One of the most enduring and touching ghost stories in Savannah is the story of Little Grace Watson. Gracie Watson was the daughter of W.J. and Frances Watson. They managed the Pulaski Hotel, now demolished, on Johnson Square. In life, she could often be found playing in the hotel, entertaining guests. Or, she would often head outside to Johnson Square to play amongst the trees. She was the unofficial greeter for the Pulaski Hotel.
Little Gracie died just two days before Easter in 1889. Her parents were understandably heartbroken. Her father had a sculptor, John Walz, commissioned for her daughter’s grave marker. It was a life-sized and picture accurate representation of Little Gracie. Her body was laid to rest in Bonaventure Cemetery. Death doesn’t seem to stop Little Gracie from greeting people who come to Savannah, nor does it stop her from playing in the Square.
The ghost of Little Gracie has been seen in Johnson Square many times over the years. I must say, I have never seen her ghost and I have never talked to anyone who has seen her ghost. So, this is one of those stories that is up in the air. However, I don’t see why it couldn’t happen. Her ghost has been seen playing in the Square, running through the bushes and even interacting with people. Most often, the reports come from someone who is quietly sitting on one of the benches in Johnson Square late at night. They will see a little girl, dressed in a white dress, running through Johnson Square. She doesn’t make a sound, silently gliding through the space.
Two of our Savannah Ghost Tours start in Johnson Square, the Grave Tales Tour and the Dead of Night Tour. When showing up for your ghost tour, show up a little early and just silently watch. While the summer time crowds will prevent you from enjoying the Square without people in it, the winter sometimes allows you to have the Square to yourself, especially for the 11 pm Dead of Night Tour. Just sit there and watch.
While the chances of you seeing any ghost, even the ghost of Little Gracie and always very slim, you never know. You just may have an encounter with one of most famous ghosts of Savannah, the ghost of Little Gracie Watson.