Hampton Lillibridge House

More From Savannah More From Georgia

There was a nasty, harmful bad apple among the boatload of spirits found here!

Stronger spirit(s) protected the living.

At first, sharing was an issue…

 

 

DESCRIPTION

Also known as the James, Arthur Williams House; reflection of past owners, the historic Hampton Lillibridge Town House is 229 years old, being both a historic home and a remodeled and renovated to suit the needs of its owners.

Real vision website does a great job describing the historic Hampton Lillibridge Town House: “It has encompassing 4 stories plus a roof walk with views of the Savannah skyline & ships passing by on the nearby Savannah River.  It has 4,606 Sq Ft, living space in two stories, a pull-down attic space and a finished basement. This townhome has 5 bedrooms, 5 baths, hardwood flooring, a fireplace, a slate roof, plus a sunken garden.”

Some amenities created from the Hampton Lillibridge Town House renovation efforts have been described well on real vision website: ” Former porte-cochere:(a porch where vehicles stop to discharge passengers), was turned private suite with its own entrance below the kitchen and sunroom;{probably done in the 1985 remodel). Modern open kitchen layout and butler’s pantry, perfect for entertaining. With five bedrooms, three full baths, two powder rooms and two wet bars, this home can accommodate numerous lifestyle configurations!”

 

WOW! This historic, beautifully renovated and restored 1796 Hampton Lillibridge Town Home is truly a lovely historic gem that has all the modern amenities that people enjoy without taking away from its historic beauty. It was built on a solid brick foundation with clapboard sides and a lot of windows all around. The beautifully done renovations and restoration shines on the outside and inside.

The outside of the structure looks much like it  did when the Hampton Lillibridge familys’ forever home was first built in 1796, but with re-tucked bricks, stronger clapboard siding, a renewed slate roof, and double-paned windows that have the same sort of shutters that were popular in the 18th century.

After viewing the pictures that were posted on zillow; taken for its latest listing before selling in 2019,  the viewer can see that the inside of this historical Hampton Lillibridge Town House is truly glorious. Historic decor such as crown molding, fire places, the 18th century side staircase, and wonderful french doors as well as other historic architecture have been restored.

Forced air heating was added and some open concept ideas were implemented; taking down some walls in the kitchen area and the side parlor area so the cook can talk to the guests. Each bedroom was given some sort of bathroom, making good use of the old closets and spare space in each room.

 

The Hampton Lillibridge Town House’s sunken garden was the creation of former owner, master craftsman, Jim Williams.This beautiful, green space complete with a little fountain, is still just the place to relax and renew; lucky owners! French doors on that side of the townhome open up to this delightful garden. I hope the new owners will open this historical beauty up for tours. We would surely to visit.

HISTORY

In the late 1700s, it was the custom of wealthy planters in Colonial America who owned plantations out in the countryside, to buy a town home in the nearest city, so he and his family could enjoy the amenities of city life.(Check out our haunted house stories on our Williamsburg, VA page).  Hampton Lillibridge was a wealthy planter, originally from Newport, Rhode Island. Hampton along with his brother, Robert, bought the plantations of the  Savannah loyalist plantation owners who were forced to sell their plantations after the American Revolution.

Hampton kept one plantation for himself and moved his household and family to Savannah to live in town.  He then bought the vacant lot at 15 of Warren Ward in town on March 1st, 1796. This lot 15 was formerly the site of the East Common of Savannah. He built two houses on this lot, putting a New England gambrel-style roof on both of them.

They were built to be in the style of Newport, Rhode Island; both homes that Hampton Lillibridge mentions in his August 28,1797 Will. His Will left his wife Anne the western half of the lot where the main house was located. For his daughter, Henrietta, he gave her the eastern half of lot 15, where the second, smaller house was located.

The Hampton Lillibridge family lived happily here in town until Hampton Lillibridge died. His widow, Anna, remarried to a gentleman, Joseph Grant and continued to live there, with daughter Henrietta living right next door in the second town home.

After some years, Anna sold the Hampton Lillibridge Town House to another rich planter, James Gould. He much later sold it to a fellow named Author. It became a boarding House in the early 20th century.  It must of been the right time to put the structure to work. It ended its career by catering to sailors and transients, who were not always peaceful, and often hot-tempered, which ended in fighting and violence.

In 1933, when Savannah took inventory of its old historic homes, The Hampton Lillibridge Home number one looked a little funky from the outside; really needing a paint job, but it looked like it was a viable building. It was still a boarding house, but probably not a duplex, like the second Hampton Lillibridge Home.

What put a nail in the coffin of the boarding house establishment was a suicide of a depressed sailor in one of the guest rooms. No one wanted to stay there or even buy the property, according to one source.  However, after the memory of that suicide passed, it became a tenement housing for the down and out, and poorer folks.

At some point, it was unlivable because the structure wasn’t maintained because lack of rental money. Probably, the area suffered some decline as folks moved to the suburbs of Savannah. It became an abandoned structure for awhile, according to one source, becoming unlivable but still had its solid structural bones and possibilities for renewal that were recognized in 1962.

The first effort to redesign and restore a rather creaky fixer-upper in danger of becoming a victim of the wrecking ball was in 1963 by historic house master craftsman, Jim Williams. Williams bought an empty lot a few blocks away from the original location of this structure; 310 E. Bryan St., and moved this entire unlivable fixer-upper opportunity there.

Jim Williams and his talented restoration and renovation team went to work and put this creaky, falling apart mess back into a marvelous new yet historic restored town home; renewing it as a private home to be owned and lived in while enjoying the beauty of this special historic town house. The restoration didn’t go smoothly, but Williams persevered to finish his restoration.

Unfortunately, the Hampton Lillibridge Town House number 2  that had been located on the eastern part of lot 15, and given to daughter Henietta located right next to this main Hampton Lillibridge Town House had to be torn down.  In 1933, it was in horrible shape almost beyond help; being an almost ruined creaky fixer upper. It is not clear in my sources when it was torn down; perhaps after the inside pictures were taken.

The Hampton Lillibridge Town House number 1 had a complete remodel in 1985, when it was updated and renovated a bit, to make it a viable property; being careful to work around all the restoration work done by the man who saved this treasure, Jim Williams. Other upgrades were probably done by the people who owned it later throughout the 20th and into the 21st Century.

Because of the years of renovations, the Hampton Lillibridge Town House was structurally changed too much to qualify to be listed on NRHP, though it is still considered to be a historic treasure by the city of Savannah, and is part of National Historic Landmark District for historic Savannah.

However, the alternative was that it would’ve been torn down like the second Hampton Lillibridge House on the same property. It did become a beautiful home for people; a very upgraded home that could rival other properties in Savannah on the real estate market, if the price was right; apparently.

This historic house was put on the real estate market on March 8th, 2008, with hopes of getting the price of $2,900,000; right when the economic recession began. In January of 2010, the price was lowered to $2,600,000  and lowered yet again in about a year later to $2,200,000. In April of 2011, the house was removed from the real estate market. The owners tried again in 2013, only again to take it off the market on May 2nd, 2015.

It stayed on the market again from April of 2017 but taken off again in June first, 2018.  Perhaps they changed real estate companies, hoping to improve their chances of selling it.

The fourth time listing of this property that happened at the end of the month of June 18th was the charm. This historic home  finally sold a year later with escrow closing on August 9th 2019; though at a considerably lower price:$1,500,000. The sale price was one million, 400 dollars less than the original listing. Perhaps it had been over-priced for the area and economic conditions.

The Hampton Lillibridge Town House also had another problem that may have discouraged buyers. It was known to be one of the most haunted houses in Savannah. While a lot of the properties in Savannah have spirits, this home for a time had a nasty, angry spirit, as well as a boatload of others due to a variety of reasons; some with mixed feelings about sharing the home.  Some kinds of spirits can dampen the value of a structure; even in Savannah.

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Building a structure over a grave; disrespecting the remains can cause a restless, sometimes annoyed, confused angry spirit.

Montauk Manor, NY (Spirits of Indians have issues with the dolts who not only built on top of graves, but mixed their bones into the mortar as well.)

El Campo Canto Cemetery, CA (Buildings and a road were built on top of graves.)

Easton Library, PA (Unclaimed remains were dug up and put into a large, mass grave on the side of the Easton Library, and an exit road was made right on top.)

Hampton Lillibridge House, GA

An empty crypt was inadvertently dug up when workmen were digging up the ground at the new lot for the foundation of Hampton Lillibridge Town House so the structure could be moved to its new location. It looked like the kind used for native Americans or pre-Colonial folks. One source reports; “In their digging, they managed to excavate a buried, ancient crypt, most likely from pre-colonial times, from under the foundation. Perhaps indicating Native American origination, the crypt’s walls were constructed from lime and oyster shells.”

They simply reburied the ancient crypt, without calling upon an Indian Shaman to perform a ceremony to calm the spirit. (Maumee Bay Brewing Company, OH) Apparently, this incident could have awakened an angry, murderous spirit who attached himself to the town house when it was moved onto its new foundations, on top of the reburied crypt. Uh oh!

However, Perhaps not!  The other theory is that the murderous spirit could’ve been one of the spirits who claimed the town house when it was abandoned.  Whoever this nasty spirit was, it caused some tragedy and a near death.

 

Tragedy: Perhaps spirit-caused.

Story 1: In the process of preparing the town house for moving, the house next to it fell on top of the workman and killed him.

Story 2: The workman fell through the roof and died.

Near Death: Listed under Manifestations there are two versions of what happened.

Near Tragedy or an Attempted Murder?

During the restoration process, a second confrontation with a member of the work crew or one of Jim’s friends nearly ended the man’s life. Something stepped in to stop it.

 

Moving a house into a new position or a new place can activate spirits, who may be in a variety of moods.

Smith HouseBrigham Young Farm House, UT (A spirit of one of Young’s wives is a cheerful helper.)

The Pioneer History Village houses, AZ (They were all dream homes, much loved.)

Tombstone Bordello B & B, AZ (Apparently, the ladies came along for the ride.)

The Hampton Lillibridge Town House, GA

This house was moved from its original location on 310 E. Bryan St.,to a few blocks away to a vacant lot at 507 E Saint Julian St., that awakened or disturbed spirits who were attached; past owners, boarders, and others. Spirits don’t like changes and probably didn’t understand why their house was being moved. One spirit was especially annoyed at first.

 

Suicide can create spirits stuck in this world, in the place where they killed themselves.

Birdcage Theatre, AZ (Older prostitutes gave up hope of marrying.)

Stokes Adobe, CA (A man killed himself when his fraud was discovered.)

USS Hornet, CA (Some soldiers suffering from battle fatigue killed themselves.)

Hampton Lillibridge House, GA (A depressed sailor killed himself in one of the boarding house’s guest rooms, perhaps during the late 20s’ or earlier. The boarding house catered to sailors and transients. )

 

Being empty and abandoned for at least 20 years, a structure can attract spirits who once loved the place or need a new home. They may not be so welcoming of new living people moving inside as they have claimed it as their own, or feel that the living were poor caretakers of their beloved structure in this world.

Monmouth Plantation, MS (A distrustful former owner had to be won over to be helpful, not angry.)

The Hermitage, TN (Years of neglect aggravated the original owner when the living decided to sleep there one night to protect it before restoration work had started.)

The Dutton House, VT (For forty years, the spirits had their forever home all to themselves. It was a rude shock when the living came, moved it and restored it as a museum for the throngs of humanity.)

Hampton Lillibridge House, GA (A boatload of unknown spirits had made themselves at home. One these may have attempted the murder.)

 

Spirits who have bonded with the ground where their structure once stood or where they died, may decide to move into the new structure that is built on their land.

Rialto Theatre, IN (Spirits connected to the farmland that the theatre was built upon, enjoy the theatre, while helping.)

Capitol Records Building, TN (Two elderly ladies whose house was torn down to build the Capitol Records building have moved inside this building.)

Hangman’s Ice Cream Saloon & connecting Herrick Building, CA (Spirits connected to the land have moved inside.)

Hampton Lillibridge House, GA

There are three possibilities. 1) (The spirit of the unearthed Native American may have been awakened after his burial place was dug up,  attached itself to the Hampton Lillibridge Town House after it had been moved onto the new property; perhaps ready to hunt bear or perhaps a little confused.)

2) (Another spirit, not the Native American may have been the one whose crypt was disturbed has moved inside, as this spirit has been seen wearing appropriate clothes.)

3) (There may have been spirits on this new address property bought for Hampton Lillibridge Town House that had bonded to the land because their structure had been torn down.)

 

MANIFESTATIONS

Paranormal activity amped up as soon as the restoration work crew hired by master restorer, Jim Williams began the daunting task of putting the house back into a restored form. The activity wasn’t exactly welcoming, and nearly deadly in one instance.

Activity from the Beginning

Thought to be caused by spirits of past owners and boarders.

Masons heard stomping feet and sound of running coming from the upper floors where there wasn’t a staircase for the living to go up there.with no one living was present.

Masons in the basement, putting the finishing touches on the foundation kept hearing sound of a lot of people running up and down the staircase.

They heard disembodied laughter, disembodied conversations between at least two spirits, and

Loud, jarring sounds of what sounded like furniture being tossed about.

Not All Are Nice

A disturbing presence was felt by all in the bedrooms; perhaps the spirit of the sailor or a former owner not willing to share the house.

They felt “prickling, tingling, tickling sensations at the backs of their necks and a hostile atmosphere.”

Their tools and equipment were messed with, and even taken.

Angry, Murderous Presence

This negative, hostile spirit had murder on its mind.

Some members of this work restoration crew quit because of all the negative paranormal activity. Some didn’t quit.

This presence tried to kill a living person.

Story ONE: A Murderous Attempt

One man was not going to be scared away from such a wonderful restoration project. Jim Williams didn’t believe that his house was haunted either. This restoration workman was willing to go up by himself to the third floor and continued on working on his current project.  The chimney had been opened up, so the shaft was open and went down through the other floors. What happened next was truly terrifying.

The craftsman was up on the third floor alone. He heard a noise in one of the rooms and when he walked into the room, an ice-cold entity tried to take control of his body. Terrified the man  dropped to the floor grabbing the floor boards as he was in a tug of war with this cold hostile spirit who was trying to pull him toward the open chimney shaft to probably his death.

Some force that he couldn’t see stopped this evil entity. When the rest of the crew came up to see why he was so long in coming down to them, they found him still clutching the floorboards for dear life, still terrified.

The terrified workman told Jim Williams  that the house needed to be blessed and have an exocism performed. Right after the terrified workman stopped speaking, a disembodied woman’s scream was heard.

Story TWO:A Murderous Attempt

A second version of this story backed up by Jim Williams himself  says that this incident happened to one of Jim’s friends, an unbeliever. Three of Jim’s friends came inside. One of them who didn’t believe in spirits went up the third floor and had this same experience.

His friends had gone to their home across the street. They heard him screaming and they went up to find him after he experienced what happened in story 1.

Who Saved the Living?

I suspect it was the spirit of one of the original home owners who stopped the murder via this evil spirit. My guess: The tall man with the white shirt and bow tie described below came to the rescue.

He probably saved the man’s life from the evil entity.

The three friends saw this disapproving apparition glaring at them from the top of the stairs before they left with their shaken friend.

The Solution

Because Jim Williams was fascinated with the spirits, he moved into the partially restored, now livable historic Hampton Lillibridge Town House. Jim was welcomed by each spirit in its own way; perhaps very pleased with the way he had restored the structure.

Interestingly, there was no more deadly threats from the murderous spirit who perhaps was forced to leave or behave by the other spirits. In the end Jim Williams fully believed that the place was haunted.

Jim Williams eventually followed the advice of the terrified workman/ and or his friends, and called in a man of the cloth to do a cleansing exorcism.

On December of 1963, Reverend Bishop Albert Rhett Stewart “blessed the home, and demanded evil spirits exit.”

The Result of the Blessings

While the spirits stayed away for a week and a half, they came back because salt and holy water wasn’t applied around the outside and windows of the house.

However, no more attempts to kill people happened; either because the angry murderous spirit left because of Reverend Bishop Albert Rhett Stewart’s efforts or the other spirits laid down the law to him to cut it out.

Spirit of An Older Man

Elderly gentleman has gray hair, dressed in his mourning robe wearing a white cravat.

He may have been the original person in the crypt that was found.

Kept appearing in front of the workmen, interested in their progress.(Savannah’s Ghosts, by Al Cob)

This spirit was seen by a lot of curiosity seekers, and by a real estate agent standing by the window. He was looking disapprovingly at them.

Very Tall Male Spirit

He wears a white shirt and bow tie – could be a disapproving  strong male presence.

He probably saved the man’s life from the evil entity.

In the second story, the three friends saw this disapproving apparition glaring at them from the top of the stairs before they left with their shaken friend.

This same spirit has been seen in a room on the third floor by the window by many people and probably by the residents in this very haunted place.

He may have been the spirit walking around Jim’s bed at night, or approaching him as a dark shadow.

STILL HAUNTED?

Most Probably so, but it depends on who you believe.

Jim Williams continued to live and enjoy the newly restored Hampton Lillibridge Town House. Others later owned it and it continues to this day to be a private residence. The Hampton Lillibridge Town House is a beautiful structure; inside and out, with plenty of room for both spirits and the living.

It seems to some observers that many spirits who can basically behave themselves are still there, but at peace with sharing the house with the new owners.

Neighbors and others still see the spirits inside the town house.

Present sighting; according to neighbors.

Spirit of a tall man wearing a white shirt and bowtie has been seen standing in a window on the third floor. His strong presence has long been felt but no longer miffed; learning to get along with the living.

The spirits have seemed to resume their parties, playing their music when the living residents are out of the house, according to the neighbors.

All of the past owners had had personal experiences covering the entire paranormal sports package.

A team from Duke University came in to do a paranormal investigation. They hit the mother-load of hard evidence and personal experiences leading them to proclaim that Hampton Lillibridge Town House is the most haunted place in Savannah.

On the other side of the argument two real estate agents and the present owners have claimed that the spirits are gone.

Unless the home was thoroughly cleaned by a professional exorcist /shaman/ medium, and precautions done to keep spirits out, the kind and benign spirits who have good southern manners  probably remain.

Spirits are probably still there, enjoying the new, beautiful, historic home. The result of the priest’s cleansing  was a houseful of mellowed spirits with a change of heart; willing to share this special place with the living, who take such good care of it.

 

LOCATION

507 E Saint Julian Street, Savannah, GA 31401

Hampton Lillibridge Town House is located in a historical 18th century neighborhood on a short street; E. Julian Street that runs east west between Houston St and Price Street;both one way streets, near Washington Square Manor Park. Its neighboring town home is called The Seamen’s House.

SOURCES

  • HAUNTED PLACES:The National Directory, By Dennis William Hauck, Penguin Books, 2002.
  • SAVANNAH’S GHOSTS, by Al Cobb, Schiffer Publications, 2007.
  • HAUNTED SAVANNAH, The Official Guidbook to Savannah Haunted history Tour, By James Gaskey ,Bonaventture Books, 2005.
  • Savannah Terrors website, The Most Haunted Houses of Savannah: The Hampton Lillibridge House, Posted on June 8th, 2018
  • Mysterious Facts website, Hampton Lillibridge- the Most Haunted House in Savannah
  • Ghost City Tours in Savannah –  The Ghosts of the Hampton Lillibridge House: Is this home true haunted, or just the victim of Shady Tour Companies.
  • Cool Interesting Stuff website Unexplained Mysteries; The Disturbing Ghost of Hampton Lillibridge House
  • loc.gov/resource/hhh.ga0129.photos?st=gallery Library of Congress(Description and history), PHOTO, PRINT, DRAWINGHampton Lillibridge House, No. 2, 312 East Bryan Street (demolished), Savannah, Chatham County, GA PHOTOS FROM SURVEY HABS GA-1186
  • Trulia Website/1002749108, Details of the house.
  • Zillow – 507 E Saint Julian St, Savannah, GA 31401
  • Commons Wikimedia website, From Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
  • loc.gov/item/ga0129/ , Library of Congress, Hampton Lillibridge House phots before it was torn down.
  • Lillibridge Houses, expanded version, By James Lowell Hall,pg.119. published 2015.

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Savannah Haunts in Georgia