Apparently, former ladies of the house still relish the role!
A male spirit and a spirit child also find peace here.
Other spirits from The Mordecai clan also visit,
making Mordecai Manor very popular place indeed!
Mordecai Manor is described as a large, 1824 two story mansion, with a balcony on the second floor, that dominates Mordecai Square in The Mordecai Historic Park. It has two different architectural styes; Federal and Greek Revival. Mordecai Manor is the center piece of Mordecai Historic Park that also has on display President Andrew Johnson’s childhood house, the Ellen Mordecai Garden, the Badger-Iredell Law Office, Allen Kitchen and St. Mark’s Chapel, a popular site for weddings.
The Mordecai Historic Park is maintained and funded under the jurisdiction of “The Historic Resources and Museum (HRM)Program. “This city organization protects and promotes identified cultural museum and historical resource facilities, programs, and assets within the City of Raleigh.”
The original, simpler but functional part of the house was built in 1785 by a planter, Joel Lane. It is a 1 1/2 story Federal style home that has a long hall from the front door to the back door, with rooms located off of this central hallway. It was considered a fine house during the late 18th Century. People didn’t need as much personal space and built just what they needed in a house.
The 1824 southern addition was grander example of the most popular, up and coming architectural style of 1824; Greek Revival, brought to life by the talented architect, William Nichols. This addition became the front of the house where people entered.
It sports a Greek-Revival double portico, a double-doored, grand entrance hall and five large rooms, located off the long hallway that runs down the center of the mansion. At the end of the hall, there is a big library. On the right side of the hall, there is a parlor, and on the left side of the hall there is a large dining room. The parlor door is right across from the dining room.
The mansion is furnished with the personal belongings of the five generations of families of The Mordecai clan who made Mordecai Manor their home. Besides furniture, their cherished portraits, pictures, books, china, mirrors, papers etc. can be seen by visitors, and kept in fine shape by various talented people. It truly is an authentic house museum putting on display how five generations of one family lived their daily lives.
The history of Mordecai Manor begins with a successful real estate broker, Joel Lane, who made his money selling land to individuals who would build and become a part of the city of Raleigh. From the 5,000 acres that he owned, he sold 1,000 acres of this huge parcel of land. As was the custom for the well-off, Joel Lane built this home in 1785 in the center of the 5,000 acres for his son Henry and his new daughter-in-law, Polly as a wedding present.
For an early Colonial home, it was roomy indeed with one and a half story, four bedroom home; quite ample for a family of six. Henry, Polly and their family of four daughters lived very happily here, the first generation. They owned 14 “enslaved workers” who “worked in the home, cooked, took care of the horses, did the laundry and other chores, and took care of the four daughters; Peggy, Temperance, Harriet, and Nancy.
Henry Lane died suddenly at thirty-three in his prime. His widow, Polly and the girls continued to live in their forever home as money was not a problem until 1813 when Polly died herself. Their forever home was rented out, and the four young daughters went to live with their maternal grandfather, Colonel Hinton at his home; Clay Hill on the Neuse.
In 1817, Henry’s eldest daughter, Margaret, known as Peggy, married an up and coming Raleigh lawyer, Moses Mordecai, who came from one of the first Jewish families to settle in Raleigh. His grandfather had come from Bonn, Germany. Uh Oh! Peggy was Episcopalian which caused some family friction amongst the Mordecai family clan.
Margaret’s grandfather, Colonel Hinton was accepting, seeing that the couple was in love, and that Moses would be a great husband and provider. Moses Mordecai’s father couldn’t accept this marriage outside the Jewish faith, and boycotted the wedding held at Clay Hill on the Neuse. Hopefully, other members of his family attended.
Peggy and Moses moved into The Mordecai family forever home. Her three unmarried sisters; Temperance, Harriet and Ann (Nancy) joined them, making all of them the second generation. A little later, Moses’ two brothers; George and Augustus also joined them to study law under Moses. Luckily, everyone got along well!
Besides being a successful respected lawyer, Moses began a cotton plantation on the acreage that came with the family forever home.
After having three children with Moses; Henry, Ellen, and Jacob, Margaret and her baby both died in childbirth in 1821. In 1824, Moses married Margaret’s sister, Ann. Ann became pregnant with Mose’s fourth child, but Moses died six weeks before his new daughter, Margaret, was born.
Moses had left in his will the funds to build a proper home for his family. Though Ann was left everything, brother George stayed to help as Administrator. In 1824, George hired with Ann’s permission the state architect William Nichols, who had built the North Carolina Capitol Building, to remodel the family home into a grand Greek-Revival Mansion.
Nichols planned and built the “massive south side addition” onto the original house that became the entrance to Mordecai Manor. Within the impressive new decor and remodeling, an impressive entrance, there were eight new rooms; a proper home indeed! This remodel was one of Nichols best efforts, called significant by many.
Henry Mordecai turned twenty-one and inherited Mordecai Manor. He married Martha Benton, starting the third generation of ownership. They lived through joys and sorrows like any other family. Three of their four children; Martha (Patty), Mary and Margaret, lived to adulthood. Their only son, Moses, died at age four which was a deep sorrow that they had to live with.
They survived the Civil War with their house intact, and managed to pay the high penalty tax placed on former Plantation homes. Without slave labor, the huge acreage was not able to be planted. George Mordecai had an idea on what to do, as he saw a really important need for the community at large and the Jewish community as well. Henry and Martha agreed. “In 1867, George Washington Mordecai donated land east of the city to establish a Confederate cemetery. He donated another plot for Wake County’s first Hebrew Cemetery.”
After Henry died in 1875, Martha Benton Mordecai faced the truth and realized that the farm wasn’t going to break even, so she sold off all the farm equipment except what was necessary to farm a much smaller parcel of land.
The fourth generation to live here was their daughter, Miss Patty who spent her entire 89 years living here. When her older sister, Margaret was widowed, Margaret and her five sons moved in with Patty, which must of livened things up a bit!
Miss Patty inherited the business savvy in real estate from her great grandfather, Joel Lane and continued to sell off family land while investing money in the development of various neighborhoods of Raleigh. When she died, she was a well-to-do lady. Joel Lane would’ve been proud.
Her sister Margaret’s youngest son, Burke Little, inherited Mordecai Manor and became the fifth generation to live here; from 1949-1968. After Burke died in a nursing home, his surviving brothers and cousins decided to sell the family forever home.
After receiving pressure from the citizens of Raleigh, the City of Raleigh in 1968 bought the entire property which included an entire block of land, for 60,000 dollars. They turned this purchase into a historic park, with Mordecai Manor the main attraction. The Mordecai family descendants were relieved and happy about this purchase.
Having the real estate to do so, Mordecai Historic Park was created where other historic buildings in Raleigh were bought or donated, and now sit restored in this place made for them.
With the help of charitable groups and citizens of Raleigh, money was raised to buy all the furnishings and belongings that were inside the mansion; making it an authentic house museum, much to the approval of the surviving family members and the tax payers, who had long adored this historic home, the oldest one in Raleigh.
The spirits who are attached to this property for a variety of reasons are also really happy. Not only is their home preserved, but all their stuff that they valued is also kept in their house.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who adore their home in this world, may decide to continue residing there as a spirit person.
Joslyn Castle, NE (All three members of the original family who built the castle still reside there, keeping an eye on how their castle is being used and cared for, and enjoying all the events held here).
Twain Hartford House Museum, CT (The entire Twain household has moved back inside, welcoming visitors!)
Pittock House Museum, OR (After their retirement home was fully restored and turned into a house museum, the spirits of Mr. and Mrs. Pittock have moved back inside).
Mordecai Manor, NC (While all the spirits here love their family’s forever home, Miss Patty lived here the longest, and has decided to spend her after-life in the place where she lived for 89 years).
House Museums that have the personal items, artifacts, furnishings of the original occupants can draw back spirits who want to enjoy seeing and sometimes experiencing these precious personal things that they owned while alive.
Buffalo Bill Ranch State Park, NE (The spirit of Buffalo Bill loves to peruse all the memorabilia of his life on display in his Ranch House Museum and in the barns on the property).
Custer House, ND (After the house itself was rebuilt using the original blueprints drawn up by Custer himself, and the house was filled with personal artifacts of the Custer family, the Custer Family moved back inside).
The Clayton House Museum, AR (The spirit of Powell Clayton likes to spend time in his brother’s old office to be near the book that he wrote that is in the display case. He also enjoys looking at the four portraits of the Powell brothers that are hanging on the office wall).
Mordecai Manor, NC (Family heirlooms, artifacts and cherished possessions are on display. Spirits from the five generations who lived here who loved these items like to visit them).
Children who die from accidents or disease, sometimes like to stay in a structure where they felt love.
Crescent Hotel and Spa. AR (Though the young son of the headmaster died suddenly at age four, his spirit never left the structure).
Stranahan House, FL (A young Native American girl died of a heart attack on the doorway to the Stranahan on her way to have her lessons with the caring and loving Mrs. Stranahan. Her spirit is still there).
General Lee Home, VA (A spirit of a little boy who died from an accident so long ago, still runs around, laughing at the living. Two other spirit girls and the family dog keep the little spirit boy company).
Mordecai Manor, NC (The four year old son, Moses, of Henry and Martha died suddenly. His spirit never left Mordecai Manor).
Spirits of Parents or guardians sometimes decide to stay with their spirit children who are residing in their favorite structure in this world.
Myrtles Plantation, LA (The spirits of children who died here have the company of one or both of their parents in spirit form).
Whaley House, CA (Both the spirits of Mr. and Mrs. Whalely stay here with the spirit of their toddler and the spirit of their bereft adult daughter who killed herslef out of grief).
St. James Hotel, NM (Johnnie, a two year old, ball-of-fire handful while alive, is still the same as a child spirit. The spirit of his mother, the innkeeper’s wife, stays with him, trying to get him to go to the other side, while looking after the guests as well).
Mordecai Manor, NC (The spirits of little Moses’ parents; especially his father, Henry, may be keeping him company).
Spirits who while alive were in charge of their forever structure, still seem to be, keeping an eye on the living while insisting on their standards. Their personalities are intact; some are easier than others to deal with.
Hearthstone Huge Museum, WI (Used to supervising folks at his businesses, the spirit of Albert Priest can’t help himself and keeps an eye on the docents and probably supervises any repairs done).
Eldridge Hotel, KS (The spirit of Colonel Eldridge, the man while alive rebuilt the hotel twice still has a fatherly eye on the people who run his hotel, and tries to be helpful).
Martha Washington House Museum, VA (Spirit of Martha Washington keeps an eye on the docents as she enjoys her home, much like it was when she was alive).
Mordecai Manor, NC (There are two ladies of the house spirits here that have high standards and are not afraid to make them known).
People who die unexpectedly with no warning, sometimes want to spend their after-life in their forever home, trying to make up for all the things they will miss; like seeing their children grow up, and enjoying their life in their special place in this world.
Loveland Castle, OH (Spirit of Harry Andrews has decided to stay in his masterpiece that he built all by himself. He died in a freak accident in a fire while cooking outside).
Berkeley Plantation, VA (William Harrison IV and two of his daughters were struck by lightening trying to shut an upstairs window during a thunder storm. William Harrison IV may have died too soon in a stupid accident, but his spirit is enjoying his afterlife in his renovated, restored Berkeley Plantation Mansion, getting his chuckles teasing the tour guides, keeping the living company, and being a good host to visitors taking the house tour).
Herlong Mansion Bed and Breakfast, Fl (Both spirits who love this place died unexpectantly when they were looking forward to something in their future).
Mordecai Manor, NC (Margaret Lane Mordecai died in childbirth, leaving her children and husband. She wasn’t expecting this death to happen, as she had given birth to three other babies without issues. Her spirit apparently is still here, being the lady of the house, making her presence known; especially to housekeepers and other employees in charge of keeping the house clean and in good shape).
Docents, people who maintain the Mordecai Manor and housekeepers have experienced the full paranormal package as the spirits are not shy about letting the living know that they are still here and still in control. Paranormal Investigators have also been put in their place when they invade a certain spirit’s privacy.
One afternoon, after Mordecai Manor was closed to the public, a housekeeper was cleaning the dining room.
Just as she finished in the dining room, and had started to wipe down the woodwork by the doorway to the dining room, she saw what she thought was a guide coming out of the library, and then proceeded to walk down the hall towards her.
The housekeeper was wondering what she was doing there, as the guides aren’t there when she is cleaning Mordecai Manor.
She describes this mysterious guide as a pretty, familiar-looking woman, dressed in a long, black pleated skirt, and a white “middy-type” blouse and a black tie.
When this guide walked past the housekeeper, she didn’t acknowledge the housekeeper’s presence, but walked by like she owned the place, with her head in the air, eyes looking forward, which was annoying to the housekeeper.
This seemingly full-of-herself guide walked through the parlor door into the parlor.
No further sound was heard, and when this guide didn’t come out, the housekeeper looked into the parlor and found no one there.
This snobby guide, if of this world, would’ve had to come out of the parlor right by the housekeeper.
Nope! Past Owner
The housekeeper then realized that this woman was no guide, but actually did own the place, in the 1800s!
This fully formed, solid, life-like, walking apparition was Margaret Lane Mordecai, as the housekeeper realized that this was the same woman she had seen in a portrait that hangs in Mordecai Manor.
Spirit Child Moses
This little four year old spirit is as active now as he was when he was alive.
He has been seen dashing probably up and down the halls and probably plays on the staircases.
People have probably felt a sudden cool wind race by them; a wind with no logical explanation.
Irresistible, little boy toys have been placed inside a bedroom that this child spirit was seen running into; probably his room when he was living. Some of these toys have been played with and moved.
Spirit of Male
While this spirit could be any of the men who lived here, my theory is that this spirit is little Moses’ father, Henry.
He resides here to be close to his spirit child, Moses; his only son, whose death was a heartache, and hard to get over, even in an age where death from disease was a common occurrence; before vaccinations and before the realization of how to avoid common diseases was known.
Or, perhaps Henry regrets the dumb kid accident that killed the boy as it could of been prevented.
He finds paranormal investigators in his house to be annoying, and can be blunt with them. He enjoys his privacy.
During an EVP session, the investigator asked this male spirit; “Do you want us to leave?” A clear EVP was recorded; “Yes, Leave!”
The investigator followed up with another question. “I am leaving now. Do you still want me to leave?” The answer was “Leave, Leave Leave!”
Spirit of Miss Patty
She lets the staff know in subtle ways when she is not pleased.
When the living are in her room, and say something that she doesn’t agree or approve of, the small picture of Miss Patty that sits on her bureau will suddenly fall over with no help from the living.
She loves to play the piano in the parlor.
Docents, maintenance folks and others have heard the piano being played when no one living was in the parlor, playing the piano.
Both The Historic Resources and Museum (HRM) and The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department believe the boatloads of experiences reported to them actually happened. They know full well that in this Mordecai House Museum, as well as some of the other structures who have found a home in The Mordecai Historical Park, that there are the spirits who are attached to the structures.
The City of Raleigh Parks, Recreation and Cultural Resources Department has affiliated with a paranormal investigation group;The Ghost Guild, making them the official paranormal group who investigates all the structures at not only Mordecai Historical Park, but also at all the other historical buildings and parks in Raleigh.The Mordecai Historical Park sponsors every year The Haunted Mordecai Festival, with members of the Ghost Gild Group planning this event, around Halloween. During the Covid Pandemic of 2020, this festival was held virtually.
The Ghost Guild Group has had many investigations as a group as well as having paranormal tours with ticket buyers during the annual Haunted Mordecai Festival.They have had personal experiences as well as caught hard evidence on EVP’s and probably digital film.
Apparently, The Mordecai clan has not given up possession of their family forever home, though they are most willing to share it with the living who have preserved both their mansion and their personal possessions.
Some can’t resist helping to manage the staff here; making sure that work is done in an excellent manner and the truth is told about the family. Docents need to be especially careful while leading tours through Miss Patty’s room!
The spirit of Margaret Lane Mordecai is keeping an eye on the living, making sure that the living are taking care of her beloved Mordecai Manor, and her cherished possessions, as she walks about the place, reigning as mistress of the mansion; something that was cut short due to an early death. The spirit of Margaret Lane Mordecai really puts in the effort to appear as life-like as she can to inspire hard work amongst the employees who physically care for Mordecai Manor.
The spirit of Miss Patty is mostly a benign but opinionated spirit who loves to play the piano, which must of been one of her cherished activities. She is more subtle in her ways when she communicates her opinions on what is being said. Docents need to be especially careful while leading tours through Miss Patty’s room!
Cool winds belonging to the spirit of little Moses still flow throughout the house as he runs around and plays. Probably the spirit of his father, Henry, who likes his privacy, stays with this spirit child to help mend his own broken heart and show his love once more to his son.
Other family spirits, such as Henry’s wife, Martha may visit as well, to see their possessions on display, and to visit with the spirits of Henry, Miss Patty, Margaret Lane and little Moses.
Capitol Area Preservation Society
1 Mimosa Street
Raleigh, NC 27604
The Mordecai Manor can be found in a small historic park near the heart of old Raleigh, called Mordecai Square. In Mordecai Square Park, there is also a small chapel and a small building that was used for an early law office.
Haunted Triangle: The haunting of Mordecai House,
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr