Duff Green Mansion
The spirit of Mary Green has the company of nine other spirits who all reside for a variety of reasons.
Duff Green Mansion has been fully restored and sits on First East Street in all its glory. It certainly fills visitors with awe as it is a grand Palladium antebellum mansion. Tom and I were very impressed, just looking at the front! Because the basement area is level with the ground, it looks like it has three full stories when it is in fact only two floors and a basement.
Each story of the mansion has its own covered balcony platform, where guests can enjoy the view of the neighborhood and feel the breeze.
Stairs lead up to the first floor just above the basement level. There is a massive door that they don’t open because it is a bit fragile, so visitors are directed to go to the back of the house by the pool and patio and enter through the back door into the foyer.
The mansion was built to showcase the Greens’ wealth, impress visitors, and host social events. Inside, each room has fifteen and a half ft ceilings, which makes it look like a really immense two story mansion, much bigger than its 8,500 feet. All the rooms on the first and second floors are located off the central hallways.
Both the first and second floors have the same central, wide foyer that runs from the front to the back.
The first floor’s huge hallway was used for pre-party drinks and socializing. The second floor’s equally large hallway ran from the front balcony to the back balcony. The doors on both floors on the end of the hallways back in the day could be opened to provide breeze-driven air conditioning.
A female docent dressed in an 1856 long dress led the 9:00 AM tour of the first and second floor rooms. Tom and I learned many facts about life in the mansion when the Green family lived there.
All the rooms on the first and second floors have antiques that a visitor would find in the 1800s, making it quite authentic, and very much like a house museum. It is like the family went out for a walk and will return soon.
The right side of the front door leads to the men’s parlor, with a pocket door that opens into the dining room and the present-day kitchen. On the left side, there is a versatile, open-space grand room that had two purposes. For every day use, it was divided by furniture into two sections: a lady’s parlor and Duff Green’s home office. For major social events, the furniture was moved to create a huge ballroom.
In Duff Green’s office space, besides his desk, there are a few round tables and chairs as well, and a bar. The other half is set up to be Mary’s parlor with the appropriate furniture and tea set that she would approve of readily.
The staircase up to the second floor is located by the back door and leads up to the two guest suites. The steep staircase to the attic is on the end of the second floor. Each guest room in Duff Green Mansion has an antique bed surrounded by period furniture and is very inviting.
The bed and breakfast guest rooms are located in the basement and on the second floor. Five of the seven guest rooms are located in the basement, with two suites located on the second floor. Inside, each room has a vintage four poster bed, and other antiques that make the guest feel like they are guests of the Greens.
There is a pool and patio in the back, which is great for hot days. A three course breakfast is served in the dining room at 8:30 AM. A free tour is included in the rate for the room.
For the first eight years of their marriage (1852-1860), Duff and Mary Green lived the privileged high-life southern style that was fueled by the popularity of cotton throughout the nation.
Duff Green’s spectacular mansion was built in 1856 on land given as a wedding present by Judge Lake for his daughter Mary and new son-in-law Duff Green. Being a wildly successful cotton broker, Duff Green built it for his bride, Mary, with entertainment in mind, and to impress visitors and the neighborhood as well.
(Historygoesbump blogspot) “The mansion was built in the Palladian style with two large verandas that featured wrought iron embellishments. There were thirteen fireplaces, several bedrooms and a large ballroom.”
For four years, Duff and Mary held lavish parties in the spirit of the English gentry, as England’s well-to-do were the inspiration for southern life. Dinners lasted hours, and dancing in the huge ballroom was where many single women and men met their spouses.
The huge foyer with a 15 1/2 ft ceiling was a flowing free-space from the front to the back door, that could be used for the beginning of large social gatherings. The next step would be the separation of the men and women, who would each go to the appropriate parlors, one on either side of the main hall to socialize and wait for the first course of dinner to be served.
Dinner was extravagant with many courses that lasted hours. Women wore corsets and had to be careful how much they ate. After dinner, the ballroom located just across from the dining room was the place to be for dancing with suitors, as well as for married couples. Dances often lasted most of the night into the early hours of the morning.
Duff and Mary were unlucky with raising children, but their strong relationship got them through the tragedies that happened. Their firstborn daughter, Annie, died at age five or six from either Yellow Fever or Typhoid. Their son, William Siege was hit by a runaway carriage and died at age eleven, while playing with friends in the front yard.
This left them with a surviving second daughter (born 1860), also named Annie. While Annie made it to young adulthood, she died after being pricked by a hat pin and the poison that was used to dye her scarf black, seeped into the wound, killing her too.
The beginning of the Civil War stopped all the entertaining, and when the war came to Vicksburg, it was a siege that lasted months. The first casualty of the house was the donation made by the Greens of all the ironwork for Confederate Army bullets in 1861.
Duff Green took some actions to help his family, neighbors and friends survive. To protect his family and others from the shelling during the siege of Vicksburg in 1863, Duff dug caves into the hill next to their mansion which acted like a modern-day bunker. The very pregnant Mary gave birth to their son whom she named Willian Siege Green, inside the cave.
After five cannon balls came through the roof of their mansion, Mary and Duff opened their home up as a hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers. They raised a yellow flag to announce this decision. To be sure that no more canon balls found their way to his roof, Duff Green sent messages to the Union commanders to remind them that Union soldiers were on the second floor.
He not only saved his house, but the houses of his neighbors. These homes were saved for future visitors looking for a place to dine and spend the night, as most of the bed and breakfasts and inns are in this area.
The operation room was set up in the basement kitchen, and amputated limbs were thrown out the window located there. During the process of strengthening the foundation in 1986, restoration workers found buried leg and arm bones with saw marks. So much blood flowed in this room that blood stains still exist today.
The morgue was where the new bed and breakfast kitchen is located now. The Confederate wounded recovered on the first floor, while Union soldiers had their recovery space on the second floor.
In 1865, they leased their home to the Federal Government as a temporary hospital and displaced soldiers rest home.
The Greens continued to live in their cave until 1866 when they moved back into their home. To be able to do so, Duff Green said the pledge of allegiance required of citizens of Vicksburg by Union forces, much to the horror of his neighbors and friends who eventually forgave him. He chose to forgo southern pride and risk the loss of respect from all, in order to keep his family and slaves-turned-servants with a roof over their heads in their family forever home.
The Greens made the best of it despite their loss of cotton revenue. During the war, the North found other sources for cotton were found, cutting out the southern states as suppliers. Wisely, Duff Green had saved his money, and probably thought of new ways to make a living. Perhaps the sharecropper system sprung up on plantations that survived the Reconstruction year sand brought back some cotton to the market, but it was not as profitable as before the war.
Duff Green died of the flu in 1880. Mary carried on until the surviving second daughter Annie, now in her young adulthood, died from poisoning as explained above. Being all alone in this big mansion, Mary decided to sell it and move back into her childhood home to take care of her mother. Her childhood home was close to the Duff Green Mansion and she could still see it.
In 1880, the platforms of the balconies had to be removed, and Mary sold the mansion to the Peatross family, who raised their children there until 1910. The Peatross’s family then sold the property to Fannie Vick Johnston who had a big heart for the less fortunate. After using Duff Mansion for her temporary place to live while her new mansion Stain Glass Manor was being built, she allowed it to be used to meet the needs of others after she had moved into her new home.
An orphanage for boys was established here. Eventually, when a newer facility for the boys was built elsewhere, the mansion became a home for elderly women with no means of support for a few years. After Fannie died in 1930, her family sold it to the Salvation Army for $3000 in 1931. They turned it into their local headquarters. This move would have pleased Fannie.
After using the mansion for fifty years, the Salvation Army put this now frumpy but still solid structure back onto the real estate market in 1980. By then, it was in need of a restoration/renovation. In 1985, Harry Sharp and his wife Alicia saw the possibilities of this property and bought it “as is.”
The restoration process took two and a half years, with sixty men doing careful work under guidelines strictly enforced by the U.S. Department of the Interior. To find the original paint color of the interior walls, seventeen to twenty-seven layers of paint were removed. The twelve-foot doors were sanded down to reveal the beautiful cypress wood hidden under the paint.
Because the Salvation Army sold all but two of the fireplace mantels, the fixtures and all the chandeliers to raise money for their programs, replacements for these needed items were bought by the Sharps and installed. They restored thirteen fireplaces, and added thirteen bathrooms.
The original molds for the missing balconies were found, so the balconies were rebuilt and once again are present for all to enjoy. All the antiques found in the guest rooms and the common rooms were also purchased by Harry and Alicia as well.
In 1987, the Sharps opened their bed and breakfast as well as their event hosting business.
In 2013, Harry decided to retire to focus on restoring an old cemetery. He and Alicia moved out and hired a manager, Thomas Tarver who continued to take care of the mansion and run the bed and breakfast business until the middle of 2014, when the Sharps stopped all public business for some reason six months before selling it.
Apparently, the residing spirits were very displeased that the Sharps had moved out, and expressed their feelings through an uptick in their activity, which caused some guests to leave in the middle of the night, or complain to the manager Thomas Tarver, who received reports of the most startling experiences.
The Duff Green Mansion was put on the real estate market, but it didn’t stay there long. The real estate broker Harley Halpin Caldwell who was in charge of selling this property decided to buy it with her husband, and continued running its bed and breakfast and social events by then included parties of all types.
On August 3rd, 2015, escrow closed and the Coldwells were the happy owners of this piece of Vicksburg history.
In an article written for the Hattiesburg American website, the Caldwells shared, “It is not something that someone owns, it is something someone is a steward of, and the Sharps have been excellent stewards of that piece of history. We hope that we are going to be able to live up to that.”
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
After restoring this magnificent mansion, Harry and his family began to experience friendly paranormal activity, seeing spirits and having interactions with them. After they moved out, the spirits were not happy about the change, and became very active, scaring guests, and startling Thomas Tarver with intense personal appearances, slamming doors, footsteps, and shattering glasses that were just sitting on the table, all to draw attention to themselves and their feelings.
Tarver also had many interactions with the spirits, especially the soldier who holds his leg. This may be why the Sharps stopped the commercial business six months before they sold the property to Harley Caldwell and her husband.
Because Harley Caldwell had a hard time believing that they shared the mansion with spirits, Sharp asked TAPS Ghost Hunters to come and do an investigation. Harry wanted the new owner to be mindful and courteous to the spirits, to prevent activity that upsets visitors and staff alike. Unhappy spirits do not make good roommates.
Before I report what TAPs found, and what other investigators caught here, let us explore why these spirits still reside at Duff Green Mansion.
Families who suffer the loss of loved ones and members of families who have their lives cut short, sometimes move back as spirits into the family home to be together once more, to remember their memories and be with each other.
The Morgan House, MA (The Morgan family, while alive, had their share of pain suffered from early deaths in their household, but are together in their afterlife in their favorite place to be).
The Bowman House, VT (Members of the Bowman family died before Mr. Bowman could build the dream home. After he died, the entire family of spirits moved back inside to spend their afterlife together).
Westover Plantation, VA (Members of the Byrd family who all died suddenly with unhappy ends, due to guilt, suicides, and accidents, have all moved back into their beloved home to be comforted by the mistress of the house, and work on the feelings that are keeping them here).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (All three of the Green children died tragically before their time, and reside in the family’s dream home. Mary and Duff, wanting more time with their children, as well as for other reasons, are also residing here. Another five-year-old girl perhaps from another family who lived here also resides in the mansion).
People who had to leave their forever home in life due to circumstances beyond their control, sometimes as spirits move back inside their favorite place to make up for their lost time here.
Whaley House Museum, CA (The Whaleys had to move out twice because of bad luck in business. They have moved back inside once again as spirits).
Edith Wharton Estate: The Mount, MA (When Edith was advised by husband Teddy’s doctors that it wasn’t safe living with him, the couple split, never to live at The Mount again while alive. However, as spirits they reside together again here).
Hartford Twain House Museum, CT (Because Mark Twain wasn’t a good steward of his earnings, and their daughter died in their forever home, they had to sell the home they had hoped to live in the rest of their lives).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (Mary couldn’t bear living in this empty mansion all by herself, so she sold it to another family. Duff died of the flu before he was ready. They enjoy remembering all their good times and memories together).
People who had to make hard choices that were the right thing to do, but caused them discomfort and suffering while alive, sometimes can’t as spirits let go of the pain and loss they suffered.
Raynham Hall Museum, NY (A young woman during the Revolutionary War had to decide between loving freedom and the Patriot cause, or not telling on her beloved Lieutenant Colonel John Graves Simcoe. She took the right course of action, which resulted in her beloved being executed by men of the Continental Army. She still mourns today in her afterlife).
Aaron Burr Bed and Breakfast, PA (After Aaron Burr found out that Alexander Hamilton had been the one who had damaged his reputation with nasty lies for years, to the point that President Jefferson turned against him, Aaron boldly asked Alexander to retract the lies and untruths, but Alexander refused. Aaron did what an honorable man would do: He challenged Alexander Hamilton to a by-the-book duel which resulted in Hamilton’s death. Consequences came down on Aaron which finished his political career but not his legal career. He still finds comfort in the home built on the spot where true friends supported him).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (In order to keep his property and provide for his family and servants, Duff Green had to make the hard choice to pledge loyalty to the Union which went against his feelings as a southern man. This decision came with consequences as neighbors and townspeople were very upset with him, and it took some time to repair those relationships. It was a hard drop in status for him from being a highly esteemed, well-liked citizen to being scorned as a traitor or sell-out. It was a rough pill to swallow, and as a spirit he still struggles with it yet).
People who kill themselves find that they still have the same pain they had while alive. Some are afraid to go to the spirit world because they took their own life. Others are ashamed and regret their rash action, and continue on the best they can in their afterlives).
Hassayampa, AZ (A bride hung herself from the balcony when her beloved supposedly went shopping but didn’t come back to her. Her spirit is ashamed at her rash action and favors being in the bridal suite, as well as wandering around the place to try to prevent the living from talking about what she did to herself).
Edith Wharton Estate: The Mount, MA (The spirit of a maid who hung herself still carries on with her duties when she isn’t reliving her death).
Currier Hall, U of I, IA (Three female roommates killed themselves after discovering that they had all fallen in love with the same suitor, William, who was proclaiming his love to all. They are ashamed and regret what they did. So they offer counseling to the living who have rocky relationships with the roommates).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (The Green’s slave, Sarah, who cooked for the household, hung herself for some unknown reason. In her afterlife, she continues on doing her old routine, mainly in the basement).
People who suffer death in a nice place, sometimes chose to stay there in spirit form to more fully enjoy what they couldn’t while suffering.
Hotel Del Coronado, CA (An upper class lady, suffering from terminal cancer, either died from a friend’s bullet, or she was murdered outright over the inheritance from her late husband. Now in spirit form, she is enjoying this beautiful hotel).
Hotel Biltmore, FL (Wounded soldiers who died in the military hospital located in Hotel Biltmore during WW2, stay to enjoy the beauty and activities that happen here).
Bullock Hotel, SD (The spirit of a young girl has been seen in the cellar area, where the victims of epidemics such as small pox and typhoid were quarantined. She has fun playing with toilet paper rolls, the lights, and showers).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (During the time that this grand mansion was used as a hospital and recovery place for soldiers, a young soldier and perhaps other comrades or foes who died here have decided to stay and spend their afterlife in this beautiful mansion).
When spirits are not happy with changes or the behavior of the living, they can become active to let the living know that they are upset.
Bullock Hotel, SD (When gaming machines were set up in the lobby, the spirit of Seth became livid, and did his best to get close and personal with the gaming company staff who spent the night after setting up the machines. They left post haste and never spent the night again).
Monmouth Plantation House, MS (When the new owners moved inside and began to restore and renovate, the spirit of the good General who built it began to stomp up and down the stairs which everyone heard except the female owner).
Duff Green Mansion, MS (The son-in-law of the Sharps, Bubba, had a loud voice and demeanor that irritated the spirits, so they watched him closely, and startled him by appearing, trying to get him to conform to their quiet ways and tone down his speech. These spirits also became agitated when the Sharps moved out).
Spirit of Little Annie
The spirit of the Green’s first born daughter has been seen playing on the stairs leading up to her bedroom.
Balls have been rolled down the stairs mysteriously.
She has been seen bouncing a ball and laughing.
While alive, her daddy would give her piggy-back rides up to her bed. As a spirit she tries to get piggy-back rides from living men who remind her of her daddy.
She is friendly with visitors and staff.
She tries to hold the hands of staff members.
Though she was five or six when she died, she sometimes appears as a three year old, when she is remembering good times, and converses with preschool children or toddlers who are visiting.
A four-year-old boy and his family were staying here. His parents saw him throw an imaginary ball at an unseen playmate, who threw it back at him because they saw him catch something invisible.
Bubba Hood married Katie Sharp, daughter of Harry and Alicia, and they lived in an apartment located on Duff Green Mansion property. They produced the first grandchild named Lydia. She first saw the spirit of little Annie in the ballroom when she was two years old. She smiled and pointed to something and called the friendly girl spirit, “Baby!”
Annie warms up to paranormal investigators, and will whisper “Hi,” in their ears.
Spirit of Mary Green
She has blonde hair and a gentle countenance, a true southern lady.
She has been seen wearing a green antebellum-style dress in front of owners and their families, staff, and occasionally guests.
She once appeared in the center hallway in front of Harry Sharp, to let him know that she was co-hosting.
She was seen floating around the dining room by a guest.
She tries to help promote hospitality to the living, as she did while alive.
Still a Kind Person
She shows kindness to the staff who work here.
Her unseen presence once gave the cook a shoulder massage when the cook was preparing breakfast.
Staff feel a peace and being protected while working here thanks to the spirit of Mary.
Spirit of Duff Green
He is a restless spirit, wrestling with unhappy memories, hard choices he made, and the loss of his son.
His shadow has been seen pacing in his room, deep in thought, perhaps reliving how he decided to comply and pledge his support for the Union.
The Sharp’s young adult son awoke to see a male apparition staring at him from the foot of the bed, perhaps wondering what Siege would’ve been like at this age.
His spectral wife Mary cheers him up by dancing with him in the ballroom.
People have heard music coming from here and see the couple waltzing around the room.
Spirits of Siege and Annie
These two like to appear as young children, perhaps because of their fond memories of being together.
Annie was three years older than Siege, so they had a lot of fun during their childhood, from 1867 to 1874, when they were living in their home.
A guest woke up to see two spirit children, a boy and a girl, standing by her bedside, watching her.
The girl spirit said,”We better go because she is waking up.”
They disappeared quickly.
Spirit of a Soldier
The spirit of a Confederate soldier who had his leg amputated but died anyway of gangrene resides in the basement Dixie Room, which is considered the most haunted room in the mansion, as it once was the old kitchen and the Civil War operating room before being renovated into a room to be used by other owners or guests of the mansion.
Perhaps this fine example of a southern mansion seems like heaven to him.
He sits in a chair, holding his severed leg and staring straight ahead, as if still at attention as he finds some peace in the afterlife.
This spectral roommate is willing to share his room with the living, and is most often seen during the winter months, when there is a warm fire in the fireplace.
Sometimes the odor of gangrene can be whiffed, perhaps to tell the living how he died.
Electric lights in this room are fun for him to flick on and off.
Spirit of the Green’s Cook
Guests have seen a see-through black woman, dressed in the 1800s attire of a slave cook, walking down the basement hallway.
Her apparition has been clearly seen getting ready to cook the meals for the Greens as she also likes to be in her kitchen, the Dixie Room.
Unknown Girl Spirit
She likes to appear in the parlors and other rooms on the first floor.
Although she appears to be five or six years old, the same age as little Annie, she isn’t either of the Annies, because her personality is totally different.
She is always out of sorts, and tries to bully living children she dislikes.
She took a dislike to Harry and Alicia’s granddaughter Lydia, and would appear in front of her with a glowering, unfriendly expression on her face, which scared the granddaughter.
This started when Lydia was two, when she saw this menacing and mean little girl spirit in the ballroom while in the hallway with her mom Katie. She called her GAGA, frowned, and hid her face behind her mom’s leg. It was a long time before she would go into that room again.
Shadow People/Spectral Soldiers
These shadow people could be other soldiers who died from their wounds, others who lived in this mansion at one time, or perhaps who were involved with the Salvation Army programs.
The shadow of a man with a see-through head was caught in a photo, standing on the front steps.
Shadows walking around the mansion and the grounds have been see by guests and staff.
Bubba seemed to get more attention from these spirits because he didn’t follow the expected behavior of a soft-spoken southern gentleman. In real life, he was a football coach.
Once, when Bubba was getting ice from the ice machine, he saw a spirit of a soldier looking at him from a doorway.
He heard footsteps crossing his room, and saw mists where there should be none.
Activity that Expresses
The Sharps realized that these spirits had feelings and were not afraid to express them to make a point. After they moved out, the spirits had protested by engaging in startling activities.
Manager Thomas Tarver had doors slammed in his face.
Glasses that were sitting on the table shattered.
He had many paranormal experiences with the spirits, including sixty-seven encounters with the one legged soldier in the Dixie Room.
Guests were not spared either, and sometimes became scared and left, or complained.
Staff, guests, and owners have experienced at one time or another the full paranormal sports package.
Paranormal investigations conducted here have caught hard evidence of ten spirits either residing or visiting this mansion. While TAPS Ghost Hunters didn’t see anything or catch any EVPs, they did get unusual readings. The spirits chose not to directly communicate because they knew that these unknown investigators wanted proof of their presence to show the new owner, who they didn’t know either.
JF Paranormal caught direct contact with an unseen presence in the ballroom and the dining room.
The owners, staff and guests definitely share this grand mansion with restless spirits who loved this place and have connections to it. The spirits are all welcoming to guests, staff and owners, as everyone treats them with respect. When they are unintentionally provoked, they try to communicate their feelings in startling ways, but never to hurt anyone.
1114 First East Street
Vicksburg, MS 39183
Duff Green Mansion can be found on a corner lot near the intersection of Locust Street and First East Street. Its cross streets are Adams Street and Locust Street.