Haunted Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

Haunted Longfellow’s Wayside Inn - Photo

Love is eternal. The idea that it goes on past our time in this physical world is found in folklore and stories all throughout history. Sometimes this eternal passion is not reciprocated. One lover leaves, while the other remains. Stuck in the thralls of romance for another that has no interest in doing so whatsoever. Their spirit is locked in the same place and situation as when the other left. This is the case of Jerusha Howe. She waits for the return of her one true love, a British sailor who may or may not have already been married. For 44 years she awaited his return. Entertaining herself with her innate musical abilities is something still heard today. Put her lover never returned to Sudbury, Massachusetts where the Longfellow’s Wayside Inn still remains. Her spirit appears to many guests inside room number 9, where she would have spent most of her time in life. Her apparition has been seen by many. Guests report feeling her at the foot of their beds, often awoken by her touch. The power of love has a hold over all of us, for some, it is greater than others. US Ghost Adventures continues our Valentine’s Day coverage below. 

The Longfellow’s Wayside Inn

A black and white photo of a parlor room with a table in the center.

Source: Flickr

The historic Longfellow’s Wayside Inn dates back to 1707 and plays host to intrigued guests year-round. Originally it was a small two-room house for David and Hepizbah How, early English settlers to the area. They had occupied land previously inhabited by the Nimpoc, the native peoples of the region. By 1716 David How, an “e” would later be added in the 18th century, had acquired a license to run a “house of entertainment” and as such continued his father’s legacy. John How had been an innkeeper in the area before David built the historic building, running the Black Horse in Marlborough. The Howe family would continue to own the property for the next four generations. Ending with the death of confirmed bachelor Lyman Howe, also known as “The Squire of Sudbury,” in 1861. Lyman was the sister of poor, lonesome Jerusha who had died some years before in 1845. Many say of a broken heart. 

Throughout the years the Inn took on different names and many additions were made. Colonel Ezekiel Howe renamed it the Red Horse Inn and was used as a meeting place for his soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Colonel Howe also added the Back Parlor, West Kitchen, and upper bedrooms where it is said Jerusha resided. In 1796 the name was changed to Wilkerson’s Tavern by Adam Howe. So where does the name Longfellow’s Wayside Inn come into play? Well in 1862 famed author Henry Wadsworth Longfellow took a stay at the Inn during the civil war. He wrote Tales Of A Wayside Inn in 1863 in the parlor room. Due to the poor condition of the building he wrote a fairly scratchy review of it in his novel but it brought fame to the old Inn. In 1897 Edward Lemon purchased it and changed the name to Longfellow’s Wayside Inn due to the story. Henry Ford purchased it in 1923. Renovating it and bringing other buildings dating from that time period onto the property. It became a home for orphan teenagers, in addition to being an inn during this time period. 

Jerusha Howe

Today Longfellow’s Wayside Inn is the oldest operating inn in the United States. Guests come from far and wide to enjoy the quaint scenery of Sudbury and the historic 1700s decor. Many get more than they are asking for however when they are greeted by the old hostess of the guest house. Jerusha Howe took over responsibilities for her brother Lyman as he began to drink heavily. She would entertain guests with her stupendous piano playing and owned the first piano in all of Sudbury. She was quite beautiful and as such had many suitors. While this is all hearsay, as there are no portraits of her, it has been well documented by folklore throughout the ages. She was known as the Belle of Sudbury and her hand in marriage was well sought out by many. One day an Englishman swept her off her feet and promised to marry her. But first, he would have to return to England on business. He would be back he said and the two would start a family together. 

Poor Jerusha waited. She waited for many years but the Englishman never returned. Little is known about him, including his name, and as such, there is no indication of where he went. However, Jerusha kept a diary and two short entries indicate a heartbreak. But Jerusha died young and alone, at the age of 44, in 1845. Many believe in a broken heart. As the Inn passed hands, and the years went on, many guests began to see her spirit, Often appearing in room 9 and sometimes 4. Her spirit, still lonesome, often cuddles up to male guests in the middle of the night. Many guests have seen strange lights in the parlor and in their bedrooms. Most chillingly the sound of her piano can often be heard reverberating through the old hallways. “Copenhagen Waltz” is a favorite of hers and emanates from thin air when the inn is most empty. 

Secret Drawer Society

In an ode to her diary, many guests keep detailed records of their sightings of her. Leaving these notes in the nooks and crannies of the hotels for others to find. Her perfume is smelt wafting throughout the hotel and had been for quite some time. She is not limited to her old bedroom and has been seen in the parlor. Leaning on the fireplace in a blue dress, welcoming guests into the inn. Her hospitality lives on into the afterlife along with her broken heart. She seems to be a friendly spirit and only desires company. Keep this in mind this Valentine’s Day and appreciate the ones who want to stick around. Knowing that a broken heart proceeds into the afterlife can only be a telling sign of the almighty power of love. US Ghost Adventures wishes all you lovers a happy Valentine’s Day!



Featured Image Source: Flickr