The Haunted House from Jackson County, Indiana

In 1861, a distraught mother had the body of her young son, a Civil War casualty, returned home to Jackson County, Indiana, for burial. Instead of burying the boy, Sophia Wilson brought his coffin inside the house, where it remained for 12 years. The Wilson home was deemed “haunted” by neighbors, who swore they saw spirits and ghosts moving about the house at night. The Wilson haunted house is one of hundreds of haunted houses and spooky stories found within the pages of™. During a month when ghosts and goblins reign supreme, have you searched™ to see if there is a ghost story in your family tree?

Sophia Douglas Wilson

Aesop C. Wilson was born in 1843, the son of Dr. Creed T. and Sophia Douglas Wilson. When Aesop was five, Dr. Wilson built a house atop Medora Hill in Jackson County. The two-story brick home had hardwood floors, beautiful woodwork, and fine furnishings, including imported Persian rugs and hanging kerosene lamps. A wrought iron fence surrounded the property, and flowers and shrubbery adorned the yard.

In April 1861, President Abraham Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to suppress the growing rebellion in the South. In Jackson County, citizens began organizing. Aesop was determined to serve, but his mother begged him to stay, saying she needed his help to care for his ailing father. Without her knowledge, Aesop enlisted in Capt. Tanner’s Company B, Indiana 22nd regiment, as a drummer boy. He was 17.

Jackson County Banner: January 23, 1935

In September 1861, Aesop wrote a letter home to his mother. He assured her he was well and regaled her with stories of soldier life. One month later, on October 21, Aesop died of typhoid fever in Booneville, Missouri. Before word of his death reached home, he was buried in Booneville.

When the Wilsons learned of their son’s death, Dr. Wilson shipped a metal casket, had Aesop’s body disinterred, and sent home. This was a common custom for families of fallen soldiers who could afford to do so.

When Aesop’s body arrived home, Sophia ordered the casket to be opened so she could verify it was her son. At her request and against the wishes of Dr. Wilson, Sophia had an undertaker pack Aesop’s body in charcoal, seal the casket, and bring it upstairs in front of a window. Sophia sat beside the casket each afternoon and talked to her dead son.

The Times-Mail: October 31, 1994

In 1873, Dr. Wilson employed a spiritualist named Mrs. Kegwin. She could supposedly speak with the dead for a fee. Mrs. Kegwin came to the Wilson home and held a séance. Curious neighbors gathered outside. During the séance, participants heard a voice, and Sophia was convinced it was her son. She asked him if he would like to be buried. “Yes, mother,” the voice replied. The Wilsons buried Aesop the next day.

Following the deaths of Dr. Creed Wilson in 1875 and Sophia Wilson in 1891, the Wilson home fell into disrepair and became known as a haunted house. Vandals damaged the home, which was eventually torn down. Now, all that remains are memories of Jackson County’s haunted house.

If you would like to search for the history of a haunted house in your hometown, or explore additional ghost stories, search™ today!

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80 thoughts on “The Haunted House from Jackson County, Indiana

    1. I agree. I would continue a subscription for a long time if I didnt have to pay so much. In the long run, their win, but oh well!

    2. I agree — of course, it is expensive to produce, etc. But the price removes my ability to subscribe. I wonder if many people who engage in family history aren’t living on Social Security, which severely impacts what they can afford – there is not much room for more than the basics of life.
      At the same time, these folks are often retired and have time to do research, but this excellent resource is cost-prohibitive. Of course I realize there are many avenues besides this one; I use several.
      I don’t know the margin of profit desired, yet… It seems to me that this is a situation where a reduction in subscription rates would result in many more subscribers, thereby INCREASING the sacred profit margin.

      1. I actually agree Pam, several of my friends and relatives were interested in Ancestry but felt the cost was prohibitive. I still belong but I’m a senior (72) and I’m starting to reevaluate my membership.

        1. I also agree with what everyone here as stated. Even if you had DNA done through these sites, after 30 days they want you to pay in order to find out any new information you have found. You give them your DNA and have to keep paying them in the end for info that should be free to you.

          1. When your subscription expires you can still see your matches and you can ay of the free files (1940 & 1950) censes etc.

        2. You might try the local public library for use of Ancestry. Or the local FamilySearch library. Either should have family history helps. John Gardner

        3. You receive the seniors discount I hope. I know that it’s still high, but so many don’t know about it.

          1. The AARP discount for the US Discovery Membership is 30%.

            There is also a Family Plan for the All Access Membership that can cover up to 5 people. You’ll need to call to get the prices.

      2. I would check your local library. Often, they subscribe to both and and they are free to use for all members. .

      3. Agreed. That’s what stops me is the cost and a fixed income. Lower the cost and gain more subscribers to make up the difference. Probably have many more subscribers that way.

      4. I agree with you. The prices are outrageous. If I need to really investigate something serious from now on, I’ll just go to the library look it up on microfiche.

    3. I also had to cancel subscriptions to Ancestry and some newspaper sites because of the costs involved. But then I checked with my local public library about what genealogy sites they subscribe to. Some sites you can only access while at the library, on their public computers. However, if you have an active genealogical society in your county, some of the search websites, local obituary indexes, etc., might be available through your library’s website…for FREE! And if you have a local state college, especially if they are a local depository/research center for your state historical society, they may also have online search functions. Such is the case here in Oshkosh, Winnebago County, Wisconsin. Also, see what genealogy information you can get online from public libraries in other cities in your area.

      1. Yes, some libraries will allow access to these programs from home via your library barcode, too, I believe.

    4. is it? Worth every penny to me – as I use it more than watching TV or any other activity lol — it gives you the answer to anything – far better than google.

  1. I agree. I had to cancel. Subscriptions have become cost prohibitive for anything to do with ancestry.

    1. I agree. If the cost of all these different and near-essential genealogy sites came down rather than up, I’m convinced more people would subscribe. More people paying less are likely to generate a bigger return than fewer people paying more. Unless costs can be offset via a bone fide business, genealogy is eye-wateringly expensive for most of us and it is incredibly frustrating and sad as it thwarts our passionate research.

        1. I agree. Subscriptions are too expensive! I love my ancestry. I enjoy it so much. I hate to cancel it. It looks like I may have too. As far as goes, I can’t afford it.

      1. I concur with the logic in your post and the statements of others. I’m going to have to discontinue my Ancestry subscription because my husband is retiring. I never subscribed to — waaay too expensive.

        1. I have been using and for over 20 years way back when they were free to use. That was before they took over and White The good thing about is that they send you a hint–a green leaf– if they run across something that might fit into your family tree. Just take a photo of the material immediately because you may not get to make a copy of it. I have come along way by using the information that they have provided freely. Of the four legs of relatives that I have found, I have discovered my 3rd Great grandfather on my mother’s side by using the free hints that has sent to me. Another good thing is that they allow anyone with a family tree to email someone else with a tree free of charge. My cousin that I had not heard from in years emailed me. I started using before they started charging a fee. At this stage of the game, their fee is not in my budget. But, I appreciate all free info they give me to further my hunt for relatives.

          1. Those “hints” now just send you to the join Ancestry page. My biggest complaint is no/limited access to info you already paid for in a subscription (draft cards you can no longer view but basic info is still in there). I am a pure amateur with 5-6, 6 month $60 subs over 10+ years. At 74 on SSA it is no longer in a budget. They raised prices from $60 to $70 for 1/2 price sale in the last year.

  2. Agreed! I’ve actually found out much more about my “local” ancestors through than However, on a limited income (as I imagine most Ancestry and Newspapers clients are) I had to choose one, so Newspapers had to go. I wish more businesses would learn the lesson of Henry Ford, make your product affordable to the ‘everyman’ and you won’t have any problem finding customers.

    1. I agree, no longer being employed due to illness it just doesn’t factor into my budget when the price is soooo…. expensive.
      I am still paying my annual Ancestry subscription and as far as I am concerned, Australian Newspaper Indexes by should be available to view Free with your ancestry subscription. Similarly Forces War also asking for a subscription payment to view records.
      I found if you google most things, in Australia at least, there is a usually a free option. Local libraries and family history groups are often a great option also.

  3. Information on a Donald Nelson wall Lexington Kentucky I’m his family he is my father in the80 or 90 he went to prison for a m do you have Information and pictures

  4. I agree with everyone here. If and all research business were less expensive, they would have more people sign up, and as Josephine Morris-Turner has said, I could not agree more.
    I too had to cancel and go to the lowest cost in Ancestry. Being on a limited income, it makes it too hard to afford anymore than that.

  5. They are expensive sites. I can’t always use them continuously I actually get stuck once in a while and I end up wasting money . But you are right I think they would have more subscribers if they charged less.

  6. I agree with the previous comments. Being on a limited fixed income makes it impossible to afford some of these sites. Searching for family history is an expensive pursuit. Limited resources requires us to be selective in the sites one chooses.

    1. I also agree. The price has become too much for me. I canceled my Ancestry and also Newspapers. I was a member of Ancestry from the beginning when I had to go through Census page by page to find my ancestors.

  7. I agree with all the comments here from different individuals. With the national economy being in the state it is now, I find it very difficult to keep my Ancestry subscription since I am living on SS income and a small pension, but researching my heritage is one of the things that keeps me “going”, so I manage. I have always wanted to enroll with Newspapers but the cost is rather expensive. If the price drops some, I will subscribe. I know it would be worth it . I will keep watching for a change!

  8. I also had to cancel due to cost. In addition, all the articles I collected while I had a subscription are now unopenable. So what did I pay for?

    1. Darlene so true…once I did not renew Ancestry, would no longer allow me to open up saved newspaper articles. I believe they try to put you into a sandwich…therefore if you don’t get tooth you will loose some purchased contents in the middle. They lost me a year ago. Fun to research, but too costly…my bills come first.

    2. In addition to saving your clippings within you can download them as a pdf or jpg onto your home computer so you don’t lose them.

    3. I always download all of my articles as JPG or PDF and they STAY on my computer and I attach them to people in Family Tree Maker.

    4. If you are sent something by computer immediately open it, and use your cellphone to snap a photo of the information because you probably will not be able to copy it with your printer. Usually it will not show up once you hit print.

  9. My parts of the country aren’t represented with newspapers or genealogybank, being rural. I wait for a free trial and make the most of it, finding nearly nothing, but I keep hoping. Even Chronicling America (Library of Congress, free) isn’t much help for me.

    1. Run in Google and request local newspapers for your state and town or surrounding towns. In the county that I grew up in, there were several newspapers. The largest town was no larger than 5000 people. I found four different papers that had my parents’ s wedding announcement in it.

  10. Cheryl, I was just about to write the same thing when I saw your comment! is great if your family is from a rural area with a small local paper, but the larger the city the harder it is to find relevant information on ancestry. In the same boat as all of you, was able to splurge on and until I retired a couple years ago. Now I’m living in Mexico trying to stretch my dollars out and collecting a small pension. has always been great but it seems has poached away some of the free documents that used to accessible on their site.

    1. I copy lots of articles from the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I wouldn’t call that a rural area. Yes, there are towns that are much bigger.

  11. I agree with the former comments. Executives of Newspapers,com business really need to think about the suggestions to lower their pricing. I have not subscribed to but would if it weren’t so costly.

  12. For those on a limited income, there is FREE access to Premium Family History sites at local Family Search Centers, Including Ancestry Institution, My Heritage, Fold 3, ( military records) and many more.
    Go to Family Search and click on the locations icon on the top right of the home page. Type in a city near you and a dialog box will tell you where the nearest Family Search Center is and a contact number.
    Please call the contact number for an appointment, because the open hours are different for each Center. These centers are inside The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. They are staffed by volunteers who want to help you find your family.
    Also, there are local libraries which have geneaogical sites for free if you have a library card, some sites are accessible from home.

    1. Took the words right out of my mouth:
      Yes, find the Mormon research centers- they can really help
      But also check on your local library, regional or state Library. I am retired from a large library system in Fairfax, VA. The Virginia Room there has loads of info in print and microfilm and internet access. Not just on Virginia, but places that were one time part of VA,( ie WVA, KY etc) original colonies ( all )and immigrants to North America (ie Italians to America, Germans to America etc). We are lucky that Fairfax, with 1.1 million residents, can run a library system that rivals many states. In Virginia we also have other libraries that carry a lot of Genealogy: Roanoke, Virginia Beach, and Fredericksburg (Rappahannock Regional) are the big ones. Also, our Virginia State Library has a giant collection. I bet that many of you can find a way to facilities like these closer to home.
      I also want to point out that ILL:Inter Library Loan is an international service in the majority of Public Libraries. I ordered books from all over the US/Canada and Lots of Microfilm (like French Explorers Journals from the 1700s!) If you know what you want, there might find a way. Keep working Ladies and Gentlemen. It took ME over 30 years to find my dead(1917) grandmother, find proof of her birth in NY ,and find a Bunch of family.Best of all: I found the towns in Sicily where her parents came from!!

    2. As a reply to many of those on limited incomes…could you ask for membership as a Christmas or birthday gift from your children? If the cost is too much for an individual child, maybe all of them could go together.

      I am a senior and I know that it is difficult to find a gift that is appropriate, appreciated and useful for us who already may have too much “stuff”.

      Just a thought…

    3. I followed your advice and there’s a Family Search Center not very far from my house! I’ll be making an appointment with them very soon.
      Thank you Charlene!

  13. For those in the comments who are concerned about the subscription price – my understanding is that most local libraries have access for free. You just need your library card.

  14. is a phenomenal resource for historical purposes as well as for family archives. I used it while researching facts and information for a forthcoming film and book. Lots and lots of facts in newspapers of all sizes, dating back to the 1930’s. Such an amazing and wonderful resource to use. Thank you, There will be more research in my future and consequently, yours. ❤️ I will be in touch.

  15. To those who have had to give up subscriptions to Ancestry or Newspapers or both: I fully understand that on retirement incomes that the cost of these services can be prohibitive. It’s unfortunate that most of us don’t have the desire or appreciation for our family histories until we are older. I am retired too but am fortunate that I have the resources to pay for these services as I am so engrossed in this hobby. May I offer a suggestion that might apply to some of you? You might have children that are still working, and they might search for a holiday or birthday gift idea for you. How about suggesting that they give you a gift membership to the service you desire? Currently the six-month Newspapers subscription is about $75. Ancestry runs deals occasionally. Your younger generation may appreciate the suggestion and you may appreciate a gift that doesn’t take up room or need to be dusted!

    1. What a brilliant idea.

      I have no financial constraints, but then; it’s because I know how to budget wisely. The number of people I know of who purchase coffee and food at cafes and/or takeouts on a daily basis, have netflix etc; and/or otherwise contribute to an unnecessary economy with their disposable income, but feel is too expensive may not do those things either. But my annual subscription costs me less than $10 a week. There’s a lot of unnecessay expenditure I could give up before that became unaffordable.

    2. Beth – Excellent idea! Such a wish list item would be a gift in itself to many children/grandchildren!

    3. Ancestry has great discounts in December on all their memberships! Memberships can be bought then and whenever your current membership expires is when you can request the gift membership to start.
      Hopefully, then information is helpful.

  16. Embalming came into regular use during the Civil War so bodies could be shipped home for burial.

  17. Simply, I have been a member since 2010 and have seen the cost for this excellent research tool increase.
    It is questionable at my age and decreased funds if I can continue to pay for the service at the current rates.

  18. My wife and I are over 80 and we are retired. Genealogy is our hobby. When we go out to eat I drink water with lemon. It is free. My wife drinks the same or iced tea. We never go to coffee or tea shops. We fix our own at home. The only TV we watch is over the air, it is free. Yes we subscribe to Ancestry and, many helpful obituaries there. We also use Family Search. It is free.

    If you have subscription TV I’ll bet you pay more for it than we pay for Ancestry and It is all a matter of your priorities

  19. I use Irfan View to capture the articles and save them. FamilySearch is free and accessible to everyone. I save my information there. I do use Ancestry as well because it sometimes has sources not available elsewhere.

  20. It doesn’t require marketing research for the powers to be to realize that they’re losing a large customer base, just judging by these comments. Older retired people have the time and interest for finding their family history, but for many the cost is prohibitive. Nowadays there are many entities that acknowledge this and offer deep discounts for seniors. Why can’t Ancestry do the same?

    1. Go to your local lds (Mormon) family history center. All the subscriptions are free to use there.

  21. A comment to all the people who say Ancestry and is too expensive. Think of the cost of getting the information they have on their sites. That is not free. And my dad used to say these pay sites are cheaper than sending me there to research…… Check your local library – Many of them have subscriptions to Ancestry as well as other sites that you can use for free. Also the LDS [Morman] Family History Center is free and there is always someone who can help you at an LDS Family History Center.

    1. Is this Mormon Family History Center something that is available online? Or do you have to live in Utah to go to a brick and mortar location?

      1. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormon) maintains and provides volunteer staff for family history centers across the country and around the world, wherever there are members. The main facility is the Family History Library in Salt Lake City, Utah, one of the largest genealogical libraries in the country. Much of what is there is available online. However, some materials protected by copyright are only available at the library. However, verything that can be accessed at the main library can be searched at the family history centers, including access to numerous programs such as Ancestry,, Fold3, etc., all at no charge to the public. Additionally, some of the centers have “Memory Preservation” facilities where volunteers will help you digitize photos, documents, audio tapes, etc. also at no charge. You just provide the flash drive. The facilities are operated as a community service and no church affiliation is required. Go to to locate the Family History Center closest to you and the hours it is open.

  22. I feel as if isn’t premium enough: I think they should charge more.

  23. Come on people, a 6 month subscription is $74.90 which works out to $12.50/mth. That’s less than one night at the movies!

  24. I appreciate all the comments and suggestions and I agree about the escalating costs but not about the availability of it at the local library.
    I live in a smaller town in Arkansas and neither our public library, the local LDS church, or the local colleges have a subscription to Ancestry or

    My genealogy journey began in another small town in Texas back in the late seventies when the local library had indexes to census records and we had to order microfilm to view the records. Thank goodness it’s a lot easier today when I can pull everything up on an app on my phone than when I had to scroll through rolls of microfilm!

    When we moved again I had step back and concentrate on raising my children. I dabbled in it a little as my kids grew older and we moved around. I was introduced to online genealogy in Knoxville Tn shortly before I retired where the East Tennessee History Center not only had the library editions of Ancestry and Newspapers, etc, but they also had Saturday classes on how to best use them.

    When I retired and moved back to Arkansas to help take care of my parents I lost access to all of that but wasn’t able to afford even a basic subscription to Ancestry. In 2015, one of my daughters and her husband gifted me with a subscription as a thank you for coming and taking care of her after surgery so he could return to work. He also requested that I see if I could trace any of his family roots which I was able to trace back to a British Loyalist during the Revolutionary War who earned the wrath of Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys and was punished by being hung in a chair for a couple of hours from the tavern sign of Fay’s Catamount Inn.

    Since then, whenever I am asked what I want for Christmas, a subscription to Ancestry with access to Newspapers and Fold3 is at the top of my list and my children go in together to buy it for me.
    They are all busy working and raising their families and don’t have the time or inclination to do the research but are very supportive of me doing it.

    PS: I haven’t checked but I wonder if there are any group rates for senior centers or assisted living facilities. I’m in my eighties but might be willing to volunteer to help mentor beginners if it was affordable for these kinds of facilities to purchase a group membership, something like the libraries have but less expensive since it would be available to fewer people.

  25. If you think Ancestry cost a lot ask them what a library edition cost. And remember it is a striped down version. Several of the LDS History Centers in my area have closed their doors or limit public access to a few hours one day a week.

    If you let your account expire you still have access to you match list, including new matches and you have access to the free records.

    Have you considered sharing an account with someone else? Take turns one week at a time. When it isn’t your turn use Family Search.

  26. The Haunted House from Jackson Country Indiana:
    Sophia Wilson keeping her son’s dead body inside shows how devostating Sophia felt at the loss of her son, unfortuantely this case is not uncommon.

  27. Ancestry Library Edition allowed home access while the pandemic raged. They are now back to requiring use only in the library. This isn’t the full version, but it is still usable.
    If you would like your library to subscribe to a database, contact the webmaster. Price determines whether they will or not, but there is a chance they will get it.

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