Lockport Union-Sun & Journal Online


September 25, 2008

MARJIM MANOR: House has history of hauntings

APPLETON — Throughout its history, the large, two-story Marjim Manor has seen its share of tragedy and heartache.

Since buying the property in 2003, Margo Sue Bittner has looked through old newspaper articles and historical records, piecing together the history of the house.

The ghost stories associated with the home all have their roots in that history, she said.

“I love this house as much as (the ghosts) do,” she said. “I’m restoring it back to what it was, and they seem to really like that. They seem to really like the fact that I’m (interested in) the actual history.”

The story begins with Shubal Scudder Merritt, who bought the land in 1834 and began building a home, which he called Appleton Hall.

Shubal’s wife, Sophia, was with relatives in New York City when the home was being built. She visited the building site once, then returned to New York City, where she died before the building was completed.

Shubal moved into Appleton Hall with his daughters, Phoebe Sophia and Cordelia, and his son, Lewis.

Lewis is said to have had a rock garden on the property, centered around a 500-pound rock called the “Morgan Stone.” The stone was said to have been tied to a man named William Morgan when he was thrown into the Niagara River after he threatened to reveal the secrets of the Masons.

As the legend goes, William Morgan walks the grounds, searching for his stone, Bittner said.

Lewis was the first to die in the home, the victim of an accidental shooting.

One Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m., Shubal was cleaning his gun in the living room when Lewis walked through the French doors. His father turned around to face him, and the gun discharged, killing Lewis.

Bittner said Shubal ordered the doors to be shut for good. Every day at 3 p.m., Shubal would walk through the house calling for his son — and on Thursdays at 3 p.m., the French doors would mysteriously swing open.

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