As It Was: Jacksonville House Provides Material for Ghost Stories
The approach of Halloween is often accompanied by stories of ghosts and otherworldly spirits.
One of the many tales about haunted houses concerns the Helms house on South Orange Street in Jacksonville, where it is said a woman appears on the staircase late at night, strolls the hallways, and just as suddenly, disappears. Some even claim to hear a child or a woman crying.
The house originally belonged to Herman and Augusta von Helms, who were married in 1862 and at first lived in a small cabin at the same address. Of their nine children, three daughters died in a typhoid epidemic, and one was murdered by her estranged husband. That’s enough to haunt any house!
The von Helms youngest daughter, Minnie, was less than 2 years old when she died and was buried next to the original log cabin, where the Italianate style house was built in 1878.
The ghost story says the child’s spirit remains at the house and can be heard crying at night, or the ghost is Augusta crying for her youngest daughter. Take your pick.
Sources: "Von Helms House." Historic Jacksonville Inc, Historic Jacksonville, Oregon, historicjacksonville.org/von-helms-house. Accessed 20 Sept. 2018; Claflin, Terrie. "Floating around Rogue Valley's 'haunted' houses are…ghosts of a tale." The Mail Tribune, 31 Oct. 1982 [Medford, Oregon], lifestyles ed., p. B1; McCarthy, Dennis. "To all the ghosts in Oregon: Here's lookin' through you!" The Sunday Oregonian, 30 Oct. 1983, living ed., p.1.