Hammock House – Carteret County, Beaufort, North Carolina
Beaufort, North Carolina 28516
Built in the early seventeenth century, this home is said to be the oldest home in Beaufort. The Hammock House is thought to have been an inn during its early days; giving sailors a safe haven on land to rest their weary seafaring bodies. One such guest who was known to frequent the inn was Captain Black Beard; a pirate known for his treacherous and brutal ways.
Black Beard, a man who was actually named Edward Teach, spent quite a bit of time at the Hammock House, resting from his sea “journeys” and finding refuge with women, alcohol and illegal activities. During one of Black Beards stays at the house, he was accompanied by one of his numerous wives, an eighteen year old girl who was apparently married and kept against her will. Before Black Beards departure back to the sea, a heated argument must have taken place between him and his young wife, for he hung the woman from an oak tree behind Hammock House and then buried her body under the tree itself!
In 1747, Richard Russell, Jr., owned the house. Another murder took place here when Richard returned home from a voyage. Richard took one of his slaves to the attic to punish him for some wrong doing. The slave panicked and shoved Mr. Russell, causing him to tumble down the attic stairs and break his neck.
The owner that followed Mr. Russell was a Captain for the British Navy. The Captain returned home one day to hear that his new bride had been sleeping with another man. The Captain hunted down his new wife and her accused lover and viciously killed the man. Unfortunately, the man turned out to be the brother of the young woman and was innocent.
By the mid eighteenth century, even more people had died in the house; most of their deaths resulted from sword duels. Then in 1862, the house became infamous when three Union officers were sent to scout the location and disappeared without a trace. These men were found in 1915, some fifties years later, when workmen discovered their remains near the back porch area.
The Union army used the Hammock House as an outpost for some time and many of the soldiers reported feeling uneasy there. After the war, the house was abandoned and left to dilapidate. During its use and its abandonment, the house’s reputation grew. People whispered about strange happenings and rumor spread that the place was haunted.
Many people who have visited the house in the past have claimed to hear the screams of a woman in the backyard but when investigated, no one was there. Inside the house many have reported hearing thumping sounds on the attic steps, a man screaming on the second floor and the sounds of heavy boots stomping on the first floor. Many have also claimed that there is a permanent blood stain on the second floor that cannot be scrubbed away or even painted over; it just continues to resurface.
Today, the Hammock House is privately owned and the current owners don’t seem to be put off by their ghostly live-ins. The house itself has been restored to its former beauty and can be seen via the Historic Homes Tour of Beaufort or the Ghost Walk Tours.