King's Tavern can be found near the
corner of North Union Street and Jefferson Street, in the Historical downtown section
Get off 84 at the South Canal exit. Go right on Canal Street
until you come to Jefferson Street. Turn right and travel around 4 blocks until
you come to N. Union St. The King's Tavern is on the left hand side of Jefferson,
a few buildings past N. Union St.
Address: 619 Jefferson Street, Natchez,
Open 5 - 10 pm, 7 days a week, as a restaurant and bar. Specializes
in hickory smoked Prime Rib. Other strong favorites of its patrons include Steak,
Seafood and Pasta Entrees.
King's Tavern building is 237 years old, making it the oldest structure in the
very old river port city of Natchez, which got its start during the time of Spanish
settlement way back in the 1700s. Around 1769, when the British moved in and
established Fort Panmure, the King's Tavern building was originally built to be
a block house for the fort. As there was no saw mill near this frontier town,
this building and other structures were constructed using beams taken from scrapped
New Orleans sailing ships, which were brought to Natchez via mule.
source of wood used in the King's Tavern building construction were barge boards
from flat river boats, which were dismantled and sold after arriving in Natchez
with their goods after traveling down the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Boatmen
couldn't take their flat boats back up these rivers, so they just added to their
profit by selling the boats as wood, which was needed to build Natchez.
the wood, sun-dried bricks also were used as building material. The result is
a building which has an ambiance and decor of another era from the outside. Though
the outside of the Kings Tavern has the rustic 1780s authentic wooden /brick
architectural style, the inside is a lovely place for cozy, quiet, intimate meal
or to host luncheons, dinner parties, receptions meetings. The King's Tavern also
provides meals for the large tour buses full of visitors who are traveling along
the Natchez Trace Pathway.
After the Revolutionary War in 1776, the British
left town, leaving this wild and woolly frontier river port open for other interests.
In 1789, a New Yorker by the name of Richard King moved his family to Natchez
where he bought this block home and opened a combination tavern/inn/as well
as the place where the town's mail was dropped off. His inn business was very
successful because of the need for boatmen and weary stage riders to have a secure
place to rest for the night. The upstairs rooms on the third floor were comfortable
Selling drinks to townspeople and visitors as well was also
a money maker. He also found himself to be very popular with people, because he
received/sent the town's mail. Everyone congregated on the steps of his tavern,
socializing and reading their mail. He enjoyed a celebrity status, and he and
his wife became prominent and very much respected people in Natchez.
this time, not so nice people with no redeeming values settled into Natchez, to
prey on the boatmen and visitors, making a living from gambling, and robbing people,
sometimes not thinking twice of killing their victims. After selling their goods
and their flat boats for lumber, boatmen would spend the night at the King's Tavern,
and then head home along the Natchez Trace Pathway. Highwaymen outlaws would hold
them up, and usually kill them.
The infamous, sadistic Harpe brothers were
such outlaws who took delight in torturing, mutilating and finally killing their
victims. The Harpe brothers as well as other such men would then return to Natchez
and stimulate the economy, perhaps staying at the King's Tavern, if not in the
Natchez Under the Hill area, notorious for being a haven for people of questionable
Finally, one of the Harpe brothers stepped over the line, even
for outlaws, and was killed and beheaded by his own kind. His head was displayed
as a warning for others.
However, with the invention of the steamboat, which
could travel down and up the river as well, the need for this dangerous travel
along Natchez Trace ended with this form of modern transportation. This development
cut down on the lucrative stage business significantly, dropping the economic
activity taking place at the King's Tavern. Richard King sold the King's Tavern
in 1817. The building was once again a private home, becoming the Postalwaith
family home for several generations, a total of 150 years, beginning in 1823.
1973, the building was sold and it eventually became a tavern and restaurant to
serve both locals and visitors, taking the original name, the King's Tavern, open
to both the living and the entities which stay there.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS:
One of the
Harpe brothers known as Big Harpe was staying at the tavern, paying for it from
some money he stole from one of his victims. A mother with a fussy baby was staying
in the attic room, trying to quiet the child. Big Harpe swaggered from the tavern
area, went up to this attic room, grabbed the baby away. He swung the child by
its feet, smashing it hard against the brick wall, killing it. He returned to
the bar to buy another drink.
leads to Murder...
Sometimes being wealthy, prominent
and well-liked can give one the false impression that one can get away with anything.
Richard and his wife fell into that trap. Richard King had hired a pretty 16 year
old girl to be a server, called Madeline, a beautiful, engaging young woman, who
caught the attention of Richard. Forgetting his wedding vows, Richard seduced Madeline,
because he wanted her. Madeline gladly became his mistress in a hot passionate
The stately Mrs. King found out about their illicit love.
She decided to hire some thugs from Natchez Under the Hill to stab Madeline. Or,
perhaps she killed Madeline herself. Madeline was made to go away, without a trace.
While she didn't get a cement kimono or go to sleep with the fishes, Mrs. King
or the men who killed her took Madeline's body and bricked them up in the
chimney wall in the main room of the tavern, to hide this evil deed.
Evil deeds are discovered....
During the 1930s the Portsmouth
family needed to do some renovations to shore up the building. While repairing
the chimney/fireplace in the main room of the tavern, 3 mummified bodies
of one girl and two men were found.
One of them is believed to be Madeline.
The murder weapon, a dagger, was found in another fireplace in another room.
two men - Many theories abound as to who they are.
servants or tavern guests who annoyed Mrs. King in some manner, prompting her to
b) Boatmen or travelers killed by the same men who killed Madeline,
around the same time.
stimulate the entities: Discovery of bodies and Building Renovations...
the bodies found in the chimney wall were respectfully reburied properly, this
alarming discovery awakened some entities, as well as other restless spirits who
had been quiet up to this point in time, but became active because of the renovations.
forms have been seen passing right though the stairways.
where the bodies were found would emit heat as if it had been burning wood, although
it isn't used by the living to do so.
entity of the murdered mistress, known as Madeline haunts the building.
women's footprints can be seen on freshly mopped floors. Imagine the fright she
gave one employee when he saw her foot prints coming toward him across the wet
An apparition of a young woman has appeared in front of patrons
Madeline likes to play jokes on the staff and visitors for her
She likes to knock jars off shelves. Pours water
from the ceiling and onto the floor. She likes to make the chairs rock that are
hanging on the wall
Hard to open doors will suddenly open by themselves.
When a staff member calls her name, the door shuts again by itself. She likes
to turn faucets and lights on and off.
An EVP of a woman was made in one
of the empty bedrooms by a Natchez news crew.
forms have been seen passing right though the stairways.
baby is heard by the living.
The baby murdered so quickly
and brutally by Big Harpe still cries from the attic room on occasion.
entity of a man with a top hat who has been described as sinister has appeared
to the living. He could be a murder victim, or perhaps is one of the outlaws himself.
The waiters and waitresses feel that he has an evil persona. Perhaps he is just
angry for being killed.
He is also seen wearing a dark jacket,
pants and a black tie string. Sometimes he appears behind people getting their
pictures taken by the fireplace where the bodies were found.
felt a tightness in their necks & shoulders and a pressure on their chests.
have been thrown around in an aggressive manner, not in Madeline's style of mischief
In the mirror in one of the upstairs bedrooms, the face of a man
is seen for an instant.
The King's Tavern has
more than its fair share of entities who have their issues.
natchezms.com * cableone.net * prairieghosts.com * wlbt.com
Places: The National Directory, by William Dennis Hauk, The Penguin Group,
Haunted Inns of the Southeast, by Sheila
Turnage, John F. Blair, Publisher, 2001