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The History of Chowan Beach
by George Farrell and Rawl Gelinas
Preface  Part 1  Part 2  Part 3  Part 4  Part 5
Part 6  Part 7  Part 8  Part 9  Part 10

Part Eight

As Jack Fletcher continued his restoration of the main house on Bandon (including replacing by his own sad count 135 broken windows) slowly he and Inglis were able to partially leave behind them the ‘colonial’ style of life they had endured through the first part of their tenure at Bandon. The indoor plumbing was restored and the kitchen completed, although they continued for a long time to heat solely with the fireplaces and their light came from candles and oil lamps, not electricity. Nonetheless the house slowly became a showpiece. A note of interest is that Inglis Fletcher is reputed to have led the way in the practice of opening historic homes to the public for the Edenton Pilgrimage, started in 1949.

Bandon house consisted of nine rooms. Upon entering the front door the library was to the right and the dining room to the left, in the rear of the first floor was a large formal drawing room and, one assumes, the kitchen. That would leave five rooms for the upstairs. We know she did most of her writing in the River Room on that floor so probably the rest were bedrooms. Perhaps one had been transformed into a bathroom, as there is mention of there having been one installed. The gracious appearance of the downstairs seems not to have continued to the second floor as one source tells of fallen plaster and rats being seen running across the rafters. But, when one considers the condition of Bandon when they purchased it and that Jack, who was at that time an elderly man, did all of the work himself, the progress that he did make is astonishing.

There is a fascinating story concerning the second floor. One night Mrs. Fletcher heard noises that sounded as though several people, heavily loaded were climbing the stairs to the second floor. As there was no one there she concluded that this was the ghostly reenactment of a tragic past happening. During the tenancy of Charles E. Johnson, in fact during a party, a boat carrying a flag at half-mast docked and men came up the path bearing the body of his son, Dr. Daniel Johnson. Dr. Daniel, it is said, seduced the wife of a Hertford lawyer. The wronged husband challenged Dr. Daniel to a duel and, even though he was reputed to be almost blind, the lawyer hit and killed the doctor, who had refused to even fire his gun. As the story goes Charles had his son buried underneath the front window, where Charles sat all day, each and every day and stared sadly at the grave, never again known to smile. There are other accounts of strange noises and of apparitions being seen by moonlight, wandering on the grounds, half seen among the mosses trailing from the trees. Perhaps the reputation that Bandon bore of being haunted was true?

Most of the information for this chapter was obtained from Inglis Fletcher of Bandon Plantation by Richard Walser; The UNC Library, 1952; Mrs. Fletcher's Eden by Roy Thompson; The Chowan Herald, 1975 and Bandon a Brief History of a Chowan County Plantation by Jerry L. Cross, 1986.

On To Part Nine

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