Westover is one of the great James River Plantation manor homes. After the Byrd family purchased the land, they undertook the spectacular monument meant to reflect their prestigious colonial position. The Byrd’s left their mark all over the land, from William Byrd II’s grave to powerful eagles adorning the carriage entrance gates. A nearby graveyard once attached to Westover Parish also contains Byrd family remains.
Beyond the tangible reminders, however, the Byrd’s left a much more ethereal, paranormal reminder behind. William Byrd II’s daughter Evelyn Byrd, the colonial beauty, who, according to tradition, caught King George I’s attention, causing him to comment about all of the beautiful birds in his Virginia colony, fell in love during her English visit. Her love choice, however, was not met with William’s pleasure. He demanded their separation, which sent Evelyn into despair.
Upon the Byrds’ return to Virginia, William became more detached and Evelyn fell into melancholy. She never married. She did cultivate at least one close friendship and that was with neighbor Anne Harrison. The pair made a pact stating that whoever died first would visit the other who remained alive.
That pact was put to the test just before Evelyn’s 30th birthday, she caught smallpox and died soon thereafter. Evelyn honored her agreement, and ever since that first meeting between ghost and living, Evelyn has been witnessed by many.
LINKS TO THE PODCAST:
PREVIOUS HALLOWEEN EPISODES:
- Haunted Tuckahoe
- Haunted Thoroughgood
- Grace Sherwood – The Witch of Pungo
- Haunted Shirley
- Haunted Rosewell
All photography used on this site is owned and copyrighted by the author unless otherwise noted. The featured image and subsequent images are from my various trips to Westover and Evelynton Plantations.
Music used for this episode – Louis Armstrong and the Mills Brothers,”Carry Me Back to Old Virginia” available on iTunes, and Kevin MacLeod “Vanished” found on Soundcloud.