I’ve already decided on the first place I would like to hunt for ghosts! I want to visit the Deason House in Mississippi.
The Deason house was the scene of a horrible event on a rainy September afternoon during the 1860’s Civil War between the United States. It was the home of Amos Deason, and it was where the Confederacy sent Major Amos McLemore, a native of Jones County, to headquarter and capture a poor farmer named Newton Knight, one of my ancestors.
Knight dissented with the war and refused to fight in a war he did not believe in. He was drafted anyway and served, I’m assuming grudgingly, as a hospital orderly. The proverbial “last straw” finally appeared when it came to his attention that if a confederate had possession of at least 20 slaves, that he could be exempted from serving in the war. To Newton, this knowledge meant that the battle between the south and the north was a "rich man's war and a poor man's fight." (Hasn’t that same theory applied in wars since then?) At that time, Knight deserted and went home.
He and other renegades from the battle eventually grouped together and formed their rebel army base in the Green River Swamp at a place known as The Devil’s Den. (There were about 100 of them in all.) From their base they conducted raids on trains heading in and out of Mobile. I’m thinking that most probably they were confederate supply trains.
The Confederacy, meanwhile, conducted their own raids in and through the swamps in search of the deserters. Eventually the southern government sent in one of their best in knowledge of the swamps, Major Amos McLemore, who was a native of Jones County. He would be their best hope to capture the deserter band and its leader, Newton Knight. McLemore was determined to drive the deserters out of the swamp.
Most of the people in that area of the south were loyal to her and saw the deserters as criminals to whom they refused aid. The renegade’s lives were made miserable by McLemore, and Knight realized that one way or another, something had to give. He decided that McLemore had to be killed.
When Knight learned of his pursuer, the hunter became the hunted. newton knew that the major headquartered in the home of loyal Confederates, the Amos Deason home, and so decided to confront him there. On said September afternoon, after McLemore had returned from his rounds, Knight threw open the front door and shot the Confederate official where he stood in front of the fireplace. The Major died in a pool of blood.
Knight escaped into the swamp, chased by McLemore’s men. Since that day; no matter how much scrubbing was done by the house’s occupants, the stains have not been removed. After years of seeing the stains, Deason’s descendants finally covered them with new flooring. That may have solved the blood stain dilemma, but not the fact that every year on the murder’s anniversary the front door bursts open, to reveal a porch that no one stands on.
The Deason house is now an historic building that has been prepared for public viewing by the Daughters of the American Revolution and where DAR members have confessed to an uncomfortable feeling when they are there alone.
I don’t exactly enjoy saying that I am descended from a murderer, but I guess those were times when killings were a bit more common. Now, I’m not excusing his actions here, I guess he did kill someone. But me and him are from different centuries, and on the other side of the coin, you’ve heard the saying about how you can’t choose your parents? Well, you can’t exactly choose your ancestor’s, either.
My information for this blog was obtained from my sister, a talented novice genealogist, and based on a Haunted Mississippi page located at:
Copyright 1998 by Troy Taylor
Okay, I promise not to blog about ghosts again, for awhile.
Romance through the mists of time and Love through the dimensions of reality