The Haunting of the Woodburn Governor’s Mansion

Woodburn Mansion – Kent County, Dover, Delaware

Photograph ©Greg Hughes'

151 King’s Highway
Dover, Delaware 19901

Built in 1790, the Woodburn Mansion has served as the Governor’s mansion since the mid nineteen-hundreds. As with many of these old houses, it has seen its share of good and bad and has become the eternal play ground of many spirits.

The first apparition spotted in the house was in the year of 1824. Apparently the Bates family, who resided here, had an overnight guest named Lorenzo Dow. Mr. Dow was coming down the stair case, on his way to dinner, when he past an older gentlemen on the steps. He made is way into the dining room and sat down with the others. When everyone at the table began eating their meal, Mr. Dow asked why they were not waiting for the older gentlemen to join them. Everyone at the table became silent; knowing there should’ve been no one else in the house. Mr. Dow described the man’s clothing as knee breeches, a ruffled blouse and he wore a white wig. He said the apparition appeared to be a solid person. It turned out that this apparition was the long dead father of Mr. Bates!

Another owner claimed that the ghosts in the house loved to drink up his wine during the midnight hours. He reported seeing a man in a white wig (I’m assuming the departed Mr. Bates), drinking his wine in the dining room. Apparently Mr. Bates also liked to help himself to the expensive wines that were kept in the cellar, as well.

A third well known apparition in this home is that of a little girl. This departed little lady has been seen outside, as well as, inside and she has as much spunk in death as she probably had in life. The little girl has been known to tug at peoples skirts or sleeves during parties in the house and she has been seen in several rooms or by the garden pool playing.

The fourth ghost is said to have been a Southern Slave Raider who hid in a tree on the property and accidentally slipped and caught his head in a hole in the tree trunk. Apparently this freak accident is what killed the man and his apparition has been seen hanging from that same tree in the late evening hours. This ghost likes to rattle chains inside and outside of the house and many have heard him moaning.

A fifth apparition that has been spotted in this house is that of a man dressed in Revolutionary War clothing. No one seems to know the identity of the man but he has been spotted in several areas of the house.