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.
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.)
Here are some appropriately spooky shots of the room of Jerusha’s ghost.
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.”
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.
- I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn