The Balsley House
Once featured on national newpapers with the headline reading “Marriage a failure”, a frightening Farmhouse in Sanford Florida with a frightful past, is now being revived. It is one of the oldest surviving structures left in this area that has withstood the hands of time. The property this house stands on was once the passage crossing of the longest narrow gauge railway in the USA. It’s revival has compelled me to inform you of the history of a murder suicide that took place long ago in the late 1800’s.
Before I go into the gruesome details of what took place the night of September 27, 1893 I will first tell you about the original owners of this house and Property. John and Annie Balsley was a couple from NY/PA. In 1878, John Balsley received a grant of 142 acres for land issued by the state of Florida. He and his wife Annie Balsley became very wealthy through their citrus crop fortune.
Later in the years Annie grew very tired of her marriage to John. The two were extremely unhappy and constantly argumentative with one another. Despite the fortune and success they acquired on September 27, 1893 Annie went upstairs to the bedroom while her husband John was sleeping and shot him in the head. She shot herself roughly 24-48 hours later leaving behind a suicide note attached to a door facing the porch of their house. The note simply read “I can’t stand anything more”.
Oddly enough, a year later “The Great Freeze” destroys citrus crops throughout central Florida. The destruction led their adopted son Frank Balsley to move to Pinellas county with his wife Ida. Around 1910, depressed and in poor health, Frank attempted suicide by cutting his throat. He died 20 days later in a hospital from a heart attack recovering from his self-inflicted wounds.
The Balsley house remained virtually in tact over the years with a local “City Church” as new owners to a portion of the land and the house. They are currently reconstructing the historical home for the church’s offices. Due to it’s history, the city church will maintain the majority of the original house intact to preserve it’s legacy. I happen to have had the pleasure to visit the house before the demolition process and have attached the pictures of this lurid location.