THE GRUESOME TALE OF BELLE GROVE PLANTATION
The story you are about to read is rather grotesque, disgusting, and discriptive. Its a story about a place located in Middletown, VA, that I used to work for as a tour guide/wedding decorator/waitress/ghost tour guide. When it comes to the actual sad story on Belle Grove you can barely find anything on it, or its ghost. The owner has done a surpurb job in keeping that part out of the eyes of the public. You see not only is this plantation hiding something dark, its a place where peolple come to get married, and learn about its finer side of history. However, although all the good things you can read and hear about the place are true, it hides behind its beautiful fascade gruesome murders, and a tragic death. If you would like to read more about the story in more detail after reading my summation you can look at L.B. Taylors Ghosts of Virginia. He has several volumes so make sure that you find the one including storied about Middletown. Like I said the internet won't be of use to you when it comes to this one. I mean who would want to get married in a place like this if they knew its past. Hence the owners hush hush attitude. Why unless you are an author, or persistant ghost hunter, or if you show up for the 2 ghost tours that we have on the day of halloween your not going to get the story at all.
So here it is, from one of their ex-tour guides, the story of Belle Grove.
Here she is Belle Grove Plantation, a beautiful estate located in the Shenandoah Valley.
With beauty surrounding you, history enriched hills, lovely landcapes that touch the sky, you would never imagine that so much history encompasses the house.
Here are some of the views you get....
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I mean not only can you see the houses beautiful interior but you can have your wedding at the home.
Beautiful Right, HA HA HA! Looks can be decieving can't they....
Belle Grove manor house was built in 1794 by Issac Hite, Jr., one of the leaders of the Shenandoah Valley's Anglo-German community. Isaac Hite brought his bride, Nelly Conway Madison, sister of James Madison, to Belle Grove in 1783. The design of the house was influenced by Thomas Jefferson's architectural genius. A focus of valley life, the house survived Union General Sheridan's occupation during the Civil War Battle of Cedar Creek. Today, the plantation includes the main house and gardens, original out buildings, a classic 1918 barn, an overseer's house, the slave cemetery, a heritage apple orchard, fields and meadows, and scenic mountain views.
ISAAC HITE, born. February 7, 1758 in Middletown, Frederic Co., Virginia; d. November 24, 1836, Belle Grove, Middletown, Frederick Co., Virginia. Received 483 acres of land in Frederick County, Virginia from his father in 1782. Attended William and Mary College of Virginia and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Was a Major in the Revolutionary War. Married Nelly Conway Madison, President James Madison's sister in 1783. Designed Belle Grove home in October 1794. Had Thomas Jefferson go over the plans and make changes. Belle Grove was built in 1794-1797 and additional work was completed in 1805. The property was valued at $7,500. In 1815 or 1821, a new wing was added, property value was $11,250. An ice house was added in 1820-1825.
By 1814 Major Hite owned 7,437 acres in Frederick County and additonal land in other counties. Farming was his primary occupation. He was noted for using the most advanced farm methods. Belle Grove was self-sustaining. Most of the produce and livestock raised was used on the farm. He had 68 slaves.
Now finally that you know the history of the home and its occupants, here is the story of their lives.
What I can tell you about Isaac is that his first wife Nelly bore him 3 children. Along with his first wife he had a mistress, a slave woman.
During his second marriage his wife Anne bore him 10 children.
Out of all 13 kids, 12 survived.
During his first marriage is where our story begins. His first wife Nelly like I said gave hime 3 wonderful children. But somewhere along the road things weren't enough for Isaac and he took on a mistress. A slave woman who I will call Millie. Millie like most mistresses were treated at the time, was brought into the home and treated far better than the field slaves. She cared for the childrens, tended to the home, and the needs of Isaac Hite. Well as most affairs go they are kept secret for awhile and then news of it spreads through out the home. Which eventually got back to the misses. Who wasn't too happy about the situation at all!!! She told Isaac to throw the girl back out into the fields, but he refused. So Millie stuck around. Well between jealousy and envy a hatred grew between the misses and the mistress. They fought all the time, and the misses would always threaten to throw the girl out. She was always trying to find something to blame her for.
Finally the misses convinced her husband that Millie had to go, and he told her she had just a few days left in the home and she would have to be put out in the fields again.
Ofcourse this angered Millie she didn't want to lose all she had earned. She most certainly didn't want to go back to the other side of slave life.
So one night when the Master had left she devised a plan to kill the misses.
The next day she was in the House Isaac had left on business and wouldn't be back till later that afternoon. Millie was working as usual taking care of the children and such in the home. She asked the misses to come outside to the smoke house with her to look at something.
Thats where it all happened...Right here.
The Smokehouse and blood room.
Millie brought Nelly out to the smokehouse and started to beat her! She beat her so much that she crushed one side of her face, making one eye sink in and the other pertrude out of her face. [xx(] She had broker her ribs and legs, and I believe some bones in her arms. She dragged a beaten Nelly into the blood room, which for those who don't know what that is its where the animals are butchered. She leaned Nelly's body against the butcher block, placing her head between 2 decapitated pigs heads. She strangled her and beat her head against the block. But still hadn't killed her. Then she placed her broken feet into the furnace.
Millie walked out of the blood room closed the doors and disapeared.
Later that afternoon Isaac arrived home and Nelly was no where to be found. Another slave said he could smell something funny coming from the smokehouse. When they opened the blood room door up they found her, STILL ALIVE!
They carried her into the house and laid her down. They called for a doctor even though they new there was no way to save her. She tried to talk but couldn't from all the blood in her chest from her injuries. People couldn't explain how she hadn't died yet, except for wanting to tell on Millie. But after 20 minutes of gargled nothings coming from her mouth she gave up and past on.
When it came to the whole plantations attention that Millie was missing they knew who had killed Nelly. They went on a massive search, slaves and Isaac. The slaves found her and hung her from a tree in the woods surrounding the house. Though she tried to explain they didn't care. She was nothing to them anymore, even her own family turned their backs.
So now it is believed that when things fly around the room, or ackward smells come from the smokehouse it is the ghosts of Millie, and Nelly at war eternally. A women dressed in an all black dress with a vial over her head is known for standing in the window of the highest room. It is said that she's either the plantation owners wife or mistress. Many people have seen her standing there during the day yet nobody is in the room when they go look. She is always wearing the same clothing. This plantation is located next to Cedar Creek Battle Field. Many houses in this area are haunted. The spirit of an African American woman has been seen inside and outside of this place.
But there is one more tragedy to this story...
The one child that did not survive was their daughter. She was merely 5 years old and died of illness one morning after a long spell. She was laid to rest in the family plot. Yet her ghost seems to still reside in the home.
An example would be early on a september morning a UPS man who has been making deliveries there for years. Came by the house to drop off a package. He said when he knocked on the door that morning a little girl answered and upon asking where her mother was he was led to the kitchen.
Then the little girl who had golden locks of hair, and blue eyes pranced out of the room and up stairs never to be seen again. When our UPS man was found that morning by our very upset and startled owner she questioned how he got into the house. Asking if the door had been left unlocked or something. He simply replied "Your daughter let me in", then she said "I don't have a daughter, and I just got here. No one is in this house but you." His face went white and he said he would see her tomorrow. When me and some other employees arrived she questioned all of us as to if we had made sure that the house was locked up. We all said yes. Everything was checked before leaving.
The next day on a hunch we showed the man a picture of a little girl, a portrait of the one who died there. He was like yes, thats her...When we told them who she was, he said "okay" and walked out of the house. We haven't seen him since.
Along with that story there are numerous times where you can hear groups of people singing what sounds to be negro spirituals. Its coming from the slave graveyard located at the rear of the house.
Well now I can finally say I am DONE! Hope you enjoyed it...