Curse of the T.B. Scott Mansion - Merrill, Wisconsin

oustide view of the mansion Thomas Blythe Scott, a rich lumber broker, built a mansion in Merrill, overlooking the Wisconsin River. Unfortunately he built it on land that had been cursed by a Native American chief.

Near what is now Merrill was a village called Squiteo-eau-sippi by the French. One day, a group of French traders came to the village and were accepted as VIP's by the cheif himself. The chief asked his daughter to serve the men dinner. The men called her Jenny. One of the traders decided he'd like to see more of Jenny, and nine months later she died in childbirth.

By this time the traders were long gone, and the cheif wasn't able to aim his revenge at the man who had violated his daughter. In his grief and anger the chief had her buried on the hill across the river from his village, but he cursed the hill for eternity. The chief's final prayer was, "O Great Spirit, grant me this peace for my child. Let this ground be sacred to her memory, and let it never do any white man any good."

A settler's village was built near the hill and just as the chief had hoped, all who lived on that hill fell prey to early death and great woes.

In 1884 Scott started building his mansion and the village turned into a city and was called Merrill. At that time a small Indian summer camp was still on part of the hill, He took care to leave it alone. Scott died in 1886 at the age of fifty-seven before the house was even finished. His widow, Anna, died the following year. Their son, Walter, sold the mansion, but even so died an early death ten years later, when he was stabbed with a letter opener after an arguement. None of the Scotts ever lived in the mansion.

The Chicago businessman who bought it sold it after only five days after buying it. Andrew Dunning only owned it for a few years and passed it on to Edward and Gertrude Kuechle. Edward soon lost his money in a gold-mine scam, after which the house was owned by a number of Chicago investors. A few years later the Kuechle's bought the house back. No sooner had they once again became owners they lost everything in a bad railroad purchase. Edward was eventually confirmed insane.

The next owner was leaving on a trip from Chicago to Merrill to have a look at the property when mobsters stabbed him to death in Chicago's Union Station. Another owner died of a stroke at the age of sixty-two, and in 1912 a one-armed popcorn vendor named Popcorn Can Coxon, who is said to have worked as a caretaker of the house, drowned on the Titanic.

Eventually it was sold to the city of Merrill. In 1923, the city offered it to a Catholic order - the Sisters of the Holy Cross - if the order would build a hospital on the grounds. The sisters accepted, and the grounds now include a modern hospital, a chapel, and other buildings.

Although people still whisper that the mansion is filled with ghostly laughter and mysterious footsteps, there haven't been any more strange or untimely deaths since the Sisters of the Holy Cross took it over. Townspeople sat that's because the religeous sisters are the only people the curse could ever allow to live on the hill.

Whether the curse was real or not, whether there was a cheif's daughter or not, only the river and the hill now remember. But one fact remains: Until the estate was given over to people whose lives were dedicated to God and healing, it never did do the white men who lived there any good.