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John David Mongin House, 1797, Savannah

a haunted house

One of just a handful of 18th-century houses remaining in Savannah, the Mongin House (known for a time as the Capital Dwelling House and now known as the Mongin-Carswell House) was relocated here from another lot on Warren Square and remodeled to its present condition in 1964. Mongin (1763-1833) set about building it as soon as he arrived in Savannah from Daufuskie Island SC. He was a successful merchant but records of his industry in Savannah are quite sparse.

It’s not so much the house that has an unsavory past, it’s the Mongin family themselves. John Mongin built home in 1797 shortly after he married Sarah Watts who owned land on Daufuskie Island. Talk about marrying up. John became a very successful Plantation owner and mysteriously, plantations all over the Daufuskie Island would burn to the ground. John was more than happy to swoop in and buy the disheveled property and help the poor family out resulting in him owning 11 out of 12 plantations on the island.

To run that much land, he had plenty of slaves. Hundreds of them in fact. Most of his slaves did come from West Africa. Most of them it is said practiced an old religion called Hoodoo. John and his family often practiced with them. After the family past away they laid John to rest in a cript on Daufuskie Island that was built to mimic the pyramids of ancient Egypt. At some point the owners of Bonaventure Cemetery decided that the monument needed to be moved and had the entire crypt shipped right to Bonaventure Cemetery. Grave robbers would come shortly after. They pried the door open, let themselves in, and stole not only the heirlooms but the Mongin family themselves. In Hoodoo rituals, human remains are often used. Even in death the family may be still a part of Hoodoo.

The ghostly shadows in the windows may be the souls that are at unease after there remains had been scattered. Keep an eye on the roof, often you will see a woman standing in the night crying. Is this Miss Mongin looking for her lost love? Or one of the enslaved people crying for their lost freedom?

The house also served as a hospital during the 1876 yellow fever outbreak and a rectory for Christ Church.