The Bruton Parish Church is the oldest building in Colonial Williamsburg; construction on the building was completed in 1683. It served as a hospital during the Civil War, and later as a mass burial site for about 100 confederate soldiers killed during the Battle of Williamsburg. Surrounding the church you will find a beautiful cemetery with graves marked from the 17th century to the 20th century. Each grave has its own story, from the unknown confederate soldiers to one of the church’s colonial reverends, by the name of Scervant Jones who is buried here with his first wife here. Reverend Jones and his wife were expecting their first child. Sadly, there were complications during labor and the doctor informed him that she was not going to survive. While she was on her deathbed, he proclaimed his undying love for her. He told her how he could never imagine life without her, nor could he ever be with another woman, and asked her to wait for him so they could reunite in heaven. He had her buried in the church cemetery. Shortly after her death, he left town for a while.
Just three months after her death, Reverend Jones rode back into town in a carriage, with his dead wife’s tombstone. During this time, witnesses saw the wife, who had died and was buried, roaming the church cemetery grounds, and even sitting in the church pew. It is said that she was patiently waiting to reunite with her husband. But once he returned three months later, he brought something else with him… it was his new wife! Almost immediately upon the arrival of Reverend Jones and his new wife, people continued to see the apparition of the original Mrs. Jones throughout the church building and the graveyard, only now. she was very upset by the new wife and was seen crying and wailing, angry over his broken oath.
To add insult to injury, Rev. Jones had his new wife’s grave plot placed in between him and his first wife. Not only did Rev. Jones find a new wife, his resting place is separated from his first wife by another woman. The Joneses are still buried here in Bruton Parish Church’s graveyard. Sometimes, late at night, the church organ can be heard playing on its own when nobody is inside. People still hear the anguished cries of Reverend Jones’ broken-‐ hearted first wife and see her roaming the graveyard. Additionally, the curtains inside the church flutter and move without explanation.
A second story comes from the side entrance to the church from two security guards. Late one night, two Colonial Williamsburg Security guards were sitting in their patrol car, and saw a man walking up from the palace green along the road towards the church. He was described as a tall, shadowy figure dressed in cardboard black suit with a vest. He had a strangely elongated neck, but what surprised them most was that he had red, glowing eyes. (It is often thought that ghosts with elongated necks were likely hanged in life… we have not been able to find any historical evidence to point to someone having been hanged near this place at all – the gallows were actually located some distance away from here on Capitol Landing Road. It is still interesting; nonetheless, to wonder why this apparition appeared the way he did…). As security was watching, they saw him duck behind this tree and the brick wall.
They assumed that he must have used the tree to jump over the wall, and entered the cemetery in search of him. When they entered the church cemetery, he had vanished. They looked all around, but couldn’t find him. They thought they heard the sound of the church door closing, and believed the man somehow made his way inside the church. When they arrived at the main entrance, it was locked. Determined to catch this intruder, they unlocked the door and entered the church. As they allowed their eyes a chance to adjust to the dark, they heard a strange sound: it was described as being sort of a whoosh-‐thud, whoosh-‐thud. Once they turned on their flashlights, they could clearly see what was causing the noise: the hymnals were seen to levitate up from the church pews, fly across the room, and hit the wall. Needless to say, they decided to flee the church! You can certainly imagine that working for security in a town like Williamsburg, they definitely have to know when they have gone beyond their jurisdiction and into that of the strange things that “go bump in the night”.
“Confederate Soldier” unknown soldier tombstones, above, are the resting places of two Confederate Soldiers who died near or in the Church on May 5, 1862 during the Battle of Williamsburg. More than 50 other Civil War soldiers were laid to rest in a mass burial site in the Cemetery.