The Harris Moody Brick sat on more than 2,300 acres when it was purchased by the Moodys in 1873, and the Moody family lived in the home until Judge Moody moved to Scottsboro about 1917. It was then occupied by families that managed the farm the next 70+ years. Paralee Moody was born in the home in 1902 and always referred to the brick as a friendly old place. She continued to drive out with her sister to see the restoration progress all the way up until she died at the age of 101.
The Harris Moody Brick has some entertaining ghost stories that repeat themselves and continue to build now that the vandals of the 1980’s have matured and want to be called “ghost hunters” and known for acts other than all but destroying the residence, family cemetery, and farm buildings after the last farm manager, Grady Hambrick, and his family moved out.
Several myths and their rebuttals are presented that indicate not only is American History being misquoted by the ghost hunters but the actual history of the residence is not known.
- It has been said that Harris chained and shackled his slaves in the basement and that night time visitors of the 1980’s could hear the ghosts rattling their chains. When the house burned in April 1888 and when it was rebuilt a brick smoke house was added to the back of the house. The smoke house had an outside entrance and a dirt floor. It was in the smoke house that chains were used for hanging meat to be cured and not used for shackling slaves as the smoke house was added 30 years after the Civil War. One visitor said that they brought their girl friends out to hear the chains rattling and upon hearing the chains rattling the girls would scream, but it was actually granddaddy’s logging chains which a buddy rattled.
- A visiting Moody family member said she wanted to see the horse hoof prints on the stair treads from when the Yankees took their horses upstairs. The stair cases burned when the house burned in 1888, so no horse hoof prints.
- Hambrick family members said they were told the house was used as a Union Civil Was hospital. Bridgeport was a large Union hospital camp and Stevenson was to a lesser extent following the 1863 Chattanooga campaign and onward. Union soldiers were first treated in Chattanooga and then sent by train to Bridgeport where surgery was performed and patients received care until they could be transported by rail to Nashville (on the NC&StL railroad). The “Widow Harris” house, as it was known during the Civil War, was over seven miles from the Memphis Charleston Railroad. Union hospitalized soldiers were not sent to Memphis and if so, probably would have bled to death before reaching the Widow Harris house as a result of the mule and wagon ride from the railroad. One ghost hunter story is that when the house was a hospital, amputated arms and legs are buried under the driveway of the house. There are no arms and legs buried under the driveway as the house was not used as a hospital during the Civil War and the driveway dates to 2006.
- The Sanders family tells a story that their ancestor was murdered and buried on the Moody family farm during the Civil War. Today, the Sanders family have a cemetery located about a half mile from the brick which could have been the location of the murder and burial of the mule, but not at the brick itself, as the Harris farm was more than 2,300 acres at the time of this family story.