One of the more intriguing stories about Chester County’s local inns is that of the Stottsville Inn on Strasburg Road. As the legend goes, the Inn is haunted by the ghost of Josephine Stott Chandler Emery, after supposedly being murdered by her husband, Horace G. Emery when he found her in bed with someone else. As the story continues, Horace then intended to do himself in and left a suicide note which read as follows:
“I love, love, love you. You are the dream of my life. Come with me to the shoe store and I will make love to you. Love, Horace.”
“P.S., I can’t live without you so I will commit suicide in the barn. I will bite a cow’s leg and he will kick me in the head and kill me. For without you, life is nothing.”
A visit to the Inn in 2008 revealed that the letter was on display but unfortunately it didn’t have a date attached, so there is reasonable doubt about the authenticity of the note. At that time, the website for the Inn mentioned the story, but as it no longer does so, perhaps they no longer display the letter either.
There’s a couple of things that just don’t make sense about Horace’s note if we assume that it was written after Josephine died, though perhaps we can attribute that to extreme distress on Horace’s part. Whether that distress was from finding his wife in bed with another man, though, may be in question. The Chester County Death Records from 1893 to 1907 (Jim Jones’s site) list Josephine thusly:
Emery, Josephine C., white, female, 37, married, West Chester, , 1893/07/06, Coatesville, Bronchitis, 6 weeks, 1, 64
Josephine was the daughter of Maris Taylor Chandler and Elizabeth Stott and was born about 1855, based on the 1870 census, so the death record appears to be in order. Josephine and Horace were married in December of 1890, so the couple barely had time to get to know each other before she was gone.
If, indeed, Horace’s suicide note was related to Josephine, the fact remains that he was still alive in 1900 and living with his mother, Martha Emery, in the Coatesville area.
Stories of hauntings aside, the Stottsville remains a working inn and hosts both a popular pub and an elegant restaurant.