GHOST OF HARTS BRIDGE ROAD
d n english
In 2004 one of my first presentation of “the ghost of downtown Jackson” I met a very interesting lady.After finishing my stories a young lady came up and ask if I could over and meet her grandmother. The young lady led me to a bench in front of City Hall.I did and this is the story I was told about the headless ghost of Harts Bridge.
“I am so glad to meet you” she said “ I want to tell you what my grandmother told me that her mother told her. Come on sit beside me.” (Have you noticed when an older person ask you to sit on bench or a chair beside them they pat the place the want you to sit. Now that I am older I do the same thing.)
By this time there about 20 people gathered around as we listened to her memories.“The time was the 1940’s my grandparents always had their granddaughters out for a weekend. There were 10 of us girl cousins all but two of us were from Jackson the others were from Nashville. Their would bring them down deliver them to my grandparents where we all met for family diner . Then the adults and the boys would head off to Jackson until Sunday.
Saturday morning all my great aunts would come over and we started cooking for the Sunday picnic. Then granddaddy would come get us and we would fish in the pond and then we help build a fire pit.
On Saturday night we would go down to fire pit roast marshmallows and hot dogs. There would be a small campfire with a large pot of hot chocolate with our “tin cups” on the side and a Dutch oven full of hoe cakes.” She looked around “ you youngins don’t know what hoe cakes are do you?”This is her explanation . “In the pioneer days they always had a special clean hoe. Then they would mix cornmeal, a little bit of lard, and water. Then they put the batter on the hoe and into the fire and cook repeat until they had enough hoe cakes for the family.” She laughed “ now my granny cooked her’s in a skillet on the stove and put them in the Dutch oven to keep them warm. They were to wrap our hot dogs in there was always a bowl of mustard and butter. You have never had a burnt hot dog until you have had it in a hoe cake with melted butter.” She explained We lost her there for a second I knew she was going back to that campfire.
Then she said they would wrap in their blankets by the fire and listen to granny tell us ghost stories. The favorite was the headless ghost of Harts Bridge Road.“
The year was 1864 men were coming back from the war to start over. Down the road from where my grandmother lived there was a house where one of the daughter in law’s of one of the neighbor landowner lived. Their son had joined the war effort late so his wife was already settled in so she stayed.Grandmother told us she was poplar and had a lot of men visitors. The neighbors all talked about this but not when we children in the room but we knew.We girls did not actually know then what she was talking about but we nodded our heads.Well the young man came home from war by train .His family had arranged for him to have a horse waiting for him at one of the local stables. Since he got to Jackson early he went to one of the saloons downtown before he headed home. While he was there one of friends informed him what his wife had been up to in his absence.
On his way he came up with plan. He stopped by his parents and told them he was planning on moving to Nashville to work there and start over with his wife. They did not like it but they understood. He got a wagon with a couple of horses and took off for his house and his unfaithful wife.
As he approached the house the wife heard the wagon approach. Her gentleman friend fled out the back door to the woods where his horse was hidden.
The husband parked the wagon and went inside to find his wife standing at the stove. He did not wait for her to turn around he took his long sword and cut off her head. Then he rolled up her body and his sword in the rug that was in front of the fireplace. Next he got out her trunk and packed her clothes and her fancy hat in the trunk. He took her hat box and placed her head in it wrapped in towels. He then loaded up the furnishing he wanted to take and his clothes. Last he loaded the rug and the hat box and a shovel.
From there he road down to the Forked Deer Bottom close to the bridge. First he threw the hat box with the head in the River. Then he went deeper in the woods and dug a shallow grave and dumped the rug and the headless body in the grave.He then left headed North. About a year later he sent word that his wife had died in child birth.
Then it started being reported a headless woman appeared walking the banks of the Forked Deer River on full moon nights. Was she looking for her husband or her head? Sometimes she would be seen swinging his sword.”Then my grandmother would laugh a horrible scary laugh.“ We girls would be shaking under our blankets but it would be a good scary. We loved our time with our Grandparents . The next day we went to church as a family then had a wonderful family reunion. On the way home my dad asked “did she tell you the story?” and laughed.
Her granddaughter help her up she gave me a great grandmother hug. I thanked her for story as I watched her walk away. The group that enjoyed the story started clapping I joined in the lady stopped and took a bow. Such a wonderful night.
For years people have been to the Harts Bridge Road close to the bridge they would pull off and look for the headless woman. Some have reported seeing her on one side of the river then others would see a head of a woman stuck in a tree.Others said they just had a good make out session.
You have to admit it is a great story and it has been passed down through the years different versions but the same results a headless woman walking the banks of the Forked Deer River or in the woods .