Stephen Saunders Ewing moved to the Huntsville, Alabama, area in 1810 when he was only twenty-one years old. He
purchased the first of many properties in the area two years later in 1812. Ewing married Mary Hutson Carter in 1814. Together they had a total of fourteen children, although a number of them did not survive into adulthood.
Ewing was pivotal in helping Huntsville become a prosperous Alabama community. He helped form the first bank in Huntsville and acted as bank president for several years. He was also actively involved in politics and held several local and regional offices while he lived in Huntsville.
In December 1823, Ewing purchased from Ebenezer Titus several hundred acres of property located near Huntsville,
Alabama. Because of the number of cedar trees found on the property, Ewing decided to call his newest plantation
Cedarhurst. After buying the land, Ewing cleared a great deal of the land and began to work on a plantation house.
Construction of the mansion started in 1823 and was finally completed in 1825.
In early November 1837, Sally Carter, the fifteen-year-old younger sister of Mary Carter Ewing, came to Cedarhurst for a visit. While at Cedarhurst, Sally became seriously ill and died a few days later, on November 28, 1837. After a small funeral service, Sally was buried in the Ewing family cemetery located near the plantation house.
Stephen continued to manage Cedarhurst until his wife’s death in 1849. After her death, he could no longer stay at
Cedarhurst and he put the property up for sale. In 1865, Ewing sold the entire plantation to Robert Brickwell. After Ewing sold Cedarhurst, he moved from Huntsville, Alabama, to Aberdeen, Mississippi, where he died in 1867 at age seventy-eight.
After Brickwell purchased the property in 1865, Cedarhurst Plantation was sold a total of five times until finally purchased by J.D. Thornton in 1919. It has been reported that shortly after Thornton moved in and started to make renovations on the mansion, the paranormal events began to occur.
The most notable appearance of Sally’s ghost took place a few months after Thornton purchased Cedarhurst. During the summer of 1919, a teenage relative named Charles Rothan visited from out of town for a few days. One night, Rothan had a dream in which a beautiful teenage girl visited him. She told him that her name was Sally and that she died at Cedarhurst a long time ago and was buried in the family cemetery. Rothan claimed Sally told him that her gravestone had been toppled over during a thunderstorm and that she needed it returned to its upright position.
When Charles told his family the next morning, they went to the Ewing family graveyard and found that Sally’s headstone had indeed been toppled to the ground. It is not known whether Charles helped Sally, but he soon left Cedarhurst and never visited the house again.
After word spread of Charles’s encounter with Sally Carter’s ghost, dozens of people visited her gravesite and claimed to have seen her apparition standing over her tombstone. The apparition seen at the gravesite is identical to an apparition seen in and near the bedroom where Sally Carter died in 1837.
Since 1985, the Cedarhurst Plantation House has been the central office of a private gated housing community. As it is a private housing community, visitors or passersby are not permitted on the property without permission.
When ground was broken to begin construction of the housing community in the early 1980s, the Ewing family graves at Cedarhurst were exhumed and reburied at nearby Maple Hill Cemetery. Out of respect, and because of the legends and stories that surround Sally’s headstone, her remains were buried in an unmarked grave somewhere in the cemetery. It is uncertain if Sally’s apparition still makes an appearance near where her original grave was, but there have been no reports of a ghost at all in the Maple Hill Cemetery.
Although her body was moved to Maple Hill Cemetery, Sally’s apparition has continued to be seen in the bedroom in
the Cedarhurst Plantation House where she died. In addition to the apparition, there have been accounts of occasional poltergeist activity in the mansion, including pillows and other small items being moved without explanation.
Address: 10 Northampton Dr SE,
Huntsville, AL 35801, Alabama
United States of America