King’s Tavern

More From Natchez More From Mississippi

Paranormal activity is connected to murders caused by

adultery, cruelty, and probably greed.

Most of the remains remained hidden until the 1930s’.





The King’s Tavern building is 237 years old, making it the oldest structure in the very old river port city of Natchez, which got its start during the time of Spanish settlement way back in the 1700s. Around 1769, when the British moved in and established Fort Panmure, the King’s Tavern building was originally built to be a block house for the fort. As there was no saw mill near this frontier town, this building and other structures were constructed using beams taken from scrapped New Orleans sailing ships, which were brought to Natchez via mule.

Another source of wood used in the King’s Tavern building construction were barge boards from flat river boats, which were dismantled and sold after arriving in Natchez with their goods after traveling down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Boatmen couldn’t take their flat boats back up these rivers, so they just added to their profit by selling the boats as wood, which was needed to build Natchez.

Besides the wood, sun-dried bricks also were used as building material. The result is a building which has an ambiance and decor of another era from the outside. Though the outside of the Kings Tavern has the rustic 1780s authentic wooden /brick architectural style, the inside is a lovely place for cozy, quiet, intimate meal or to host luncheons, dinner parties, receptions meetings. The King’s Tavern also provides meals for the large tour buses full of visitors who are traveling along the Natchez Trace Pathway.



After the Revolutionary War in 1776, the British left town, leaving this wild and woolly frontier river port open for other interests. In 1789, a New Yorker by the name of Richard King moved his family to Natchez where he bought this block home and opened a combination tavern/inn/as well as the place where the town’s mail was dropped off. His inn business was very successful because of the need for boatmen and weary stage riders to have a secure place to rest for the night. The upstairs rooms on the third floor were comfortable accommodations.

Selling drinks to townspeople and visitors as well was also a money maker. He also found himself to be very popular with people, because he received/sent the town’s mail. Everyone congregated on the steps of his tavern, socializing and reading their mail. He enjoyed a celebrity status, and he and his wife became prominent and very much respected people in Natchez.

During this time, not so nice people with no redeeming values settled into Natchez, to prey on the boatmen and visitors, making a living from gambling, and robbing people, sometimes not thinking twice of killing their victims. After selling their goods and their flat boats for lumber, boatmen would spend the night at the King’s Tavern, and then head home along the Natchez Trace Pathway. Highwaymen outlaws would hold them up, and usually kill them.

The infamous, sadistic Harpe brothers were such outlaws who took delight in torturing, mutilating and finally killing their victims. The Harpe brothers as well as other such men would then return to Natchez and stimulate the economy, perhaps staying at the King’s Tavern, if not in the Natchez Under the Hill area, notorious for being a haven for people of questionable character.

Finally, one of the Harpe brothers stepped over the line, even for outlaws, and was killed and beheaded by his own kind. His head was displayed as a warning for others.

However, with the invention of the steamboat, which could travel down and up the river as well, the need for this dangerous travel along Natchez Trace ended with this form of modern transportation. This development cut down on the lucrative stage business significantly, dropping the economic activity taking place at the King’s Tavern. Richard King sold the King’s Tavern in 1817. The building was once again a private home, becoming the Postalwaith family home for several generations, a total of 150 years, beginning in 1823.

In 1973, the building was sold and it eventually became a tavern and restaurant to serve both locals and visitors, taking the original name, the King’s Tavern, open to both the living and the entities which stay there.


Baby Killer Strikes….

One of the Harpe brothers known as Big Harpe was staying at the tavern, paying for it from some money he stole from one of his victims. A mother with a fussy baby was staying in the attic room, trying to quiet the child. Big Harpe swaggered from the tavern area, went up to this attic room, grabbed the baby away. He swung the child by its feet, smashing it hard against the brick wall, killing it. He returned to the bar to buy another drink.

Adultery leads to Murder…

Sometimes being wealthy, prominent and well-liked can give one the false impression that one can get away with anything. Richard and his wife fell into that trap. Richard King had hired a pretty 16 year old girl to be a server, called Madeline, a beautiful, engaging young woman, who caught the attention of Richard. Forgetting his wedding vows, Richard seduced Madeline, because he wanted her. Madeline gladly became his mistress in a hot passionate affair. YIKES!

The stately Mrs. King found out about their illicit love. She decided to hire some thugs from Natchez Under the Hill to stab Madeline. Or, perhaps she killed Madeline herself. Madeline was made to go away, without a trace. While she didn’t get a cement kimono or go to sleep with the fishes, Mrs. King or the men who killed her took Madeline’s body and bricked them up in the chimney wall in the main room of the tavern, to hide this evil deed.

The Evil deeds are discovered….

During the 1930s the Portsmouth family needed to do some renovations to shore up the building. While repairing the chimney/fireplace in the main room of the tavern, 3 mummified bodies of one girl and two men were found. One of them is believed to be Madeline. The murder weapon, a dagger, was found in another fireplace in another room.

The two men – Many theories abound as to who they are. Slaves, servants or tavern guests who annoyed Mrs. King in some manner, prompting her to kill them. Boatmen or travelers killed by the same men who killed Madeline, around the same time.


Changes stimulate the entities: Discovery of bodies and Building Renovations…

Although the bodies found in the chimney wall were respectfully reburied properly, this alarming discovery awakened some entities, as well as other restless spirits who had been quiet up to this point in time, but became active because of the renovations.

Shadowy forms have been seen passing right though the stairways.

The fireplace where the bodies were found would emit heat as if it had been burning wood, although it isn’t used by the living to do so.

The mischievous entity of the murdered mistress, known as Madeline haunts the building.

A women’s footprints can be seen on freshly mopped floors. Imagine the fright she gave one employee when he saw her foot prints coming toward him across the wet floor!

An apparition of a young woman has appeared in front of patrons and staff.

Madeline likes to play jokes on the staff and visitors for her chuckles.

She likes to knock jars off shelves. Pours water from the ceiling and onto the floor. She likes to make the chairs rock that are hanging on the wall

Hard to open doors will suddenly open by themselves. When a staff member calls her name, the door shuts again by itself. She likes to turn faucets and lights on and off.

An EVP of a woman was made in one of the empty bedrooms by a Natchez news crew.

An entity of a man with a top hat

Has been described as sinister has appeared to the living. He could be a murder victim, or perhaps is one of the outlaws himself. The waiters and waitresses feel that he has an evil persona. Perhaps he is just angry for being killed.

He is also seen wearing a dark jacket, pants and a black tie string. Sometimes he appears behind people getting their pictures taken by the fireplace where the bodies were found.

People have felt a tightness in their necks & shoulders and a pressure on their chests.

Dishes have been thrown around in an aggressive manner, not in Madeline’s style of mischief making.

In the mirror in one of the upstairs bedrooms, the face of a man is seen for an instant.


Yes Indeed!

The King’s Tavern has more than its fair share of entities who have their issues.



619 Jefferson Street,
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
(601) 446-8845

King’s Tavern can be found near the corner of North Union Street and Jefferson Street, in the Historical downtown section of Natchez.

Get off 84 at the South Canal exit. Go right on Canal Street until you come to Jefferson Street. Turn right and travel around 4 blocks until you come to N. Union Street. The King’s Tavern is on the left hand side of Jefferson, a few buildings past N. Union Street.



  • Haunted Places: The National Directory, by William Dennis Hauk, The Penguin Group, 2002
  • Haunted Inns of the Southeast, by Sheila Turnage, John F. Blair, Publisher, 2001

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in Natchez Haunts in Mississippi