Charles City Virginia
Edgewood Plantation Bed and Breakfast
A broken heart caused death and unending sadness.
Comfort, southern hospitality and duty is not forgotten; the call to duty is strong.
Edgewood Manor Plantation Bed and Breakfast is an 1849 Plantation House built by Spencer Rowland that sits on four acres of land. It is a three storied, Gothic-styled house with 7,000 sq feet.
It has six bedrooms in-house; each with its own private bathroom, and two more bedrooms in the old renovated, up-graded old slave quarters; now called the cottage, which sits right next to the main house.
These two rooms; Dolly’s Room and Scarlett’s Room obviously are more plush with amenities, hot tubs and antiques; a real upgrade in finery, renovated for newly married couples, and other couples who wish privacy.
This Edgewood Plantation house has roomfuls of antiques; in the spirit of the 1800s, Civil War era. Edgewood Plantation House has steam heating, and central air conditioning.
There are five glorious common rooms; a parlor, a foyer, a library, a dining room and a large country kitchen. It has ten fireplaces and five chimneys, the original gothic windows, and pinewood floor boards. Connecting it all is a three story, beautiful, hand-carved winding staircase.
Outside, there is a lovely large pool for guests who like to swim, or dangle their feet in cool water.
Also outside, there is a fixed-up gazebo that is one of the places that guests can go and relax, as well as the occasional spirit person.
A Mill known as Harrison’s Grist Mill or Rowland Mill is 80 feet from Edgewood Plantation House, with a bridge over the canal. This canal was dug by slave labor and connected to Harrison Lake a mile away.
These four acres once belonged to the Berkeley Plantation, just a quarter mile away. Ben Harrison built the Grist Mill in the 1700s’, and probably was the one who built the out buildings and slave quarters. He sold the four acres and the mill to pay his debts.
At first, Edward Wilcox of Charles City County purchased these four acres, but wound up selling this land to the Rowland Brothers, Richard S. and William C.; Yankees from New Jersey in 1847. Richard became involved with Westover Episcopalian Church, and became involved with the Vestry. His behavior would reflect his faith. In 1856, the brothers had modified and updated the mill, and were doing very well financially; even without slaves. Their influence grew in Charles City.
Because of its location, Edgewood Plantation House found itself involved with the Civil War, and is still standing; never burnt down, because of the Rowland’s hospitality shown to all sides of this conflict. The owners of Edgewood Plantation House, the Rowland family; strong practicing Episcopalians, were on the Civil War front lines, showing their giving, Christ-filled loving natures as they met the food and rest needs of both Confederate and Union soldiers.
Confederate troops used the property and this plantation for their own comfort and military purposes. In 1862, Confederate commander General J.E.B. Stuart stopped at the house for a drink and rest for his troops for a week or so. Edgewood Plantation offered ground corn to hungry Confederate soldiers, and probably to anyone who needed food. The Rowlands also ground corn for the Union soldiers camped at Berkeley Plantation. Episcopalian services were held on the first floor, because the Westover Episcopalian Church was being used as a stable for Union horses during the Civil War. It had first been inadvertently ruined because of battles between the sides, but it was usable as a stable, even in its ruined state.
General McClellan after the rout of the Confederate troops from this area, decided to stay at Edgewood Manor too, because the Rowlands had ground corn for his men when they had camped at Berkeley Plantation. Besides, they were Yankees living in the South. General McClellan was welcomed by the Rowlands as their love and hospitality was extended to him and his troops as well, despite the fact that Union forces using the church as a stable. Their Edgewood Plantation house was spared, as well as the Berkeley Plantation.
During Reconstruction, the Rowlands managed to pay the high tax set by the federal government and also took in homeless neighbors not so lucky.
The Rowland family and their descendants lived in their Edgewood Plantation House until 1888. This piece of property never had trouble selling to new owners throughout the eras. It was put to work in the commercial world, never being allowed to become a fixer-upper opportunity with real issues. It was located in a beautiful location which made any commercial effort in this property a good business prospect.
The Edgewood Plantation’s resume would include being a family home; plus a post office, a telephone exchange, and a nursing home. During the turn of the century, it evolved into Charles City’s first high class restaurant; called The Blue Teapot. It probably became several restaurants throughout the 1900s’. The owners would live upstairs, if the rooms weren’t turned into dining areas. This was a common use for many of the plantations and townhouses in the 20th century; to bring in money for the cost of maintenance of maintaining and even improving an old building.
Edgewood Plantation House has been a luxurious bed and breakfast since the 1970s’. It offers living guests a beautiful place to spend a night or two; and its spirits a lovely place to work on their issues. What put Edgewood Plantation Bed and Breakfast on the map in the ghost hunting world, was that the original Ghost Hunters show came to catch evidence. This usually was a hard thing for them to do in the beginning of their show because they relied strictly on the instruments, but not here. Spirits were eager to make themselves known.
The owners of Edgewood Plantation today offer more events along with renting rooms to their guests. They sponsor Victorian Teas, social events of all kinds, Ghost Tours and Ghost Hunts; giving their spirits a chance to talk to paranormal investigators, and people who buy a ticket to participate. The spirits also can find living guests willing to listen to them as well.
From the house’s third floor, General J.E.B. Stuart’s Confederate officers spied on Union General George McClellan’s beleaguered troops, who were camped nearby at Berkeley Plantation. Some scouts also ventured closer to get a good look from the Rowland Mill’s bridge located on the Edgewood Plantation.
After the major battle that happened near the Edgewood Plantation House, numerous ambulances, filled with dead and wounded Confederate soldiers, made their way past the Edgewood Plantation House to Harrison’s landing. Many of the dead and wounded had experienced the big heart of the Rowland family while still alive.
The Rowlands suffered personal losses because of the Civil War as well. Their daughter, Lizzie, had fallen in love with a young man who lived in a nearby plantation: either Shirley Plantation or Berkeley Plantation. He used to gallop on his spirited horse up the road to see her. When she heard the galloping hooves, she would run to the front bedroom and look to see him coming, putting the window curtain behind her. Like a good southern son, he joined the Confederate Army as a Naval Officer. Uh oh. He didn’t have a good end.
When he didn’t survive the war, Lizzie’s heart was smashed, and she crumbled emotionally, and eventually died of a broken heart about two years later, still sick with grief. The Rowland family lost a potential son-in-law whom they were fond of, and a daughter who couldn’t recover from her heartbreak. They took comfort in the Lord, their church family and their remaining family.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
The spirits here have no fear of the living and feel safe and at home. They don’t seem to mind being put to work in this world and have fun as well, as they entertain the living.
Sometimes men who were in the military and were killed in battle or accidents, find a way to continue to serve, even without a body. They enjoy staying together as a unit or continuing on in their military jobs. This gives them some comfort, as they don’t want to go to the other side just yet; wanting to continue to serve.
Soldiers still are doing their military assignments at Edgewood Plantation House Bed and Breakfast.
Places where history happened, especially war or other dramatic events, spirits can remain in great numbers; perhaps reliving their moments before they were killed, or left their bodies so quickly.
Soldiers near the bridge by the mill are still preparing to sneek up on the Berkeley Plantation Union Troops. Some have moved into this Edgewood Plantation House as well to spy.
Places in this world that brought comfort and relief that met basic needs of others, can draw spirits who found help and hospitality there while they were alive.
The love and southern hospitality shown to many soldiers by the Rowlands has apparently been a great draw for those soldiers who perished.
Unfortunate people who suffer a broken heart while alive, can be stuck in this world as spirits, still mourning their horrible loss in ways that give them hope.
Lizzie Rowland suffered terribly in the loss of her beloved in war. Even after her death, her eternal hope is that he will return for her.
Spirit of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Rowland
She had etched her name in the bottom of a window pane in room 10; her old bedroom. People who stay in her room 10 may get a cordial visit from her sometime during the night or early morning.
People can spot a see-through, thin young woman, wearing white, while standing at the window, with a candle in her hand. She moves from window to window.
Lizzie’s see-through apparition can be seen on the second floor staircase as well.
A wedding was being held in the front yard. While looking at the wedding pictures, the wedding couple and the owner saw a young woman, wearing white, looking outside from her window, perhaps longing for her own wedding. The room that they saw her was her old bedroom; that was filled with parlor furniture for the wedding events inside. There was no way a living woman could be at the window during the wedding.
Lizzie lets the living know if she doesn’t like the decor or takes offense at something on display. Pictures mysteriously lift off their nails or picture holders and slip to the floor.
She apparently has a grudge against the Navy – Her spirit knocked a cannon off a shelf. (Her beloved was on a ship that used cannons).
Spirits from Confederate Army
Some spirits of soldiers are still watching from the mill bridge, planning to get closer. Some spirits of Confederate soldiers have moved inside especially on the third floor, where they used to keep an eye on the Union troops.
Upon arrival, while Tim was standing on the front porch, waiting to be let inside, an unseen male presence tapped him gently on the shoulder.
While Tim and Thomas crossed the bridge, Tim caught on film a mist with two eyes floating toward Thomas.
Both men smelled bad breath, while Thomas felt breathing on his neck, and both heard a disembodied voice say, with a strong southern drawl, “Let’s Ride!”
A spirit of a soldier stands on the roof, holding onto the chimney to spy on the Union soldiers at Berkeley Plantation. He quickly disappeared when he saw ghost investigators Thomas, and ghost photographer Tim Scullion.
Spirit of Confederate solider, Aaron Young, kept willing guests up all night talking to them in one of the cottage rooms.
Inside the Harrison’s Grist/Rowland Mill
People brave enough to go inside sometimes feel very sick and have to leave.
Spirits there don’t want the living to stay too long… They could be former slaves who worked there under Harrison.
A medium came to investigate and told one of the owners that there was a spirit in room ten, and that she likes the owners, and won’t hurt them.
Lizzie Rowland’s grave can be found in the Westover Episcopalian graveyard. Her year of birth and death coincides with the her story.
Boatloads of guests, investigating groups, and the owners as well have had personal experiences. Ghost Hunting events and Haunted Tours are regularly planned here.
Tim Scullian, A renown ghost photographer, and his investigating team member, Thomas, caught strong, hard evidence and had some intense personal experiences. His pictures are posted on his blog.
The photos looked more or less like real spirit people, depending on the photo. He describes them: some are ”evanescent and quite recognizable”, some are distorted and white.
Spirit of Lizzie still has eternal hope, pining away for her beloved, but she knows she is mistress of Edgewood and takes her duties seriously. Though she knows she is dead, and needs the living owners to take care of the house.
She isn’t afraid to voice her opinion on the decor, as any living mistress would do. She also has manners, and will welcome living guests, and will show herself to be polite.
A few spectral soldiers also like to stay on the third floor, and still like to watch Berkeley Mansion as a military target. They enjoy the company.
Soldiers like to visit the two cottage guest rooms that are gussied up to attract couples who want some privacy. It may remind them of their own sweethearts they had in their former life in this world.
In the words of Ghost Hunter Tim Scullion, “The grounds are teaming with paranormal activity.”
Because the Rowlands took care of their needs while alive, spirits of soldiers are cordial toward the owners and the living. The spirit soldiers see the living as potentially being part of their team. One spirit thought that Tim Scullion and Thomas would make good recruits for their side.
The spirits in the Rowland Mill could be former slaves of Harrison; who in other haunted house stories on our website have no love for the living, especially if they were mistreated.
A medium came to investigate and told one of the owners that there was a spirit in room ten, and that she likes the owners, and won’t hurt them. Lizzie Rowland’s grave can be found in the Westover Episcopalian graveyard. Her year of birth and death coincides with her story.
Guests, investigating groups, and the owners have had personal experiences. Ghost Hunting events and Haunted Tours are regularly planned here.
Tim Scullian (a renowned ghost photographer) and his investigating team member, Thomas, caught strong, hard evidence and had some intense personal experiences. His pictures are posted on his blog. The photos looked more or less like real spirit people, depending on the photo. He describes them: some are ” evanescent and quite recognizable”, some are distorted and white.
4800 John Tyler Memorial Hwy,
Charles City, VA 23030
Edgewood Plantation is located half way between Richmond, and Williamsburg. It conveniently sits along the scenic John Tyler memorial Hwy, which also is just 10 miles from Richmond National Battlefield Park. Also, Edgewood Plantation is just 8 miles away from the Shirley Plantation, and only a quarter mile from neighboring Berkeley Plantation; just down the hill within view.
- timscullion.wordpress.com, 2016.
- The Ghost Hunters Field Guide, by Rich Newman, pg. 349-350, Llewellyn Publications, 2010.
- The Ghosts of Williamsburg, and Nearby Environs, By L.B. Taylor, Jr., pg. 52-55,Progress Printing Co. 2006.
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr