The more historic and tragic a site, the more common it is to find legends of its hauntings. While there are many historic sites with a tragic history it seems that it is even more common to find rumors of hauntings associated with a historic site because a significant historic figure came to that location at one point.

The association of a historical figure with that site immediately stirs to consciousness that the individual may be haunting that site. This brings the history alive for many today. A renowned example of this thinking is the historic figure Thomas Jefferson, he drafted the Declaration of Independence, Founded Virginia College and built Monticello to name a few amazing feats. Today people claim to encounter his ghost everywhere from Constitution Hall in Pennsylvania to Boston to his former estate of Monticello.

In Central New York General Nicholas Herkimer experiences a similar stature. His career began during the French and Indian War as he assisted in the defense of German Flatts and was subsequently made captain in the militia in 1758. It wasn’t until 1777 with the siege of Fort Stanwix did General Herkimer find one of the most influential moments in Colonial New York. Herkimer led the Tryon County Militia on a march from Fort Dayton to save Fort Stanwix and were ambushed by a force of British Regulars at what is now know as the Battle of Oriskany. Herkimer was wounded at the battle and despite his wound he kept command of his troops to prevent further losses. He was brought back to Herkimer Home where he died from an amateur amputation.

Today people report witnessing his ghost at German Flatts, Fort Dayton, the Oriskany Battlefield and his home in Little Falls. While many credit Herkimer himself for haunting the Herkimer Home State Site it is important to note that Herkimer used his home on the Erie Canal as a travelers’ inn for refugees, those passing through the violent frontier. The site was constructed in 1764 and experienced violent raids by native tribes, countless travelers and a number of deaths as a frontier home. This can account for the numerous apparitions that are witnessed at night on the grounds, the phantom voices of women and numerous report of ghostly activity at the site.

While a site my attain recognition for the historic figures that may have visited a location it may not be that figure that is haunting the site but without those historic figures believed to haunt the locations many sites would have fewer reports and legends associated with them.

Article contributed by the NY Shadowchasers.