See Rock City

See Rock City

Monday, November 3, 2008

Natchez, MS

Natchez is the county seat of and the largest and only incorporated city within Adams County, Mississippi, United States. As of the 2000 census, the city had a total population of 18,464. One of Mississippi's oldest cities, it was founded in 1716, predating the current capital city — Jackson — by more than a century. Located along the Mississippi River, Natchez is the southern terminus of the Natchez Trace Parkway. The city is famous in American history for its role in the development of the Old Southwest, particularly with respect to its location on the Mississippi River.

Natchez is the principal city of the Natchez, MS–LA Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Pre-European settlement (to 1716)

The original site of Natchez was the main ceremonial village of the Natchez (pronounced "Nochi") Indian tribe, who occupied the area for countless generations (and whose culture was unbroken since the 8th-century, according to archaeological findings). Many early explorers, including De Soto, La Salle and Bienville made contact with the Natchez, some of whom left detailed records of their encounters. The Natchez's society was divided into nobles and commoners according to matrilineal descent. The supreme Natchez chief, the "Great Sun" owed his position to the rank of his mother.

Matrilineality is a system in which lineage is traced through the mother and maternal ancestors.

A matriline is a line of descent from a female ancestor to a descendant (of either sex) in which the individuals in all intervening generations are female. In a matrilineal descent system (uterine descent), an individual is considered to belong to the same descent group as his or her mother. This is in contrast to the more common pattern of patrilineal descent.

The uterine ancestry of an individual is a person's pure female ancestry, i.e. a matriline leading from a female ancestor to that individual.

Mitochondrial DNA (mt-DNA) is normally inherited exclusively from one's mother - both daughters and sons inherit it all the same. As mt-DNA are sort of "cellular power plants," one's metabolism and energy conversion are much influenced by the matrilineal descent.

In some cultures, membership of a group is inherited matrilineally; examples of this cultural practice include many ancient cultures and continues in the contemporary cultures of those ancient origins such as Huron, Cherokee, Iroquois Confederacy (Haudenosaunee), Hopi, Navajo,and Gitksan of North America; overseas in Egyptian, Minangkabau (West Sumatra); and Ezhava, Nairs, and Kurichiyas of Kerala, India, Bunts, Billavas and Mogaveeras of Karnataka, Pillai caste in Nagercoil District of Tamil Nadu; the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo of Meghalaya, India, the Naxi of China, and the Tuaregs.

In the ancient kingdom of Elam, the succession to the throne was matrilineal, and a nephew would succeed his maternal uncle to the throne.

The order of succession to the position of the Rain Queen is a modern example in an African culture of matrilineal primogeniture: not only is dynastic descent reckoned through the female line, but only females, not males are eligible to inherit.

The flat-topped ceremonial mounds built by the Natchez show the influence of moundbuilding cultures to the north in the Middle Mississippi River Valley (see Mississippian culture). At Natchez, the Grand Village of the Natchez Indians is preserved as a National Historic Landmark maintained by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and nearby Emerald Mound, an earlier ceremonial center also in Adams County, may be visited just off the Natchez Trace Parkway at mile marker 10.2.

Colonial history (1716-1783)

In 1716 the French founded Fort Rosalie, in order to protect their trading post established in the Natchez territory in 1714. Permanent French settlements and plantations were subsequently established. The French inhabitants of the "Natchez colony" often found themselves in conflict with the Natchez, who were increasingly split into pro-French and pro-English factions. After several smaller wars, the Natchez launched a final war in November 1729 (the "Natchez War"), wiping out the French colony at Natchez. On November 28, 1729, the Natchez Indians killed 138 Frenchmen, 35 French women, and 56 children (the largest death toll by an Indian attack in Mississippi's history). Counterattacks by the French and their Indian allies over the next two years resulted in most of the Natchez Indians being killed, enslaved, or forced to flee as refugees. Many of the refugees ultimately became part of the Creek and Cherokee nations. Descendants of the Natchez diaspora survive as the Natchez Nation, a treaty tribe and confederate of the federally recognized Muscogee (Creek) Nation with a sovereign traditional government [2]. Subsequently, Fort Rosalie and the surrounding town, which was renamed after the extinguished tribe, spent periods under British and then Spanish colonial rule before finally being ceded to the United States under the terms of the Treaty of Paris (1783). However, the problem with the treaty was that Spain was not a party to it and it was Spanish forces that had taken Natchez from the British. Although the Spanish were loosely allied with the American Colonists, it was more an alliance of convenience for them, as an opportunity to advance their interests at the expense of the British. Once the war was over, the Spanish were not particularly inclined to give up that which they had taken by force and so, for a time, possession was, indeed, "nine-tenths of the law" as far as Natchez was concerned. A census of the Natchez district taken after the war in 1784 counted 1,619 people, including 498 African-American slaves.

Under the early republic (1783-1860)

"The Parsonage", Historic house in Natchez, Mississippi.

In the late 18th-century Natchez was the starting point of the Natchez Trace overland route, which ran from Natchez to Nashville, Tennessee through what is now Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee. The Flatboatmen and keelboatmen (locally called "Kaintucks" because they were usually from Kentucky, although the entire Ohio River Valley was well-represented amongst their numbers) who floated their produce downriver usually sold their wares at Natchez or New Orleans, including their boats (as lumber), and then made the long trek back north overland to their homes.

Depiction, smaller flatboat.

On October 27, 1795, the U.S. and Spanish signed the Treaty of San Lorenzo, finally settling their decade-long boundary dispute, by which all Spanish claims to Natchez were formally surrendered to the United States. However, it took another three years for the official orders to reach the Spanish garrison there, which then surrendered the fort and possession of Natchez to the American forces under Major Isaac Guion on March 30, 1798. A week later, when the Mississippi Territory was created by the Adams administration, Natchez became its first capital. After several years as the territorial capital, a new capital was built six miles to the east and named "Washington" (also located in Adams County). After roughly fifteen years in this role, on 10 December 1817, the capital reverted back to Natchez, which became the first capital of the new State of Mississippi, before being transferred yet again to Washington sometime later. Finally, as the state's population shifted north and eastward, the capital was moved to the more centrally located city of Jackson in 1822. However, throughout the course of the early 19th-century, Natchez remained the center of economic activity for the young state, due to its strategic location on the high bluffs on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River, which had allowed it to develop into a bustling port. At Natchez, many local plantation owners loaded their cotton onto steamboats at the landing known as Natchez-Under-the-Hill [1]and transported their wares downriver to New Orleans or, sometimes, upriver to St. Louis, Missouri or Cincinnati, Ohio, where the cotton would be sold and transported to Northern and European spinning mills.

Keelboat & Flatboat

The Natchez region, along with the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia, pioneered cotton agriculture in the United States. Until new hybridized breeds of cotton were created in the early 19th-century, it was uneconomical to grow cotton in the United States anywhere other than those latter two areas. Although South Carolina came to dominate the cotton plantation culture of much of the Antebellum South, it was the Natchez District that first experimented with hybridization, making the cotton boom possible.

On May 7, 1840, an intense tornado struck Natchez. This tornado killed 269 persons in Natchez, most of whom were on flatboats in the Mississippi River. The tornado killed 317 persons in all, making it the second deadliest tornado in United States history. This tornado is today known as the "Great Natchez Tornado."

The terrain around Natchez on the Mississippi side of the river is rather hilly. The city sits on a high bluff above the Mississippi river and in order to reach the riverbank one must travel down a steep road to the landing called Silver Street. This is in marked contrast to the flat "delta" lowland found across the river surrounding the city of Vidalia, Louisiana. Today, Natchez is well-known for the numerous Antebellum mansions and estates built by its early 19th-century planter society, many of whom owned plantations in Louisiana but chose to locate their homes on the higher ground in Mississippi. Prior to the American Civil War, Natchez had the most millionaires per capita of any city in the United States, making it arguably the wealthiest city in the nation at the time. It was frequented by notables such as Aaron Burr, Henry Clay, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and Jefferson Davis. Today the city boasts that it has more antebellum homes than anywhere else in the United States, partly due to the fact that during the War Natchez was spared the destruction of many other Southern cities, such as Vicksburg to the north.

American Civil War (1861-1865)

David Glasgow Farragut

During the Civil War, Natchez remained largely undisturbed, but not entirely. Natchez surrendered to Flag-Officer David G. Farragut after the fall of New Orleans in May 1862. In September, 1863, the Union ironclad USS Essex, under Capt. William D. Porter shelled the town but caused only minor damage, although a seven year-old Jewish girl named Rosalie Beekman was tragically killed. Union troops under Ulysses S. Grant occupied Natchez in 1863; Grant set up his temporary headquarters in the Natchez mansion Rosalie. Confederate army forces attempted to recapture Natchez in December 1863 but did not attack the town itself because the C.S.A. forces were outnumbered.

Essex at Baton Rouge, Louisiana, July 1862

Like almost everywhere else in the United States, numerous Natchez residents did in fact fight or otherwise participate in the war and many families lost their antebellum fortunes. The fact that the town was largely spared the horrors of the war is illustrated by the legend of the Battle of Natchez. According to this story, while Union troops were being housed in Natchez, civilians and regular bar owners gathered at the river landing to watch Union gunboats travel the Mississippi River from Vicksburg down to New Orleans. In one passing, a Union gunboat fired a blank from a canon to rile up the Union troops at Fort Rosalie. This caused an elderly man to have a heart attack at Under the Hill–the one casualty in the Battle of Natchez.

Rosalie in 1934

Despite the city's relatively peaceful atmosphere under Union occupation, Natchez residents remained somewhat defiant of the Federal authorities. In 1864, the Roman Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Natchez, William Henry Elder, refused to obey a Federal order to compel his parishioners to pray for the President of the United States. In response, the Federals arrested Elder, jailed him briefly and then banished him across the river to Confederate held Vidalia, Louisiana. Eventually Elder was allowed to come back to Natchez and resumed his clerical duties there until 1880, when he was elevated to archbishop of Cincinnati.

Postwar period (1865-present)

Mississippi river bridge near Natchez

Natchez was able to make a rapid economic comeback in the postwar years, as much of the commercial traffic on the Mississippi River resumed. In addition to cotton, the development of local industries like logging added to the exports through the city's wharf. In return, Natchez saw an influx of manufactured goods from Northern markets like Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, and St. Louis.

The city's prominent place in Mississippi River commerce over the nineteenth century has been illustrated by the nine different steamboats plying the lower river between 1823 and 1918 that were named Natchez, many of which were built for and commanded by the famous Captain Thomas P. Leathers, whom Jefferson Davis had wanted to head the Confederate defense fleet on the Mississippi River, though this never materialized. In 1885, the Anchor Line, known for its sublime luxury steamboats operating between St. Louis and New Orleans, launched its "brag boat," the City of Natchez, though this boat survived only a year before succumbing to a fire at Cairo, Illinois, on 28 December 1886. Since 1975, an excursion steamboat at New Orleans has also borne the name Natchez.

This river commerce sustained the city's economic growth until just after the turn of the twentieth century, when steamboat traffic began to be replaced by the railroads. The city's economy declined over the course of the century, as in many Mississippi towns, although tourism has helped compensate for the decline.

In 1940, 209 people died in a fire at the Rhythm Night Club. This fire has been noted as the fourth deadliest fire in U.S. history.

Disney's The Adventures of Huck Finn was partially filmed here in 1993. Coincidentally, the 1982 television movie Rascals and Robbers: The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn was filmed here.


U.S. Route 61 runs north-south, parallel to the Mississippi River, linking Natchez with Port Gibson, Mississippi, Woodville, Mississippi, and Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

U.S. Route 84 runs east-west and bridges the Mississippi, connecting it with Vidalia, Louisiana, and Brookhaven, Mississippi.

U.S. Route 65 runs north from Natchez along the west bank of the Mississippi through Ferriday and Waterproof, Louisiana.

U.S. Route 98 runs east from Natchez towards Bude and McComb, Mississippi.

Mississippi Highway 555 runs north from the center of Natchez to where it joins Mississippi Highway 554.

Mississippi Highway 554 runs from the north side of the city to where it joins U.S. Highway 84 northeast of town.


Natchez is served by rail lines, which today carry only freight.


Natchez is served by the Natchez-Adams County Airport, which services general aviation.

Famous Natchezians:

Campbell Brown, Emmy award-winning journalist who is currently a political anchor for CNN and formerly NBC grew up in Natchez and attended both Trinity Episcopal and Cathedral High School.

Varina Howell Davis, first lady of the Confederate States of America, was born, raised, and married in Natchez.

Novelist and motivational author Kenneth R. Besser was raised from age 1 in Natchez until his family moved north in 1974.

Novelist Richard Wright, author of Black Boy and Native Son, was born twenty-two miles east of Natchez.

Robert H. Adams, former United States Senator from Mississippi.

William Wirt Adams, Confederate Army officer, grew up in Natchez.

Troyce Guice, Natchez restaurant owner, was twice a candidate for the United State Senate from Louisiana

Lynda Lee Mead, Miss Mississippi in 1959 and Miss America in 1960. A Natchez city street, Lynda Lee Drive, is named in her honor.

It was the birthplace of country singer Mickey Gilley.

Minnesota Vikings cornerback Cedric Griffin was born in Natchez, but was raised in San Antonio, Texas.

University of Pittsburgh All-American defensive end Hugh Green was born in Natchez.

Pro Football Hall of Famer Billy Shaw was born in Natchez.

Novelist Greg Iles is a Natchez native.

Glen Ballard, a five-time Grammy Award winning songwriter/producer.

Denise Gee, national food/home design writer and author of "Southern Cocktails," is a native of Natchez.

Hound Dog Taylor, a blues singer and slide guitar player.

Pierre Adolphe Rost, a member of the Mississippi Senate and commissioner to Europe for the Confederate States. Emigrated to Natchez from France.

Alexander O'Neal, R&B singer.

Nook Logan, Baseball player for the Washington Nationals. Regarded as one of the fastest players in the majors.

Anne Moody, Civil Rights activist and author of Coming of Age in Mississippi, attended Natchez Junior College.

Dwayne Brown, leader of the South Natchez football and baseball teams in the late 1970s. Now resides in Lafayette working for the city.

Olu Dara, musician & father of rapper Nas.

Political Scientist and Archaeologist Thomas Tolbert was born in Natchez.

General John Anthony Quitman - Mexican War hero, plantation owner, governor of Mississippi, owner of Monmouth Plantation.

Two-time PBR world champion bull rider Chris Shivers, who was born in Natchez and currently resides in Jonesville, Louisiana.

Drew Stevens, a local storyteller, now residing in Oxford, MS was born and raised in Natchez.

Don José Vidal, Spanish Governor of the Natchez District, is buried in the Natchez City Cemetery.

Joanna Fox Waddill, American Civil War nurse known as the "Florence Nightengale of the Confederacy."

Les Whitt, director of the municipal zoo in Alexandria, Louisiana, and a musician who sometimes played with B.B. King.

Von Hutchins, NFL football player for the Atlanta Falcons

Natchez Celebrates Tri-Centennial in 2016

Founded in 1716, Natchez is the oldest city on the Mississippi River.

The first route into Natchez was the Natchez Trace, originally a buffalo trail and later used by Native Americans and early settlers. Flatboat men plied their craft downriver to Natchez or New Orleans, sold their goods and boats, and walked or rode wagons north toward home on the Trace. With the advent of steamboat travel in the early nineteenth century, the Trace fell into disuse. Now administered by the National Park Service, it runs 450 miles between Nashville and Natchez, a green and peaceful route dotted with interpretive exhibits, 18th century inns, and picnic sites. For interstate routes into Natchez, see Natchez Map.

Mississippi River

Occupied by the mound-building and sun-worshipping Natchez Indians for centuries before the French built a fort and established a settlement here in 1716, Natchez was under British rule from 1763, controlled by the Spanish from 1779 to 1798, and was the site of the state's first assembly in 1817.

Tobacco and indigo were initial crops, but the introduction of the Whitney gin in 1795, combined with the already established institution of slavery, revolutionized cotton production and brought great wealth to Natchez planters and merchants. Much of that wealth produced grand city and country estates ranking among the most beautiful in America. Today Natchez boasts more antebellum structures than any other city of its size in the United States with 13 National Landmarks and over 1000 buildings on the National Resister. Some of those properties have been owned and occupied by the same families for over 150 years.

Natchez is also home to dozens of African-American heritage sites, including historic churches, neighborhoods established by freedom after the Civil War, the boyhood home of internationally acclaimed author Richard Wright, and the Forks of the Road, site of the second largest slave market in the South. In the nineteenth century, Natchez was home to John Roy Lynch, the first African-American to hold office in Mississippi and the first to chair a major political party convention; Hiram Revels, first African-American elected to either house of Congress; and Elizabeth Taylor Greenfield, a classically trained African-American singer who performed for Queen Victoria.

Downtown Natchez offers great shopping - antiques, unique gifts, and bookstores - plus an exceptional number of casual ad fine dining restaurants and a cooking school. In Natchez, where Native American, African-American and European cultures have blended to make Natchez a unique place, we're proud that progress is a neighbor of the past. We're easy to find - at the lower end of the Trace on the bluffs of the Mississippi River.

Relax to true Victorian southern comfort in The Devereaux Shields House, a Queen Ann Victorian Bed and Breakfast located in the beautiful Natchez, Mississippi historic district and listed on the National Historic Register for significant homes. Our Bed & Breakfast includes the elegant 1893 Queen Ann Victorian main house, the charming 1873 Victorian Aunt Clara's Cottage and the newly added 1900 Casa Espana. Our Bed & Breakfast now features 8 rooms, two beautifully appointed suite/rooms surrounded by carefully manicured gardens in the main house, 4 spacious rooms in the cottage with heart pine floors and large veranda, and 2 delightful rooms in the Casa Espana, so named and decorated to celebrate the Spanish origins of Natchez. Aunt Clara's Cottage and Casa Espana, which features a pool for the enjoyment of all our guests, are located a few steps from our main house.

The main house is named for Lt. Colonel and Ms. Devereaux Shields who are believed to have built the Queen Ann Victorian-style home in Natchez, MS between 1893 and 1900. Colonel Shields was a veteran and hero for his exploits in the Philippines during the Spanish-American War in the late 19th Century. Manuel Luis Gayoso de Lemos, first governor of Natchez, sited and laid out the city on the high bluff in 1792.

Our homes are just a few blocks from downtown and the 200-foot-high Natchez Bluffs, which offers a stunning view of the Mississippi River for several miles in both directions. The current owners and inn proprietors of the Devereaux Shields House and Aunt Clara's Cottage are Ron and Eleanor Fry.

A Jeweled Christmas at the Towers

A must see in Natchez! December 2, 2008 through January 4, 2009.

This magnificent home, lavishly redecorated and renovated, boasts Belter furnishings, exquisite Aubusson carpets, fine antique lace, and thousands of heavily jeweled necklaces, crowns, and ornaments - a dazzling display with a Christmas tree in every room! Thousands of Christmas lights cover the lawn's many trees and shrubs, amidst life sized bronze sculptures of deer, bears, wolves. lions and more.
Tours every half hour Tuesday through Saturday. Tours begin at 2:00 with the last tour beginning at 5:00. Other days and times by appointment.

Spring Pilgrimage March 7 - April 11, 2009

Twenty-five antebellum mansions, many of them private residences, open their doors to visitors during this five-week Pilgrimage every spring. Brilliant musical productions, theater, Gospel music, and historic presentations take the stage each evening.

Entertainment includes The Historic Natchez Pageant, Songs of the South, Southern Road to Freedom, and Southern Exposure.

Fall Pilgrimage September 26 - October 10, 2009

Hostesses in period costume welcome visitors to three mansions each morning and three each afternoon, eighteen historic mansions in all.

After your day's touring, relax and enjoy the town. Entertainment is available every night during the two week period of Fall Pilgrimage.

~Amos Polk's voices of Hope Spiritual Singers features dinner and stirring Gospel music.

~"Big River" A Musical Adventure about Huckleberry Finn on the Mighty Mississippi based on the writing of Mark Twain. The music keeps emotions on edge, from songs that tug at the heart to songs that are pure fun.

Natchez Little Theatre

The Natchez Little Theatre has entertained the Miss - Lou since 1932 and is the home of SOUTHERN EXPOSURE, THE MISSISSIPPI MEDICINE SHOW AND A NATCHEZ CHRISTMAS CAROL!

Celebrating 76 years, Natchez Little Theatre is America's most active non-profit volunteer community theatre and the oldest in Mississippi. Celebrating the 61st season with Once on This Island, Big River, Twelfth Night, A Natchez Christmas Carol, Rough Crossing, To Kill A Mockingbird, Southern Exposure, and Sweeney Todd!

"This is Your Life!" Natchez Opera Guild Honors Dr. Killelea

December 5, 2008 at 7:00 p.m. at the Natchez Convention Center. The Natchez Opera Guild is honoring Dr. Don Killelea for the endless amount of time he has put into making the Natchez Festival of Music the wonderful event it has become! A musical tribute will feature Natchez Festival of Music stars including Erin Murphy, Kathleen Sassnett, Wayne Line and Jim Moore along with accompanist Donna Schaffer. Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table for 10. There will be a buffet dinner and a cash bar.

Mansions on Tour Throughout the Year

Longwood (ca. 1861)

No site epitomizes more the rapid rise in wealth that one could attain in the pre-Civil War era, nor the rapid rate of decline in wealth in the post-bellum era. This six-story 30,000 square foot mansion was designed by Samuel Sloan of Philadelphia for wealthy planter Haller Nutt and his wife, Julia Williams Nutt. As it was nearing completion, the Civil War began and the workmen dropped their tools and went home. Haller died in 1864 and his wife Julia continued to live in the finished first floor that today contains many original family furnishings. The upper five stories are an architectural wonder - a magnificent work in progress where time just stopped and stayed. This grandest octagonal house in America is a National Historic Landmark. Tours every 30 minutes 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Stanton Hall (ca. 1857)

Stanton Hall is one of the most magnificent and palatial residences of antebellum America. This home was completed at the height of antebellum prosperity for wealthy planter and cotton broker Frederick Stanton. Although of Greek Revival style, this palatial home features ornamentation and elaborate surface details that were lacking in the earlier pure Greek Revival styles. A preservation project of the Pilgrimage Garden Club, it is furnished with Natchez antiques and many original furnishings of the Stanton Family. National Historic Landmark. Tours every 30 minutes 9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.

Magnolia Hall (ca. 1858)

The last great mansion built in downtown Natchez prior to the War Between the States, it is one of the finest examples of Greek Revival architecture. The exterior walls are stucco over brick, scored and painted to resemble brownstone. Featured inside is a costume museum. Built for cotton broker and merchant Thomas Henderson, it was also the home of Audley Clark Britton and family until 1935. Mr. Britton was one of the founders of the Britton and Koontz Bank in Natchez, which was chartered in 1835 and still exists today. This wonderful home is a restoration project of the Natchez Garden Club. National Register. Tours every hour 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. seven days a week. The last tour begins at 4:00 p.m.

House on Ellicott Hill (ca. 1798)

Andrew Ellicott, under the direction of President George Washington, and in defiance of Spanish authorities, raised the American flag on this hill in 1797. Architecturally, the style reflects influences of the West Indian Caribbean, where Natchez had common trade interests with the French, English and Spanish. Overlooking the terminus of the Natchez Trace, it is a mid-1930's historic restoration project of the Natchez Garden Club. National Historic Landmark. Tours every hour Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. with the last tour beginning at 4:00 p.m.

Rosalie (ca. 1832)

Located on the Mississippi Bluff near the site of the Natchez Indians' massacre of the French at Fort Rosalie. Architecturally significant in that its design became the prototype for later mansions in Natchez and across the South. The design is cubical in nature with two-story columns supporting both a front portico and a rear full-width gallery. The twenty-one pieces of Rococo Revival furniture from the workshop of John H. Belter are so familiar to scholars that similar pieces are referred to as having the "Rosalie" pattern. It was the headquarters of the Union Army during the War Between the States. Owned by the Mississippi State Society DAR. National Historic Landmark. Tours every hour 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Auburn (ca. 1812)

This imposing mansion set in the midst of Duncan Park is famous for its architecture and its beautiful free-standing spiral stairway unsupported to the second floor. Auburn was built by lawyer and banker Lyman Harding who was Mississippi Territory's first attorney general, and Levi G. Weeks who was a designer-builder. With it's portico front and pediment roof supported by colossal columns, Auburn became a house that influenced the design of countless other antebellum mansions across the South. Auburn was later occupied by Dr. Stephen Duncan, one of the founders of Trinity Episcopal Church. The home is now owned by the City of Natchez and operated by the Auburn Garden Club. National Historic Landmark. Tours upon arrival Tues. - Sat. 11 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. Last tour begins at 2:30 p.m.

Monmouth (ca. 1818)

This beautiful mansion was the home of General John A. Quitman, an early Mississippi governor of Mexican War fame. After living in the home for nearly thirty years, Quitman hired builder James McClure to update the house. The appeal of Monmouth lies in McClure's carefully calculated balance, symmetry, and proportions, as well as the subliminal impact of the bold lines of the Grecian mode. The mansion contains many original Quitman pieces. This historic antebellum home with its surrounding formal gardens is now an award winning small luxury hotel. National Historic Landmark. Tours every 45 minutes 9:30 a.m. - 11:45 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. - 4:15 p.m. Until October 1st, 2008, Monmouth's only tour is at 9:30 a.m.

Melrose (ca. 1848)

The magnificent Greek Revival exterior which emanates strength and permanence is equally matched by a fifteen-thousand-square-foot interior containing many of the original furnishings. The entrance porch is an undisguised Greek temple. In architectural terms it is a four columned portico incorporating Doric columns that are topped by a horizontal band of moldings and triangular pediment. The details are correct, but the surfaces are not ornate. The details throughout the interior are boldly ordered and architectural, with Grecian pilasters, columns, and marble mantels. Now under the auspices of the Natchez National Historical Park, the site also contains slave dependencies, a landscaped park and formal gardens that clearly make MELROSE one of the most historical sites in America. Tours every hour 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. Visitors may enjoy the gardens and grounds or the self-guided exhibits in the slave cabin at no charge from 8:30 a.m. until the gates close at 5:00p.m

The Briars (ca. 1812)

A beautiful southern planter's mansion, site of the 1845 wedding of Jefferson Davis and Varina Howell, the Briars is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The main house sits on a flat area of a bluff surrounded by rolling wooded terrain with fantastic views of the river and the two bridges connecting Mississippi with Louisiana. The view from the observation point extends many miles up and down the river. There are 19 acres of garden that have been personally designed, created and developed by the owners since 1975. There is rarely a time when flowers are not in bloom among the ancient pecan trees, magnolias, and live oaks. The elegant, antique-filled home and dependency contain 15 spacious bedrooms. The Briars is open from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Friday through Wednesday, and 8:00 a.m. to noon on Thursday. Tickets are sold on an individual basis, but are not sold as part of the discounted three-house tour.

Dunleith (ca. 1856)

A National Historic Landmark, Dunleith is the only house in Mississippi that is completely encircled by a colossal colonnade. Dunleith stands on the site originally occupied by "Routhland," a house built by Job Routh and his wife. Tragically, Routhland was struck by lightning and burned to the ground. Dunleith was constructed on the site in 1856 by Mr. and Mrs. Charles Dahlgren as their in-town villa. Located atop a rise on the edge of a forty-acre landscaped park within the city limits of Natchez, Dunleith boasts an array of outbuildings associated with antebellum life on a suburban estate. Among these outbuildings are a three-story brick dependency with an antebellum bathroom, a two-story poultry house, a two-story carriage house and stable, and an original hot-house for the garden. Hours may vary due to private functions and may be closed for special events. Tour hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. daily.

Tickets are sold on an individual basis, but are not sold as part of the discounted three-house tour.

The Towers (ca. 1798-1826-1858)

The rich Italianate facade of the Towers was built on the eve of the Civil War as a new front to an earlier frame cottage. The new front included a two-story recessed porch, or loggia, with three arches on each floor, set between matching three-story towers that were the source for the name of the house. The third stories were lost to fire in the 1920's. J. Edwards Smith, a local attorney, was the architect for the Towers. The house was built for W. C. Chamberlain, probably shortly after the land was acquired in1859. During the Union occupation of Natchez, the Towers was located within Fort McPherson, a large earthwork fortification constructed in the northern suburbs of town. Union Officers occupied the house while soldiers pitched tents on the eight acres of landscaped grounds. Open daily by appointment only. Call 1-800-647-6742 or 1-601-446-6631.

Tickets are sold on an individual basis, but are not sold as part of the discounted three-house tour.

The southwest end of the Natchez is located in Natchez, Mississippi in Adams County. This Marker is located on Hwy 61 North as the Trace crosses the Hwy heading northeast outside of Natchez.

I hope to one day to return to Natchez to get some pictures of the history markers that are in Natchez but was limited to time considerations when I traveled through here on April Fool's Day, 2002.

Natchez-Vidalia Bridge


The-Delta-Queen-a-Steamboat Make its Way up the Mississippi River

Some of the Group Tour Options Available:

Historic House Tours,

Many homes are on tour 365 days a year. Hosts and hostesses provide guided tours of each historic home. Allow approximately one hour per house. For groups of 20 or more, tickets for a tour escort and motor coach driver are complimentary.

Step-On Guides/City Tours,

Experienced local guides are trained and certified. Local guides are required for all local city tours.


Group dining is available year-round and on holidays in area restaurants and antebellum mansions. A group is considered a minimum of 20 paying guests.


Natchez offers several productions during the year which are perfect for group tours. Choose from Gospel groups, concert socials, living history performances, and other special events available year-round.

Special Events in Historic Houses,

We can arrange incredibly memorable events such as teas, cocktail parites, and dinners in some of the most magnificent mansions in Natchez!

The South's Best Kept Secret - Natchez, MS

Shhh! It’s the South’s best-kept secret. Natchez, Mississippi is 40 miles from the nearest freeway so few travelers find it by accident. This elegant little city of 19,000 is 100 miles from the state capital in Jackson and 150 miles from New Orleans, both easy drives on divided four lane highways through lushly wooded countryside.

Natchez was a center of business and culture in the early 1800s and by the mid-nineteenth century was home to more millionaires per capita than any other city in America.

Having survived a devastating tornado in 1840, the Civil War, the boll weevil scourge and the Great Depression, the town began its return to prosperity in the early 1930s when ladies of a local garden club opened their beautiful pre-Civil War homes and mansions to a group of state garden clubs. Through hard work, perseverance and countless volunteer hours, the garden club members laid the foundation for what became one of the most stable and viable industries in the area – tourism. With more pre-1860 buildings than any other U.S. city of its size, thirteen National landmarks and more than 1000 buildings listed on the National Register, Natchez is a magnet for tourists.

Spring comes early to this part of the Deep South, with trees displaying their first buds as early as January. Visitors who arrive in Natchez during the annual Spring Pilgrimage (March 7 through April 11, 2009) will be greeted by the scents of narcissus, wisteria, and hyacinth and by the lovely blooms of azaleas, dogwood, tulips, and irises. For these five weeks twenty-five late colonial and pre-Civil War town houses, mansions and plantation homes open their doors to local, national and international visitors. Hosts and hostesses dressed in period costume recount the history of each house and its various owners and occupants, and what stories they can tell!

In these homes you will see:

The Thomas Sully portrait of a planter/banker/investor who opposed the Civil War and left the area on a Union gunboat.
A sword from the 1815 battle of Waterloo, that is now a family heirloom in a home where, amidst original drapes, carpet, and wallpaper, the same family has lived for more than 150 years.

Gas-lit chandeliers made by a Philadelphia company that produced fixtures for the White House, Buckingham Palace and the Kremlin.

You will visit:

The site where in 1798, by order of George Washington, American soldiers raised the U.S. flag and took possession of the area from the Spanish.
Lansdowne, where the present occupant's great-great grandmother stood up to Union soldiers who broke into the house in 1865.
Auburn, designed by an architect who in New York was accused and acquitted of killing his fiancé.

The home where an unsolved murder was committed in the 1930's.
Longwood, a six story octagonal house designed as an oriental villa but never completed due to the onset of war in 1861- a lasting reminder of the rapid rise and inevitable decline of wealth built on King Cotton and slavery.

While driving or walking through Natchez you may also see:

The African-American church whose first minister Hiram Revels was the first African-American to serve in either house of the U.S. Congress.

The site of the second largest slave market in America.

The home of John Roy Lynch who was born a slave and became at age 21 the first African-American to hold office in Mississippi and later the first to chair a major political party convention.

Evening entertainment is offered throughout Spring Pilgrimage. At the Historic Natchez Pageant townspeople of all ages don authentic period attire to present the history of Natchez, beginning with its founding by the French in 1716. In addition to the lovely belles in hoop-skirted ball gowns, some of the characters and scenes you will see are:

William Johnson, a free African-American businessman, as he bids farewell to his children as they head to New Orleans aboard a Mississippi River steamboat. Later, tour his home, now restored and operated by the National Park Service.
A touching performance depicting a slave singing "Old Man River".
The Great Sun, chief of the Natchez Indians, who like the Aztecs were mound builders and practiced ritual sacrifice. During the day, see the Grand Village of the Natchez and climb the Temple Mound, site of the Great Sun's home.
Ibrahima, an African prince captured by a rival tribe and sold as a slave. Bought by a Natchez planter, he was freed after 20 years and returned to his homeland through the efforts of a Scottish doctor whose life had been saved by Ibrahima's father years earlier in Africa.

Local college students in Confederate uniforms portray the young men who set off in 1861 to fight a grim and tragic war.

In other evening entertainment, witness the struggle and triumph of African-Americans in the Natchez area, presented in song and first person narrative by the gospel choir of the Holy Family Church, the oldest African-American Catholic Church in Mississippi. Chuckle at the satire and light romance of Southern Exposure, a stage play produced by the Natchez Little Theatre. Hear Songs of the South, presented by the Alcorn State University Choir and the Natchez Festival of Music.

A new perspective in Fall 2008! The Fall Pilgrimage tour (September 27-October 11) will be comprised exclusively of privately owned homes, many not open any other time and several never before open for formal tours. Each of these homes will open several times a week as part of a three-house tour while six additional grand houses - Auburn, The House on Ellicott Hill, Magnolia Hall, Melrose, Rosalie, and Stanton Hall - will be open for individual tours, Twenty-five houses will be open for touring during this two-week period. Sites and stories you'll discover include The Burn, which was part of the Union encampment during the Civil War and the site where freed slaves were first trained to be soldiers and later schooled; The Gardens, used as a military hospital for Union troops during the Civil War; Texada, built in 1792 during the Spanish era and meeting place of the legislature when Natchez was the state capital; and Wigwam, featuring working gasoliers and exquisite hand-painted nature scenes on the ballroom ceiling.

Seasonal festivals and special events abound - the Natchez Festival of Music, Great Mississippi River Balloon Race, Bluff City Blues Fest, Natchez Food and Wine Festival, Symphony of Gardens Tour and Natchez Little Theatre productions. Specialized tours and unique presentations offered throughout the year include African-American heritage tours, cemetery tours, ghost tours, interactive living history programs, and more!

1888 Wensel House B&B

1888 Wensel House, a restored Natchez Victorian town house is simply and attractively furnished with antiques. Our location in the center of the historic area is perfect for walking the town and its historic neighborhoods. Moderate rates coupled with complimentary food and drink make 1888 Wensel House a great value.

Freshly-cooked Southern Breakfast
Complimentary Beverages and Fresh Fruit
Perfect Location
Smoke-free and Pet-free Accommodations
Moderate Rates

Rates: $105-145, $20 for each person over double occupancy, plus tax.

Tell us where and when you would like to stay with us!

Wens Cottage

Your reservation will only be confirmed when we contact you and verify the availability of the specific inn and room you have requested. The auto-email response you receive when you submit your request is an acknowledgement ONLY.

For personal service call 1-800-647-6742

or Email Us

Another Padre's Inn

Accommodations at Another Padre's Inn are just separate from the main house to assure your privacy. Though our B&B sits on a quiet acre of land, you're just a couple of blocks away from Natchez shopping, restaurants, antiques, and business centers.

A stay in our beautifully appointed and comfortable guest room includes a luxurious bath, satellite TV, and complimentary wine, juices, bottled water and soft drinks. We'd also like to invite you to take a dip in our pool, or enjoy the view from your private balcony.

Continental Breakfast
Complimentary Beverages
Private Balcony
Swimming Pool
Mere Blocks to Historic Downtown, convention Center, Tour Houses and Restaurants

Rates: $125 plus tax.

Tell us where and when you would like to stay with us!

Your reservation will only be confirmed when we contact you and verify the availability of the specific inn and room you have requested. The auto-email response you receive when you submit your request is an acknowledgement ONLY.

For personal service call 1-800-647-6742

or Email Us

Antebellum Music Room at The Stone House

The oldest part of this unusual house was built circa 1850 as a luxurious billiard hall by David Stanton, whose brother Frederic Stanton built Stanton Hall. The billiard hall stood on the grounds of "The Elms", David Stanton's home. It was expanded into a house around 1870 by David Stanton and his two sons. The house was acquired in 1877 by Joseph Newman Stone and his wife Theodora Britton, great-grandparents of the present owner, and is now on the National Register of Historic Places. A complete restoration was undertaken from 1999 to 2002, winning the Historic Natchez Foundation's 2003 Restoration Award.

Hot Breakfast Served in the Dining Room
Live Classical Piano Music in the Evening
Master Bedroom with 13 foot Ceiling and Private Bath
Cottage with Private Bath, Sundeck and Porch
Walking Distance to Convention Center, Tour Houses and Restaurants
Gentleman's Billiard Parlor
Satellite TV in Rooms

Rates: $110-125 plus tax.

Tell us where and when you would like to stay with us!

Your reservation will only be confirmed when we contact you and verify the availability of the specific inn and room you have requested. The auto-email response you receive when you submit your request is an acknowledgement ONLY.

For personal service call 1-800-647-6742

or Email Us

Bluff Top

A Natchez Bed & Breakfast

Bluff Top, an 1894 Queen Ann Victorian, Welcomes you to a quiet spot in the Clifton Heights National Historic District. We have two 2nd floor bedrooms, each with a private bath, phone, and cable TV. Between them is a central sitting room, opening onto the porch overlooking the river.

Full Southern Breakfast
Complimentary Beverages
Panoramic River View
Smoke-free and Pet-free Accommodations
Walking Distance to Convention Center, Tour Houses and Restaurants

Rates: $95-105 (seasonal) plus tax.

Special rates for longer stays!

For more information concerning this property or to make a reservation, call 1-800-647-6742