Monday, April 4, 2011

Wisconsin's historic places and their ghosts - The Walker House

This article is from the

June 3, 3:54 PM by Kathie Kessler

Located in Mineral Point, is one of the states oldest Inns. It was built in 1836 as a meeting house for the teamsters and did good business. In 1847 William Walker built his home on the north end of the building and added additional rooms to turn it into a 44 room hotel called the Mineral Point Hotel.

On February 23rd 1842, in the small town of Gratiot's Grove just south of Mineral Point William Caffee and Samuel Southwick were attending a housewarming celebration at the home of the Fortunatus Berry. William Caffee was known to be a notorious alcoholic, which only made things worse when a fight broke out between him and Samuel Southwick, Caffee drew his pistol and shot Southwick near the heart, killing him instantly.

Caffee was arrested by the local sheriff George Messersmith and charged with first degree murder, tried, convicted and sentenced to hang by Judge Jackson on April of 1842. The sheriff hired men to guard the log frame jailhouse in Mineral Point and leg irons were riveted to Caffee who swore to kill if he ever escaped.

On November 1, 1842 a scaffold was erected in an area near Mineral Point Bluff and in front of The Walker House. A crowd of four to five thousand people came to watch the execution. That morning the local cavalry company stood guard at the jail armed with pistols and sabers. It is said that for his last meal Caffee asked for a slice of Judge Jacksons heart. At 2PM Major Gray and his cavalry lead the parade from the jail to the gallows with a band playing the funeral march. Some say that Caffee himself drummed out the funeral march with beer bottles while riding atop his casket.

In 1957 The Walker House closed it's doors and was abandoned until it was purchased in 1964 by Ted Landon who was set to restore the place to it's former glory. During renovations strange sounds, heavy breathing, footsteps and mysterious events seem to occur that defied explanation.

In 1974 the Tavern and Inn re-opened but it did not do well for Landon and his partners, and in 1978 it was sold again to a Dr. David Ruf who hired Walker Calvert to manage the business. Calvert has witnessed the apparitions more than anyone else.

The building was open sporadically through the 80's and 90's until it was purchased again by Joe Dickinson in 2005. What was expected to be only a few months of renovations ended up being almost three years as he and his wife pour all their life savings into saving this historic building.

Refurbished as Cornish Pub, the building is said to be haunted by William Caffee and as many as 22 other spirits according to one psychic. The ghosts like to hide things, pull hair, and become very agitated when the Dickinsons are not there and someone else running the business.

Paranormal Investigators find the property very active and have been a much needed boost to the Walker House and the local businesses.

Unfortunately, due to the failing economy and the loss of two of Dickinsons business partners to cancer, the Walker House remains closed, except to paranormal investigators. Now, the bank has put the property into foreclosure and The Walker House's future remains uncertain. They have 90 days to find a solution.

You can read Joe’s story by using the link below and see their website for more details on donations or becoming an investor in one of Wisconsin's oldest and most haunted Inns.

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