Natchez SlpW - History

Natchez SlpW - History

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(SlpW: t. 200; Ibp. 127'; b. 33'6"; dr. 16'6"; cpl. 190; a. 18 guns.)

The first Natchez, a sloop-of-war built by Norfolk Navy Yard in 1827, commanded by Comdr. George Budd, departed Hampton [loads 26 July 1827 for the Caribbean. Sbe patrolled the West Indies as a deterrent against a resurgence of piracy until forced to sail north by an outbreak of yellow fever among the crew, arriving New York 24 November 1828.

The sloop, Comdr. William B. Shubriek in command, got underway for the Caribbean 9 July 1829 and operated in the West Indies and along the Atlantic Coast until she decommissioned at Norfolk 24 August 1831 and was placed in ordinary. Reactivated during the South Carolina null)fieation crisis Natchez recommissioned 28 December and sailed for Charieston 2 January 1833, anchoring in Rebellion Roads on the 19th. She moved up to Charleston Battery 12 March and remained in that important Southern port until tensions were eased when Congress lowered the tariff. She sailed for Hampton Roads 4 April and, upon arriving Norfolk, was again placed in ordinary.

Natchez returned to the West Indies in 1836 and operated there into 1838. She again eruised in the Caribbean in 1839. She was scrapped at the Nee York Navy Yard in 1840.

Dwelling on the Past

Joseph McGill founded The Slave Dwelling Project in 2010 in hopes of raising awareness for the need to incorporate slavery narratives into our understanding of American history. In April, he’ll be staying in the slave quarters at Melrose Estate (pictured) in the Natchez National Historical Park.

Addressing the Legacy of Slavery

Joseph McGill, who founded and took on the Slave Dwelling Project in 2010, is not content with slavery being treated as a mere footnote in American history—not when it was the harsh reality for nearly four million individuals prior to the Civil War. “We know well about the nice, beautiful big house,” McGill explained. “What’s missing from that story are the lives of the people who enabled all that.”

As a means of filling in the often-neglected details of what actual life was like for the enslaved, through the Slave Dwelling Project McGill steps through the doors of the historic cabins, outbuildings, attics, and other places where enslaved people in America lived their lives, and he spends the night there. In the process, he’s realized that many of the places that enslaved people once lived are no longer still standing, or have been converted to garages, storage spaces, man caves, and the like. As a result, he’s had to expand his criteria a bit, and has also incorporated preserving these less-than-grand historic structures into the Slave Dwelling Project’s mission. “Eleven years and twenty-five states later and the District of Columbia, I'm still at it,” McGill said, expressing no intent to stop or slow down until his body mandates it. “Because I can't correct in my lifetime what it took over one hundred years to get wrong.”

“We know well about the nice, beautiful big house,” McGill explained. “What’s missing from that story are the lives of the people who enabled all that.”

Natchez's Efforts to Present Its History of Enslavement

I spoke to McGill, along with Executive Director of the Historic Natchez Foundation Carter Burns, ahead of McGill’s visit to the slave quarters at Melrose, which is part of the Natchez National Historical Park, on April 17. Natchez is a town known for its “big beautiful houses” and extensive plantation legacy, which drives much of its tourism. Conversations about better representing the Bluff City’s full history—namely, by including accounts of slavery’s role in that legacy—have become increasingly urgent in recent years, particularly in the wake of bestselling travel writer Richard Grant’s book The Deepest South of All and last summer’s Black Lives Matter protests.

When I spoke with Burns and McGill in early March, Natchez was preparing for its annual Spring Pilgrimage beginning the following week—which included installing interpretive panels on enslavement at Longwood and Stanton Hall ahead of the events. Natchez’s antebellum roots being thicker than a live oak’s, organizations like The Historic Natchez Foundation and Visit Natchez have been working diligently to provide the infrastructure and tools necessary for historic property owners to better incorporate the history of slavery into their tours and other offerings.

“Eleven years and twenty-five states later and the District of Columbia, I'm still at it,” McGill said, expressing no intent to stop or slow down until his body mandates it. “Because I can't correct in my lifetime what it took over one hundred years to get wrong.”

“We're trying to assist everybody so that they can all have the tools they need to share those stories with their visitors,” Burns said. While McGill’s discussion at Melrose will mark his first official visit to the Natchez Historic Park (though he has conducted overnight stays for the project at Prospect Hill in neighboring Jefferson County and at Concord Quarters in Natchez before), Burns and McGill hope to continue to bring the Slave Dwelling Project to Natchez on an annual basis, and to expand upon and deepen the conversations already taking place. “I think that what you guys are doing there is great,” McGill said to Burns of the ongoing work in Natchez to better present the town’s history of slavery, “And we're just building on it.”

Sleepovers and Conversations about Racism

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, when McGill conducted overnight stays, he would invite people to join him to spend the night in the spaces and for conversations around the campfire. In the process, project participants not only experienced one aspect of the harsh realities of life for enslaved individuals, but also had the opportunity to engage in discussions about how to practically address the repercussions of slavery in America today. “In these conversations, we talk about things basically centered around slavery and the legacy that it’s left on this nation,” McGill explained. These days the events are presented virtually, but the profound and difficult nature of the talks has endured. “Most of the people in these conversations are usually engaging with people who don't look like them,” McGill said. “And that’s the important thing, even in the mode that we're in now, looking at the screen and seeing the mosaic of people engaging in these conversations. We consider that success.”

Virtually or otherwise, McGill said the conversations “get very interesting,” and sometimes result in “jaw-dropping moments.” “What is now common is that most of the white folks who participate are descendants of slave owners,” McGill said. “And, you know, they want to participate because of that, and they don't shy away from it.” Once, for instance, a woman admitted her father was a member of the KKK. In conversation, these participants reckon with their own racism and their family history of it while also exploring difficult topics ranging from Confederate monuments to white privilege to plantation weddings. The Slave Dwelling Project does not merely aim to bring attention to the often-overlooked history of slavery, but to address its legacy in tangible and beneficial ways moving forward.

Joseph McGill, Founder of the Slave Dwelling Project.

McGill explained that at the heart of the project is the question: “What history are we going to disseminate? Are we going to continue down the path that we were and tell a more watered-down, sugarcoated, more comfortable history? Or are we going to be real, and insert into that narrative the fact that, yeah, we're a great nation, but along the way, we’ve committed some flaws—or we did some things, some atrocious things?”

“Most of the people in these conversations are usually engaging with people who don't look like them,” McGill said. “And that’s the important thing, even in the mode that we're in now, looking at the screen and seeing the mosaic of people engaging in these conversations. We consider that success.”

Inspiration for the Slave Dwelling Project

Accurately filling in that narrative and raising awareness of the history of slavery inspired McGill to embark on the project. Yet, when McGill first began the overnights, he did so alone. “That was that kind of period where folks were just kind of sitting back and waiting…trying to ignore what I was doing, because they were hoping that it would just go away,” McGill said. For his first ever overnight, McGill stayed in a slave cabin at Magnolia Plantation in South Carolina, where he is currently the History and Culture Coordinator on a full-time basis. There was a wedding on the grounds that night. As he tried to sleep, McGill could hear the beat of the live band playing at the reception, as well as the loud caws of peacocks and a tree limb repeatedly hitting the roof in the wind.

Finding those graves, sunken into the earth, McGill felt the magnitude of his mission. He was doing it for them. “When they were here on this earth, they were muted,” he said. “So I knew that this project and I would be their voices to carry their story forth.”

“I eventually got to sleep,” he said. “But it was the next morning when I got up, which was Mother's Day of 2010, that I started to explore, not knowing where I was going,” McGill said. "I ended up in the graveyard where the enslaved people are buried. If someone was born enslaved and died free, they had a headstone. But if they were born enslaved and died enslaved, their graves weren’t even marked. So, I had to find the indentions in the earth—because if they were buried at a wooden box, you know, that wooden box would eventually give way, and that Earth would conform accordingly.” Finding those graves, sunken into the earth, McGill felt the magnitude of his mission. He was doing it for them. “When they were here on this earth, they were muted,” he said. “So I knew that this project and I would be their voices to carry their story forth.”

Joseph McGill will be visiting the slave quarters of Melrose Estate April 17 as part of The Slave Dwelling Project, including Facebook Live broadcasts at 11 am and 6 pm, and a virtual campfire discussion via Zoom at 7 pm. This event is funded by the Mississippi Humanities Council.

Tracing Natchez

Natchez, Mississippi, is the oldest permanent settlement on the Mississippi River it had more millionaires in pre-Civil War days than anywhere else in the United States but New York, and more than five hundred of the handsome houses with which Natchezians glorified themselves and their town still stand. High on the bluffs above the river, Natchez proper was considered the healthiest, pleasantest, and most genteel place to live in the whole region, while at the same time its lower, scruffier section, two hundred feet below on the riverbank, known as Natchez-under-the-Hill, was described by travelers of the time as a “most licentious spot” and the “nucleus of vice upon the Mississippi.” Natchez is also the terminus of the most heavily traveled road in the old Southwest, the Natchez Trace.

On a recent visit I approached this city of superlatives via the Trace, now a serene, lovely parkway, beautifully planted and maintained for leisurely driving free of commercial traffic. It is punctuated by historical markers and sites that tell the road’s story.

The story is an old one. Indians originally walked the paths that in the eighteenth century gradually became a continuous route over 550 miles long from Nashville, Tennessee, to Natchez. The Trace—partially mapped by the French as early as 1733—was trampled out by pioneer settlers of the Ohio River valley who floated their produce downriver in flatboats to sell in Natchez and New Orleans. In those presteam days the easiest way to get home was to walk, so they sold their flatboats for lumber, stocked up for the trip to Natchez, and set off on the slow journey home.

Primitive hostelries, called stands, sprang up along the route to accommodate the travelers, and one of them, Mount Locust, survives today, restored to its 1800 condition by the National Park Service.

The Trace was also a magnet for thieves, who hid in the woods waiting to rob flatboatmen returning home, often with their year’s incomes in their pockets. The Mount Locust guide assured us, however, that the Trace’s reputation for wickedness has been exaggerated. By 1810, eight to nine thousand people — postriders, soldiers, itinerant preachers as well as the Kaintucks — were traveling the Trace during the summer months, making it too public for uninhibited thievery.

Sections of the original Trace are still visible—beautiful, quiet, and rather eerie—and a five-minute walk along the old route, often deeply eroded by feet and time and closed over at the top by trees, makes it easy to imagine how weary the walkers must have been, trudging for weeks through swamps and heat, plagued by mosquitoes, and wary of both Indians and bandits.

After the first steamboats appeared on the Mississippi in 1812, the flatboat-men found it easier and safer to go home by water. By 1830 the Trace had once more become a quiet forest lane.

The flags of five different nations have flown over Natchez during its lifetime. The French first settled the area, naming it after the Natchez Indians, a friendly agricultural tribe that lived there. In 1716 French soldiers built Fort Rosalie as headquarters for the new Natchez district. The Indians’ friendliness soured as the French encroached more and more on their lands, and eventually they attacked, massacring the garrison at Fort Rosalie. In retaliation the French totally wiped out the Natchez as a nation in 1730. The site of the tribe’s Grand Village, with burial mounds and a small museum, is now a national historic landmark, within the city limits.

Next to fly their flag over Natchez were the British, who took over the town after the French and Indian War. Both they and the French before them confined their settlements to the riverbank where Natchez-under-the-Hill now stands. Today’s Natchez on the heights was designed by the Spanish when they hoisted their flag over the town in 1779. Loyalists fleeing the American Revolution found refuge there, and the Spanish, using offers of land and tobacco subsidies as an inducement, drew more Americans to settle in the area. So many did that by 1798 Spain had withdrawn, leaving Natchez to the Americans. In 1817 Mississippi became America’s twentieth state, and Natchez was its capital until 1821. (The fifth flag to fly over Natchez, briefly, was the Confederate one.)

The beautiful old town is still laid out in the grid pattern that the Spanish designed, with its “grand feature,” as Frederick Law Olmsted described it in the eighteen fifties, “the bluff, terminating in an abrupt precipice over the river, with the public garden upon it. ” Some of this garden was lost as the city grew, but Bluff Park, a belt of green, still remains.

Natchez plays host to travelers all year round, but spring and fall, when the city offers its Pilgrimage Tours, attract the largest crowds. I went in the fall and found the city enticing. It does not have the rarefied atmosphere of a museum but is alive with a rich and varied past. Thirty antebellum houses, some dating back to the Spanish period, are open for visiting, and hoopskirted hostesses, unfailingly gracious, wait in each room to describe the houses’ histories and treasures. I was impressed that at one house we were greeted by Tony Byrne, who owns and lives in the building and is the mayor of Natchez.

Some of the houses that are open for viewing also offer bed-and-breakfast accommodations for guests who delight in sleeping among antiques and in canopied beds so high that stepping stools are needed to climb into them. I was intrigued to take the tour through Stanton Hall, the mansion I was staying in, and to join a group that was admiring—from behind a rope—the noble, lofty room I had slept in the night before. (The director of marketing for Pilgrimage Tours, Hattie Stacy, told me that she had once arranged for the Japanese ambassador to sleep in that room, forgetting that it bears a silver placard on the doorframe in honor of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who once stayed there. It was too late to change rooms, so Ms. Stacy raced over to Stanton Hall with a screwdriver and removed the possibly offensive nameplate.)

In Stanton Hall front and back parlors join to form a seventy-two-foot-long room with massive mirrors at each end that reach to the sixteen-foot ceiling. Light from bronze chandeliers is reflected back and forth between the mir- rors, making the room seem limitless. The mantels are white marble, and the doorknobs and hinges are all silver. This splendid building occupies an entire block in Natchez’s historic district.

Most of the city’s mansions, including Stanton Hall, were built by men who had made fortunes in cotton. The plantations were across the river in Louisiana, but the planters and brokers chose to live in Natchez, where the air was healthier and the high bluff protected their houses from flooding. There are also old inns and middle-class residences among the buildings open to the public. One of them, the Smith-Brontura-Evans House, was built by the owner of a prosperous carriage business who was a free black man (though the guides in the house didn’t mention this fact).

One of the most beautiful houses, and certainly the most intriguing, to be seen in Natchez is Longwood, a high-domed octagonal mansion, started just as the Civil War was breaking out and never finished. (See the October/November 1985 issue of American Heritage for an article about Longwood.) It was planned to include such locally unheard-of amenities as bathrooms, closets, and skylights.

Natchez has such architectural riches not only because it was a wealthy, cosmopolitan place but also because it was virtually unscathed by the Civil War. Many of the planters, in fact, had business connections with the North and opposed secession when the war first broke out. Their young men went to fight for the Confederacy as a matter of course, but when the town was threatened by Federal troops in 1863, the city fathers threw it open, and Natchez lived quietly as an occupied town during the rest of the war. For the restraint of the conquerors and the good sense of the conquered in saving intact this lovely town, we can be truly grateful.

2. It’s Home To Southern Cooking At Its Finest

Crispy po’ boys, succulent crawfish, and juicy jambalaya are only a small part of the food scene in Natchez. The city abounds with rich flavors, from Cajun to classic Southern. Dinner options include everything from spinach salads and grilled chicken to burgers, sandwiches, and more.

King’s Tavern is a local favorite it was built in the 18th century, and it’s thought to be one of the oldest buildings in Natchez. Enjoy a wood-fired flatbread, but beware of the resident ghost — it’s rumored this establishment is haunted!

Down by the river is the popular Magnolia Grill, which serves up Southern and Cajun favorites like fried green tomatoes, okra gumbo, and grilled catfish with crawfish étouffée. There are plenty of lighter options and vegetarian dishes to accommodate all diners.

If you want to learn about Southern cooking, visit one of the two cooking schools in Natchez that are open to the public. The Natchez Heritage School of Cooking is run by three generations of Natchez women who share African-American recipes and cooking tips. There’s also the Southern Cooking Class at Twin Oaks, where you’ll step into Chef Regina Charboneau’s kitchen for a cooking demonstration before moving into the lavish dining room for a sumptuous meal complete with wine and fascinating conversation.

You can’t be more than 55 feet with a tow vehicle and the RV can not be more than 14 feet high.

Many pullouts along the Trace will be a bit tricky for Class As and big 5 th wheels that are towing a vehicle. But they can be done. There are several side trips off the Trace that are closed to RVs because the road is too rough or there is not adequate turnaround space for them.

The following pull-offs are closed to RVs. Sites without a circular drive are marked “no circular drive.”

  • Mile Marker 17 – Southern trailhead for Potkopinu section of the National Scenic Trail
  • Mile Marker 45 – Mangum Mounds (bridge clearance of 11’6”)
  • Mile Marker 278.4 – Twenty-mile Bottom Overlook
  • Mile Marker 375.8 – Old Trace Drive
  • Mile Marker 394 – Devil’s Backbone State Recreation Area
  • Mile Marker 401.4 – Old Trace Drive

Late Lunch at The Little Easy

By the time we got to The Little Easy after a morning spent in Natchez, we’d already received recommendations from five or so different locals to try: the jerk waffle and chicken, the BLT, the brisket sandwich, and the salmon salad—“You’ve just got to try the salmon salad!” Driving up to the highly-anticipated new eatery—which is helmed by the husband-and-wife duo Ashley Allen and Sarah Sookraj and occupying the same building that once housed Steampunk Coffee—we were greeted by a pair of older women standing out front, brightly-colored cocktails in hand and whatever they were talking about, well it sounded fascinating. It was two in the afternoon, on a Thursday—the weekend was practically here.

Associate Publisher Ashley Fox-Smith and I fell right in line with that sentiment, seating ourselves at one of the bistro tables outside she ordered a rosé, and I opted for the Scratch Margarita, a refreshingly simple mix of Resposado, Cointreau, and lime. We were joined shortly by local gallery owner Stacy Conde, who promptly started agonizing about whether she should get that famed salmon salad again or if she should try something else.

Before any of us had finished perusing the Southern-winking-at-the-Caribbean menu (which promises a “Boozy Brunch from sun-up to sun-down, Mon-Sun, 7 am–7 pm”), blustery winds with the threat of downpour shooed us inside, where we found ourselves seated cozily at a gorgeous wood-slice table in the corner of the little café.

The best way to eat in Natchez is to eat with a local, especially if they are a new friend. We’re all Southerners here: we get close fast. I had met Stacy only that morning, but before the first round of drinks was complete, we were recommending new hairstyles to Ashley and discussing their relationships with their daughters. But in between all of that came, one after another, introductions to essentially seventy percent of the restaurant’s patronage that day: Stacy knew all of them, including Tate Taylor, who was seated at the bar with a group of locals. The Natchez-based film producer and director of Academy Award-nominated film The Help is behind much of the buzz going on in the city these days—including the opening of The Little Easy, part of a series of ventures which imagines Natchez as a newly-enlivened and thriving cultural center for years to come.

Ashley and Stacy each ordered a salad—Ashley went for the slow-smoked salmon salad (someone certainly had to), and Stacy relented for the “Cluckin’” salad. Both were presented beautifully on beds of greens, with fresh seasonal vegetables sourced from a collection of local vendors, microgreens, edible flowers, and a sous vide egg to boot. As for myself, I never turn down anything with the words “Smoked Brisket” in it, and the sandwich—dressed with tomato, arugula, tomatillo avocado salsa, caramelized onions, and gouda—was about as good as they get: juicy, flavorful, and surprisingly delicate. At some point, an unaccounted-for serving of truffle fries showed up at our table, giving us a reason to linger a bit longer, and order a second round of drinks. It was Thursday afternoon, after all. The weekend was practically here.

Considering a weekend in Natchez soon? Check out our travel guide, here: Natchez Through New Eyes.

Editor's Picks

Ah, yes. The possibly pointed pace-of-play comments that started it all. Back in 2019, multiple PGA Tour players (including Koepka) criticized DeChambeau for his slow play. That led to DeChambeau telling Koepka's caddie to inform Brooks that he should confront him about the matter if he had something to say:

Was standing on the putting green with Koepka's caddie earlier when an irritated Bryson DeChambeau walked up & told him to tell his boss to make any comment about slow play "to my face". Brooks arrived soon after, got the message & ambled over for a chat with the scientist.

— Eamon Lynch (@eamonlynch) August 11, 2019

Brooks would win in a fight

Shortly after, DeChambeau and Koepka joined Michael Collins on Out of Bounds to discuss the "Bryson takes too long to hit the ball" debacle. The Scientist conceded to being "slow on the greens" and fessed up to being put on the clock more than once while explaining how he finds himself in those situations.

Some Quick Hits on Slow Play! World No. 1 @BKoepka & @b_dechambeau join @ESPNCaddie & Pat Perez to sound off on a variety of topics surrounding slow play. Hear the full interview on Sirius XM OnDemand!

— SiriusXM PGA Tour Radio (@SiriusXMPGATOUR) August 14, 2019

In the same interview, Collins remarked, "People acted like the two of y'all were going to fight." To which DeChambeau replied, "Let's be honest, we know who would win that fight, and it's not me." Koepka echoed the sentiment with an approving: "You got that right."

DeChambeau concluded his comments about his game with, "I want to make it faster, no doubt. . I would love it if I was done in two hours and 'See ya later.' I'd be playing Fortnite all day long."

The friendly banter would make it seem as if they had put aside their differences, yes? Not so fast.

Do you even lift, bro?

If I had to pinpoint it, I would say this is where things took a turn. After Koepka appeared in the Body Issue, DeChambeau was livestreaming while playing a video game and said of Brooks, "He doesn't have any abs, to be honest. I got some abs!"

Coming for his physique? Decidedly uncool.

Koepka was quick with the clapback though, swiftly shutting DeChambeau down from behind his keyboard with the help of some friends:

For reference, DeChambeau's dig came before he engaged in a swoll contest of sorts with Brooks.

Koepka calls on Kenny Powers

Which brings us to when the PGA Tour returned from its coronavirus shutdown. All of a sudden, DeChambeau looked yoked and was hitting his drives farther than any player had consistently in the tour's history.

Bryson can say he began protein shaking it up shortly after his war of words with Brooks for the sake of science, but I'm not willing to rule out that their burgeoning feud played a part.

Case in point, when the newly buff DeChambeau had a confrontation with a CBS camera operator during a 2020 tournament, Koepka appeared to subtweet him with this Kenny Powers GIF:

Insert thinking emoji here .

Did somebody say ants?

At the 2020 St. Jude Classic, DeChambeau asked for a drop due to fire ants near his ball. Then Koepka seized the opportunity to clown him by claiming to have seen ants near his ball the next day. Pettiness -- it's good for the game.

The viral video

Now, if this loose timeline of shade-throwing somehow failed to convince you of the disdain between the duo, you need look no further than this video. You know what they say, an eye roll is worth a thousand words . or something like that.

They've taken it to Twitter

Oh, you thought they were done? Nah. This feud is just getting good. After it was announced that DeChambeau would be teeing off alongside Aaron Rodgers in Capital One's The Match celebrity golf tournament against Phil Mickelson (again, big miss on their part) and Tom Brady, Koepka swiftly exercised his Twitter fingers to inform Rodgers he had drawn the short straw. Naturally, Bryson took a break from aggressively pumping iron on Instagram to reply:

@BKoepka It's nice to be living rent free in your head!

— Bryson DeChambeau (@b_dechambeau) May 26, 2021

Natchez SlpW - History

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

In 2015, John Grisham and I enlisted the vast majority of Mississippi writers, as well as prominent athletes, coaches, actors, and musicians in an effort to persuade the legislature to remove the Confederate imagery from the Mississippi state flag. I am happy to be able to say that the old flag has finally been retired, and that a new one has taken its place. I've watched it flown with pride from college football fields to the U.S. Capitol. This change was a big step for Mississippi, one long overdue. But a flag is only a flag in the end. Much work still remains to be done.

Sources and Further Readings

Merrill R. Prichett and William L. Shea, "The Enemy in Mississippi (1943-1946)," The Journal of Mississippi History, November 1979.

Barry W. Fowler, Builders and Fighters: U.S. Army Engineers in World War II, Office of History, United States Corps of Engineers, Fort Belvoir, Virginia, 1992.

Forrest Lamar Cooper, "The Prisoners of War: Grenada's Camp McCain was more than a training base, it was a World War II prison," Mississippi, July/August 1989, pp. 71-73.

Maxwell S. McKnight, "The Employment of Prisoners of War in the United States," International Labor Review, July 1944.

Walter Rundell, Jr., "Paying the POW in World War II," Military Affairs, Fall 1958.

Diary of a German soldier, captured in North Africa and transported to Camp Clinton, near Jackson, Mississippi. Typescript in Camp Shelby Archives.

Report, Headquarters, Prisoner of War Camp, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, 23 October 1943.

Report, Army Services Forces, Fourth Service Command, Camp Shelby, Mississippi, 1 March 1945.

Mississippi Historical Society © 2000�. All rights reserved.

Around Town

Natchez offers endless home tours, three of which are essential. The largest octagonal home in the United States, Longwood spans six stories and 30,000 square feet—topped with a stately dome. But it&aposs still unfinished. Construction, which began in 1860, was cut short by the Civil War the following year. Seeing its grand interior unvarnished only underscores the original owner&aposs ambitions for this palatial home.

The National Park Service (NPS) offers detailed tours of the historic properties it manages. Melrose, a mid-19th-century town house, was passed on to each new owner with all of its original furnishings, making it an incredibly intact reflection of the past. Meanwhile, the NPS-run museum in the William Johnson House offers a personal portrait of historic Natchez. Johnson, its original owner, was a free black businessman who kept a detailed diary of local gossip. The house also provides an important glimpse into the sometimes overlooked stories of African-Americans in Natchez to dive even deeper, book a tour from Miss Lou Heritage Group & Tours LLC.

When it&aposs time to refuel, The Donut Shop is the only place in town to enjoy a uniquely local combo: fried pastries and Mississippi-style hot tamales. Walk them off on the 26-acre grounds of Monmouth Historic Inn & Gardens, a setting that calls for a mint julep from the on-site bar, Quitman Lounge & Study. Afterward, head for Restaurant 1818, where a white-tablecloth dinner is served in the mansion&aposs old parlors.

Watch the video: Traces Through Time: Natchez Trace Parkway