Tag Archives: Wayside Inn

Frightening Stories of Ancestors for Halloween

In honor of Halloween, the theme of 52 Ancestors next week is “Frightening.” Since I have yet to unearth any really frightening stories among my husband’s ancestors, I refer you back to three earlier stories–two about the haunted room of Jerusha Howe at the Wayside Inn, and one about an experience my mother had as a child.

ghost room

Candle sconce in Jerusha’s room

  1. Introducing the Haunted Room of my 1st cousin 6 times removed: Jerusha Howe.

2. And the rest of the story-Did I See Jerusha’s ghost?

3. My mother, Harriette Kaser, frightened by a corpse when Mother was a little girl.

The Stout Cemetery,

The Stout Cemetery, Guernsey County, Ohio. Photo by Larry and Judy Anderson.

4. And a picture essay of some not-at-all frightening graveyards.

Do you have a good ghost story that has been passed down in your family?

Wayside Inn Corn Meal Muffins

Wayside Inn Old Mill

The Wayside Inn Miller, Richard Gnatowski, assembles the grinding mechanism in the Old Mill.

The Miller hauls the large drums and the pieces that feed grain onto granite grinding wheels that come from France. He turns cranks, pulls levers, and slowly the gigantic wheel picks up water from the stream  outside and picks up speed, turning the gears on the inside of the mill. The Miller starts the grain flowing down a chute, a cloud of dust rises, and ground grain falls into a container ready to be bagged. The process has not changed since the Puritans moved here from England 400 years ago.

One of the highlights of visiting the Wayside Inn was a presentation from Richard, the Miller. He had shown us around the Inn itself and told us numerous stories before taking us to the old mill.

Old Mill, Wayside Inn

Wayside Inn Old Mill sign, Sudbury Massachusetts

Although David Howe had built and run a mill on the property, it was gone by the 20th century. So when Henry Ford took over the property and planned to build an entire Puritan Village, he had a mill constructed just yards from where the original had stood. The picturesque old mill is now one of the most photographed buildings on the whole property. And it works.

Wayside Inn Old Mill

Wayside Inn Old Mill

For years, the Pepperidge Farm company ground grain there. But now a small amount of wheat flour and corn meal is turned out and used at the Inn or sold in the gift shop.

The food served in today’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury Massachusetts does not mimic Colonial cooking in most cases, but as you know, corn meal was an essential ingredient for early settlers.

The corn meal muffins are served in every bread basket and the packages of corn meal include the recipe. I share it here and promise to add photos from the mill when I get back home. (The Innkeeper has also promised to send me their Indian Pudding recipe, which I will share later.)

Wayside Inn Corn Meal Muffins 

1 1/3 cup white sugar

1/2 tsp salt

1 -1/3 cup corn meal

7 tsp. Baking powder

3 cups bread flour

1 1/2 cups cold milk

4 eggs

1/2 cup salad oil

Mix all ingredients except salad oil for three minutes. Slowly add oil, as you stir. Mix for another 3 minutes.

Fill muffin tins 3/4 full. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.


52 Ancestors: #39 Jerusha Howe, the Ghost of the Wayside Inn

Jerusha Howe (1797-1842)

If you want to meet Jerusha, it is recommended you stay in Room 9 at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn. It was our good fortune to be assigned that room during our reunion of some descendents of the Sudbury and  Marlborough Howes.

Jerusha's ghost

Room 9, Jetusha’s room, over the Old Kitchen.

The last family members to run the Howe’s Tavern/Inn were a brother and sister, Lyman and Jerusha Howe. By then it was called Longfellow’s Wayside Inn because Longfellow had written about it during their father, Adam’s time. (John How>Samuel How>Ezekial Howe>Adam Howe>Lyman and Jerusha).

Rooms 9 and ten, above the old kitchen in the right hand wing are rented today as historic rooms, the only original Howe rooms you can sleep in. (The other rooms are part of a later addition.)

Jerusha's ghost room from outside.

Room 9 appears in the top left of this wing, with room ten to the right.

Here are some appropriately spooky shots of the room of Jerusha’s ghost.

ghost room

Candle sconce in Jerusha’s room

stairs to ghost room

Back stairs directly to Old Kitchen (now a dining room.

Jerusha's ghost chair

Some people have seen Jerusha’s ghost in this chair.

Jerusha's door

Well worn door, one of many in Jerusha’s room.

The following  Is borrowed from Gothic Horror Stories, which bases it’s explanation on several books on the Wayside Inn.

“Rumors that the Wayside Inn is haunted date back prior to 1868. Found among the notes for the hostess of the inn was a report of an incident where a ghost was reported half floating half running through the room known ever since as the Hobgoblin Room. The room had been used for dancing parties and large group meetings, though later converted into a bedroom, was also known as the Old Hall.

“But the most famous ghost of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn would have to be that of Jerusha Howe …  Jerusha was far above the typical country girl of the period, according to Harper’s New Monthly Magazine “she possessed great common-sense, combined with refined tastes, musical accomplishments and rare domestic abilities. She was delicate in person, not of robust constitution, which kept her much at home under the care of watchful parents.”

“Known as the belle of Sudbury, Miss Jerusha was an arbiter of taste in the area …”

“She was known to have rejected all suitors, and it is from this that the story of Jerusha’s ghost first comes to life. According to legend, rumor or innuendo, it’s no longer known which, Miss Jerusha fell for a visitor from England, who  … pledged to return for her after his return to England. But he never did, and it’s not known whether he was lost at sea, lost on land or maybe betrothed back in England.”

Haunted Room at Wayside Inn

Notes left for Jerusha in haunted Room 9 at the Wayside Inn.

Today, people leave notes to Jerusha, tucked in ceiling joists, or they become members of the Secret Drawer Society, by discovering a secret place where notes are left. Did I find the hidden place? Where? I’m not telling.

Did I see Jerusha’s ghost? I think that would be a good Halloween Story, don’t you?

How I am Related

Jerusha Howe is my 1st cousin 6 times removed.

 Notes on my Research


  • As Ancient Is This Hostelry: The Story of the Wayside Inn, by Curtis F. Garfield and Alison R. Ridley(1988)
  • A History of Longfellow’s Wayside Inn by Brian E. Plumb (2011)
  • Howe Genealogies by Daniel Wait Howe (1929), Massachusetts Historical and Genealogical Society. This is said to be the best of the several genealogies of the family. Although I do not have a copy of the entire book, portions of it are available on the Internet.
  • Middlesex County records found on Ancestry.com. Birth, death and marriage.
  • Historic Homes and Institutions and Genealogical and Personal Memoirs of Worcester County Massachusetts Vol. 1, ed by Ellery Bicknell Crane (1907) Available as a Google Books e-book.
  • FindaGrave.com
  • I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn