SD_RememberingSuwannee Photo - Luraville - Perry McIntosh House.jpg

Lura Irvine’s is said to still haunt the old McIntosh house in Luraville.

Today, we continue some ghost stories related to Suwannee County that I have heard or read about over the years…

Eric Musgrove

Eric Musgrove

Another local ghost story is that of Lura Irvine. Lura Irvine was born in October 1873, the daughter of Washington Lafayette Irvine and his wife. Mr. Irvine established Luraville around 1878 along with a ferry just downriver from the current Hal Adams Bridge on Highway 51 and named the community after his daughter. He also ran other businesses, including a steam sawmill, grist mill, ginning establishments and a post office. Lura’s parents died while she was still young (Washington himself died in 1882). She was cared for by Dr. Perry McIntosh, a cousin on her father’s side and uncle by marriage on her mother’s side, who were the famous Iveys of the Branford area.

Unfortunately, Lura was horribly burned in a girl’s dormitory fire in 1888. According to one source, she stepped on a lit match in the school dormitory and her dress caught on fire. She was brought back to Luraville and cared for by Dr. McIntosh, but died of her injuries on Dec. 26 of the same year. It is said that her ghost still roams around the old McIntosh house, which sits on the corner of Highway 51 and Luraville Road today. The persistent rumors of Lura’s ghost actually led me to be contacted several years ago by professional ghost hunters for information on the family; I never heard the results of their research, but they were extremely interested in the story.

SD_RememberingSuwannee Photo - Bridge - Suwannee Springs - 1974 - April.jpg

Rumor has it that there is a ghost or witch that haunts the old Suwannee Springs bridge at night.

Rumor also has it that there is a ghost or witch that haunts the old Suwannee Springs bridge north of Live Oak at night. The nearby Sulphur springs were once thought to have special healing properties, and for many years Native Americans and their European successors traveled there to recuperate. Perhaps the ghost witch is looking for something or someone to put into her otherworldly potions?

Another ghost story concerns a young boy who was going fishing to his favorite waterhole on the banks of the Suwannee River. When he got there, he met another boy about his age. The two hit it off and chatted the rest of the afternoon as they fished down at the river. The boy returned home, and a couple days later came back to his fishing spot at the river. There, a man stood sadly and informed the boy that he was honoring his dead son, who had drowned in the river at the very spot eight years before. When the man showed the boy the picture of his son, the boy realized that it was the same one with whom he was fishing and talking to only days before…

A related story, and perhaps the origin for it, talked about a boy who was the youngest of six children. His father, burdened by the expense of so many kids, drowned the son during a fishing trip. Since then, the young boy has been haunting the river, seeking friends to spend eternity with him.

In 2009, a 6-year-old boy jumped into the river near Dowling Park and Bell. While trying to rescue the child, his step-mom felt something drag them both into the water. After she escaped whatever was drawing her down, she saw a pale child watch them from the riverbank. The pale child watched the 6-year-old while the step-mother resuscitated him, but disappeared when the stepson began breathing on his own again. Perhaps the ghost was looking for an eternal playmate…

Back to normal historical stories next week!

Eric Musgrove can be reached at ericm@suwgov.org or 386-362-0564.

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