Morris Jumel Mansion

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At least 5 spirits have resided here on the upper floors…

All have strong connections and compelling reasons for residing here.

Murder, tragic romance, duty, love of a home,  and being afraid to cross over are the main causes of the hauntings here.

 

DESCRIPTION

The two-and-a-half story, basically brick Morris Jumel Mansion is a 1765 Georgian style country home that is a beautiful structure that has been loved by many throughout the years.

The information about the mansion is presented so well on the National Park Service website.

The mansion’s brick walls are “encased in a rusticated, white, wooden exterior, with corner quoining and a wooden belt course at the second floor level. The front (south) facade is dominated by a full portico with four two-story high Doric columns supporting a half-story pediment, which is pierced by a center l fanlight.”

“Connected to the rear wall by a short passageway is a two-story oblongated octagonal wing. Both this wing the rectangular main house have hip roofs with decks enclosed by balustrades, and dentillated cornices.”

There are three chimneys. Two chimneys are in the central part of the mansion; on the east and west sides of the main section of the mansion. The third chimney can be found on the rear wall of the octagon wing.

The inside of the mansion has a Colonial structure, typical for the homes of the 18th century. The main hall goes through the center of the structure; all the way to the octagonal “salon” at the back of the mansion. Common rooms are located off this main hallway with the west side has the parlor and the library that originally was the nursery.
On the east side of the hall there is a large dining room and a stair hall. In all these rooms, “the moldings are strong and simple, and the hallways are decorated with semi-elliptical arches.”

The second floor had the same central hallway, with the bedrooms located on the west and east side of this hallway. The stairway to the 1/2 third story was in the same place as the first and second floor stairway. The 1/2 third story was “pierced with dormers,” and was where the guest rooms were located.

The kitchen and servant’s quarters were down in the cellar; cool during the hot summer months and cold in the winter months. Hopefully, the fire places were also there from the main chimneys.

The Morris Jumel Mansion is a house museum, with the rooms representing the various styles of the house’s historic periods;Georgian, Federalist, French Empire and Victorian. They also have interesting special displays  to inform the public visitors.

A lot of Madame Jumel’s outstanding French Empire style furniture that was donated by her descendants is on display. Some of this furniture was owned by Napoleon himself, who perhaps gifted it to her husband, French merchant Stephen Jumal. Other artifacts from it’s long, important history are also on display.

 

HISTORY

The history of this mansion began when Tory Lieautenant Colonel Roger Morris bought a 150 acre property at Harlem Heights in 1765 that “stretched the width of Manhattan Island” upon which to build his family’s summer home. At the time, this was the rural country land outside of New York. He had just retired from the British Army in 1764, and wanted a summer place to escape the heat of the city. His dream summer home was completed in 1768. It was called Mount Morris.

Unfortunately, the Morris family only enjoyed this home until 1776 when the Revolutionary War broke out.  His family went to live with his wife’s brother in Yonkers, while he went back to England. He did come back in 1777 to take the job of Inspector of the Claims of Refugees. However, in 1783, he and his family moved back to England permanently.

Meanwhile, his good friend whom he served with, George Washington, under General Braddock during the French and Indian War, moved the Continental headquarters into Mount Morris in September of 1776 to October 18th, 1776.  Washington moved his headquarters into octagonal salon and used “the three room suite directly above as his private chambers.”

The mansion was located in a prime strategic location of Harlem Heights. After Washington moved on, the British moved inside. “During the battle of Fort Washington, Continental prisoners were quartered in the barn. General Sir Henry Clinton kept his summer headquarters in the mansion in 1778, as did General Knyphause in the following years.”

After the war, the mansion was owned by several owners. At some point in time, it became a commercial endeavor; a tavern called Calumet Hall. By 1810, Mount Morris had become a fixer-upper opportunity, but French merchant turned real estate salesman Stephen and New York native Eliza Jumel saw the possibilities and decided they could renovate to make it their own! They modernized their forever home by renovating it in the Federal and French Empire styles.

“It was at this time that the original double doors of the front entrance were replaced by a single door framed by two Adam-like sidelights, surmounted by a fanlight transom. Similarly in the octagonal salon, an Empire chimney piece and brass grates were installed.” (National Park Service Website)

After Stephen Jumel’s demise, his wife Eliza tried marriage again to Aaron Burr but it didn’t last. She lived there until she died in her 90s’ in 1865. After she died, “control over the house and her estate was contested in court for seventeen years.”

I wonder how much maintenance work was done on the mansion during this uncertain time of ownership.

The winners of this long court battle was the original family of Lieautenant Colonel Morse. For the next thirty-eight years, Mount Morris was passed along to several Morris family descendants until it became a creaky fixer-upper opportunity that would take a boatload of money to restore.  Being in a prime real estate location, it was facing demolition when the Daughters of the American Revolution implored the city of New York to step in and buy the only Pre-Revolutionary house in 1904 still standing in New York and on the site of the Battle of Harlem Heights took place.

The city did rise to the occasion probably because Washington had used it as his headquarters briefly. Ferninand and Lillie Earle, who were related to the original Morris family, sold Mount Morris and its surrounding two acres tp New York The Daughters of the American Revolution went a step further. “Four local chapters of the Daughters of the American Revolution formed the Washington Headquarter’s Association, and the Mount Morris was turned into a historic house dedicated to Washington and the Revolutionary War.”

It became The Morris-Jumel Mansion Museum. The first public celebration of Washington’s birthday by the City of New York was held here in 1905. The public enjoyed the grounds and touring the inside  as well. Other events were held here as well throughout the eras.

“The jewel in the crown of Sugar Hill” received further protection and recognition. “The Landmarks Preservation Commission designated the Morris Jumel Mansion as an Individual Landmark in 1967 and an Interior Landmark in 1975, and the mansion was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1966. The mansion is a member of the Historic House Trust of New York City.

Aa of 2020, stories of Black Americans who had ties to Morris Jumel Mansion are being shared at the museum as well. On display are “the experiences of enslaved people who worked for the Morris family; William Lee who was George Washington’s enslaved valet; and freed woman, Anne Northup, who worked as Eliza Jumel’s cook as she fought to repatriate her husband, Solomon, from bondage. Solomon’s harrowing story is retold in his memoir, ‘Twelve Years a Slave.'”

 

HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS

Basic emotions of love, fear, want, anger and grief are the main causes of the haunting here.

People who had a forever home that they loved while alive, sometimes like to visit or even reside there as spirits.

Joslyn Castle, NE (The Joslyn family still resides here, keeping an eye on the living and all the fun events held here).

Buffalo Bill’s Ranch State Historical Park, NE (The spirit of Buffalo Bill still enjoys visiting his ranch house and property).

The Dutton House, VT (The spirits of the Dutton Family still reside in this house museum).

Morris Jumel Mansion, NY (Spirit of Madame Jumel still resides here, and the spirit of her ex-husband, Aaron Burr who loved this house likes to visit. Other spectral owners or residents may also visit).

Spirits of military men still like to serve when they have died in war or by accident.

USS Hornet Air and Space Museum, CA (Spirits of Navy men who were suddenly killed in battle, or died from accidents, etc. still serve aboard the USS Hornet, making new assignments for themselves).

Edgewood Plantation Bed and Breakfast, VA (Spirits of Confederate soldiers still watch the Union soldiers over at the Berkeley Plantation).

Gettysburg Farnsworth House, PA (Spirits of soldiers are still up in the attic, waiting to shoot at the enemy).

Morris Jumel Mansion, NY (Spirits of Revolutionary War Patriot soldiers are still guarding the second floor of this mansion; keeping Washington and his Army Headquarters safe).

Heart-break from a forbidden relationship can cause ruined family relationships, rash actions and in the end restless spirits still pining away for who they think was their true love).

Octagon House, Washington D.C.(A daughter  who was forbidden by her father to marry a man he didn’t approve of, threw herself down the stairs).

Anchuca Bed and Breakfast, MS (A forbidden marriage came between a father and his daughter who refused to speak to him).

Saint Francis Inn, FL (A forbidden relationship between a slave and a son of a plantation owner cause the son to kill himself).

Morris Jumel Mansion, NY (A young maid, probably pregnant, who fell in love with one of the sons of an owner killed herself when their union was forbidden & he wouldn’t stand up for her, after appearing to love her too; perhaps taking advantage of her).

People who are murdered by the hands of another can be angry that this happened and want the offender to be outed.

East Wind Inn Inn, ME (A woman was murdered by her unfaithful husband because he wanted another women to be his wife. This spirit of the murder victim is restless, expressing both anger and sorrow).

Captain Benson Bailey House Museum, NE (Captain Bailey is still fuming about how his murderess neighbor poisoned both himself and his wife).

Del Frisco Steakhouse, TX (a man who won big at the poker table, was murdered in this building when it was a bath house).

Morris Jumel Mansion, NY (The spirit of Stephen Jumel was murdered by his wife, Madame Jumel which she got away with at the time. However, sooner or later the truth will come out. Her murderous actions were brought to light by Hans Holzer’s psychic investigation here).

 

MANIFESTATIONS

Calming Unruly Kids

Jan. 19, 1964: A small group of school-aged kids had arrived early to see the tour of the mansion. As they waited to be let in, they became restless.

Then, they saw on the balcony above them, a lady in a flimsy, purple gown , who told them, “Shush!,” in an effort to quiet and calm them down. Then she went right through the closed doors of the room behind the balcony.

When the Curator, Mrs. C, arrived to let them in, they asked her why the lady on the balcony didn’t open up the building? There wasn’t any lady on the balcony, and all then realized it was a ghost that had been seen.

Mrs. C. realized then that the mansion was haunted. The lady that was seen on the balcony, was believed to be Madam Jumel herself, as she fit the description.

Ex-husbands Unite!

Visitors have felt the presences of Madam Jumel’s angry first husband, Stephen, and her second Husband, Aaron Burr, the 1 term Vice-President of the United States who was slandered by Alexander Hamilton. He would up killing him in a duel.

Steven was stuck here because he was still angry and couldn’t rest because of the actions of his murderous wife; Madame Eliza Jumel.

Aaron Burr had the sense to realize what kind of woman he was married to, and divorced her before she could kill him too.

He still likes his home however.  Perhaps he was trying to comfort Stephen.

A Rash Choice.

The apparition of a young, servant girl, in great distress, has been seen on the top floor, where the servants quarter’s were located.

(She had jumped out the window to her death, after becoming romantically involved with one of the members of the family).

Still On Duty

An enthusiastic, history-loving children’s teacher, who had bounded up the stairs to the top floor, eager to see the mansion from top to bottom.

He fainted in fright when confronted by the ghost of a revolutionary soldier, who had stepped out of a painting; apparently still providing security for Washington.

This soldier was seen on another occasion by another teacher as well.

Fear Can Kill Here

Another teacher with a heart condition had a fatal heart attack after seeing an apparition.

Hans Holzer advises that ghosts don’t hurt people, and people shouldn’t be afraid of them, because they are just beings in trouble with themselves.

PARANORMAL FINDINGS

Staff, Maintenance workers, and visitors have had boatloads of experiences that have been reported since this historic house opened as a museum over a hundred years ago.

Paranormal Investigation Groups have had a field day collecting hard evidence as well as having their own personal experiences.

Ghost Adventures did an investigation here and were not disappointed.

Paranormal Investigations are sponsored by this museum for $50.00 a ticket. Apparently, they have put their spirits to work.

The most prominent investigation was done by Para-psychologist Hans Holzer accompanied by a medium, Ethel Myers who he often used in his investigations. They actually communicated with some of the spirits here with great results; even helping one spirit to leave.

 

STILL HAUNTED?

Yes Indeed!

There are at least five known residing spirits who are still there. Eliza Jumel, the servant girl, an unknown presence, perhaps a former owner, or servant, or Aaron Burr, and the Revolutionary War soldier. Eliza Jumel still loves her forever home, and may have some fear of what will happen to her when she goes to the other side. The servant girl still is suffering from betrayal and a broken heart, Aaron Burr loved the house while alive, and the soldiers are still on duty.

Other spirits may like to visit, especially if this was their forever home, or the place where they were stationed as soldiers so long ago.  Other candidates for spectral visitors are past servants or slaves who worked here, or anyone from the original Morris family who didn’t get to enjoy their summer home for very long.

However, Stephen Jumel now is at peace and no longer there, due to the two rescue seances conducted by Hans Holzer & medium, Ethel Myers. At these seances, Jumel was able to vent his anger at how he was murdered by his wife, who had pulled off his bandages after he had suffered a pitchfork accident, and thus resulted in his bleeding to death. After doing so, he went on his way to the other side.

 

WITNESSES

Curator Mrs. C, the school children, teachers, visitors to the mansion, Hans Holzer & friends, and medium, Ethel Myers.

 

LOCATION

1765 Jumel Terrace
New York, NY 10032

Located at the corner of 160th Street and Edgecomb Avenue, which is in the highest point of Manhattan, called Washington Heights, originally known as Harlem Heights.

SOURCES INCLUDE

npgallery.nps.gov
morrisjumel.org

 
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr

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