hair is "all up on top of her head" then "spirals like Medusa". The children play with wooden puppets (marionette type dolls), and like "charades". One had a fever and went to sleep and died. His mother made him "dress up on the weekends." He had school at home. They had a lot of books. Iceland (is Ireland - my Son cannot read r) . And he misses his siblings he had in life but the light "burns his eyes". There are so many things that could fill a book. All align with Christian belief in the light, etc. Just not with what we know as psychics or time.

Loves History! said...

The ghosts also consistently seem to tell men to get to the Carter house if they do not have guns. Why did they think this would be out of the battle zone? Does anyone have any idea?