The Governor’s Mansion in Austin, Texas was built during the years 1854 to 1856 and the fourth oldest executive residence in the United States. It is a registered National Historic landmark and has been occupied by every Texas governor since 1856. It has been proclaimed by many governors and their families that several spirits have made the stately mansion their permanent residence as well.
It is here the ghost of Sam Houston is said to roam along with the nephew of Governor Pendleton Murrah, who led the state during the last half of the Civil War. The melancholy nephew is said to have shot himself in a north bedroom of the house over an unrequited love. The room is often ice cold, door knobs are turned on their own, and agonizing moans have been heard in the night.
Sam Houston’s ghost reportedly paces the floors of the mansion just as he did before being ousted from office in 1861. Houston strongly opposed Texas’ secession from the Union and was encouraged to leave office when he refused to bow public opinion. He has been spotted in the bedroom he occupied as governor and simply vanishes if spoken to.
History shows Houston anguished and thought long and hard about what his role should be and how he should lead the Texas people. Historians speculate that he stayed up all night pacing the floors trying to decide what he should do. Guests visiting the Sam Houston bedroom report feeling a very strong sense of his presence there.
Former Texas governor Mark White and his wife Linda experienced the ghost of Sam Houston during their residency in the house. One evening they came home late from a function and went to check on their children. As they returned to their bedroom, Mrs. White noticed the light was on over the Sam Houston portrait in the hall. She turned it off, went into the bedroom and closed the door. There were no other guests in the house.
The next morning she found the door to their bedroom standing wide open. She got up to close it and noticed the light was on again over Houston’s portrait. Her only conclusion was that the ghost of Sam Houston was making his presence known. From then on she decided that if Sam wanted the light on, she would leave it on.
One of the earliest ghost legends states a famous Texas scout and his stolen Comanche bride were said to have died together on the grounds of the original Texas capital at Eighth and Colorado. The father of the girl murdered the scout in revenge for taking her from the tribe. She then stabbed a knife through her heart, falling over her lover’s body. Now the tragic couple still wander the grounds late at night.
Take a free guided tour of the Texas Governor’s Mansion available Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 10:00 AM to 12:00 noon. Reservations are required for tours and must be made at least one week in advance. Visitors may call 512-305-8524 for tour reservations for email Mansion.Tours@tspb.state.tx.us
Texas Governor’s Mansion
1010 Colorado Street
Austin TX 78701
Haunted Places Examiner: Debe Branning email@example.com