Look Around Mississippi - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

October 17, 2003

Look Around Mississippi

By Walt Grayson

It's time for Walt to take us looking around Mississippi. It’s getting close to Halloween and Walt's got a haunted house for us.

King’s Tavern is the oldest building in Natchez, and Natchez is the oldest settlement on the Mississippi River, so something that old has to be haunted. And there are those who know beyond a shadow of a doubt that King’s Tavern is.

It was here prior to 1780. There are records dating back that far referring to the building known now as King's Tavern. The wood used to construct its second and third stories and the attic are boards from old flatboats, floated down the Ohio and Mississippi rivers back before steamboat days from people bringing goods to Natchez or New Orleans to sell. And since they couldn't float back home against the current, the last thing they sold was their flatboat. Then they walked home, or at least as far as Nashville, on the Natchez Trace.

Probably the boatmen quenched their thirst at this tavern the night before they headed home. And then the notorious Natchez Trace bandits would return later and spend their money they had robbed from them. No wonder there are spirits here. Jessica Jones is one of the few to have seen Madeline. Jessica used to work at King's Tavern.  So did Madeline.  Only Madeline was here a couple of hundred years earlier.

"I had a huge tray full of silver and when I came around the corner she was standing right at the end of the staircase, full view. She had her hands on her hips. She looked very upset with me being in here," said Jones.

Yvonne Bean, the owner, has never seen Madeline, but she has seen someone even more sinister.

Bean said, "The man in the top hat, I've heard people say he has red hair. But I saw him. He had a top hat on and a dark coat and I was standing in the very front here and he was right back here. I just looked at him and he just disappeared. I said 'I finally saw one!'"

Michael Sharp, the manager says people come to not only eat prime rib at the tavern, but to see the place they have heard so much about, and try to find the warm spot on the bed in Madeline's room.

"Absolutely, we have people come in and want a tour. Sometimes they stay for dinner, but they say they've heard about this place and want to take a look around," said Sharp.

Perhaps that's what the ghost are doing, coming to this place to see all the people who come here to see them. And it seems that neither group is disappointed at various times at King’s Tavern.

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