Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Anne Coleman & Ten Cent Jimmy Buchanan

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket
Image from Inn 422

The Inn 422 of Lebanon in Pennsylvania's Dutch Country is built on the foundations of the old Coleman mansion, which was razed for the current building in 1880. And therein lies our spook tale.

The original house was built for Anne Coleman, the daughter of ironmaster Robert and his wife Ann. It was a graduation present to her after earning her sheepskin at Dickinson College in the early 1800s. Her beau was one James "Ten Cent Jimmy" Buchanan.

Her father knew him well, having expelled him from Dickinson while a trustee (although later relenting and allowing him to graduate.) Their love grew while Anne's parents seethed. Marriages were arranged back in the day, and James was no fit match for Anne in her family's eyes. The Colemans were thought to be the richest family in Pennsylvania at the time and they considered Buchanan nothing more than a bald faced fortune hunter.

James went to Philadelphia on business for two weeks, and a distraught Anne received not a single love letter from him while he was away. They had been intercepted by her mother. On the way back home, he stopped at a client's house, and to his surprise an old flame was there.

Though James had no interest whatsoever in her, she made sure to let Anne know that he stopped to see her first in a bit of catty oneupmanship. Worked into a lover's lather, Anne refused to see James when he finally came calling on her and instead went off to her sister's home. She was hysterical, and a doctor prescribed some laudanum, an opiate, to calm her nerves. Anne OD'ed on it and died. No one's sure to this day if she committed suicide or just made an error in the dosage.

James was shattered at her death and remained a bachelor until his dying day. He hung her picture over the mantel of his Wheatland home and it still hangs there today. His last wish was that all his letters from Anne which he had kept for 50 years be destroyed.

But the man her parents thought a neer do well ended up doing OK for himself - he became America's 15th President. As for Anne, she's still at the old Coleman house, now haunting the Inn 422. She's been seen roaming the rooms in the B&B, and still does her house chores - extinguishing candles, opening and closing doors & windows, straightening the beds & fluffing pillows. If not for her meddling parents, she could be haunting the White House instead.

No comments: