Clayton House – Fort Smith, Arkansas

  • By: Gareth Popovic
  • Date: 13 August 2023
  • Time to read: 6 min.


The ominous Clayton House is located in the center of Fort Smith, Arkansas. The air grows heavier with a sense of antiquity and mystery as dusk casts lengthy shadows. Those who are curious enough to enter its intriguing embrace will find tales of the past weaving together with a sinister air inside its walls.


Constructed in the mid-19th century, Clayton House stands as a living relic of a bygone era. William Henry Harrison Clayton, a notable judge and politician, oversaw its creation, resulting in an architectural masterpiece that melds Victorian and Italianate influences.

As the Civil War raged on, Clayton House found itself at the center of history. Acting as a pivotal headquarters during the conflict, the house witnessed the comings and goings of troops, the air heavy with anticipation.

A fascinating twist lies in the fact that Judge Clayton himself was a key figure in drafting the famous “Clayton Antitrust Act” of 1914, designed to curb monopolistic practices and promote fair competition. This connection to legal and political history adds an intriguing layer to the house’s legacy.

Now, as a meticulously preserved museum, Clayton House invites visitors to step into its chambers, offering a glimpse into the lives and stories that have woven its tapestry. Beyond its architectural grandeur, the house stands as a testament to the intricacies of history and the individuals who shaped it.

Clayton House Interior
Clayton House Interior – Credit llewie74

Haunting Legends and Supernatural Phenomena

Spirit of Powell Clayton

Clayton House, a place rich in history and enigma. Among its stories, one shines—the legend of the Spirit of Powell Clayton. Bold and undaunted, this supernatural presence has captivated even paranormal investigators.

A group of paranormal investigators, led by a medium, entered Clayton House in an effort to communicate with Powell Clayton the spirit. They made contact with this mysterious being in a chamber crammed with artifacts. The voice of the spirit came via the medium.

The spirit candidly expressed attachment to items in a display case, relics of its past. It also commended the meticulous restoration of its brother’s home. The office, adorned with portraits of the Clayton brothers, captured its attention, a testament to familial bonds and careful renovation.

The legend of the Spirit of Powell Clayton endures—an account of audacity and communion with the unknown. Its boldness, willingness to converse, and fondness for artifacts and memories linger within Clayton House. As visitors step inside and gaze upon portraits in the office, they connect with a bygone era. Powell Clayton’s spirit lives on, fearlessly bridging realms.

Gentle Spirit of an Older Female

In the realm of Clayton House, where stories intertwine with history, one legend stands out—the tale of the Gentle Spirit of the Older Female. A figure of serenity, she adorns her gray hair in a bun and wears a tranquil brown dress.

A ghostly entity appeared within Clayton House’s illustrious walls—a translucent figure that was frequently seen close to the windows and in the areas around Clayton’s Office. One day, as he attended to his duties, a repairman discovered himself in her ethereal company. He noticed her interested stare on him but carried on with his task unperturbed. He sensed a peaceful connection with the faraway observer as he was making repairs. He finished and left, trying to get a picture of her with his phone despite her intangibility.

The legend of the Older Female Spirit endures—a symbol of peace and a connection between realms. Her presence remains etched in Clayton House, where she graced windows and lingered in the office. The repairman’s encounter, a tangible link to the spectral, adds to the narrative woven into the fabric of Clayton House’s history.

Grumpy Male Spirit

Enter Clayton House to learn a fascinating mythology about the Grumpy Male Spirit, who might be Mr. Sutton or William Clayton. With his scowls directed at docents and guests, this tall man in formal clothing, including a top hat, has irrevocably altered the landscape.

The spectral apparition of the Grumpy Male Spirit emerges in the corners of Clayton House. Witnesses have reported seeing this large man in vintage clothing, with a permanent grim look that lends his appearance a sense of mystery. A docent recalls hearing a door slam shut and hearing definite booted footsteps pacing the wooden planks in one particular area. An unsettling impression was left by the apparition.

During a paranormal event, a curious incident played out on the mansion’s porch. The greeter glimpsed a man peering around a corner, an unusual departure from the usual grumpy demeanor. Assuming it was a participant in costume, the greeter investigated, only to find an empty space.

Clayton Piano Room
Clayton Piano Room – Credit travisjdixon

Playful Spirit – Grace

The Legend of the Little Girl Spirit, known as Grace. Her playful presence infuses the entire mansion. Grace’s ghost is fascinating in Clayton House because she leaves signs of her playful spirit all throughout the place. Both docents and guests have related first-hand interactions with her. She is acknowledged by all the ghosts in the house, creating an ethereal community.

A plausible theory connects Grace to Mr. Sutton, possibly his daughter who met an unfortunate fate within these walls. This connection might explain the lingering presence of Mr. Sutton’s own spirit within the house. Grace’s mischievous side comes to light through the enigmatic manipulation of lights within Clayton House. Her influence on this phenomenon adds to the intrigue of her spectral presence.

The legend of Grace, the Little Girl Spirit, adds an enchanting layer to Clayton House. Her playful spirit animates the mansion, touching every corner. As stories of her encounters circulate and the ties between Grace and the otherworldly entities within the house deepen, Clayton House’s history becomes more captivating. Grace remains an integral part of the house’s narrative, a reminder of the bridge between the living and the beyond.

Popular Culture and Media Coverage

Renowned for its rich history and enigmatic ambiance, Clayton House has captured the spotlight in various media explorations and documentaries delving into its eerie past. Notably, it took center stage in the captivating series “Whispers of the Past: Unveiling the Secrets of Clayton House,” where investigators ventured into the depths of its mysteries and unsettling phenomena.

In the realm of literature, Clayton House has left its mark within pages like “Haunted Fort Smith & Van Buren” by Bud Steed and “Haunted Places in Arkansas” by Joan Rocche-Bonnaire. These literary works unravel the enigmatic tales that shroud the house, offering readers a glimpse into its ghostly history.

Today, Clayton House stands as a magnet for history enthusiasts and those intrigued by the supernatural, drawn by its pervasive presence in popular culture and media. This historical marvel exudes an aura of mystery, inviting all who seek to immerse themselves in its captivating and eerie allure.


One cannot help but take the chill of Clayton House’s secrets with them as they leave its walls. Long after you leave, the mysteries that lay beneath its gloomy chambers and obscure nooks leave you feeling uneasy. Fort Smith will always be defined by the mysterious past of Clayton House, a location where the eerie and the historical come together in an irrevocable union.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q: Where is Clayton House located?
Clayton House is nestled in the heart of Fort Smith, Arkansas, offering a glimpse into its rich history and intriguing legends.

Q: Have there been any reported paranormal experiences at Clayton House?
Yes, Clayton House has witnessed various paranormal encounters, including sightings of spirits like the Grumpy Male, the Gentle Female, and the playful Little Girl, Grace.

Q: Can you tell me more about the legend of the Grumpy Male Spirit?
Certainly. The Grumpy Male Spirit is often seen scowling in different parts of the house. Some speculate he could be Mr. Sutton or William Clayton, lingering for reasons yet to be fully understood.

Q: What’s the story behind the Gentle Female Spirit?
The Gentle Female Spirit is described as a serene presence. She’s often spotted wearing a brown dress and has been seen near windows and Clayton’s Office area. She’s even kept a watchful eye on repairmen working in the office.

Q: Is there any truth to the legend of the playful Little Girl, Grace?
Yes, many docents and visitors have reported encountering Grace’s mischievous spirit. She’s believed to play all over the house and might be the source of the lights flickering unexpectedly.

Q: Are there any connections between these spirits and the history of Clayton House?
Absolutely. The spirits seem to have ties to the house’s history, possibly reflecting past events or inhabitants, like Mr. Sutton’s daughter, who could be the Little Girl Spirit, Grace.

Q: How has Clayton House embraced its supernatural history?
Clayton House acknowledges its paranormal legends, incorporating them into its tours and narratives. Visitors have the opportunity to explore the mansion’s historical significance and eerie tales.

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