Monday, March 2, 2015

Eugenia Mandeville: Haunting the Mansion on Maple Street

Photo provided by

A few months ago my family and I took a little trip down to Carrollton, Georgia. We needed a little get away, I love to do research and my husband's a photographer-so we generally find something interesting everywhere we go! While doing a little research before taking off for Carrollton, I stumbled across a Facebook group of people making a plea to save a beautiful old victorian home in Carrollton.  No Demo for the Maple Street Mansion  had post after post of local citizens telling stories of their past experiences with this beautiful home, which was crumbling into disrepair and facing being leveled soon. It seems nobody wanted it torn down. The home was built for the Mandeville family in 1890. Complete with a turret, exquisite hand-crafted gingerbread trim, and a huge entryway with an impressive grand staircase, this home is a perfect example of Victorian architecture. After reading all of the passionate stories of why this home shouldn't be destroyed, I knew I must do more research and visit.
The turret of the Mandeville Home

I found out that this home was actually connected to my family that I planned to research while in Carrollton. Eugenia Mandeville Long was my connection to this exquisite piece of history, making all of the details about it even more valuable to me. I discovered the rumor that a young woman, probably around eighteen years old, reportedly took her own life sometime years ago by throwing herself from one of the third floor rooms. This woman was said to be named Eugenia. Before finding out more about Eugenia, and if this story of her apparent suicide was true, I dove head first into finding out about L.C. Mandeville, and the building of the Mansion on Maple Street.
L. C. Mandeville or Leroy Clifton Mandeville was the seventh of ten children born to Appleton and Mary Stewart Mandeville. Born in 1851 in Carrollton, Georgia, L.C. Mandeville was born to privilege, as his father was a successful mercantile owner in Carrollton. He eventually opened Mandeville Textile Mills, providing thousands of local citizens with employment. L.C. Mandeville would become Mayor of Carrollton, and was known as one of its finest citizens. He and his wife, Carrie Richardson Mandeville, would build their Maple Street Mansion from land given to them by L.C's father Appleton Mandeville around 1890. They would raise their family, six children, three boys and three girls, in that beautiful gingerbread covered victorian beauty.  It's nice to imagine how the house looked during that time, the life of privilege the Mandeville's lived and what their activities were during their day to day life. 
L.C. Mandeville Family of the Maple Street Mansion

The L.C. Mandeville family, above: front row: Mom Carrie Richardson Mandeville, Emma, Father Leroy Clifton Sr, Leroy Clifton jr. Back row: Eleanor, Eugenia and Nell. 

I discovered something interesting when researching the construction of The Mansion on Maple Street. When L.C Mandeville built his home, it was right next door to his family home. Appleton Mandeville, L.C.'s father, migrated to Carrollton from New York as one of the city's earliest pioneers. He eventually became an important local merchant and was a well-known and beloved citizen of the city. When his bride, Mary Ann Stewart Mandeville became melancholy because she was missing her home back in Vermont, Appleton quickly attempted to resolve the issue. He had a plethora of Maple trees shipped to Carrollton and planted up and down the street where the family resided-hence the name Maple Street. 
So, now back to my discovery...there were two Eugenia Mandeville's! Both Appleton Mandeville, as well as his son L.C., had daughters named Eugenia. Whether true or not, the ghost story surrounding The Mansion on Maple Street was about a Eugenia. Eugenia Mandeville could be from each generation, as it seems now that both Mandeville homes were on the same property. The Appleton Mandeville home sat just to the right of the Mansion on Maple Street, which was built by his son L.C. Mandeville.
Photo from No Demo for the Mansion on Maple Street Facebbok

The picture above is from the No Demo for the Mansion on Maple Street facebook page, and it shows the haze reported by people from the third floor upstairs window. Many people reportedly have seen what they believe to be a young woman gazing down from this window, and they believe her to be Eugenia. 
To begin unraveling this mystery, I started with the Eugenia that I have been able to connect to my own family. Born in 1854, Eugenia Mandeville Long was the seventh of ten children born to Appleton and Mary Ann Stewart Mandeville. She grew up on the same property as the Maple Street Mansion. 
Eugenia Mandeville #1
Eugenia Mandeville, above, would marry Edgar Long in 1878 at the age of 24. They would start their lives together in wedded bliss and shortly after marrying have their first child, Eugene Mandeville Long, in 1880. The following year Eugenia would give birth to a second son, Rufus Samson Long. Shortly afterward, still a newlywed, mother to a newborn and another son under two, at only twenty seven years of age, Eugenia Mandeville Long would die, probably from complications from childbirth. It just doesn't get much sadder than the mother of a newborn, still in her own youth, dying. I'm sure her husband Edgar was lost, knowing he had two sons under two to raise, without the partnership, love and commitment of his beloved Eugenia. The Mandeville family were also undoubtedly grief stricken. They had two tragedies occur only one month apart in 1861, losing eldest son Patrick to the brutality of the Civil War and sixteen year old daughter Stella to typhoid fever. Twenty years had passed since those tragedies, and was just enough time for the Mandeville's to begin to learn to enjoy family life together again after these terrible losses. Could this be the ghost seen in the Maple Street Mansion windows by locals? Maybe Eugenia is looking for her babies, or Edgar, or wondering where the original mansion built by  Appleton Mandeville has gone. Eugenia has every reason to haunt.
Could the ghost of Eugenia be similar to the one in the turret above?

Now for the second Eugenia.  This Eugenia was born twenty four years later, and is actually the niece of the first Eugenia in this article. The second Eugenia, Eugenia Mandeville Watkins, was the daughter of Leroy Clifton Mandeville. As I stated earlier, L.C. Mandeville was owner of the Mandeville Textile Mills, prior Mayor of Carrollton and an extremely wealthy businessman. L.C. was also the builder of The Mansion on Maple Street, where Eugenia Mandeville Watkins, his first born daughter, was born and raised. This Eugenia was raised in an even more prestigious way, attending the finest schools, being featured often in the social section of "The Atlanta Constitution", and traveling abroad. Eugenia Mandeville was raised with the finest, and her engagement, bridal parties bridal showers and wedding were no exception. 
Eugenia Mandeville #2
When Eugenia, above, became engaged to Homer Watkins, her impending wedding was highly publicized. Party after party and showers galore for the bride to be were in the Atlanta papers almost weekly.
And another.....

Although Eugenia was the eldest of the children of L.C. Mandeville, she was the last to marry, and the first to die. This obituary appeared in the Atlanta Constitiution on 1915.

What happened to this second Eugenia Mandeville? What illness could a newlywed woman suddenly have that would cause death so suddenly? Surely the community of Carrollton, Eugenia's new husband, her family, as well as all of the well-wishers present at the showers and parties for Eugenia and Homer were shocked. Surely there were questions? Could it be that Eugenia contracted Tuberculosis or pneumonia? Was her new groom and new life nothing like she expected? We will never know.
So there are the facts. There isn't one Eugenia, but two. 
Does the haunting of the Maple Street Mansion continue?

Thursday, February 12, 2015

The case of the missing Leonidas: A Genealogical Mystery Solved

Leonidas-what an incredible name. Any Mother who names her baby Leonidas, undoubtedly has huge aspirations for his life.

Paintng of King Leonidas that hangs in the Louvre in Paris
Meaning and History:
From Greek λεων (leon) "lion". Leonidas was a Spartan king of the 5th century BC who sacrificed his life defending the pass of Thermopylae from the Persians. This was also the name of a 3rd-century saint and martyr, the father of Origin, from Alexandria. Like a Lion.
Statue in Greece of Leonidas
King Leonidas was quite the guy, he even has his very own statue in Thermopylae, Greece. He is credited with leading the Spartans in their valiant fight with the Persians. All accounts say that despite the fact the Spartans lost, Leonidas sacrificed his life in the effort. His image has been captured in art, music and literature for centuries.
I was excited to find out that Leonidas was the name of my second great grand uncle, Leonidas Melvin Pentecost. I can imagine my third Great Grandmother, Polly Pentecost, sitting in her hospital bed, looking down into the face of her newborn son and proclaiming, hand and head lifted and gazing towards the heavens, "this child shall be known as Leonidas."  It's quite the "Lion King" moment. The offspring of pioneers, Leonidas  was born in Winder, Jackson, Georgia in 1823, The event of his birth was definitely a source of joy and pride for the young Pentecost family. The only problem with this vision is that Polly Pentecost gave birth to little Leonidas, the third of seven Pentecost boys, in a primitive log cabin in Georgia, and not a modern hospital, not under the most hygienic, private or safe of circumstances.  Surely she and my third great grandfather, John Wesley Pentecost, were thrilled with the gift of another healthy baby boy, and the promise that their lineage would flourish. Whether they knew the story of the Spartan King Leonidas or not, is unknown. (You can read about it at ) What they did know is that they had big dreams for their family, and this newborn son. Would Leonidas Pentecost fulfill the destiny of such a heroic name?
Leonidas Melvin Pentecost would become somewhat of a mystery, but would no doubt fulfill the definition of his name. My genealogist grandparents, Frank and Louise Hay Pentecost, who I've written about on many occasions, would study Leonidas life. Leonidas was one of eight Pentecost brothers. The Pentecost family, led a successful life, with their family home being located on the stage stop in Newnan, Georgia. They ran a profitable mercantile business and from what the census shows, somewhat of a primitive hotel for travelers. John Wesley was a veteran of the war of 1812, and leader during the Creek uprising of 1836. Upon his return from the latter conflict, John Wesley would fall ill and die shortly after his return home, most likely from his injuries. He left behind a wife and eight sons, the youngest, my great, great grandfather, Milford Eugene Pentecost,(you can read about Milford here) had not yet celebrated his third birthday. Nonetheless, brave and beautiful Polly would raise all eight boys, all alone, to adulthood. 
Seven of eight boys fought in the Civil War. Yes, that's correct, SEVEN. Polly would lose two of her sons during that conflict, Most likely breaking her heart. Now, back to Leonidas...Leonidas would graduate in 1855 from Georgia Medical College. 
Red circle shows Leonidas Pentecost name listed as a graduate
As reported by my grandparents in their Pentecost genealogy "There is a Tide Which...", Leonidas would enroll in the "Butler's True Blue's" also know as the 17th Alabama Infantry, Company K in September of 1861, and served valiantly till the end of the civil war. Although no evidence has been found to corroborate,  Leonidas most likely used his skills as a young physician during his time. Battles of Shiloh, Nashville, Franklin and Bentonville were part of the combat seen by the 17th Alabama regiment. In 1865, Leonidas was promoted from Lieutenant to Captain.  Nonetheless, Leonidas disappeared after the war, from all accounts, he never returned home to Polly and Georgia and his remaining brothers. He was assumed dead. 
Roster for Leonidas Pentecost
But alas, Dr. Leonidas M. Pentecost was not dead. Although he lived only a few more years, until 1867, Leonidas set up a new home and worked as a physician in Greenville, Alabama following the Civil war.  How do I know this? Because Leonidas is buried in Greenville, in what is now called Pioneer Cemetery-below is a record on file in the Cemetery office:
Burial Record

So, Leonidas fulfilled the aspirations his bold name offered-he lived the life of a lion, a Greek God, a warrior.He became a doctor, he served valiantly throughout the entire civil war, most likely providing medical care to his fellow soldiers.  However, why did Leonidas go to Greenville? This is a new mystery, and perhaps the stuff legends are made of...
Gate to Pioneer Cemetery, where Leonidas is buried