Maplewood History: You Can’t Keep a Good Man Down or Remember James Sutton? He’s Baaack and He’s Not Alone.


Special Halloween Edition

Once again it’s the time of year when many of our neighbors are dressing themselves in costumes designed to scare you witless. The distraction is disrupting to those of us who are trying to prepare for the zombie apocalypse that we know is coming.  All sizes of ghouls and goblins will inhabit our streets and living rooms tonight.  Most are in search of candy and treats or just a good time.  The supernatural to them…ain’t.  Be alert if you’ll be out roaming the streets in one of our historic neighborhoods.  Was that a face or just a reflection at that unlighted second story window?  The following story is not a work of fiction.

A few years ago I received this email:

“Hi Doug,

This is going to sound a little off the wall, but here it goes anyway. I live at (here she provided her address that I have removed due to concern for her privacy) and have lived there for about 17 years. We have 2 ghosts, a man and a woman, that reside in our home. No joke. I have seen them, my daughter has seen them…anyway, the man in our house walks around a lot and sometimes at night he wakes me up. One night I said to him “James, you need to go stand still or go away…” I have no idea what made me call him James, but it seemed like that was his name. The woman walks around too, she is a little more reclusive and sometimes she has a cat with her. One night I heard someone call the name “Ann”. My middle name is Ann and when I was little and I would be in trouble I would hear them call my full name, so anytime I hear the word “Ann” I usually assume I am in trouble and I really pay attention.

We had no idea about the history of our house. We had no idea about the property at all…until yesterday at Central Library we found the New Atlas of the City and County of St. Louis and located our property on it….and saw that it was owned at that time by James C. Sutton Est.

Anyway, I am looking for more info on them and didn’t know if you could help me. I came across your blog and thought it was worth a shot. My daughter and I are very interested in finding out more about the people who sometimes reside in our home.

And if you don’t believe that there are ghosts that is totally fine. But they are there. She is quiet and very reclusive….he is one that paces….and sometimes I have to yell at him. My daughter has gotten onto him before too. I swear we are not crazy people!”

I remember telling her that the location of her home was very close to the location of James Sutton’s cabin (the first building on the property that would one day become Maplewood).  Additionally James wife’s name was Ann.  Her research had not discovered that bit of information.  She asked me if I had photos of them. I did and provided her with copies. Her reply follows:

“The man in that photo is the man in my house. The woman in the house is younger than the woman in that photo and she wears a dress that has a higher collar. Do you have a photo of Ann when she was younger?

The cave thing is very interesting. I would love to know more about it and maybe meet up with you to talk sometime if you are free to do so.

Do you know anything about the children of James and Ann? My neighbor’s son told me that they have two ghosts of children in their house. He has seen them and so has his younger brothers. They also hear a baby crying in their house.

Thanks for all the info! This is so fascinating……”

Regarding the “cave thing” she mentions, I had sent her a link to my blog post about the Sutton Cave which is so close to where she lives it could conceivably be beneath her home. I also did not have pictures of Ann Sutton when she was younger. That was the last contact I had with this woman.

She is obviously very serious and I respect that.  My own feeling is just because I have never seen anything that I thought might be a ghost doesn’t mean that no one else has either.  I do not think folks with experiences like this woman’s are crazy.  I think they somehow see things that I either can’t or just haven’t.

Frankly I would love to see a ghost.  I think no community can have too many of them.  I would especially like to see one of our own ghosts; the 10 foot tall Maplewood Spectre recently featured in the street play, the Maplewood/Shakespeare adaptation, “Remember Me”.  So Spectre, if you’re out there, I’m a receptive audience.

I find it especially interesting that the ghost named Ann sometimes appeared with her cat.  A ghost cat!  How cool is that?  Who else has one of those?

Happy Halloween!

Doug Houser October 31, 2016


In case you were wondering how I know the location of James' cabin. This is from an 1881 map that was copied on Dec. 25, 1925 by Jas. Sutton Harrison. He must have been a grandson of James who died in 1877. Harrison was the married name of James' daughter, Sarah. Interesting parts of her mansion still exist within the J.B.Smith Funeral Parlor building.
In case you were wondering how I know the location of James’ cabin. This is from an 1881 map that was copied on Dec. 25, 1925 by Jas. Sutton Harrison. He must have been a grandson of James (who died in 1877).  I believe the cabin notation was made by him in 1925. Harrison was the married name of James’ daughter, Sarah. Interesting parts of her mansion still exist within the J.B.Smith Funeral Parlor building.


  1. Dear Doug, i live on comfort ave. And my home is haunted…i have plenty of pictures & video since i have lived there going on 5 yrs now.
    I’ve even contacted you in the past to see if you could validate some of the story about the home.

    • I’m really curious, Donna. What have you captured in pictures and video? Sounds very interesting. What, also, have you witnessed? Oooooohhhh, I love good ghost stories.

  2. I firmly believe in spirits…….both good and bad. My family had a lively and playful little poltergeist in their house years ago, in Houston, TX. It was my great aunt and uncle who lived their (she being the daughter of Irish immigrants from County Cork.) Their ghost would love to pull the covers off of them, when they were in bed….and would sit on their dressers in the room. My mother also had an encounter once when she visited. Next day when she told her aunt…she said, well Peggy, I never told you this, but we do have a ghost here in this house……so me having some Irish in me, I also believe. Altho’ I am like you and have never encountered one, I would love to……..

    • Lamira, I’m interested. Keep me posted if you find anything. Right before I posted this article I talked to a person who I have known for a long time and who I deem reliable about his experience with what seems to be something supernatural. I’ll post an article on it as soon as I learn all the details and get his permission. This is really a cool story.

  3. This is a great story! Thank you, Doug. I’ve experienced a “supernatural” happening. I worked years ago in the basement of an old house, with about five or six others. Suddenly, a very heavy dog food bowl flew off of a dog cage and hit the wall on the other side of the basement. No one was near it. One of the workers lived upstairs and said all kinds of things happened up there that were unexplainable. She eventually moved out because of all the happenings. The lady who told you these things surely is not crazy.
    Do you know where I would go to find some history on some of the houses on Cherry St. in Maplewood?
    Thanks again so much for your great articles!

    • Hey Patty, I’m collecting these Maplewood ghost stories now. Who knows? We just might be the most ghost-populated inner ring suburb. If your experience happened in Maplewood I’d like to know the details. I will keep addresses and names secret as above. I am sorry I do not know anything of the history of the homes on Cherry. I’ve thought for a long time that it’s a very interesting street. And finally you are welcome and thank you for your story and your enthusiasm.

      • Thank you, Doug. No, what happened was years ago, but in a little old house in Florissant. I absolutely love ghost stories, and wish a ghost would come to my house here in Maplewood. I like Cherry St., too. It’s got such a great mix of housing.

    • Even if it wasn’t a cool Halloween temperature-wise, eh Margaret. Thank you very much for the compliment.

Comments are closed.