The Nickerson Snead House
Glade Springs, Virginia


Marion Virginia Paranormal Investigations will be assisting property owner Ronda Caudill with paranormal investigations at this location. Please contact me at or call 276-782-0221 for more information. The cost for the investigation is $25.00 per person and the times are from 9pm-4am on Friday and Saturday nights. Must be at least 18 years old and a photo ID will be required.

Check here for open dates.

Brief History of The Nickerson Snead House Museum:

The house was built in 1835 by Dr. Nickerson Snead. The house that we see today is built around a two-room log cabin constructed in the mid 1700’s. Since Nickerson Snead was a doctor the house was used as a makeshift Civil War hospital. In the winter months the basement was used as a morgue.

Civil War soldiers were not the only unfortunate souls whose lives ended at the house—it is reported that a young man was kicked in the head by his horse and brought to the house for medical care only to die on the back porch awaiting the doctor. We also know of one wake that was held in the house around the 1950’s.

It is reported that a lady in blue wanders around the house. It is believed that the lady in blue is Betsy Snead, Nickerson Snead’s wife. We have had many experiences such as being touched, seeing a shadow figure and people, feeling a tugging at our clothing, hearing footsteps, doors slamming, children laughing, thumping, music and things falling. There have been evps caught at the house as well. There have been many accounts of strange happenings in the house and it has been dubbed haunted.

A brief description of the rooms in the house:

The Lady’s Parlor

Elizabeth (Betsy) Snead, was born Elizabeth Scott in circa 1800 and died 1876. Her first marriage was to Armstrong Beattie in 1819. Armstrong died in 1820 leaving her widowed but they had a son together, William, who died in 1821. Armstrong left to Betsy a portion of land in his will, which now makes up much of the town of Glade Spring.

In 1822 Betsy married Dr. Nickerson Snead. Her inherited land and his land butted up against one another. Nickerson purchased more Beattie acreage from William and Rhonda Beattie in 1822… 135 acres at $10 an acre. And in 1837 he purchased 35 more acres from Mosses and Ebenezer Robinson for $900. That parcel included this land where the house stands.

Now this was the lady’s lounging parlor. So Betsy would have spent much of her time in here entertaining while Nickerson would have been over there in the smoking parlor with his gentleman friends. Many people have claimed to have seen a lady in blue which is believed to be Betsy. When this was the Swiss Inn restaurant patrons would come in and try to speak to a woman dressed in period clothing and asked to be seated. The lady would ignore them and walk away. They complained to the hostess only to be told no one worked their fitting their description or in period clothing. This woman is believed to be Betsy Snead.

The Men’s Parlor

Now in 1850, the census stated that Dr. Nickerson Snead was 52 and Betsy was 49. Also living with them was Betsy’s half-sister, Sarah Edmondson age 36 and Nickerson’s nephew, Fleming Rose age 18. It was also stated in the census that Nickerson Snead’s real estate was worth $1200. However, in 1860 his real estate worth was $15,000, his personal property was $15,000 and owned 11 slaves.

In 1869 Dr. Nickerson Snead died leaving Betsy the bulk of his estate.

Now in 1872 Betsy wrote her will. Something strange that was included in that will was that she asked than an iron fence be placed around not only her grave but also the graves of her son, her husband, her sister, Polly, and her first husband, Armstrong. Betsy, her son, and Nickerson are buried in the cemetery across the road. And sadly the iron fence was never placed around the graves.

After Betsy died 155 acres and this house was purchased by William B. Mason. I don’t have much history about the Masons. But we have been told that after the Masons had sold the house that a Mason lady that lived here had asked that when she died her body be brought back here for the wake and funeral. Her request was granted and her casket was positioned here.

Now there has been one strange sighting that may or may not have anything to do with the wake of the Mason lady but this happened recently. There was a group that had asked to stay here over night just for fun. They built a fire in the fire place and laid out their sleeping bags in the floor. There were 3 adults, seven children and a boxer. The dog paced and was restless all night long. In the night one of the adults turned to see one of the other adults looking down over a table that was positioned here where the casket had been years ago. Then the one looking over the table turned and looked at each sleeping child individually. But never looked at the other two adults. The next morning the one said to the other, “Why were you up looking down over on that table and then at the kids?” The other replied, “I wasn’t. I didn’t get up at all last night. What are you talking about?” The first adult explained what they seen and said, “you were wearing your green jacket.” The other said, “The green jacket laying over there on that chair that I took off before bed?”

The First of the Log rooms

Now the deed says that the house was built circa 1835. The house that Nickerson Snead built was built around these two rooms, which was the original two-room log house believed to have been built sometime in the 1700s.

Now in this room there have been reports of being touched. Once there were a couple of women walking through here and something grabbed the woman’s shoulder who was in the back. They were the only people in the house at the time. One night a group of 5 young women stayed all night in the house and they slept in this room. They slept right here. During the night they all heard walking sounds in the upstairs hallway. And at about 4:30 in the morning one of the women woke to someone playing in her hair. She thought that it was the girl lying next to her but she was sound asleep. She rolled over and went back to sleep; about 30 minutes later the same sensation woke her up again. She looked over and all of the other girls were still sleeping. She went back to sleep and it happened a third time. She woke the others up and told them what had happened and that she was leaving… that they could finish out the rest of the night if they wanted but she was leaving. They all left. We have been told by a psychic that there are two young boys in this room that are pranksters, one of the boys are a slave. Maybe these two boys are the one’s grabbing shoulders and playing in hair. There was a paranormal group who caught an evp over here that was a man’s voice saying the rocking chair. I have heard this evp and it is very spooky.

Other Log Cabin Room
This is the other part of the original log cabin. You can tell that this portion is older than the rest of the house because of the windows and the fireplace. Somewhere in the house Nickerson Snead had a doctor’s office set up, where we are not exactly sure. Now supposedly Nickerson Snead had a male slave that died in the fields and instead of Nickerson burying the poor man, he skinned the flesh from him and let his bones bleach in the sun. He then reassembled them into a skeleton, which he set up in his office. When children would come in as patients they would steal pieces of bones from the skeleton. Nickerson became so upset by this that he took the skeleton out and buried him somewhere on the property.

The Kitchen

It was said that Nickerson Snead was a civil war doctor using this house as a makeshift civil war hospital. As you all know there were many soldiers who died in hospitals like this. It has been rumored that during the time that this was a Civil War hospital that the soldiers who perished during the winter months were kept in the basement…being used as a morgue until the ground was warm enough to bury them. We can’t go into the basement because the steps are too narrow and there is no light. So it is very treacherous. However, I can tell you that it is thought that the basement under that portion of the log house was dug before the log cabin was built. It has a limestone foundation, which is supposedly a great conduit for spirits. There are also the original log floor joists. This room was added on later but I am not sure when.

The Long Room

This room is also a later addition. I believe it was added on when it was the Swiss Inn Bed and Breakfast. These are original rafters from the roof that were blown out during the tornado in 2011. This house saw quite a bit of damage from the tornado mainly in the attic area. But the rest of the house stayed in tact. There was a lot of water damage and every window had been blown out.

There was an old summer kitchen built in the back yard. But was later torn down.

Enclosed Porch Downstairs

Now this area was originally a porch. You can see the exterior brick is still visible. There were two ladies cleaning up here and as they were cleaning the kitchen they heard papers rustling. There instant reaction was it was a mouse because they were the only ones there. When one of the ladies remembered there was a box of papers just outside the door here, she looked to see if there was a mouse in it. Instead of seeing a mouse she saw the leafs of the box slowly being pressed down by unseen hands. Needless to say they quickly left.
As you walk back around to the front at the bottom of these steps…In the 1930s a young man was kicked in the head by a horse and died right here before this was enclosed.
People have reported seeing the lady in blue ascending and descending these stairs. A young lady was in this room and saw a woman in what she said looked like a long white dress walking up the stairs through that window.

Upstairs Back Yellow Room

Now even though this is a later addition we have still received reports of seeing someone walking into this room and when investigated no one was there. This actually happened on a tour that was given several years ago when this was an antique shop.
Now another little bit of history about Nickerson Snead was that he was on the first Board of Trustees of Emory and Henry College along with Colonel William Byars, Alexander Findlay, Tobias Smith, Daniel Trigg, Colonel Thomas L. Preston, Rev. Thomas Catlett, Rev. Arnold Patton, John W. Pierce, John W.C. Watson, Rev. Creed Fulton, Rev. Nathaniel Sherman, and John Humes.

Old Drape room

There was also a report of something strange happening in this room. There were a couple of teenage boys who thought all this ghost stuff was a bunch of hoowie. They decided they were going to open this closet door and snap a picture with their cell phone. To their surprise they snapped a picture of a little girl who wasn’t seen by the naked eye. They took off down those steps and outside. Get your cameras ready and see if you can get a picture of her---(quickly open the closet door)

Red Room

This room, we call the red room. I have been told that this could have possibly been the doctor’s office because of the interior window and the hallway. There would have been an outside stairs that would have lead up to the hallway here. It would have been separate from the rest of the house. Also the way the house is built up higher in this room indicates that it would have been separated from the rest of the house. The only reason for that was to have a doctor’s office.
Now in this room people always get a heavy creepy feeling. And a paranormal group caught an evp of a strange sound between a scream and a growl. I heard this evp and it is very frightening.

Cedar Closet Room

Now there have been reports that a figure can be seen in these windows day or night. Now back the way we came through here…if you noticed there was a bathroom. When this was an antique shop, they had a shop cat that stayed here all the time. They left him out to roam the house as he pleased. Often when they would come in in the mornings they could hear the poor cat meowing…he would be locked in the shower stall. There was no way for him to have gotten in there.

Last Room Upstairs

This is the last room on the tour. This is the room that has had the most sightings of the lady in blue. And also in this room there have been reports of seeing a figure in these windows.
Not in this room but in others there have been reports of hearing music. Some have reported live music, some report hearing a music box, and some report hearing old time radio music.