Jesse Lincoln Driskill was born November 4th, 1824, in White County, Tennessee. Jesse Driskill was a cattle baron, civil war colonel, and builder of the Driskill Hotel in Austin.
He descends from the O’Driscoll family (from Ireland).When he was 23 years old, he move to Barry County, Missouri, where he met the love of his life, Nancy Elizabeth Jane Day on September 5th 1847. They lived in Missouri for four years, then moved to Bastrop. When Jesse Driskill was He built the sumptuous landmark in 1886 with the goal to build the best hotel ever.
Driskill was into the cattle business during his years of the Civil War. He provided beef to the Confederate army and was paid for his efforts in helping them. By the end of the war though, he used up all his cattle and left with no money.
He rebuilt his herds again and gained success with his brother-in-law William H. Day. They both rode cattles along the northern markets in the early days of the Chisholm Trail.
Driskill was known as an audacious drover and confident ranchman, which gave him his success again in the early Southwestern cattle trade. After the cattle business fell off after 1871, he moved to Austin with his family. In 1885 he purchased the site for his future hotel for $7,500. The Driskill Hotel had its grand opening on December 20, 1886, and was featured in the Austin Daily Statesman. When Govender Sul Ross held his inaugural ball at the hotel, it became a great tradition for every Texas governor since then. For many years it has served as a political and social center in Texas society.
It was especially a favorite of President Lyndon Johnson, because that’s where he met his wife. In 1934, he met his future wife, Claudia Taylor, for their first date at the Driskill dining room. The Johnsons continued a lifelong love of the Driskill, and stayed there dozens of times for the rest of their lives. It even served as the headquarters for the White House Press Corps during his presidency. Sally Jesse Driskill lost his hotel over his bad gambling addiction in only such a short time of owning it, and died of a stroke in 1890 a broke man..
Since its opening though , it has undergone many renovation and changed owners write a few times, a process which culminated with a grand reopening at the turn of the millennium. With the renovation, air conditioning was added to the building, and the dramatic skylit rotunda was permanently removed. The most intersting thing about the site is the paranormal activity that happens in the hotel. It has been happening ever since the passing of Jesse Driskill, and it is believed that his spirit still haunts the hotel. The Driskill Hotel is probably one of the most haunted hotels in Texas. One of the popular true stories is about the death of Samantha Houston, daughter of a senator who was living in the hotel in 1887.
She was playing with a ball down the hall, where she fell to her death chasing the ball down the grand staircase. Her death was one of the first and recorded sports at the h9otel. People have since said they have seen her running around and playing on the first floor lobby, near the ladies bathroom on the second floor, and along the stair leading to the mezzanine. She has also been heard haunting around her own self portrait, and shakes the doors of the Yellow Rose Suite which is near the painting. Another story is of the “suicide bride.” A woman who live in Houston was dumped by her fiance in 1989.
She was so mad that she decided to steal his credit cards and head off to Austin to the Driskill Hotel. She was last seen with a handful of groceries coming out of the elevator, to Room 29 on the fourth floor. After not being seen for a couple of days, the hotel staff went looking for her in her hotel, and found her dead in the bathtub. She was shot herself in the stomach though a pillow.
She is often seen by guests coming out of the elevator with her handful of groverie. The room had been closed for years and the bathtub was sealed up. The hotel had many problems while trying to restore the room. Especially with the walls, in which had to be painted four times because the paint keeps peeling off.
Even though the bathtub had been unused and seal up for years, when they unwrapped the bathtub they found it filled up with crystal clear water. Lastly one of the most popular stories is the story of Room 525. Two Honeymoon brides committed suicide in the bathtub- exactly 20 years apart to the day. The room had been blocked from the public until the 1990’s. Since then, unexplainable leaks and faulty lighting have continually disrupts guests in this room.
The Driskill Hotel is one of the scariest hotels, with a plethora of stories to its ominous and eerie vibe.