Henniker, New Hampshire
The Ocean Born Mary House Legend:
Mary Wilson was born at sea on July 17, 1720 after her parents set sail from Londonberry, Ireland aboard the ship called, The Wolf. Near Boston, the ship was boarded by pirates, led by the ruthless Don Pedro. Don Pedro learned about the newborn infant aboard The Wolf and offered to let the passengers continue their voyage unharmed if the Wilson’s would name their baby “Mary” after his beloved mother.
The Wilson’s agreed. Don Pedro gave them a length of Chinese silk and told them that it should one day be used for Mary’s wedding gown.
Thus, when Mary Wilson and Thomas Wallace married in Londonberry, New Hampshire before Christmas in 1742, the silk was used in a wedding dress.
The couple had four sons and a daughter. Sadly, however, Mary was widowed shortly after the birth of her last son.
Word of the tragedy reached Don Pedro. He had his men rowed up the Contoocook River to 6,000 acres of land he’d been granted by the King of England. “Don Pedro” was actually an English nobleman who had been dubbed the black sheep of the family.
Don Pedro had his ship’s carpenter build a mansion on a hilltop in what is now known as Henniker, New Hampshire. The beams and detailing in the house look very much like a ship.
When the house was completed, Don Pedro went to Londonderry and begged Mary to live with him–as his housekeeper, since she still mourned her late husband–and Don Pedro supported Mary and her children in grand style for many happy years.
Unfortunately, Don Pedro met an untimely end one evening when men came to the Henniker Mansion for a “friendly visit” with him. Mary and her children went to bed. Later, Mary awoke to hear a curse and a groan outside her window. She rushed to the garden where she found Don Pedro alone, dying with a pirate’s cutlas in his chest.
Don Pedro had asked to be buried beneath the heart in their home. He had told her where his treasure was buried in the garden, but she barely touched it during her remaining years in the home until 1814.
Mary painted murals inside the Ocean Born Mary House that can still be seen today.
The True Story of the Ocean Born Mary House:
In actuality, Mary’s first husband, Thomas Wallace did not die an early death. He and Mary lived out their happy lives to old age.
Ocean-Born Mary Wilson Wallace moved to Henniker on July 6, 1798 at age 78. She spent the rest of her life with her son, William, a short distance from another son, Robert. Robert is actually the person who built the mansion for Mary. Some records suggest that Mary actually never lived in the house.
Essentially, the subsequent owners of the Ocean Born Mary House as it has come to be called, made up stories romanticizing Mary and Don Pedro in an effort to make a few bucks off of a sentimental public. Mary did wear a silk gown that was made from material from Don Pedro, as in the legend. But there was no buried treasure in the backyard. The man who made up the stories rented shovels for 50 cents to anyone who wanted to do some digging in the backyard.
Today, the Ocean Born Mary Home is privately owned. Get permission to visit this location and all locations listed at hauntings.
Ghosts and the Paranormal at the Ocean-Born Mary House in Henniker, New Hampshire:
The ghosts of a tall woman, about 6′ tall with red hair and striking green eyes, has been observed in upstairs windows and on the central staircase of the Ocean Born Mary House in Henniker, New Hampshire. She has also been seen in the yard, throwing something into the well. Her apparition has also been reported near the hearth. One person reported seeing this ghostly woman riding in a horse drawn coach nearby. Two police officers in Henniker recently reported seeing the tall female apparition crossing the road just below the Ocean Born Mary House.
Visitors to the Ocean Born Mary House have reported intense feelings of uneasiness. However, most Henniker locals believe that her spirit is there to protect the house. Some report that her rocking chair moves on its own in the house to let visitors know that she approves of their presence.
In 1963, the owners of the Ocean Born Mary House watched in amazement as Mary put out a blazing fire in the house.
On Halloween nights, Mary is said to rise from her grave at the Henniker’s Centre Cemetery and ride a horse-drawn coach to the Ocean Born Mary House. Her grave is twelve rows back from the front gate and marked with a special plaque.
Broome, F. (2005). Ocean Born Mary. Retrieved May 8, 2011 from http://www.hollowhill.com/nh/oceanborn1.ht
Shadowlord (1998). Haunted Places Index. Retrieved April 23, 2011 from http://theshadowlands.net/places/new_hampshire.htm