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January 28, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Ghosts: The Ghosts of Green Hill

1810 Buckingham_Cabell

1810 Census  Buckingham County, Virginia 

Col. John Cabell, a young male, a female, and forty slaves

On January 10th, Teresa posted a comment about the ghosts of Green Hill, the James River estate of Col. John Cabell (1735-1815) who was one of Buckingham County’s leading lights.  A politician for many years, Cabell led his county through the Revolution, later serving as Sheriff of Buckingham and as a member of the county militia. He attended the Fifth Revolutionary Convention and served several terms in the General Assembly.  In 1815, the year of his death, he owned at least forty slaves.  He was known to be a “man of fiery temper and strong will.”

Teresa found the Cabell ghost stories included in a book called Virginia Ghosts by Marguerite DuPont Lee. Published in 1966, Lee describes Green Hill sitting on a “high grassy hill overlooking the very wide and deep river a quarter of a mile below.”  The first haunting appeared in Col. Cabell’s lifetime.  Lee writes:

“Like many of his time, Colonel Cabell had his superstitions, and he also had Spirits to overlook his welfare.  In his early days it seems he was not a religious man.  One night, probably after the death of his second wife in 1802, he was lying in the big parlor before a huge log fire.  Suddenly the great hall upon which the parlor opened was filled with an unearthly wind.  Turning to see what was causing this Colonel Cabell saw, standing by a large table upon which rested the family Bible, three female figures. The pages of the Bible were turning rapidly, from beginning to end, although no hand touched it.  Colonel Cabell felt this was a call to him to study the Holy Book, which from this time he did, and became a devout believer.”

Were these three women known to Col. Cabell?  What was their investment in his religious education? Two Mrs. Cabells (Paulina Jordan and Elizabeth Brierton Jones) were already deceased, presumably former mistresses of Green Hill, and familiar with Col. Cabell’s strong-willed ways.  Interestingly, this experience did not keep him from taking a third wife (some sources say they never married) and having a family with her. According to N.F. Cabell, John Cabell died about a mile below Green Hill at another farm he owned known as Elm Cottage.  (For more see The Cabells and Their Kin by Alexander Brown.)

Coming next . . . Part Two: Col. John Cabell’s Ghost

2 Comments

Leave a Comment
  1. Trish Hood / Aug 21 2014 2:46 pm

    I am looking for information on Allendale.

    • Joanne Yeck / Aug 21 2014 2:55 pm

      There are several posts concerning Allendale in the archives at Slate River Ramblings. Just put Allendale in the Search box on the right, enter, and enjoy the results. Joanne

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