Andrew Low House

Posted by in US Ghost Adventures
Andrew Low House - Photo

Located on one of Savannah’s most historic streets, Abercorn Street, the Andrew Low house is a gorgeous mansion with a history that spans centuries in Georgia. The Andrew Low house sits on Lafayette Square at 329 Abercorn Street in Lafayette Square, and these days it operates as a museum that tells the stories of the influential figures that spent time there. Without further adieu, lets delve into the deep veins at the house that pump with the history of Savannah’s past.

History of the Andrew Low House

When he was just sixteen, Andrew Low sailed away from Scotland and set his sights on the promises of a new life in America. He was known for his ambitious nature and can-do attitude — America welcomed him with open arms.

As soon as he set foot in Savannah, Georgia, Andrew started work in his uncle’s cotton business. Later he became a partner in the business, he gathered all of the knowledge he could, learned the business inside and out, and by 1843 he was as successful as he could have dreamed. He was wealthy and respected. The only next logical step in his journey was to marry and build a home and life of his very own. He followed this blueprint and married Sarah Cecil Hunter. The two of them dreamed of building an ornate mansion in Savannah’s most prestigious residential area — and they did just that. Hiring a famed architect from New York, John Norris, Mr. Low’s future home was in good hands. Norris had previously designed the Custom House, and was at his peak when Andrew Low hired him.

Success Turned Tragedy

Andrew Low was in his prime as his home was being built in 1848, he was married to his beautiful and doting wife Sarah, he had three lovely children, including a son to take over the business. The sunshine did not last, however, and tragedy struck the Lows before the mansion was even finished.

Sarah Low and the one son both died of illness before the home was open for living. Andrew was completely devastated, understandably, and he was left a single father of two young girls. Heartbroken but attempting to stay strong for his daughters, he moved them into the now-finished home. It was breathtaking, filled with intricate cast iron railings and balconies reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet. The inside was just as elaborate, the entire mansion a reflection of Andrew Low’s wealth — even though it couldn’t cover his grief.

Moving On

Five years after his wife’s death, Low married once more. Her name was Mary Cowper Stiles, the daughter of William Henry Stiles, U.S. Minister to Austria. Andrew and Mary had one daughter, who would grow up to be a rather famous name.

Famous Names at the Andrew Low House

A handful of well-known names have visited the Andrew Low House over the years, one of which included acclaimed author William Makepeace Thackeray and Robert E. Lee.

During the years of 1853 to 1856, Thackeray became a rather frequent visitor to the home. He loved to give lectures in the home and people would flock from all over to listen to him speak. Thackeray started his young-adult life partying, dropping out of college after two years with no degree to speak of. For the next few years, Thackeray spent his time in taverns with ladies of the night, drinking his cares away.

The tides changed when Thackeray lost his inheritance which thrust him into the need to do actual work for a living. He started with journalism, then moved to novel writing which became his life’s work. Thackeray’s life was changing for the better, and with Andrew Low as his good friend, his life blossomed. He was soon the author of writings with Vanity Fair, Cornhill, and the Virginians.

Robert E. Lee’s name became attached to the Low House when he paid a visit to Savannah in 1870. He arrived in town with his daughter in tow. A massive crowd of supporters greeted them. Savannah itself had given in the Union troops, many residents were still Confederate supporters and the sight of General Lee was a welcome one.

Once the crowed dispersed, Lee and his daughter went to the home of General Lawton for supper before retiring to the Andrew Low House for some much needed shut-eye.

Juliette Gordon Low

Andrew Low’s life was long and fulfilling. He not only served as a Brigadier General in the U.S. Army during the Spanish-American war, he was also one of the most successful cotton businessmen in Savannah. Low even spent some time behind bars after it was believed that he was conspiring with the Confederacy during the Civil War.

But in 1860, a little legacy was born. Her name was Juliette Magill Gordon, who in her 20s would marry the son of Andrew Low and Mary Cowper Stiles Low. Juliette was also known as ‘Daisy,’ and later became famous and wildly successful as the founder and president of the Girl Scouts.

Daisy and William Low traveled the world — with no children to attend to, they lived a lavish life of parties with political figures, princes, and famous folk. All was not well in paradise, however.

William started to ask Daisy for a divorce. She ignored his requests time and time again, until one day she arrived home to find his mistress living in their home. She obviously agreed to the separation at this point. Before the divorce proceedings were finalized and through a strange twist of fate, William Low died of a stroke.

Tragic, yes. But the start of a very successful future for Daisy.

The Low House and the Girl Scouts

Daisy acquired the family home. A few years later while in England, she met Robert Baden-Powell, a war hero and founder of the Boy Scouts. It didn’t take long before Robert convinced Daisy to start the GirlGuides, the Boy Scouts sister troop. Quickly taking root in the U.K., the GirlGuides quickly found its way to Savannah. On March 12th, 1912, she recruited her first seventeen troop members, the first ever meeting actually happening in the parlor of the Andrew Low House. By 1913, the GirlGuides name was changed to the Girl Scouts.

Not a year later, tragedy struck the Low family once again when Daisy was diagnosed with cancer in 1923. She kept it secret, and refused to seek treatment. Just four years later she passed away. She was buried in her Girl Scouts uniform in the infamous Laurel Grove Cemetery.

Spirits at the Andrew Low House

With Daisy’s passing came reports of ghostly activity. Staff and visitors to the house report a few specific entities who reside at the home.

The Butler

One of the most commonly reported spirits is a ghost named ‘Tom.’ He’s friendly, and continues his duties as butler well into the afterlife. Objects move on their own and footsteps are heard going back and forth throughout the home. Some visitors have even seen a man in period clothing standing at the top of the stairwell.

Robert E. Lee

Even though he only visited a handful of times, staff and visitors swear that the ghost of this Confederate General has stuck around. Those who claim to have seen him report an older gentleman dressed in a fine suite and tie. He doesn’t interact with the living, he just floats about the property. This has led to the agreement that he is just a case of residual energy.

The Ghostly Rocking Chair

One of the more frequently occurring happenings is that of a rocking chair that moves seemingly all on its own. The chair itself is a Low family heirloom. Many believe that it is Andrew Low himself in the chair, relaxing and enjoying his home and visitors. If this is Andrew Low, it would explain why the ghost of Robert E. Lee also sticks around, as the two were good friends in life.

Other Occurrences

The scent of perfume wafts throughout the home at random, perhaps a leftover of Low’s wife. Or perhaps this enticing scent is attached to the spirit of Daisy, who is also said to still haunt the home in the form of an elderly woman reclining on a bed.

Daisy did pass away in the home, so the idea is not too far-fetched!

The Andrew Low House Today

These days, the house is a museum filled with historical artifacts from the Low family. It remains one of the most aesthetically pleasing homes in all of Savannah’s Historic District. A visit to the Low home is a step back in time to the early days of Savannah and a peek into the ghostly side of the house. The spirits of the Low home are active, intelligent, and waiting for their next visitor — could it be you?

For more haunted Savannah homes, check out our articles on the Kehoe and Marshall Houses.

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