The Haunting of Milledgeville, Georgia

As my first blogging trip, I’ve headed to Milledgeville, Georgia to explore some of its haunted past. Milledgeville was established in Middle Georgia by an act of the state legislature in 1803. The city was laid out as a seat of government for the state based on the designs for Savannah and Washington, DC. The state government was moved from Louisville in 1807 to the newly built and unfinished statehouse in the center of Statehouse Square. By 1814, the once rough and tumble town had grown into a respectable city that attracted wealth and prosperity. The new capital attracted skilled architects who created grand homes and government buildings including a state penitentiary, mental asylum and an institute of higher learning, Oglethorpe University.

In January of 1861, the city’s illustrious rise to prominence entered its twilight when a convention of delegates passed the Ordinance of Secession and officially joined the Confederate States of America. The city erupted in joy but on a fall day three years later, Union General William Tecumseh Sherman would enter the city accompanied by some 30,000 troops who would pillage and ransack it before leaving a few days later on their March to the Sea. The ruined capital was dealt a harsher blow when the state capital was moved to Atlanta in 1868.

The city remained provincial but worked to provide educational resources for the state. While Oglethorpe University during the Civil War and closed in 1872 (to be rechartered in Atlanta in the 20th century), Middle Georgia Military and Agricultural College (now Georgia Military College) was founded in 1879 in the Old State Capital building in Statehouse Square. Ten years later on the site of the Georgia Penitentiary which had burned during the Northern occupation of the city, the Georgia Normal and Industrial College (now Georgia College and State University) was founded. The state mental asylum developed into Central State Hospital which would carry a patient load of nearly 12,000 people in the early 1960s. Changes in mental health treatment have led to the slow phasing out of the hospital and many of its programs. Combined with the closing of local mills, the local economy has had to shift away from health care and manufacturing towards industries such as tourism.

With a concentration of historic structures, it’s no wonder that Milledgeville has many ghosts. Kathryn Tucker Windham in her 13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey, includes the story of Sam Walker, who was mayor in the 1870s, who was deemed “the meanest man in Georgia” after he contributed to the untimely death of his son. It is believed that both Walker and his son may still haunt their former home. Barbara Duffey has penned two books, Banshees, Bugles and Belles: True Ghost Stories of Georgia (1995) and Angels and Apparitions: True Ghost Stories From the South (1996) both of which document many hauntings in Milledgeville.

Following are photographs of some of the haunted locations in Milledgeville. As my research continues, these locations will be highlighted individually.

Lockerly Hall, built in 1852 by Daniel Reese Tucker and originally called “Rose Hall.” The house in now the centerpiece of Lockerly Arboretum. The spirit of a young woman, possibly Emma Tucker, the daughter of Daniel Reese, has been seen in the house. The grounds of the arboretum are open to the public and the house may be toured as
well. Photograph by Lewis Powell, IV, 2010, all rights reserved.
The gates of Memory Hill Cemetery, Milledgeville’s primary historic burying ground, where many famous Milledgeville citizens are interred including author Flannery O’Conner, Congressman Carl Vinson and vaudeville magician Dixie Haygood. Memory Hill is the site of a few mysterious graves that may have some paranormal activity. Photograph by Lewis Powell, IV, 2010, all rights reserved.


Built as the first official residence for the state’s governor, the Old Governor’s Mansion was completed in 1839. It served as the official governor’s residence from its completion to 1868 when the capital was moved to Atlanta. The house served in a variety of functions including the home to Georgia College presidents until it was restored and opened as a house museum. The smell of food cooking has been reported wafting through the basement and ground floors while the ghost of a woman in period dress was seen in the State Dining Room. Photograph by Lewis Powell, IV, 2010, all rights reserved.
Considered one of the grandest Gothic Revival structures in the United States, the Old State Capitol Building now serves as part of the campus for Georgia Military College. The sound of legions of marching spectral soldiers has been reported on the adjoining parade grounds as well as the apparition of a Confederate sentry. Photograph by Lewis Powell, IV, 2010, all rights reserved.


  • Duffey, Barbara. Angels and Apparitions: True Ghost Stories From the South. Eatonton, GA: Elysian Publishing, 1996.
  • Duffey, Barbara. Banshees, Bugles and Belles: True Ghost Stories of Georgia. Berryville, VA: Rockbridge Publishing, 1995.
  • Mitchell, Nicole. “Georgia Penitentiary at Milledgeville.” The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  • Payne, David H. “Central State Hospital.” The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  • Turner, James C. “Old Governor’s Mansion.” The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  • Wilson, Robert J., III. “Milledgeville.” The New Georgia Encyclopedia. Retrieved 16 September 2010.
  • Windham, Kathryn Tucker. 13 Georgia Ghosts and Jeffrey. Tuscaloosa, AL: University of Alabama Press, 1973.

4 Replies to “The Haunting of Milledgeville, Georgia”

  1. I've heard about a few people doing this for Halloween. I haven't ever gotten tours of haunted places before. I usually like to go in them to get scared out of my wits. Then again it doesn't take much to scare me so maybe the stories would.

  2. I don't believe the place is haunted, perhaps homeless ppl occupy the bldgs. I was here from 1968-1971 then went to halfway house in Atlanta. I was 16 when I was brought to the
    Bostic Bldg, Bostic 1, the receiving ward. I went to school there, the Boland Bldg was the school. I remember some of the girls, Connie Cantrell, Pam Patricio, Paula Myers, Patti Cooper just to name a few. Right around the corner down the road a bit was the Washington Bldg, for women, but Bostic 10 was the receiving ward for the women before being transferred to Washington Bldg to the different wards. I remember taking field trips from the school there such places as six flags over Ga, Gallaway Gardens, Jeckyll Island, even went to the capital in Atlanta and saw Lester Maddox, watched them pass a few bills. I can even recall some of the teachers – Mr. Callaway (we called him carrot top) Mrs. Ennis, I could go on and on. I was in the Yarbrough Bldg when I left 1971. This Bldg was right next to employee cafeteria. well more next time

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