Last year, Fort Benning MWR Director Bridgett Siter, posted a couple of interesting tales about haunted Fort Benning’s eerie past! And she’s back again this year with more interesting recounts for us! We posted “More #Haunted Fort Benning” and “The History that Haunts Us” last year. Below you will find the link to that stories if you have not read them or simply want to read them again before reading this year’s “Haunted Fort Benning”!
Scroll down to read the story of the Muskogee Creeks of Kashita and Col. John Tate!
Haunted Fort Benning
Long before there was a Fort Benning (long before there was a Georgia!) this land was inhabited by Creek Indians, who were known in their own language as Muskogee. Their village, Kashita, which means “peace town,” was located on what is now Fort Benning’s Main Post. You will find a marker on Richardson Circle commemorating the Muskogee Creeks of Kashita.
Legend has it that one of the last English agents sent to this area to muster support for King George among the Creeks during the Revolutionary War was a man named Col. John Tate. Tate married one of the half chief’s daughters, Sahoya or Sehoy, depending on where it’s recorded, and lived among the Creeks as one of their own.
About 1781, Tate fell ill and “died deranged between Flint River and Chattahoochee” en route with a party of Creeks headed for what became known as the Battle of Augusta. His party lost heart for the fight and returned to Kashita to bury Tate. Some documents say, and everybody wants to believe, he was buried on Woolfolk’s Hill on what is now known as Riverside, the home of Fort Benning’s commanding generals since 1919.
But Tate’s story doesn’t end there; he didn’t go quietly. His ghost has been haunting Fort Benning as long as there’s been a Fort Benning, according to newspaper accounts. In fact, by October of 1932, the editor of the post newspaper was warning women not to venture out alone after dark. An article titled “Phantom Rider Desires Automobiles,” said MP squads reported seeing a ghost on horseback and they presumed him to be the spirit of Col. John Tate. He was seen riding down Benning Road toward Torch Hill. In recent weeks, the MPs said, the ghost had been blamed for five automobile accidents.
I can’t explain the horse, folks, I’m sorry. Contemporary accounts have Tate moving about on foot. In fact, one of Fort Benning’s former first wives reported that he moved about on foot a lot – after dark, on the veranda of Riverside, in his hobnailed boots. He made such a racket, she often went running at night in hopes of sleeping soundly through the noise.
Another former resident of Riverside said she enjoyed her visits from Col. Tate. Every morning, after applying her lipstick, she left the tube there on the mantle by the mirror, and every day, Tate hid it somewhere else. But always in the same place! Strategy was not his strong suit.
Tate was also reported to hang out at Building 35, just a short walk from Riverside, back when it was home to the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. He was spotted ever so often in the history book section of the library wearing a three-pointed hat and a cape and carried a saber. Some Soldiers I spoke to would pay others to pull staff duty for them rather than spend the night with the mischievous ghost, who slammed doors, moved books, piled chairs on tables and locked folks out of their offices. Bitter, I think. No word on a Tate sighting since Building 35 was renovated, but I’m keeping my ear to the ground like a good Creek Indian.
That’s it for today, friends. If you have ghost stories, I’ll buy coffee. And I’ll be back soon with more #HauntedFortBenning.
Don’t forget that trick-or-treating on haunted Fort Benning is 6-8pm Oct. 31, and Outdoor Recreation will host their annual Howl-O-Ween in the Dog Park from 4:30-6:30pm Oct 25 at the Dog Park on Zuckerman Avenue. This free event includes canine costume competitions and agility contests. All dogs must be registered at the Vet Clinic. For more information, call 706-545-7978.
Be sure to tell your friends to register for MWR emails at benning.armymwr.com so they don’t miss the fun.
Bridgett Siter Directorate of Family & Morale, Welfare and Recreation, Fort Benning, Georgia