Henniker House

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A retired pirate’s wife is still a helpful Lady of the House.

Her husband is buried under the hearthstone.



This wood-frame two story house, which sits on a hill overlooking Henniker, is privately owned. It may be possible to visit “Ocean-Born” Mary’s house. Potential visitors should contact the Chamber of Commerce in Henniker, New Hampshire. Locals will probably be more than willing to talk to you about the ghost of Henniker House.



According to legend, Halloween is the night that the ghost of Mary Wallace supposedly makes visits to her old house, in a horse drawn coach. No one has actually seen this happen, which I guess is why they call it a legend. Savvy locals say Mary doesn’t “return” to the house on Halloween because she’s already there, haunting it on a permanent basis.

How about some back story? “Ocean-Born” Mary Wallace got her nickname because she was born on the Irish immigrant ship, called the Wolf, in 1720. Pirates boarded the ship. When the pirate Don Pedro got her mother to name the as yet nameless baby, “Mary,” in honor of his mother, the pirate spared the passengers and left the booty alone.

After the pirates left, the Wolf continued its voyage to Boston. Mary’s parents settled in Londonderry, New Hampshire. Mary grew up here. She eventually married a man named Wallace. She bore him four sons. Mr. Wallace died following the birth of his fourth son, making Mary a widow.

The pirate who named Mary eventually retired and settled in Henniker, Hampshire. He built a grand house which sat on 6,000 acres. When he learned Mary was a widow, he invited her and her sons to live with him, still having a warm spot in his heart for this ocean-born woman whose life he has spared many years earlier. Mary took him up on his offer, becoming his wife, and lived there with him and her children for many happy years.

The pirate was eventually killed, perhaps by a former member of his pirate crew. She found him dying in the garden, a victim of a killer’s knife. Mary granted his dying request, burying him under the hearthstone in the kitchen. Mary inherited the house. She died in 1814, at the age of 94 years old. The house has passed through many hands since then, in the company of and under the maternal protection of Mary’s ghost.



hennikerGhostly Appearances Seen and Felt by the Living:  Soon after her death, an apparition of a 6 foot, red-haired woman with flashing green eyes started to be seen by the living standing by the upstairs bay windows and hanging around the central staircase. Throughout the years, her apparition was often seen throwing something down the well, located in the yard. Besides at Halloween as mentioned above, Some local people throughout the years, though not recently, have also seen the entity of Mary riding in a ghostly coach, touring around the countryside and roads of Henneker, being pulled by 4 ghostly horses. Various police officers have seen Mary throughout the years. Recently, two state troopers also claimed to have seen an entity described as a tall, 6 foot, red-haired woman dressed in 18th century attire, crossing the road below the old mansion.

Visitors to the house also claim to have had ghostly contact of a sort. Some who have touched the hearthstone under which the pirate is buried have spoken of feeling “special vibrations.” Mrs. James Nisula of Londonderry, who visited the house more than once, claimed to have “felt the vibrations” of spirits in the kitchen area.

While the mansion was deserted for awhile after Mary’s death in 1814, falling into disreputable shape, it eventually was bought and lovingly renovated, which pleased the ghost immensely. She tries to be helpful to the living, even to the extent of saving various owners’ lives and doing her part to protect the mansion. Fierce storms have traditionally caused havoc in this coastal town. Mary’s apparition was seen once helping a family repair the garage, during such a storm. Louis Roy owned the house in the 1930s. A great hurricane hit the area in 1938. Roy later claimed that that Mary’s ghost had saved his life nineteen times during a storm Roy’s mother, a supposed psychic, claimed to have seen Mary’s ghost on this and other occasions.

In 1963, Mrs. David Russell, the owner of the house at the time, had a more substantial supernatural incident. In her words: “Our caretaker dropped a space heater all the way down the stairs at the ‘Ocean-Born Mary House,’ and when it reached the bottom, the kerosene and the flames started to burn the stairs and climb the wall. There was no water in the house, so my husband went out after the snow. While I stood there looking at the fire and powerless to do anything about it, the fire went right out all by itself right in front of my eyes; when my husband got back with the snow it was out. It was just as if someone had smothered it with a blanket.”


Yes. She is still appearing to the living, and helps out when she is needed by people living in her house.

Also, others may be hanging around as well, such as Captain Don Pedro, especially in the kitchen area.

Hans Holzer, a well-known para-psychologist, with the help of a medium was able to send the ghost of a young servant girl to the other side, freeing her from this world.



When you think of New Hampshire, ghosts and haunted houses probably don’t come to mind. That’s probably because you’ve never heard of “Ocean-Born” Mary and the haunted house in Henniker, New Hampshire. Henniker is in southwest New Hampshire on Highway 114.

Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

Haunts in New Hampshire