Ghosts of the General Morgan Inn

general morgan inn statue

If your hotel rests on the site of one of the Civil War’s most colorful skirmishes, you would expect there to be one or more uniformed ghosts haunting the grounds. However, at the General Morgan Inn, the most colorful ghosts are the ones who used to work here.

Meet Green Room Grace, The Spoon Snatcher

Grace, by far our most clever, playful ghost, lives in our restaurant’s Green Room. During a recent investigation, we discovered that Grace, in her former life, was a waitress at the original Grand Central Hotel during the late 1800’s and early 1900’s, and by all accounts, is generally a very happy ghost who, along with nine other ghosts, has been haunting our inn for over 75 years. However, we think she may have had some trouble managing her place settings—as our spoons quite often disappear from the place settings in the Green Room during the night. Never a fork, never a butter knife: always a spoon. Never the Library, never the Club Room: always the Green Room. You might expect to find the spoon on the floor, in a chair, or even in the dish room—but we’ve never been able to locate them.

Meet Front Desk Bill

Adjacent to the General Morgan Inn, another hotel (which we now refer to as the Depot Street hotel) built in the late 1800’s stands a reminder of Greeneville’s grand railroad era. The building, which has been closed for several decades, has one charismatic ghostly feature—Front Desk Bill. During a recent investigation, we discovered that the front desk, which remains intact, is haunted by the ghost of a former employee, whom we have respectively named Bill. We invited dowsers to speak to Bill and find out a little bit about him. While he wasn’t forthcoming with a great deal of personal information, he did say that he was “quite happy to haunt the hotel” and that he was in the company of 26 other ghosts who haunt the 30 rooms of the hotel. When asked if he was equally as happy while he actually worked at the front desk of the hotel, his response was an overwhelming, “No!” Perhaps the old hotel didn’t enjoy the high occupancy level that it now enjoys.

Meet John Hunt Morgan

The Confederate General who was considered the Jessie James of his day, a tactical genius who raided the Ohio Valley during the Civil War, was killed during a confrontation that took place, literally a few feet from the inn’s grand lobby. Morgan, who was visiting friends at the nearby Dickson-Williams Mansion, left his men a few miles outside of town while he reconnected with Mrs. Williams and her family. Morgan was unaware that a small group of Union officers were also staying in the small town of Greeneville. Reports of the conflict vary. However three important facts remain. After claiming that the Union soldiers would never take him alive, Morgan was shot in the back while attempting to get to his horse, which was tethered in the Williams’ stables. Lucy Frye, a young woman staying at the inn was publicly accused of betraying his location to the Union soldiers—a charge which, although she vehemently denied it, followed her and left her a social outcast for the remainder of her life. Mrs. Williams, a genteel Southern lady who took her duty as hostess very seriously, felt that she should have protected Morgan during his stay, and by all accounts, entered into a serious depression upon his death. For decades she was reported to have covered the site where he fell dead with a blanket of violets, her favorite wildflower.

While we’ve not seen any ghosts in the flower garden, a few of our housekeepers and our current night auditor report seeing shadows on the second floor of the hotel moving toward the Morgan Suite, named in honor of John Hunt Morgan—who was likely a bit vain about his own handsome face and who even refused to be photographed without his General’s hat. We invited dowsers to speak with the ghost suspected to lurk in the suite, and discovered that he too had been shot in the back and fell dead on the site. While we weren’t able to confirm that it was the ghost of John Hunt Morgan haunting the second floor of the hotel, we’re not sure which of our other ghosts would be so eager to look at his handsome face.