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Virginia Beach

Ferry Plantation House

Ferry Plantation House, or Old Donation Farm, Ferry Farm, Walke Manor House, is a brick house in the neighborhood of Old Donation Farm, Virginia Beach in Virginia Beach, Virginia.The site dates back to 1642 when Savill Gaskin started the second ferry service in Hampton Roads to carry passengers on the Lynnhaven River to the nearby county courthouse and to visit plantations along the waterway. A cannon was used to signal the ferry, which had 11 total stops along the river. The first ferry service was started nearby by Adam Thoroughgood.

The house, which is reputedly haunted by 11 spirits, has been used as a plantation, courthouse, school, and post office. It is currently a museum and educational center.A Summer History Camp, which educates youths about life in the 18th and 19th centuries, is also held on the site.

The area was initially cleared by the local Indians in the 16th century and many of their artifacts have been found on the site.The third Princess Anne County courthouse, the first brick courthouse in the county, was built on this site, complete with stocks and pillory.

The house occupies 0.1 acres (0.040 ha) owned by the city and is encompassed by 2 acres (0.81 ha) of open space owned by a homeowners association. There are some small gardens on the property and in the back yard is a large Southern Magnolia planted on April 6, 1863 by Sally Rebecca Walke in memory of her fiance' John, her fallen Confederate officer.

The house is reportedly haunted by 11 spirits; spirit tours are available,including one during Halloween called "The Stroll of Lost Souls".Reported spirits include those of people who perished in an 1810 ship wreck at the ferry landing, a former slave, Sally Rebecca Walke who mourns her fiance' a fallen soldier, and the Lady in White, who reportedly died in 1826 of a broken neck from falling down the stairs and the artist Thomas Williamson, owner of the Manor House who was married to a Walke has been reported seen at the top of the stairs painting.

Paranormal groups come to the house to do research. Sounds of dragging chains have been reported, possibly from the days of the old courthouse.Grace Sherwood, the "Witch of Pungo", was tried by ducking near here and the museum sponsors the annual Grace Sherwood Festival, which includes viewing of the reenactment of the ducking.

The actual ducking of Sherwood was at the end of what is now Witchduck Road, 200 yards out in the river from what is now a private home. The House has a Red Maple and marker in honor of Sherwood in the side yard. On July 19, 2006, the 300th anniversary of the ducking, Governor Timothy Kaine, exonerated her and in her momery, a statue was erected at Bayside Hospital, corner of Independence and Witchduck Road, Virginia, VA.