Monday, March 2, 2015

A Ghost Story - The Hotel Leger, Wine, Women, and Whoopie

By Paisley Kirkpatrick
In 1851 newcomer George Leger left Hesse Castle, Germany and came to the hamlet of Mokelumne, California. An entrepreneur with lots of cash in his pocket, and someone who loved to have a good time, he was thought to be different from the often crass and always dirty miners. He made some shady and sane dealings in the community and ended up with enough cash to build a one-story hotel, which he named The European Hotel.
It didn't take long for Leger to add a second story to be used for room and board. He converted the first floor into a general store. He still wasn't satisfied with his hotel, so he added a lavish dance floor to hold his parties in. The hotel soon became known as the most elegant place for entertaining in his part of the country. Its lavishness drew many of the elite and famous from the world of arts and politics.
George had an eye for rich and beautiful women and loved to party. The best alcohol and food was always on hand. He was in his element in this world, but it didn't last. In 1879 a portion of his hotel burned. Undaunted, he rebuilt and renamed the place Hotel Leger for good luck.
Women, women, women! He loved them all. Even being married didn't interfere with his conquests. His much younger bride died two years after they married. Her death didn't stop him from continuing his lifestyle as he had before and during her time in his life.
He was a dashing figure of a man, standing six-foot tall, with dark hair and a moustache, in his sexual prime, and wealthy. W.H Adams, Leger's friend and the owner of the stage company that had the Wells Fargo contract between Stockton and Sacramento, had a violent temper. Adams was devastated when he learned the beautiful young woman he had his heart set on was spending her time with Leger during his absences. Adams sent a lone gunman to Leger's living quarters at the hotel. The hired man knocked on Room 7 and as the door opened he shot Leger point blank. Leger fell mortally wounded into the arms of Adams' paramour. The killer walked out of the hotel and was never seen again.
It was said that Adams' sweetheart took off with someone else after Leger died. Adams was the first person up the stairs that fateful day on Leger's behalf and as his friend was laid to rest, he led the crowd in tearful lament for his lost buddy. As a befitting omen, Adams was interred next to his ex-best friend.
Soon after Leger's death it is rumored his spirit began showing up at the hotel. Leger's friends in life started to feel uneasy that he was still overseeing things in death as he had in life, especially Adams because the secret of his death was Adams' alone. No one except Adams was aware of his involvement in Leger's demise until he fessed up years later. Maybe it was on his deathbed. No one knows for sure.
A family with children bought the hotel years after Leger's death. A couple of days after the family moved in, the children ran from their bedroom to their father and cried, "Someone told us to be quiet." Upon investigating, the father couldn't find anyone in the room. Later that day the children went into Room 7, which had been George Leger's bedroom, and where he died. The children ran to their father again. They pointed to a man in an old tintype hanging on the wall. "That's the man who told us to be quiet." The photo was of George Leger. Their father, who always wore a cowboy hat, remarked that he often saw two cowboy hats coming up the stairs in the shadows on the wall. One was his.....
Researched in "The Incredible World of Gold Rush Ghosts by Nancy Bradley and Robert Reppert."


  1. Well that's a nice way to leave us hanging. Always fun stories you tell Miss Paisley.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

  2. :) Thanks for stopping bye. I love all the ghost stories in the Placerville area. Hugs!

  3. Gosh, I love haunted hotel stories. And Placerville is such am amazing place no matter what! Great post, Paisley. xo

  4. Thanks Tanya. I know what you mean. The ghosts are like adding spice to an already amazing gold rush town.

  5. How interesting, Paisley. Wouldn't it be eerie to innocently buy a property with a ghost? We lived in one house that had footsteps when no one was there and we were convinced someone had died there. We later learned the home had belonged to drug dealers. Thank goodness, we'd changed the locks when we moved in.

  6. Wine, Women and Whoopie? Paisley?Is that you?
    This story gave me cold chills. I sort of hate that when it happened, but then it makes the story real. See? I am not a believer in ghosts. I don't care how many stories I hear or read about, I don't believe it.
    But once in a while I read something such as your post, and, that sounds...too real.
    So, congratulations on a very good ghost story!

  7. Hi Caroline. We had heavy footsteps overhead in the old building the art gallery was in when I worked there.The building had been built in 1849 during the gold rush so I am a believer.

  8. Thank you, Celia. I have had too many encounters not to be a believer. Some very personal. I am glad you took the time to read my post. :)

  9. Finally, the paranormal twist I've been begging you to put in a story.

  10. Thanks, J. Morgan. I am glad you approve. :)

  11. Nothing is quite as exciting as a good ghost story. Loved this one. I had to really think about Leger and his courage to leave Germany to go all the way to California. He certainly knew how to generate some cash, even though it seems he wasn't the kind of man a good woman would want to settle down with. Womanizers should wear a warning sign.
    I enjoyed your blog, Paisley. All the best to you.

  12. Wow thanks for your comments, Sarah. I do miss being around all of the history in Placerville and the surrounding areas. Never knew when we would encounter a ghost. :)

  13. Hi Paisley, Mokelumme Hill is a great Gold Country town and the hotel was featured in the TV program, Impossible Hotels on the Travel Channel back in Jan.2013. I'd love to go back up for a visit for its been many years. Found the cemetery very fascinating with its separate areas for Chinese, Catholics, etc. Thanks for a trip down memory lane...

  14. Hi Arletta, Thanks for stopping by. I agree the gold country does have a mystic about it. We lived in Camino for 21 years and did a lot of exploring around the area. I do hope you get back up to see Mokelumme Hill.


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