OPERATION TIME: Unknown
STATUS: Abandoned (possibly demolished)
William “Grancer” Harrison
William Harrison, Jr. was born in Old District 96, Edgefield Co, South Carolina around 1789. His father, William Harrison, Sr. was a veteran of the Revolutionary War and was buried in the cemetery. Harrison, Jr. came to Alabama from Virginia and built a house near the Pea River during the 1840s. He was a successful cotton planter, plantation owner, and businessman, known for his hospitable disposition. His nickname “Grancer” originated from the term “grand sire,” meaning grandfather. Most tellings of the urban legend incorrectly attribute the name to a mispronunciation of “grand sir” made by local slaves. Grancer was notorious for his spectacular parties. His slaves erected a dance hall beside the Harrison Cemetery to accommodate his lavish barbecues, square dances, and horse races.
After decades of success, the aging square dancer began to face his mortality by preparing his funeral arrangements. His slaves began construction on an above-ground brick tomb within earshot of the hall, as he desired to be a part of the action even after death. Grancer had specific burial instructions: he wanted to be buried wearing his dancing clothes and shoes and to be laid to rest atop his feather bed. In 1860, Grancer Harrison passed away and his wishes were carried out to his exact request. Saturday night dances continued for a while following his death, but they soon fell to ruin without Grancer’s lively leadership.
Though abandoned for years, the sound of dancing and music can be heard coming from Grancer Harrison’s Dance Hall. The hall is believed to be haunted by Grancer’s lively spirit. Rumors suggest the hall may have been demolished.
- Forgotten USA. “Grancer Harrison’s Dance Hall,” www.ForgottenUSA.com
- Strange USA. “View Location,” www.StrangeUSA.com