Ocean Born Mary/Pedro Mansion – Merrimack County, Henniker, New Hampshire
Photograph ©Glass House
Henniker, New Hampshire 03242
The Legend of Ocean Born Mary:
In 1720, a small ship called the Wolf, set sail from Londonderry, Ireland, on its way to the New World. During the Wolf’s passage they were boarded by Spanish pirates who then stripped the passengers of their valuable belongings and then lined them up on deck to execute them. The captain of the pirate crew, Don Pedro, gave the order for the pistols to be raised. Before the execution could be carried out, Don Pedro heard the sound of a baby crying rising above the screams of the terrified passengers. Pedro then ordered that Captain Wilson bring the child to him. Elizabeth Wilson approached the brutal pirate with her new born child cradled in her arms. Don Pedro was a superstitious man and he believed that killing the infant would bring him bad luck for the remainder of his days.
The pirate captain then sent one of his men back to his ship and when the crew member returned, he handed a package to Pedro. Don Pedro then unwrapped the package to reveal a beautiful bolt of sea green silk fabric. Pedro held the cloth out to Elizabeth and told her that if she would name her child Mary, after his mother, and make her a fine wedding dress from the bolt of fabric, he would spare the lives of everyone aboard the ship. After she agreed, Pedro and his crew departed as promised. A few days later, Captain Wilson and his passengers arrived safely in Portsmouth Harbor.
Mary Wilson grew up to be a beautiful woman with fiery red hair and green eyes; there was no mistaking her Irish heritage. In 1742, Mary was wed to a man named Thomas Wallace and her wedding dress, as promised, was made from the sea green fabric. Mary and Thomas spent the next eighteen years together in a happy marriage that produced four children. Unfortunately, in 1760, Mary’s husband passed away and she was left to care for those children alone.
Around this same time, Don Pedro retired from his life of piracy. It was then that he set out on a quest to find Mary. Pedro learned that Mary was living in New Hampshire and using the fortune he made from thievery, he purchased 6,000 acres of land in Henniker and built himself a ten-room mansion that was said to be one of the largest homes in the state at that time. After construction was finished and the house was livable, Pedro invited Mary and her sons to come and live with him, promising the house to her after his death if she would care for him in his old age.
Mary accepted the invitation and Pedro made sure that her and her sons were well taken care of. For the ten years that followed, Pedro showered Mary and her children with lavish gifts and when he died the house was Mary’s, as agreed.
Now, all of these things I’ve mentioned above have been documented. What follows is mainly rumor, speculation and legend and has not been proved one way or the other.
About a year before Pedro’s death, Mary heard the sound of voices coming from the field behind the house. When she looked out of the window, she saw Pedro and an unfamiliar man burying a large chest beneath the trees. A year after this odd scene, Mary returned home from town to find Pedro in the backyard, face down in the dirt with a sword drove through his back. Mary, as Pedro had earlier instructed her, had the slaves bury Pedro beneath the hearthstone in the kitchen. After that, Mary stayed on at the Pedro mansion until her death in 1814.
The mansion stayed in the Wallace family for the next one hundred years and was occasionally rented out; however, renters never stayed long and usually didn’t explain their sudden flight from the house. Rumors began to circulate around the town of Henniker that the mansion was haunted.
By the year of 1910 the house stood empty; decaying and rundown, it very much resembled a haunted house. It was then that Mrs. Flora Roy and her son moved to Henniker from Lacrosse, Wisconsin, and purchased the old Pedro mansion. The house was then renovated and returned to its former glory.
The Paranormal Reports Made at the Pedro Mansion:
Flora Roy claimed that while cleaning some of the old junk out of the house during renovations that she handed her son a paper bag and told him to throw it in the fire. He was then stopped by unseen hands from carrying out this task. Upon a closer inspection of the bag, Flora found that there was gunpowder inside.
On another occasion, Flora’s son, Gus, claimed that he saw a woman on the staircase who was there one second and gone the next. Gus described this woman as having long red hair and dressed in white. Over the years that followed, Gus and Flora both reported seeing this same apparition many times, as well as, hearing strange noises coming from the cellar and being averted from danger several times.
Others who lived or visited the house over the years have also made claims of a haunting. Many have reported seeing the red haired apparition of a woman dressed in white; sometimes standing at windows inside of the mansion, sometimes roaming the grounds outside, and sometimes throwing something down the well. In addition to home owners, guests and thrill seekers, some members of the police force have claimed to see Mary’s apparition as well.