The "Late" Family Above Me


I was fortunate to be a guest at the Red Castle on two separate occasions. I spent one night each visit, while the home was still operating as a bed & breakfast. On one occasion I had a very pleasant visit, enjoying a peaceful stay along with a restful night. I was treated warmly in the grand old house on the occasion of my second visit, and I had no complaints. However, I was awakened three times late at night by the sound of children's footsteps running across the floor above me, and occasional adult footsteps following after the children’s footsteps. It would quiet down and I would fall back to sleep, only to be reawakened by a flurry of activity above my head once again.


Knowing I happened to be the only guest staying in the home that night, I assumed that a family arrived late, and they were put up in the room above me. The next morning while having a delicious breakfast, laid out buffet style with antique silver and china, I asked the owner about the family who arrived late. He looked impatiently at me and sternly told me that I was the only guest in the house.


The home was featured in this video.


The Williams home, currently referred to as “The Red Castle”, is a four story brick gothic revival structure that was built in 1860. It is located at 109 Prospect Street, on Prospect Hill, Nevada City, California. It is currently being used as a private residence.


The home was owned by Charles K. Townsend from 1914 to 1928. Ownership was transferred to Charles’ daughter in 1928, and she retained position of the house until her death in 1953. Her husband then sold the house.

People known to have passed away in the Williams home on Prospect Hill:

  • John “Squire” Williams (1803 – 1871)

  • Squire Williams’ son, Loring Wallace Williams (1832 – 1874)

  • Loring’s wife, Cornelia E. “Caroline” Humes Williams (1832 – 1883)


More details about the Williams family members may be found in the book; Their Spirits Took Flight: Nevada City’s Historic Pine Grove Cemetery.




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