Take a tour of Richmond's spooky side
Behind a restaurant in downtown Richmond, people reportedly have seen the ghostly figure of a girl in a white dress. At the business next door, a person hanging from a noose was supposedly seen. And at the 1882 McFarlane House a few blocks away, footsteps sometimes are heard upstairs.
Whether people believe the stories or dismiss them as tall tales, Melissa Dixon knows many are interested in hearing about them, and she's more than happy to feed their curiosity.
Dixon, who has lived in Richmond for 16 years, owns Texas Tour Connection. One of the services she started providing this month is a two-hour ghost tour of the Richmond area.
One stop on the walking tour is the Moore Home, which was built in 1893 and is now owned by the Fort Bend Museum. It is the subject of many reported ghost sightings - everything from one man sitting on the steps at night to another in a parlor chair. Then there's the rocking chair in the birthing room.
"I think one of the daughters died at childbirth," Dixon said. "There's a rocking chair up there that would rock when the maid went in, but when anyone else went up, it would quit."
The house's cellar is also thought to be home to a girl from Needville who is said to have ridden her horse into town on a stormy day, only to find no one home. She sought safety in the cellar, said Dixon, but when the wind blew the door shut, "she stacked up chairs and climbed up to reach the door, but slipped and fell and hit her head and died."
"She was a ballerina - a really good dancer - so you're supposed to be able to see her dancing in the springtime," Dixon said.
One stop on the walking tour is the Richmond Police Station, which was built in 1897 and served as the county jail. Several hangings took place in the gallows on the second floor.
"We've had groups come out that say they have gotten readings (on ghost-busting equipment)," said one police department employee who asked that his name not be used. He added that there have been reports of strange noises in the building.
Many of the buildings along Morton Street are more than 100 years old and have their share of ghost stories.
In the rear of the building that now houses Italian Maid Cafe, said Dixon, "a man is supposed to have killed himself, and people see a girl in a white dress. Next door, at Treasure Hunters Gallery, they see someone hanging from a noose."
Erastus "Deaf" Smith, who was one of Sam Houston's scouts during the Texas Revolution and fought in the Battle of San Jacinto, is thought to be buried near the intersection of Houston and Sixth streets. Some think his ghost roams the area.
"When they were burying him, they dropped him on his head, so he's supposedly angry and will dart behind the trees at night," Dixon said.
In 1912, four years after the county courthouse was built, the clock near the top of the dome needed repairs, said Dixon, "and a man from Houston took a train out to Richmond to work on it at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon."
"They could hear him banging around for a while, but then it got quiet and at 5 o'clock, everyone went home and forgot about him," she said. "On Monday morning, someone from his company called from Houston because he hadn't shown up. They checked on him, and he had died up in the top of the building and been there all weekend. From then on, the clock struck six times at 1 o'clock every morning until they put an automatic calibration system on it in the 1920s."
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