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Craighead Jackson House

Craighead-Jackson House

The Craighead-Jackson House’s brick-laden exterior holds a terrible secret. A young girl was burned to death here in a tragic accident. This servant of the Jackson family perished in the flames, and now her spirit angrily reminds visitors of her fiery end. 


While the historic 1818 two-story Federalist-style building appears unassuming, another remnant of Knoxville’s early days, the reality is far more grave. A spirit resides here and one that died in a most terrible condition, creating the perfect environment for paranormal enthusiasts.


The walls, now carefully maintained by the Blount Mansion Association, tell the story of Knoxville’s past. A story that US Ghost Adventures tells in full detail on our Knoxville Ghost tour, the number one ghost tour in The Marble City. The violent stories of the 19th century, starkly outlining the tepid history of America, come alive every night with our experienced tour guides.

Take a journey with us as we explore the Craighead-Jackson House, your first stop on our tour of haunted Knoxville. Be sure to book your haunted Knoxville Ghost tour as soon as you plan to visit! 


Read on to learn the haunted history of the Craighead-Jackson House. 


Craighead-Jackson House History


John Craighead, son of Capt. Robert Brown Craighead moved to Knoxville with this family sometime around 1789. He and his family were among the first settlers to live in Knoxville, with Fort Knox being established in 1786. 


In 1791, the area was renamed Knoxville, after Secretary of War John Knox, becoming the capital of the newly formed Southwest Territory. John Craighead quickly became a public figure, both politically and religiously. 


He served as City Alderman in 1824 and was an elder of the First Presbyterian Church in Knoxville. In 1818, Craighead purchased Lot 15 and built his future, the magnificent two-story Federalist-style building we see today. 


The Craighead family continued to live here after John’s death in 1846, eventually selling the home to Confederate Congressman William Swan. Swan lived here for a short period while he served a brief term as Knoxville’s Mayor.


Eventually, Swan would go on to create East Knoxville, a section of town that was later annexed by the city, and the home was sold to Dr. George Jackson before the outbreak of the Civil War. 


Renovations of the Craighead-Jackson House


George Jackson only enjoyed the home’s beautiful layout for a few short years, passing away in 1861. His family remained here until 1885, when they sold the house to Caspar Aebli, a Swiss immigrant who died in 1914. His family continued to live here, giving the house its first major renovation until WW2 when the historic home was turned into apartments. 


The home was poorly maintained and fell into disrepair during this period. In 1957, it was purchased by the city of Knoxville and later acquired by the Blount Mansion Association in 1962. 


The association used it as a visitor center for the Blount Mansion, another historic and haunted home across the street, until the 1990s. It then became a storage center for archival records and an office space. 


In 2019, a $75,000 renovation project was greenlit with the help of local philanthropists, the Boyd Family. The project was completed in 2021 and included the construction of 13 new windows, a new kitchen, bathroom, new floors, and a full replastering.


It now operates as a museum, allowing guests to tour the 19th-century home for an iconic view into the past.


Hauntings at The Craighead-Jackson House


Many visitors and employees of the Craighead-Jackson House have experienced an uneasy feeling merely stepping inside the former home. The floors eerily creak, and doors mysteriously slam on their own. The sounds of disembodied footsteps are heard stomping around where the original kitchen used to be. 


Their inclinations are not unfounded; a brutal death took place here, and the spiritual residue that remains is immense. 


The Burned Servant Girl


While the home was under the care of the Jacksons, a terrible tragedy occurred here. One of the homes’ servants, likely slaves judging by the timeline, was cooking in the fireplace on the first floor. 


She was making breakfast for the family, as she was ordered to do every day. While turning away from the flame, her skirt brushed against the fireplace. Almost immediately, her clothing burst into flames. 


The blaze spread as she struggled to get her clothes off. The family and other servants rushed downstairs as they smelled smoke rising through the home. By the time they reached her, however, it was too late. 


She was burnt to a crisp and no longer part of the living world. Some stories say she died quickly, but a firey death is a slow and painful one, and her actions in the home today suggest that was the exact manner of her untimely demise.


Her tortured soul appears vengeful and violent, stomping through the home loudly and slamming doors behind her. Explanations for these disturbances seem hard to come by as they happen, despite the home’s old age.


Haunted Knoxville


The story of the Craighead-Jackson house is only the beginning of your haunted journey through Knoxville, Tennessee. The violence and trauma that permeated the city during the 19th century and onwards has created a spiritual vacuum unlike any other in the state of Tennessee. 


You can trust US Ghost Adventures to show you the most haunted locations around Knoxville. Our ghost tours will leave you fascinated and fearful, terrified and intrigued. Book your tour today!


In the meantime, follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, or read our blog for more haunted history!



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