Clayton House

Historic (Haunted) Places! The Clayton House at 514 North 6th Street in Fort Smith was built in 1852 by a Mr. Sutton who abandoned the home during the Civil War for the greener pastures of Texas. After which, the house served as a Union Army hospital. William Henry Harrison Clayton purchased the home, enlarged and renovated it in the Victorian Gothic Italianate style, and moved in with his family in 1882. Clayton was appointed District Attorney of the United States for the Western District of Arkansas by President Ulysses S. Grant in 1874. He served two terms as prosecutor, during which he was “Hanging” Judge Parker's co-worker for 14 years. William Clayton’s brother was Powell Clayton who served as the ninth Governor of Arkansas, and his twin brother, John K. Clayton, was a U. S. Senator from Arkansas in 1873 (who was mysteriously assassinated after losing an election. Thanks to the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program’s “Arkansas’s Haunted Historic Homes,” we know some specific ghost stories to share about the Clayton House, which is now The Clayton House Museum. The museum’s executive director, Julie Moncrief, shared some stories about the house.

 Ghost Story #1 as told by Julie Moncrief: “Our stories about the paranormal have come mainly from people who worked [in the Clayton House] and from guests . . . ‘The Tall Angry Man’ is tall, he’s wearing black and he looks very angry in the face. He has some kind of hat on, it could be a top hat. He stalks angrily. The last person who saw ‘The Tall Angry Man’ was a new board member who was helping us one night as we held some paranormal tours. [The Board Member] was sitting on the front porch to greet people as they came in. He saw a man in what he thought was period costume peek his head around the corner of the house and stare. The board member got up because he thought the man was just dressed for Halloween and needed help finding the entry to the house, so he got up and went around the house to speak to the man and realized he’d disappeared and was nowhere in sight. The Board Member really got goosebumps when the staff told him that no, that man is our resident ghost.

Ghost Story #2 as told by Julie Moncrief: “’The Woman in the Brown Dress,’” stands still and is very peaceful. She has gray hair pulled back in a bun, and she’s been seen by many people. It could be Mrs. Clayton, it could be Emma High who owned it as a boarding house, it may be a nurse from the Civil War, who knows? They think that they may have caught the brown lady on film after some damage was done to the house several years ago. A board member was taking photographs of the kitchen and servants quarters area of the house, and came up with this photograph you see here. If you look carefully, you can see the figure of a woman standing in the window.”


For more information, visit the Clayton House Museum in Fort Smith.