KING'S TAVERN

613 Jefferson Street, Natchez, MS

Status: Heritage Property, Former Restaurant (Permanently Closed)

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History

This is the oldest building in Natchez having been part of a fort that once guarded the territory from any British attempt to cross the river in pre-Revolutionary days. After the Revolution the building was converted into an inn and tavern.

In a strange paradox, highwaymen would pray on the travelers outside of town - who had just stayed in the inn – and then come back into town and spend the money they had stolen. Thus, they became a needed part of both the inn’s and town’s economy.

In the 1930’s 3 bodies – 2 men and 1 woman – were found behind the stone fireplace during a renovation.

In 1873 the building became a private home until the 1970’s when it converted back into a tavern. In 2013 it was bought by a famous chef and became quite popular.

Unfortunately, the economic disruption caused by Covid-19 has resulted in the restaurant closing down permanently.

 

Paranormal Activity

Neither of the men walled up in the fireplace has been identified but the woman is thought to be Madeline; a former mistress of the tavern’s original owner Richard King. Her remains were found with a jeweled dagger which is thought to be the weapon used to murder her.

Many people believe that King’s wife upon discovering the affair murdered Madeline and sealed her up in the wall.

The apparition of Madeline has been seen many times in the building – she is more common on the second floor where the inn rooms used to be. She likes to play jokes on people – especially the staff – by rocking the chairs, knocking over jars, throwing things and pouring water from the ceiling.

Her phantom footsteps have been seen going across a wet floor. She likes to turn lights and faucets off and on. Her voice has been heard and recorded when there are no other women present in the room. Madeline is also known for opening stuck doors and closing them again when her name is said.

One of the highwaymen – Big Harpe - was a truly evil piece of crap. He was known for torturing his victims before killing them. While he may or may not haunt the building one of his particularly heinous actions has left paranormal activity that has echoed through to the present.

According to legend Harpe was drinking in the bar and became angry with a woman whose baby kept crying. He eventually took the baby from their mother and either shook it or smacked the baby off of the wall or floor. Either way the end result was the same. The phantom sounds of a baby crying is often heard throughout the building.

The apparition of a man in black that witnesses describe as having a strong aura of evil – perhaps he is Big Harpe himself – is seen. He is often seen in photos of people in front of the fireplace the bodies were found behind – perhaps he’s one of the murder victims.

He’s also said to be responsible for people feeling pressure on their chests and shoulders. Like Madeline he’s been known to throw things but where Madeline is fun this man is aggressive and angry. He’s also seen in a mirror in a former bedroom on the second floor.