The old Dushee Shaw Half-Way House has become known as a place of history and of ghost stories. This building, hidden by weeds and trees for many years, is located near Coats, in Harnett County, NC; the area was once known as Averasborough, a river town on the Cape Fear River.
The old house was a home first and later became a stagecoach halfway house or rest-stop for the first stagecoach road leading from Virginia to Georgia. It also served as one of eight rest stops on the route from Raleigh to Fayetteville. The stagecoach drivers had to change their horses about every 10 miles. The building provided a bathroom type facility and a bar for passengers.
It is believed that this particular building was a rest stop used by Marquis de Lafayette, a French General who fought for George Washington during the Revolutionary War. The Marquis made a trip from Raleigh to Fayetteville in 1825 by stagecoach.
The old run down building was chosen and prepared for the setting for several brief, historical videos. “River Town Episodes 1-8) was filmed to share vignettes of life during the early 1800s. Investigation showed this building was built in 1798 as a home, according to Bryan Avery, a historian and author of “Olde Aversaborough” and an actor in Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactments..
In order to use the building for the videos much preparatory work had to be done. Weeds had to be cut for access, the walls had to be cleaned, and so much more. One day after Bryan Avery had been working hard in the heat of the day with other volunteers, he stepped outside. He went to the back of the house where it was shady and sat down to relax and cool off.
Suddenly Bryan heard what “sounded like a baseball hitting a window” and then heard the sound of shattered glass falling from the window above his head.
He looked around and saw no glass and the “window” was covered with tin. He even had one of the other workers come out and verify that there was no broken glass anywhere.
Bryan states clearly, “I don’t believe in ghosts. I have slept and laid on ground where thousands of people have died in my 49 years and never saw nor heard a thing.”
Some of the other volunteers while working to repair the house also heard the sound of glass breaking from above while inside the house at a different time. So one of the volunteers called in a “spook hunter.”
Bryan Avery stated, “The ghost hunter said that there were spirits watching them work and they were angry because the noise from the generator was driving them crazy. She said they did not understand what the generator was.”
Bryan in his straightforward manner flavored with a deep Southern drawl, told the ghost hunter, “Tell them if they will get down here and grab a hammer and help out they won’t pay any attention to the noise!”
Sometime during the filming, it came to their attention that the old house, served as a hospital during the Battle of Averasboro during the Civil War. It is said by historians that two soldiers jumped from the second story windows on the back of the Shaw House to their deaths, rather than have their legs amputated. Family members of people who grew up there, recall stories of sightings of two soldiers seen in the windows of the second floor of the building. Many strange events have been told about that house by those who live near it.