01 February 2012

Haunted Georgia? "The Bealls 1860 Restaurant's Ghostly Fare"

I bought this book (Haunted Georgia: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Peach State) by Alan Brown for my grandfather as a Christmas present last December. I am not one to believe every ghost story I read or hear, but do find them of interest. Especially those rooted in history. Even though it was a gift, I couldn't resist peeking and jotting down a few notes from a couple of the stories in the book. I knew Grandpa wouldn't mind, and I plan to borrow and finish reading it when he's done. :-)

One of the stories in the book is "The Bealls 1860 Restaurant's Ghostly Fare." Located at 315 College Street in Macon, GA, the restaurant was open in the 1990s. The building was once a residence, built by Nathan Beall around 1860.

Beall House
Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum
The crux of the story of this house centers around sorrow. Nathan Beall, a wealthy planter born about 1799, was enumerated in the 1860 Bibb County, GA census with his wife Martha, daughter Juliet R., and son George C.1

According to the book, George enlisted in 1862 with the 47th Regiment of the Georgia Infantry. And "by February 1863, he had become one of thousands of young soldiers listed as missing."2 I might disagree here after consulting the service records of two George Bealls that served in the Confederate Army at approximately the same time. I initially found the two men with Ancestry's American Civil War Soldiers database.3

Moving to Fold3, I looked over the Confederate service record for George Beall (aka D. W. Beall, aka George W. Bell) of the 47th Georgia Infantry. This man enlisted at Randolph County, GA and was present with his company in Mar/Apr 1862, May/Jun 1862, Jul/Aug 1862, Sep/Oct 1862, Nov/Dec 1862, and Jan/Feb 1863.4

The other soldier, George C. Beall (aka George C. Beale, aka G. C. Beal), enlisted at Macon, GA with the 28th Siege Artillery Battalion. He was elected 1st Lieutenant July 1863 and resigned a month later. In October of the same year, this George is in a hospital at Macon.5 I think this is more likely the son of Nathan Beall, and I question exactly how "missing" he was.

The next portrait of sorrow regarding the Beall house deals with Nathan's daughter Juliet. Haunted Georgia states her husband, Dr. George C. Griffin, disappeared about the same time ("between Petersburg and Macon") as Juliet's brother while serving as an assistant surgeon during the Civil War... "For the rest of her life, Juliet sat in the study on the second floor, where she stared out the window in the hope that someday her husband would return home."6

Juliet R. Beall married George G. Griffin 4 July 1861 in Bibb County, Georgia.7 G. G. Griffin's service record states he served with the 8th Georgia Infantry. He was indeed relieved of his duties in Petersburg, VA and told to report to Macon, GA for assignment.8 I don't know if he went missing for some time or not, but I doubt Juliet spent the "rest of her life" waiting for him to return home. The 1870 Hamilton, Harris County, Georgia census9 and the 1880 Cassville, Bartow County, Georgia census10 show Dr. George G. and Juliet R. Griffin together with a growing family. George died 4 April 1904 in Covington, Georgia.11

About the end of the Civil War, Nathan Beall sold his home to Leonidas A. Jordan.12 Lee was "a cultivated gentleman of great wealth, and is known throughout the state as one of the largest planters and real estate owners in Georgia."13

Sorrow seemed to continue to permeate the building even with a new family residing within. After a twenty-three year marriage, Lee's wife Julia died 30 December 1891 of grippe and pneumonia. She did not die in her Macon home, though. She died at the home of her mother in Wynnton (Columbus), Georgia.14

A few years after Julia's death, Leonidas married Miss Ilah Dunlap. She was quite a bit younger than he, about 50 years. Supposedly, Ilah looked to Leonidas just like his first wife at that young age. And by the way, Ilah became the sole beneficiary of Lee's vast fortune and real estate holdings.

Photo © 2011/2
S. Lincecum
Continuing along with the Haunted Georgia story, a most sorrowful marriage between Ilah and Leonidas lasted until his death in 1899. It is written that Ilah kept her husband a "virtual prisoner in his own home." None of his friends and family were even allowed to visit. Furthermore, upon his death, Ilah buried Leonidas beneath "only a modest county marker." Conversely, upon her death, Ilah was "buried in the largest mausoleum in Macon's Rose Hill Cemetery."15

I've done a bit of research about Ilah, but did not uncover much about her true relationship with Leonidas. I have no idea if she cared for him deeply, just married him for the money, or waffled somewhere in between. I can say she was a daughter of a wealthy man, and her inheritance from her father was quite substantial. This came a few years after the death of Leonidas. And while Leonidas does not have a grand marker in his burial place of Memory Hill Cemetery in Milledgeville, GA, he is buried in a JORDAN family plot -- next to the tallest monument in the cemetery. Ilah is also buried with family -- the DUNLAP mausoleum was erected for her father.

After the Beall house became a restaurant in 1993, quite a bit of paranormal activity was witnessed. This included ice cubes "jumping" out of glasses, a ghostly presence of a young girl in a white dress, glasses flying off counters, books flying off shelves, and chandeliers flickering on and off. The most notable disturbance occurred one year close to the anniversary of Julia's death: "The waiters were going about their business when all at once, all of the pipes began to shake. The noise became so loud that some waiters placed their hands over their ears."16

Does all this mean the Beall house is haunted? I have no idea. But, if you've stayed with me this far, you might be interested in this: On the day I photographed the outside of the building I took more than 20 pictures. Every one came out clear as a bell, save one -- an image of the front of the Beall house.

Photo © 2012 S. Lincecum


Footnotes:

1. 1860 U.S. census, Bibb Co., Georgia, population schedule, Macon, p. 132, dwelling 985, family 1020, Nathan H. Beall household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed January 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication M653.

2. Alan Brown, Haunted Georgia: Ghosts and Strange Phenomena of the Peach State (Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books, 2008), 31.

3. "American Civil War Soldiers," database, Ancestry.com Operations Inc., Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=3737 : accessed January 2012), entries for George Beall.

4. "Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia," digital images, Fold3 (http://www.fold3.com : accessed January 2012), entry for George W. Bell, Pvt., Co. B, 47th Georgia Inf., Confederate; citing NARA M266 - Compiled service records of Confederate soldiers from Georgia units.

5. "Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia," digital images, Fold3, entry for George C. Beall, 1st Lt, Co. A, 28th Georgia Siege Artillery Battalion, Confederate.

6. Brown, Haunted Georgia, 31.

7. "Georgia Marriages, 1808-1967," database, FamilySearch (https://www.familysearch.org : accessed January 2012), entry for Juliet R. Beall and George G. Griffin, married 4 July 1861; citing Marriage Records, FHL microfilm 203,066 - index entries derived from digital copies of original and compiled records.

8. "Compiled Service Records of Confederate Soldiers Who Served in Organizations from the State of Georgia," digital images, Fold3, entry for G. G. Griffin, Assistant Surgeon, 8th Georgia Inf., Confederate.

9. 1870 U.S. census, Harris Co., Georgia, population schedule, Hamilton, p. 157, dwelling 1193, family 1204, George G. & Juliet R. Griffin household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed January 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication M593.

10. 1880 U.S. census, Bartow Co., Georgia, population schedule, Cassville, p. 2, dwelling 13, family 14, George & Juliet Griffin household; digital image, Ancestry.com (http://www.ancestry.com : accessed January 2012); citing NARA microfilm publication T9.

11. "Directory of Deceased American Physicians, 1804-1929," database, MyFamily.com Inc., Ancestry.com (http://search.ancestry.com/search/db.aspx?dbid=7833 : accessed January 2012), entry for George G. Griffin.

12. Brown, Haunted Georgia, 31.

13. "The Marriage of Miss Ilah Dunlap to Colonel Lee Jordan at Macon," The Consitution (Atlanta, Georgia), 26 April 1894; digital image, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed January 2012), Historical Newspapers.

14. "Sudden Death of Mrs. Lee Jordan," Columbus Daily Enquirer (Georgia), 31 December 1891; digital image, GenealogyBank (http://www.genealogybank.com : accessed January 2012), Historical Newspapers.

15. Brown, Haunted Georgia, 31.

16. Brown, Haunted Georgia, 32.