In South Coventry,
Connecticut, this large, two family mansion is now a museum, run by The
Coventry Society for the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society of Connecticut.
Street, Coventry, Connecticut.
Description & History:
The original, 1
family mansion was built around 1746, when Deacon Richard Hale bought
a large farm and married Elizabeth Strong. The size of the mansion grew
to house their large family of 12 children, of which the Revolutionary
hero, Captain Nathan Hale was one. While on a daring spy mission for the
Militia, Captain Nathan was captured by the British and hung as a spy,
barely 21 years old. His famous last words before being killed, were "I
regret that I have only one life to give for my county." He fully
lived and believed the sentiment behind those words, even if they may
have been slightly different, in reality.
Mrs. Hale died in 1767 after the birth of her 12th child, when Nathan
was 12 years old. Two years later, Deacon Richard married a widow, Abigail
Cobb, who brought 7 teenage girls along with her. What a huge blended
family! Deacon Hale rebuilt the mansion into a two family mansion. This
mansion had its own schoolroom, as well as plenty of space for such a
After the children grew up and moved away, various members of the Hale
family lived in this large mansion for several decades. John Hale married
one of his stepsisters, Sara, and the couple lived and died in the house
(1802/1803), shortly after Deacon Richard had died in 1802. Another
brother, Joseph Hale, came back to the area, and raised a family near
his father's mansion. When he came down with TB, he retreated to his father's
mansion to finally die there in 1784. His widow and four children came
to live afterwards at the Hale Homestead.
Time wasn't kind to the old mansion, and by 1914, it was described as
being "isolated, dilapidated, unpainted, and vacant," in a sad
state of affairs. Luckily, the mansion was rescued by George Dudley Seymour,
a Captain Nathan Hale admirer, who restored the place to its former glory.
He dedicated his life to make Nathan Hale famous, and took copious notes
of all the legends and stories of the Hale family, including reported
ghostly sightings at the Homestead.
The Coventry Society for the Antiquarian and Landmarks Society believes
in bringing history to life, and offer special programs to the public,
that demonstrate the way of life of the people, and special historical
occurrences. Employees dressed as various members of the Hale family often
greet visitors, giving tours of the place, and telling about life in the
1700s. During the Halloween season, and other selected weekends, the
Nathan Hale Fifes and Drums put on colonial encampments and even do battle
reenactments. Nathan Hale comes home to his family's mansion to try to
recruit men to join the militia, and will sign autographs using an authentic
quill pen! Unseen Hale family members and servants may also be enjoying
1) Deacon Richard Hale - Just after George Seymour had purchased the property,
he and a friend took a trip out to see the old place. His friend jumped
out of the buggy and ran to the front school room window and peeked
inside. He came nose to nose with a detailed apparition of Deacon Richard
Hale, who had been peeking out of the window, looking to see who was coming.
The entity inside the room stepped back to the inner end of the room and
vanished. He was never seen again by the living.
2) Lydia Carpenter - Local neighbors told George Seymour that Lydia was
a family servant of the Hale family.
* Her apparition
could be seen listening/eavesdropping around doorways and in the
halls/kitchen area as she went about her chores. She liked to hear
bits of personal family business, as she was addicted to gossip.
* She has been seen sweeping the upper hall in the early morning hours,
and has been spotted going about her business in the kitchen.
3) Joseph Hale
- was one of the 6 Hale boys who served with the Militia against the British.
He was captured by the British and spent some time on a prison ship, until
he was swapped for a British soldier. At the end of his life, he died
in the Hale Homestead of TB, as mentioned above. It was reported to George
Seymour that Joseph haunted the huge cellar, clanking his chains from
the prison ship.
4) John and Sara Hale - Their presence was witnessed by Mary Griffith,
who moved to Hale Homestead in 1930, when her husband, George became the
caretaker of Hale Homestead for George Seymour. She lived there for many
* In 1988, she told
the following experience, for the oral history archives. In the early
morning, her husband had gone out to milk the cows, and she was the
only one up. She suddenly heard someone come down the back stairs, with
a distinctive, loud clomping.
It's hard to tell.
Current staff members haven't seen any apparitions, or seen/felt any
evidence of them. However, many of the reported hauntings happened at
night, or the wee hours of the morning, when the museum is now closed.
If they are still hanging around, they must be insanely happy that their
beloved home is so well taken care of, and for now don't want to call
attention to themselves. Or, they could've found peace that they didn't
have in their lifetimes and gone to the other side.
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