King’s Tavern – Adams County, Natchez, Mississippi
Photograph ©Deep Fried Kudzu
619 Jefferson Street
Natchez, Mississippi 39120
The King’s Tavern was built in the year of 1769 and is the oldest building standing in the town of Natchez. This tavern carries the look of most seventeenth century buildings; built with sun-dried bricks, beams that came from scrapped sailing ships originating from New Orleans and barge boards that came from flat river boats once they made their way down the Mississippi and were dismantled.
In 1789 a man named Richard King, bought the old house and moved his family into it. He named the building, The King’s Tavern, and turned it into an inn and tavern.
Mr. King’s business took off; catering to weary travelers, boatmen and sometimes outlaws. One of the outlaws to stay at the inn was “Big Harpe”, one of the infamous Harpe Brothers. Big Harpe while in a drunken rage, walked into another guests room and angrily took a crying infant from its mother. He then swung the baby by its ankles and slammed it into a wall, killing it instantly.
Another brutal murder to take place during this era was the murder of a young maid named Madeline. Apparently Madeline was hired by the King family as a server. Mr. King took a special liking to the young woman and carried on an affair with her. When Mrs. King found out about their secret, she, or someone she hired, killed Madeline and hid her body behind the bricks in the chimney wall, located in the main room of the tavern. The grisly discovery of Madeline’s remains was made in the 1930’s when a family purchased the home and began renovating. Also discovered in another chimney of the house was the remains of two men; the identities of these two men are a mystery. It was also during the times of these renovations that the paranormal activity began in the house.
Many people have claimed to see shadowy apparitions pass through staircases. The sounds of a baby crying have been heard coming from the attic area. Doors here have been witnessed to open and close on their own. Water faucets and lights turn on and off without any help from living hands. Jars have fallen off of shelves for no apparent reason. Water has actually been seen pouring from the ceiling area to the floor below, leaving no sign of a leak in the roof or the floor above. The chairs that are hanging on the wall are said to rock and move of their own accord. And perhaps the most odd report of all; the fire places are said to emit quite a bit of heat when no fire is burning in them!
The full-bodied, solid apparition of a young woman, believed to be that of Madeline, has appeared right in front of patrons and employees. Madeline is believed to be responsible for leaving footprints over freshly mopped floors in the inn. One employee had the shock of his life; while he was still mopping one of the rooms, a woman’s footprints began to appear on the wet floor and began heading straight for him!
The apparition of a man dressed in period clothing has also been seen wandering about the building. This man has also showed up in photographs taken by visitors standing near the fire place where the bodies of the two men were found, therefore, it is believed that he may be the restless spirit of one of these unfortunate men.
Some of the other, more aggressive happenings at the inn include: a sudden tightness or pressure in the neck, shoulders or chests and dishes being thrown at guests and staff members.
Today, the King’s Tavern still has many claims of the paranormal, as well as, sightings of apparitions.