Westover Plantation

Evelyn Byrd

Evelyn Byrd was the elder daughter of of William Byrd II and his first wife Lucy Parke. When she was 18, Evelyn was sent to London and presented at court, and sometime thereafter, she fell in love with a englishman, some say a Catholic. Her father, William Byrd II, disapproved of the match AND brought his daughter home to Virginia, where she died of a broken heart. She is buried next to her grandmother and grandfather (William Byrd I) in the cemetery ¼ mile upriver and to the west of the house (visitors can enjoy the lovely walk up there and view the graves). Evelyn Byrd had an agreement with her friend, Anne Harrison of Berkeley, that the first one of them to die would try to return to visit the other, but in a way not to frighten anyone. Evelyn died first and over the years has been seen in and near the house by many visitors. She is friendly!

Ghost Stories

Evelyn Byrd's first appearance, after the present owner came here, was to a young girl staying in the northwest bedroom on the 2nd floor. The girl awoke and saw a lady with corkscrew curls kneeling at the foot of her bed. She looked away to see if her roommate was still there; when she looked back, the lady had vanished. The girl was not frightened by this; she just turned over and went back to sleep. The lady had been wearing a green velvet dress, trimmed with old lace.

Evelyn was also seen by a maid, who was sitting in the kitchen. She looked up and saw a lady in a long white dress on the steps to the pantry. Before she could decide who this person was, the lady had vanished.

In another incident, a butler stepped aside in the passage under the first floor stairs to let a lady pass. He thought it was Mrs. Crane, but seeing her outside the window, he searched the 1st floor and found no one.

Once, in Mrs. Ramsey's time, a workman came back after lunch into a room on the 3rd floor where he had been working and saw a lady standing before a mirror. He returned to the kitchen, not alarmed but indignant that he had not been told that the room was occupied. It was hard to convince him that the family was away and that there was no one in the house.

Evelyn has also been seen outside near the garden and on the lawn.

Twice recently, in the middle of the night, she has come through the northwest guest bedroom. The first time, the guest thought it was Mrs. Fisher going to the bathroom. The guest was shocked when Mrs. Fisher told her the next morning that it was not she as she used a bathroom off of her own bedroom, on the opposite side of the house. The second time, a young man who had never heard of Evelyn was indignant that one of the ladies of the house came into his room at night. For both guests, it was their first night at Westover.

Several years ago, someone came here who told of a tourist who had taken a picture of what he presumed to be a hostess in costume. When his films were developed, there was no one in the picture.

Perhaps the reason people are not frightened by Evelyn is because she appears to them to be a real person, not an apparition, and they are only mystified when she disappears.


Evelyn Byrd

Evelyn Byrd