Sturdivant Hall

via wikimedia
The History – This Greek Revival building in Selma, Alabama was built by Colonel Edward T. Watts who would later sell the home to a banker by the name of John McGee Parkman in 1864. With the end of the Civil War and the beginning of the Reconstruction period, Parkman who was then president of the First National Bank of Selma made the poor decision to invest the bank’s money into cotton speculation only to lose it all. Parkman was arrested for the crime and put into a military jail in Castle Morgan, where later friends of his who believed he made an innocent mistake attempted to help free him from his cell. Although they had succeeded to free him in 1867, he was shot by one of the guards while making his escape.The house would the be bought by Emile Gillman, a prominent Selma merchant. after being put on auction. In 1957 the house was sold to the city of Selma with help of Robert Daniel Sturdivant in hopes to set up a museum in the city. As of today it is still being used as such.
The Legend – Many believe that his ghost of Parkman returned to the home because he had vowed to never leave the property until his name was cleared, and now can be found in strange noises, cold spots, and even the occasional sighting of an apparition that looks much like a man from that era.
The Analysis – While it is true that Parkman was living in the home at the time of his poor banking decisions and imprisonment it is known that he was originally from the Boston area. Parkman owned the home for 6 years, throughout his period of being a rather prominent banker to his downfall of becoming a criminal after losing the money of so many in the cotton wager.
Again another thing that stands out to me is that this story comes from the “13 Ghosts…and Jeffrey” book from which so many falsified accounts can be found. For me, I would have to say that although he may have claimed to return to the home until his name was cleared it was obvious that the error had been in his name and that it was not exactly possible for his name to be cleared. Secondly, Parkman was originally from Boston, where much of his family remained. I would find it highly more likely to find his ghost in that area than one that had caused him so much pain. Of course, the only way to know for sure is to do a proper investigation of the house and go from there… however, I remain skeptical on the validity of any ghostly presence in the building.
Return of the Ruined Banker Sturdivant Hall

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