Germantown is a section of Philadelphia bordering the northwest suburbs of the city. Within Germantown is tiny little area called Wister. That’s a name you’ll hear quite a bit as we spend our time together today because of a very famous old house along Germantown Avenue, built by German immigrant John Wister in 1744.
This 275 year old home has ties to the revolutionary war, science and horticulture. It’s much more than a house with a funny name; it was occupied by British Brigadier General James Agnew during the Battle of Germantown in 1777. It’s also the house where he died, leaving blood stains on the parlor floor which are still visible today and the cause of legends about the ghost of General Agnew haunting Grumblethorpe mansion.
This is part one of the Ghosts of Germantown: John Wister’s Big House, or Grumblethorpe, a 275 year old piece of Philadelphia history filled with ghost stories!
Research sources for this episode include:
- Sally Wister’s Journal: A True Narrative Being A Quaker Maiden’s Account Of Her Experiences With Officers Of The Continental Army, 1777-1778 (click this link to order her journal on Amazon)
- The Philadelphia Society for the Preservation of Landmarks
- The Surprise of Germantown by Thomas McGuire
- Philadelphia Inquirer and Inquirer Archives
- The Pennsylvania Packet of 1778
- Philadelphia Sun Times 1902
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