Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thinking of Frankie Silver...and a Potential Setting

On Friday I traveled to Morganton, a charming town about two hours to the east, to meet a traveling ex-sister-in-law and have lunch.  We wandered about the town and I was reminded that this was where, in 1833, the teen-aged Frankie Silver was hanged for the axe murder of her husband. 

Some say she was innocent; others say her husband Charlie needed killing.  But the jury found her guilty and she was hanged from an oak tree (or a scaffold -- opinions vary here too) that stood on the hill where the beautiful present day courthouse stands. 

Sharyn McCrumb tells her moving version of the story in the carefully researched  novel  The Ballad of Frankie Silver.
The courthhouse was built after the hanging so I didn't go looking for ghosts.

But I did see a wonderful looking house that I may have more to say about later -- can't you just see a distraught young woman in a nightdress, running for the gate in the middle of the night? Long hair flowing, of course, and possibly holding a candlabra  with burning candles...

And what's in that tower room?
As always, when I photograph fancy buildings, I think of Merisi.

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25 comments:

Pat in east TN said...

What a beautiful house and I hope to hear more about it. There has to be a story there?

I read Sharyn McCrumb's book and really enjoyed it, but then I'm a big fan of hers.

Bouncin' Barb said...

Imagination is a beautiful thing!

Jean Baardsen said...

Love that house beyond the gate! Your photos tell stories in and of themselves. Great inspiration for your writing!

Brian Miller said...

the history sounds intriguing...might have to pic up that book...lovely house...

Merisi said...

Oh, thank you, Vickie,
I am blushing! ;-)

Such a sad story,
a teenage (!) girl, killing her husband, dead by hanging!
Sounds barbaric, even if she killed him. I wonder what she had to live through in her short life.

The elegant mansion immediately called to mind "Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again," Daphne du Maurier first line of her novel "Rebecca". I am looking forward to hear what you will tell as about it!

A wonderful Sunday to you,
Merisi

Louise said...

That house is just built to have a story created around it.

Vicki Lane said...

Oh the embarrassment! I've changed it now but I said Rutherfordton instead of Morganton in the post. And Sharyn McCrumb, her own self, sweetly corrected me on Facebook.

I don't know why but I get those two names mixed up . . . so it's MORGANTON that I visited and MORGANTON where Frankie Silver was hanged.

Yes, Merisi, I thought of Manderly too!

Kaye Barley said...

Beautiful!!

I'm a fool for wonderful old buildings, and this house certainly fits the bill. I can't wait to read its story.

Martin H. said...

Very atmospheric. You know, when we lived in Cornwall, Menabilly was a favourite haunt of ours. the house was, in part, the inspiration for Manderley.

Mama-Bug said...

Vicki my imagination is running wild! Sounds like a good story to me. Love the old courthouse.

Friko said...

I'm not sure I'd like to read the story of a beautiful young girl being hanged.
Nightmares would follow me for days afterwards.

Joan said...

What a wonderful post Vicki. A sad tale of hanging and a wonderful house.

Star said...

Yes, there's nothing like an old mansion to get the creative juices going, is there. I love a good murder story.
Interesting architectural pictures today Vicki.

June said...

The front porch of the courthouse looks made for hangings. Is there a trapdoor in the floor there?

Helen T in SC said...

"Ballad of Frankie Silver" is my favorite Sharyn McCrumb novel. Thankfully I got her to sign a copy a few years ago when I met her. I love the gothic tone of your possible storyline. Keep going with it.

Kristen Haskell said...

Such beautiful buildings. I love the home with the tower, it reminds me of the haunted castle at Disneyland. I can totally see a woman with the candlabra. That house would make a great setting for a nice ghost story.

Anonymous said...

If you check out Sharyn McCrumb's Facebook page you'll find a photo of Frankie Silver's grave site.

Lynne in GA

Brenda said...

Frankie Silver was hanged in Morganton?? How have I worked there for 15 years and not known this?? My goodness, the things I learn from your blog. I LOVE that house, and it sets my imagination afire too. Some of my coworkers told me the story once. I've forgotten it though. I think the stories I conjured up on my own must have been more interesting.

Darla said...

Intriguing...can't wait to read what you come up with!

Vicki Lane said...

Martin, I'm consumed with jealousy. I would love to see Menabilly!

SHE WALKS THESE HILLS is still my favorite McCrumb novel. But I loved her take on the Frankie Silver story and thought it was entirely plausible.

Yes, Appalachian Gothic is the direction in which Herself is gently nudging me. No specifics yet, but I've been busy which is why I haven't come visiting the past few days.

Pat in east TN said...

SHE WALKS THESE HILLS was the first Sharyn McCrumb book I had read and still a top favorite along with THE ROSEWOOD CASKET.

Tipper said...

I've always been interested in Frankie Silver-a fascinating story indeed.

Kath said...

There isn't a day that goes by that you don't inspire me to look wider in my world!! Thank you.

LOL. sort of. The administration buildings of my alma mater were built on the same spot/hill where the town hanging tree used to be. Uh huh.
Kath
kath-lettersfromearth.blogspot.com

Reader Wil said...

Those houses are very beautiful and interesting! Thanks for showing.

J_on_tour@jayzspaze said...

Nice post, great photos and an outstanding final picture.