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Original owner rumoured still to reside in the old Mounce Mansion in West Hants

Thomas Mounce passed away in 1960, but a local legend says he may still haunt the halls of the ‘honeymoon house’ in Newport Landing, which he had built for his wife Annie Mosher before her untimely death.
Thomas Mounce passed away in 1960, but a local legend says he may still haunt the halls of the ‘honeymoon house’ in Newport Landing, which he had built for his wife Annie Mosher before her untimely death.

NEWPORT LANDING, NS - Driving toward Newport Landing, pastoral scenes of dairy farms and green hills dot the landscape, while the Avon River breaks in and out of view.

Sticking out like sore thumbs are two grand mansions that seem out of time.

The first of these estates, with its white exterior and green trim, stands proudly; in need of some TLC, but sturdy.

It’s nighttime now, and looking up at the second story window of this house - something, a shadow maybe – stands there looking out to the horizon.

The hairs on the back of your neck rise. Expecting the worst, you brace to run, but something stops you and, upon further inspection, you realize that this specter is simply a man, waiting for his love to come back to him.

This home, impressive in its scope and grandeur, was supposed to be filled with lots of happy children.

That didn’t happen.

Tragedy struck the ‘honeymoon house,’ as it’s known in the community of Newport Landing.

But before we get to that, lets go back a little further and meet the man, Thomas Mounce, who may still haunt the halls of this abode.

The ‘honeymoon house,’ one of the two Mounce family mansions in Newport Landing may or may not be haunted, but it certainly has a tragic story.

 

Meet Mounce

Thomas Mounce was the son of a prominent businessman by the name of George Mounce, who was part of a lucrative, albeit short-lived, shipbuilding empire.

When George passed away, he left the house and the land to his two sons, Thomas and Ralph.

Ralph took over his father George’s house, but Thomas decided to build his own dwelling, right next door. He wanted it to be massive, a sign of his love for his wife Annie Mosher, who he married in 1909. 

Thomas and Annie took a tour of the world during their honeymoon while Ralph oversaw the building of the new house.

When Thomas’ house was being built, Ralph saw how elaborate his brother’s house was becoming, so he started adding on to his own, original home, which was initially quite modest.

In the end, both homes were quite lavish in their splendor; symbols of wealth and power.

The honeymoon house, now fully built for Thomas and Annie, was high-tech for the early 20th century, being the first in the area to get electricity. They weren’t afraid to show it off either, with a fuse box prominently and proudly on display inside.

The Mounces also had ostentatious and intricately curved radiators that would have kept the massive structure warm during cold Nova Scotia winters.

The couple brought back exotic furniture with them – with the intent to make every room look like a different corner of the world.

They rejoiced on their return, for Annie had a child and all seemed to be going well.

Annie Mosher, pictured here in New York, passed away in 1914 or 1915 from tuberculosis. The ‘honeymoon house’ in Newport Landing was built as a wedding gift to her.

But, things took a turn for the worse and the child died only a year later.

And that was just the beginning – after her child’s death, Annie was diagnosed with a serious case of tuberculosis. Thomas and Annie moved to Saranac Lake in New York, in hopes that the climate and pleasant surroundings would help cure the disease.

Annie was surrounded by nurses, but despite all of their best hopes, she passed away in either 1914 or 1915 – the records aren’t clear.

Thomas, with no wife and no children to his name, returned to the enormous home in Newport Landing. He stayed there, alone except for a servant, until his death in 1960.

The home remained largely vacant until the mid-1980s, when Thomas’ nephew George Ralph Mounce moved in. Following George’s death in 2011, the home was empty again until it was sold to a new family in March 2017.

Tacha Reed, a manager at the Avon River Heritage Society Museum said she’s happy to know that the new family that lives in the house has small children of their own – so in a way, the dream of filling the home with children, is now a reality.

Perhaps this means that Thomas can now rest easy.

It’s not known if there really is a ghost at the honeymoon house, or if it’s simply a local legend stirred up to scare children, but there’s definitely a tragic tale to back up the commonly-held belief. 

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