Tag Archives: Wayside Inn

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


The Wheeler-Dealer: Samuel Howe

Samuel How(e) 1642-1713

Samuel How(e) lived lives enough for several people in his seventy years. He was a carpenter, a soldier, a politician, father of thirteen children, a tavern keeper, and above all a wheeler-dealer. Not that it would have mattered a bit to Samuel, but he was also my 7 x Great Grandfather.

It is hard to rein in Samuel’s stories and concentrate on one aspect of his life. I find it pretty impressive that he was the second new world tavern keeper in the How family when you consider that he was born just twenty-two years after the Mayflower landing and only four or five years after his own father arrived on the continent.

When I wrote about his son, David How, I said that Samuel How was the Donald Trump of Colonial Sudbury. I did not mean by that he was a millionaire–or even the Massachusetts frontier equivalent of a millionaire–however he was a man who played all the angles, made friends in all the right places, and constantly finagled himself a good deal. [UPDATE: When I wrote this, the world did not know Donald Trump in the same way they do since his run for the Republican nomination for President.  I regret comparing Samuel to Donald. While Samuel had activities–development, building, money-making, political–in common, he certainly did not share a similar value system.]

His acquisition of land started early.  Although he had been born in Sudbury, his father John How had moved the family to the new community of Marlborough in 1656, when Samuel Howe was a young teen.

At the age of 21, Samuel Howe married Martha Bent. Martha’s father was one of the early settlers in Sudbury– a fellow founder and good friend  with Samuel’s father, John How.  Mr. Bent gave Martha and Samuel 44 acres  of his land in Sudbury, incentive for the young couple to settle there.

The property, where Samuel built their home, now lies on the edge of the present town of Wayland, about six miles southeast of the Wayside Inn property developed by Samuel’s son David.

In their early married life, they had six children (between 1664 and 1674) and Samuel supported his family by working as a carpenter.  From the very beginning, he seems to have been adept at getting “government contracts.”

He lived near the Sudbury River that split the community and speculated that a cart bridge would be well used and appreciated, so he built the bridge.  The community, while welcoming the bridge, could not pay him for his work, however, they permitted him to collect a toll.  Before long, he was not only collecting toll for using the bridge but also charging the community for using the meadow that was accessed by the bridge.

This was in the 1670’s and the Indian wars were raging.  In April, 1676 the disastrous Sudbury fight, part of King Philip’s War (led by a dissident Indian known as King Philip) challenged Samuel’s spirit.  His brother John, Jr. was killed in the battle, and Samuel’s own house and barn were burnt to the ground.

Samuel Howe not only immediately rebuilt, but he took advantage of the situation to make one of his real estate deals.  Soldiers who had fought in the Indian wars were rewarded with grants of land in western Sudbury. When one of those soldiers died, Samuel arranged to buy Lot #50 from the family.

Only four years after the Sudbury fight, which changed his life significantly, he had to face the death of his wife Martha. The same year, 1680, his father died and left him another 25 acres of land.  Samuel never seemed slowed down by bad luck. The town gave him a contract to build stocks in front of the Meeting House, and the next year assigned him to be a “tithingman”, assessing others for real estate taxes. But it was the land deal he made with the local Indians in 1682 that made me begin to think of him as a Wheeler-Dealer.

Samuel How and his friend Samuel Gookin, negotiated a deal with the Natick Indians (a tribe of Alqonquin-speaking Christianized Indians who did not join “King Philip”). The  history of these ‘praying Indians’ is unique and fascinating.

Natick Indians

“John Eliot Speaks to the Natick Indians” by Hollis Holbrook
Natick, Massachusetts Post Office
Image by Thomas Portue.

Although Samuel’s father, John How had a reputation for treating Indians compassionately and being loved by them for his fairness, Samuel apparently saw them as another target for his enrichment.

The contract with the Indians specified the purchase of “200 acres more or less” and carefully defined the northern, southern and eastern boundaries of the land.  You will notice that there was no definition of the western boundary–which left How and Gookin with a grand opening to make a killing selling land to settlers flocking west to Sudbury.

Busily taking on more contracts to build things for the community, and no doubt building houses and glazing windows (another of his skills), Samuel found a new bride.  In 1685 he married widow Sarah Leavitt who was seventeen years younger than Samuel. From the late 1980s through the nineties, Sarah and Samuel had seven more children–the last born when Samuel was fifty-eight.

Obviously not a man to slow down, the year after he married Sarah, he tried to win a bid to build a new meeting house for the town. He failed to get the bid, but the selectmen later chose him to inspect the work.  Perhaps as a consolation prize, he was elected as one of seven selectmen in 1691, and served three more terms after the first one. The year after he became a selectment, his fellow town leaders showed their faith in him by recommending that he start a public house, so he followed in his father’s footsteps and sold drinks from his home.

Meanwhile, the Natick Indians realized that the deal they had made with How and Gookin was worse than one-sided.  In 1695 they hired a lawyer and took the two men to court, charging them with making a fraudulent deal and “encroaching” on Natick land they had no rights to.

The two men tried to defend themselves by explaining how much money they had laid out, in addition to taking on the care of some “squaws”. The judge agreed that they had encroached on land that belonged to the Indians, and returned 1000 acres to the Natick. That sounds like a good deal, until you read that left How and Gookin with 1700 acres–not a bad return on an investment in “200 acres more or less.”

It would not have been easy to sell land at the moment anyway, since Indian attacks continued to increase, and Samuel was listed between 1695 and 1697 as a Lieutenant in the Sudbury Militia. Ultimately, he was wounded in battle. (His brother Joseph served in the Marlborough Militia around the same time, and his brother Thomas rose to the office of Colonel.  Thomas was also later to keep a public house.)

In 1702/03, as we have seen, Samuel gave his son, David, land and helped him build a house for his new bride.  Samuel continued to renew his license to sell spirits each year until 1712.  He died in 1713, perhaps suddenly, because he left no will.  Or perhaps, with his record, he did not quite trust the contracts written by lawyers.


Samuel How's Gravestone.

Samuel How’s Gravestone. Picture taken by Charles Waid

How I am Related

  • My maternal grandmother, Vera Stout (Anderson), was the daughter of
  • Hattie Morgan (Stout), the daughter of
  • Mary Bassett (Morgan),the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Stone (Bassett) the daughter of
  • Elizabeth Howe (Stone), the daughter of
  • Israel Howe, the son of
  • David How, the son of Samuel How.

Notes on Research

  • In Public Houses: Drink and the Revolution of Authority in Colonial Massachusetts by David W. Conroy, (1995)
  • 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 The tombstone picture came from Find a Grave, because although I visited the Sudbury Old North Cemetery, (located in Wayland MA) where Samuel is buried, I was unable to spot his grave.
  • I also have had assistance from the archivist and a historian at Longfellow’s Wayside Inn and the historian with the Sudbury Historical Society.


Cousin Reunion and Aunt Pauline’s Spice Cake Recipe

Spice cake has been a favorite in America (and in Europe and the Caribbean) for as long as people have had access to the exotic spices of the East.

Spices for spice cake

Nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves. Photo found on Flickr. Click photo to learn more about the photographer

Today, I will be arriving in Sudbury, Massachusetts and looking forward to a family reunion. This week my sister, brother and I will join two cousins at the Wayside Inn. The cousins, Herbert Anderson and JoAnn Anderson Yoder are two members of the family of five children raised by my Uncle Herbert Anderson and his wife Pauline McDowell Anderson.

In this picture, Jimmy, who was my age was not in our group. Sadly, Jim is no longer with us.  Romona and Larry Anderson are unable to join our mini-reunion because of health issues. But here we are all when we were young and gathered at our Grandma and Grandpa’s house. (Apologies, Herb–someone labeled this picture back when you were called “Sonny” and I was called “Bunny” by the family.)

Anderson Kids and Me

Cousins Romona, Herb, Larry, and Jo Ann Anderson with Vera Marie Badertscher, Grandma and Grandpa Vera and Guy Anderson’s house, Killbuck, 1941.

Herb and Pauline lived on a farm on a hill outside Killbuck, Ohio, and I have to admit that Herbert (Sr.), although I loved him dearly, was not the best provider, plus he went off to fight in World War II after all those children came along, so Pauline must have sometimes had a tough time feeding that nest of hungry offspring.

As we toast to family at the Old Bar at the Wayside Inn, I want to remember their mother, Pauline, with this spice cake recipe, given to me by JoAnn.  Here’s another toast, when we had another mini reunion back in 2006. All grown up Herb and Jo Ann.  (She looks so much like Grandma Vera with that beautiful snow white hair.)

Anderson Cousins

My cousins Herbert Anderson and Jo Ann Anderson Yoder toast their September birthdays. Millersburg, Ohio, 2006.

Aunt Pauline’s Spice CAke

Serves 12
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy Egg, Milk, Wheat
Meal type Dessert
Misc Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold


  • 2 cups Brown sugar
  • 3/4 cups butter
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 eggs


1. Combine dry ingredients.
2. Beat together butter and sugar.
3. Stir in buttermilk.
4. Stir butter/sugar/milk mixture into the dry ingredients. Beat two minutes.
5. Add eggs. Beat two more minutes.
6. Pour into greased cake pans.
7. Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30-35 minutes until well done.


I have passed this recipe on as Jo Ann gave it to me, and as she got it from her mother. That means assumed details are missing. You can use either two 8" round or 9" round cake pans, or similar sized square ones. A sheet cake baked in a 9 x 13 pyrex cake pan works great. You could, by reducing the cooking time, make the cake in cupcake tins, also.

"Cook until well done" means when a cake tester or toothpick plunged into the center comes out with no moist crumbs attached.

We don't have a suggestion for frosting here, but a plain cream cheese frosting (as shown, topped with walnuts) or a glaze of lemon juice, confectioner's sugar and water is delicious to complement the spices. Or it would be delicious served warm with a caramel sauce or whipped cream.

Since I'm on the road as this goes to press, I have borrowed a photograph.

I made one small change, reducing the amount of cloves. The original called for one teaspoon of cloves, which is too strong for me, but feel free to adjust spices to your family's taste.