The John Bachman house is a landmark that dates back to the early 1800s. The house is located in the Horse Creek area of Kingsport, Tennessee. The building was vacant for decades at a time on several occasions, but this seemingly forgotten place has an astounding background. At one time, this house was a famous “haunted” attraction.
Little is known of the home’s earliest history. It is a two-story southern colonial structure, originally brick with green shutters. It was John Bachman’s home during the Civil War. After the war, when martial law was declared against suspected southern sympathizers, Bachman ran into his home to flee a volley of bullets. The bullet holes in the brick facade were still visible in the 1940s.
John Bachman and his wife lived in the house until their deaths. The house and land was divided into three equal shares for their children. Eldridge H. Bachman paid his siblings for their interest and lived there next. Eldridge suffered a severe case of bronchial pneumonia and died in 1923. His son, Clarence, then became the owner. Newspapers reported the home was 125 years old at the time of Eldridge’s death.
The Bachman family gained a reputation for unusual deaths. Brothers Joseph and Nathan Bachman went to California during the gold rush. Joseph was lost at sea. Nathan attempted to break a spirited horse in his 80th year and was thrown. He fractured his thigh in the fall, but the fracture led to complications that killed him.
Bristol’s William Bachman went to the Pacific Northwest with his company in July 1907. He drowned when the excursion steamer, the SS Columbia, sank near Portland, Oregon. The Columbia collided with another ship called the San Pedro. Another Bachman, whose given name has been lost, was killed by Chinese laborers while out west.
Locals realized the history that lay behind the house around the Second World War. It was also clear the home held a tremendous amount of folklore and legend. A century of history also meant a century of strange and ghostly tales.
The most common tales revolved around noises. Legend said occupants frequently chased the sound of breaking glass. Anyone who searched for the broken object never found the damage. Other stories revealed that those in the home often heard a baby crying. If they chased the sound of the babe, it led them throughout the house and even out to the barn. Every time someone got close to the noise, it moved.
An ancient apple tree once sat beside the home. This was where a headless woman in white waited for someone who never came. If anyone drew near enough to the phantom lady to talk to her, she disappeared.
Columbus Hite lived behind the home in the late 1930s and had for around a decade. He admitted to hearing strange sounds coming from the home, but claimed it was nothing more than “chimney sweeps.” These birds, also called “chimney swifts,” are common throughout the eastern United States.
Joe Fleenor was the tenant in the main house when Hite granted the interviews. Fleenor said he didn’t believe the stories and they were likely started by a disgruntled tenant. The stories, however, began long before the home became a rented property.
Hite admitted that visitors made a regular trek to the home even when Kingsport was in its infancy. Even then, the home was an attraction for its mysterious events. Columbus Hite passed on in January of 1948. His wife Mollie passed in July of 1957.
Fortunately, the home’s historic merit never faded and the structure stands today.