After the story of the pink house was published earlier this year, I received an e-mail that reads as following:
"Hey Marina: Came across your blog, nice to see my family's house THE PINK HOUSE included with such odd and widely spread out property. I am the builder's great great grandson, my family still owns the house and I was just there for a visit last week!
The real story of the house is as or more interesting than the fictions that surround it"
The writer's name is Jay Woelfel and he kindly agreed to share the true story with you, my friends! Grab a cup of hot chocolate (it is COLDDDDD outside) and get ready for an amazing story shared by Jay!
The real story of the house is as, or more interesting than the fictions that surround it, I had not read the exact version of the ghost story that you republished here. Certainly there are many versions of the ghost story. Just as an example I'll address the version you have here. This version of the story mixes up the dates of events, the key thing being that Mary Frances Farnum drowned herself in 1857 and THE PINK HOUSE was not built until 1869.
The house where she lived and died outside of does still exist–though turned into apartments–and is about two short blocks away from THE PINK HOUSE. She drowned in a mill race which is long gone, however the river which fed into the mill race is still close by. Her family's fortune at the time was from lumber and they operated their own tannery not far from the main house. For some reason this house has never been the focus of any of the ghost stories, none of which probably existed at all until the death, much later of Beatrice Carpenter, who did drown accidentally in broad daylight in the fountain in front of the Pink House. She is my great aunt and her sister–born first not second–was/is my grandmother. I think after Beatrice's drowning people remembered the earlier suicide and the connections, many bogus, sprung up and continue to spring up.
As to the poem Pauline, we have contacted the relatives of the poem writer, Gordon, unfortunately they don't know anything else about that poem, as far as how much truth there is in it or not, besides a few facts that he did live in Wellsville around the time of Mary Frances' drowning. Which is too bad, it would be great if they had some of these love letters or photos of them together but they have nothing of that sort at all, nor any personal knowledge to say, yes the poem is true only the names changed…. I did find a copy of the published poem at the Pink House–though it doesn't have an inscription or anything of that sort in it.
We however have found her obituary and some notes between Mary Francis and E.B. HALL. The story I had always been told was that she suffered from periods of depression and died in a fit of depression –which is what the obituary also says by way of confirmation. Not too many years ago we found a little bible that is inscribed by her as a gift from her to E.B. Hall. Also tucked inside the Bible is a poem published at the time of her death. The title is NOTES ON A YOUNG WOMAN WHO DROWN HERSELF WHILE INSANE. There is no author's name on the poem. In another scrapbook of Hall's there is another copy of the same poem. It might be natural to assume that Pauline author Gordon wrote this, but it is not collected in any of his books of poetry.
There are no records indicating that she was ever actually engaged to E.B. HALL or to Gordon or anyone else. EB Hall and his wife Antoinette, her sister, kept remembrances of her all their lives. The story you repost here seems to paint both of them in a rather poor light, it was in fact about two years later that they actually married. Mary Francis is in fact buried right along side the rest of the family and doesn't seem to have been "punished" or banished by the family for drowning herself. One of her other surviving sisters was struck with Polio and was cared for her whole life by the whole family and did spend half her time at the Pink House and half her time at that previously mentioned house down the block. Later in the town's history a corner stone was created and E.B.Hall contributed some items along with a note saying "I love life so much I wish I could live forever." At the top of the stairs as you enter the house there has always been a statue of HEBE holding a cup of life giving water out for guests. E. B. HALL's quiet personality, passion for science and nature and perhaps most of all his house still stand for this motto. Anyway there are just some of the bits of the pieces we have turned up over the years and have solid evidence of.
best, Jay Woelfel
What a wonderful story from a person who is really involved in the amazing history of THE PINK HOUSE! Thank you so much, Jay for taking the time to share it with everyone!
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