Tuesday, October 7, 2008
Yazoo City is a city in Yazoo County, Mississippi, United States. It was named after the Yazoo River, which, in turn was named by the French explorer Robert La Salle. "Yazoo" is said to be of Native American origin, meaning "River of Death". It is the county seat of Yazoo County and the principal city of the Yazoo City Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Jackson–Yazoo City Combined Statistical Area. According to the 2000 census, the population was 14,550.
Triangle Cultural Center
This tour enables your group the opportunity to stretch their legs, use the bathroom facilities, or perhaps eat a donut. The museums will be open for their touring if they so desire, or they may just sit in the auditorium and listen to some beautiful music. We will have staff available to answer any questions and let them know a little about this unique community called "Yazoo".
Welcome to Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge
Fishing on Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. Credit: Holly Cook, USFWS
... one of seven refuges in the Theodore Roosevelt National Wildlife Refuge Complex. Established in 1978, Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge encompasses 38,697 acres. Included in those acres is one of the largest blocks (21,000 acres) of bottomland forest in the lower Mississippi River alluvial floodplain. In addition to providing resting and feeding areas for over 100,000 wintering waterfowl annually, the refuge also provides habitat for 200 species of neotropical migratory songbirds. Resident species making their home among the woodlands, sloughs, and reforested areas include the American alligator, whitetail deer, swamp rabbit, wild turkey, squirrel, and various small fur-bearers.
Yazoo City is located 40 miles northwest of Jackson, Mississippi at the junctions of US Highways 49, 49E, and 49W, and MS Highways 3, 16, and 149, on the banks of the Yazoo River, near the Panther Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.
Historic District Walking Tour
US 49W provides a fairly direct link between Yazoo City and Belzoni. The old highway segment has been renamed MS 149. MS 149 passes through Panther Creek Swamp NWR and the communities of Louise and Midnight before it reconnects with the new US 49W at Silver City, 7 miles south of Belzoni. The new highway makes the town of Carter so near that it might be considered for annexation by Yazoo City in a few years. There are now two bridges across the Yazoo River at Yazoo City.
Yazoo City Bridge Over The Yazoo River
The section of MS 3 in Yazoo City is called Haley Barbour Parkway. Haley Barbour, the current governor of Mississippi, grew up in Yazoo City and has a home on Wolf Lake, a lake north of Yazoo City. US Highway 49 (part of which was formerly US 49E) through Yazoo City is named Jerry Clower Boulevard, after the famous comedian, a former resident of Yazoo City.
Yazoo City is also known as the "Gateway to the Delta" due to its location on the transition between the two great landforms that characterize the geography of Mississippi (the western part of town lies in the Mississippi delta and the eastern part lies in the loess bluffs that characterize most of eastern Mississippi). It is also known as the Couth and Cultural Center of the Southeastern United States.
The community now known as Yazoo City was founded in 1824, originally with the name Hannan's Bluff. The town was later renamed Manchester then changed to Yazoo City in 1839. Yazoo City became the Yazoo County seat in 1849.
A Yellow Fever epidemic struck Yazoo City in 1853.
During the American Civil War, a makeshift shipyard was established on the Yazoo River at Yazoo City after the Confederate loss of New Orleans. The shipyard was destroyed by Union forces in 1863, then Yazoo City fell back into Confederate hands. Union forces retook the city the following year and burned most of the buildings in the city.
Yellow Fever returned to take more victims in 1878.
In 1904 a fire destroyed much of central Yazoo City. According to local legend, this fire was the result of a witch avenging her death. In actuality, a boy accidentally set a house ablaze while playing with matches. Three-fourths of the town was destroyed, including almost all the houses, as the fire quickly spread due to high winds that day. The fire stopped at a canal , sparing the courthouse (built in 1872) and ten antebellum homes located behind it. The town was rebuilt within two years.
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 did much damage to the entire Delta, but Yazoo City was restored and is now protected by an effective flood prevention system.
Yazoo City is the childhood home of:
Blues musician Tommy McClennan
Tommy McClennan (April 8, 1908 - 1962?) was a delta blues singer and guitarist.
McClennan was born on a farm near Yazoo City, Mississippi and grew up in the town. He played and sang blues in a rough, energetic style.
He made a series of recordings for Bluebird Records from 1939 through 1942 and regularly played with his friend Robert Petway. He can be heard shouting in the background on Petway's 1942 recording "Boogie Woogie Woman".
McClennan made an immediate impact in 1940 with his recordings of "Shake 'Em On Down", "Bottle It Up and Go" and "New Highway No.51".
He left a powerful legacy that included "Bottle It Up and Go," "Cross Cut Saw Blues" (covered by Albert King), "Deep Blue Sea Blues" (aka "Catfish Blues"), and others whose lasting power has been evidenced through the repertoires and re-recordings of other artists.
Although nothing is known of what happened to Petway, McClennan was occasionally seen in Chicago with Elmore James and Little Walter, two other artists who came from the Delta. McClennan is reported to have died from alcoholism in poverty in Chicago, Illinois, in 1962
N. A. "Bubba" Mott, Former editor Owner Yazoo City Herald;
Writer Willie Morris,
William Weaks "Willie" Morris (November 29, 1934 — August 2, 1999), was an American writer and editor born in Jackson, Mississippi, though his family later moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, which he immortalized in his works of prose. Morris' trademark was his lyrical prose style and reflections on the American South, particularly the Mississippi Delta. In 1967 he became the youngest editor of Harper's Magazine. He wrote several works of fiction and non-fiction, including his seminal book North Toward Home.
My Dog Skip is an autobiographical book by Willie Morris. The story is about 10-year-old Willie growing up in Yazoo City, Mississippi, a tale of a boy and his dog in a small Southern town that teaches us about family, friendship, love, devotion and bravery. Willie and Skip's relationship goes beyond that of owner and dog, but is a relationship recognized and celebrated by the entire town. Excerpt:
You could talk to him as well as you could to many human beings, and much better than you could to some. He would sit down and look you straight in the eye, a long, mesmerizing gaze, and when he understood what you were saying he would turn his head sideways, back and forth, oscillating his whole body like the pendulum on a clock.
In 2000, the book was made into the film My Dog Skip. A number of Jack Russell terriers were used in filming, one of which was Moose, who portrayed Eddie on NBC's sitcom Frasier. The dog used in the film was trained by Mathilde DeCagny.
And inspirational speaker, Zig Ziglar.
Jerry Clower, born and raised in Liberty, Mississippi, became famous while a resident of Yazoo City.
One of the most highly acclaimed country comedians and a member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1973 until his death in 1998, recording artist, writer, and “racoonteur” Jerry Clower could be heard spinning tales for the public about his Mississippi roots for more than a quarter of a century.
He was born September 28, 1926, in Liberty, Mississippi. The day after he finished high school, he joined the Navy and served on the aircraft carrier Bennington in the Pacific during World War II. When he returned to Mississippi after the war, he attended college on football scholarships at Southwest Mississippi Junior College and Mississippi State University, where he received a degree in agriculture.
He served as an assistant county agent in Oxford, Mississippi, for a couple of years. Then, maintaining his close ties with the soil, he took a job in Yazoo City as a fertilizer salesman for the Mississippi Chemical Corporation, a manufacturer of chemical plant foods, where he stayed for 18 years and eventually rose to the position of director of field services. In the process of making sales, he began telling prospective customers humorous stories about his childhood to improve sales. Eventually, a friend taped one of his talks and sent it to MCA Records in Nashville. The result was his first comedy album in 1970, Jerry Clower from Yazoo City, Mississippi Talkin’. Within a month, the album had achieved gold status, selling more than 500,000 copies.
He first appeared on the Grand Ole Opry in 1973 and continued to tour extensively and record. A staple of his comedy is the Ledbetter clan, a fictional family whose humorous antics are more than funny; they chronicle life in the rural South of the 20th century. Undergirding his comedy is Clower’s strong religious beliefs. A Southern Baptist, Clower has served as a lay minister and as a deacon in his hometown church, and he has hosted a Christian radio show and syndicated television show. He is married to the former Homerline Wells, his childhood sweetheart, and they have four children.
In addition to his live performances, Clower has also published four best-selling books. Ain’t God Good came out in 1975 and was the basis and title for a documentary film which won an award from the New York International Film Festival in the category of Ethics and Religion. It was followed by Let the Hammer Down! in 1979 and Life Everlaughter in 1987. In 1992, the University Press of Mississippi published his most recent book, Stories from Home, a collection of his best tales and a serious look at the man behind the persona.
In the foreword to Stories from Home, fellow Mississippi writer Willie Morris wrote that Clower’s comic art demonstrates the richness of the spoken language of the South “in all its inwardness and nuance and sweep — the extravagant country talk, as lyrical as much of southern literature, and in the lineal ancestry of southern writing.” He concludes that Jerry Clower’s humor is “rooted in a region, but is not regional.” Laughter is the force that connects people from all regions in his work of art.
Clower died in Jackson, Mississippi, on August 24, 1998, five days after undergoing heart bypass surgery. He was 71 years old.
Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour,
Barbour, the youngest of three sons, was born in Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he was raised, to Jeptha Fowlkes Barbour, Jr. (1913 – 1950) and wife Grace LeFlore Johnson (1918 – 1973). His father, a lawyer, died when Barbour was two years old. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford, where he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, but skipped the first semester of his senior year to work on Richard Nixon's 1968 election campaign. He never earned a bachelor's degree. At the age of twenty-two, he ran the 1970 census for the state of Mississippi. He enrolled at the University of Mississippi Law School, receiving a Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree in 1972. Subsequently he joined his father's law firm in Yazoo City.
James Robert Simmons,
Thea Bowman, Roman Catholic sister, Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration,
Tommy McClennan, blues musician,
Della Reese, jazz singer.
Della Reese (born Delloreese Patricia Early on July 6, 1931), is an American actress and singer. She started her career in the late 1950s as a jazz singer, best known for her 1959 hit single "Don't You Know". She subsequently became an actress, best known as playing Tess on the television show Touched by an Angel. Today, she is also an ordained New Thought minister in the Understanding Principles for Better Living Church in Los Angeles, California. She is of half African-American and half Cherokee descent.
Robert Tannock, philosopher, minister.
Michael Passons, contemporary Christian artist, former member of Christian music group Avalon.
Michael Passons (b. October 29, 1965), a native of Yazoo City, Mississippi, is the founding member of the Christian band Avalon. After moving to Nashville in 1990, he began to meet and collaborate with friends in the music industry which ultimately led to him receiving an offer to help assemble a band with Sparrow Records (EMI) in 1995. The band made their debut November 1995 in San Jose, California at the start of the multi-city arena tour "The Young Messiah" alongside such legendary artists as Steven Curtis Chapman, CeCe Winans, and Michael W. Smith.
This proved to be an excellent launching pad for the foursome who later garnered two gold records, countless number one hits, 6 GMA awards, 3 GRAMMY nominations, a 2003 American Music Award for "Favorite Artist Contemporary Inspiration", and their hit song "Testify to Love" would eventually be named one of the top gospel songs of all time.
After eight years with Avalon, Passons departed to seek out a new path in his music career which has included an opening spot on tour with Christian super group Point of Grace. With the departure of Heather Payne, Shelley Breen has noted some of the group's traditional older four-part harmonies are being rearranged so when Passons is touring with the now-trio, he will fill in the fourth part, as Mrs. Breen noted, "Most of the time when it's four part (harmony), one part is doubled in octaves, so we just drop one of the octaves, or we have Michael sing it!"
Passons has on many occasions led worship at Clearview Baptist Church in Franklin, Tennessee. Point of Grace member Leigh Cappillino has also helped lead worship at the church alongside Passons.
And Ed Cortright.
The area which is now Yazoo County was acquired by the State of Mississippi from the Choctaw Indians in 1820. Yazoo County was established on January 21, 1823. It was the 19th county established in the State of Mississippi, and remains the largest in area. The first county seat was at Beattie's Bluff, Mississippi. In 1829 the county seat was moved to Benton. In 1849 the county seat was moved once again, to Yazoo City where it remains.
Yazoo County was a battlefield in 1863 and 1864 during the American Civil War.
The famous railroad disaster which killed engineer Casey Jones took place in Yazoo County, just north of Vaughan, Mississippi, in 1900.
The Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 did much damage in Yazoo County.
Comedian Jerry Clower was a native of Liberty, Mississippi, who immortalized the fictitious Ledbetter Amite County family (based on his memories of real people) with his comedy sketches. His humor was always gentle, upbeat, and deeply based on his Christian faith. Jerry attended Mississippi State University, and was employed by the Mississippi Chemical Company of Yazoo City. He died shortly after building a new home in his native Amite County
Greg Harkins Woodworks
Greg Harkins is a Chairmaker who uses work techniques passed down from the mid 1800's. He has made chairs for 20 years, three of these as an apprentice under a Master Chairmaker. Greg is a graduate of Mississippi State University with a B.S. in Psychology. He is a Member and sits on the Board of Directors for the Craftsmen's Guild of Mississippi. In addition, he is a member of the American Craft Council and the Louisiana Craft Council.
Greg has preserved a once dying craft by hand turning parts and using techniques to make extremely durable and fine quality chairs. Each piece is dated and hand signed by Greg and guaranteed for life. Greg hand picks each tree for lumber sawed to his specifications to make chair parts. Each chair takes approximately 25 hours to make. The backs and bottoms of each chair are also woven by hand.
This year Greg is also working on a new line of "Natural" furniture made from hickory trees and branches which are selected for their particular shapes and burls. Each piece is hand-stripped and chair bottoms are hand woven from the bark from the same tree. This can only be done in the spring time when the sap is rising. Consequently, large amounts of time is spent in the woods collecting materials to last the entire year.
Greg is world renown for his craft. His creations are in 20 countries and in the homes of many famous people such as President Bill Clinton: Former Presidents George Bush, Ronald Reagan, and Jimmy Carter; Former Vice President Dan Quayle, Paul Harvey, Bob Hope, George Burns, Pope John Paul II, John Glenn, and many others. In addition, his famous "Plantation Rocker" was presented to all the Southern Governors at the Southeastern Governor's Conference in 1990.
Posted by Palmer at 8:00 AM
Friday, October 3, 2008
Vicksburg is a city in Warren County, Mississippi, United States. It is located 234 miles (377 km) north by west of New Orleans on the Mississippi and Yazoo rivers, and 40 miles (65 km) due west of Jackson, the state capital. In 1900, 14,834 people lived in Vicksburg; in 1910, 20,814; in 1920, 17,931; and in 1940, 24,460. The population was 26,407 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Warren County.
Vicksburg Harbor, Aerial View
Vicksburg is the principal city of the Vicksburg Micropolitan Statistical Area, which includes all of Warren County.
The area was first settled by the French, who built Fort-Saint-Pierre in 1719 on the high bluffs overlooking the Yazoo River at present-day Redwood. Native Americans, however, wiped out the settlement 10 years later. A military outpost established on the site by the Spaniards in 1790 was known as Nogales, but it changed to Walnut Hills (Nogales is Spanish for walnut trees) when the Americans took possession in March of 1798.
A sprawling community developed which officially incorporated in 1825 as Vicksburg, named after Newitt Vick, a Methodist minister and conscientious objector of the Revolution. During the American Civil War, it was site of the Siege of Vicksburg, a significant event in which the Union gained control of the entire Mississippi River. The 47-day siege was intended to starve the city into submission, for its location atop a high bluff overlooking the Mississippi River proved impregnable to assault by federal troops. The capture of Vicksburg and the simultaneous defeat of Lee at Gettysburg marked the turning point in the American Civil War.
Because of the city's location on the Mississippi River, its reputation in the 19th century often rested on the river's prodigious steamboat traffic. Between 1881 and 1894, the Anchor Line, a prominent steamboat company on the Mississippi River from 1859 to 1898, operated a steamboat called the City of Vicksburg. In 1876 a Mississippi River flood cut off the large meander flowing past Vicksburg leaving access to the new channel limited. The United States Army Corps of Engineers diverted the Yazoo River in 1903 into the old, shallowing channel to rejuvenate the waterfront. Railroad access to the west was by transfer steamers and ferry barges until a combination railroad and highway bridge was built in 1929. This is the only Mississippi River rail crossing between Baton Rouge and Memphis and the only highway crossing between Natchez and Greenville. Interstate 20 bridged the River in 1969 and freight rail traffic still crosses by the old bridge. North-South transportation links are by the Mississippi River and U.S. Highway 61.
The Anchor Line was a steamboat company that operated a fleet of boats on the Mississippi River between St. Louis, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana, between 1859 and 1898, when it went out of business. It was one of the most well-known, if not successful, pools of steamboats formed on the lower Mississippi River in the decades following the American Civil War.
Early years, 1859-1879
The company was founded in 1859 as the "Memphis and St. Louis Packet Line," principally providing service to these two cities and points in between. Two years after the line was founded, the American Civil War broke out. Whereas many steamboat owners were forced to cease operations at the outbreak of hostilities, the Memphis and St. Louis Packet Line managed to remain in business by operating on the parts of the Mississippi River occupied by the Union forces. By the spring of 1862, this included all parts of the River as far south as Memphis. One year later, all ports on the river except for Vicksburg, Mississippi, and Port Hudson, Louisiana, were under Federal control. On 4 July 1863, Union forces under Ulysses S. Grant forced the Confederate garrison commanded by John C. Pemberton to surrender Vicksburg, and the next day, Port Hudson surrendered, leaving the river open to commercial steamboat traffic.
In 1874, the company adopted the giant anchor as its symbol (and presumably changed its name at that date). In any case, by the mid-1870s it was known as the "Anchor Line." The anchor was prominently hung between the two tall smokestacks on each of its boats. It was also included as a logo on the furnishings of many of its boats, including the chairs manufactured for the boats' cabins.
View Of Vicksburg
The historic 1894 Mississippi River Commission Building
On March 12, 1894, the popular soft drink Coca-Cola was bottled for the first time in Vicksburg by Joseph Biedenharn, a local confectioner. Today, surviving nineteenth-century Biedenharn soda bottles are prized by collectors of Coca-Cola memorabilia, and his candy store is the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum.
Panorama View of Vicksburg 1910
Vicksburg served as the primary refugee gathering point and temporary housing during the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 which submerged an area of the Mississippi Delta nearly the size of New England. That flood was the impetus towards establishment of the United States Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station as the primary hydraulics laboratory to develop protection from the river. That establishment, now known as the Engineer Research and Development Center, works in the areas of military engineering, information technology, environmental engineering, hydraulic engineering, and geotechnical engineering.
Mississippi River View in Vicksburg
Vicksburg is home to the world's longest running melodrama, Gold in the Hills.
Confederate Army General John C. Pemberton, surmising that he could get better terms by surrendering the town on July 4 did so, and on that date he had his troops stack their arms and allow Ulysses S. Grant and Union troops to enter the city. Pemberton was thereafter scorned for his conduct of the siege. The city of Vicksburg did not celebrate the Fourth of July again until during World War II.
"Down around Vicksburg" is where the singer meets the "Mississippi Queen" in the rock and roll standard of the same name by the band Mountain.
Some of the movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? was filmed here.
Vicksburg is home to the McRaven House, said to be one of the most haunted houses in America.
William Wirt Adams, Confederate Army officer and member of the Mississippi House of Representatives,
William Wirt Adams (March 22, 1819 – May 1, 1888), was a United States district court judge for the state of Mississippi, a soldier for the Republic of Texas, and a Confederate officer and general in the American Civil War.
Tommy Bishop, country guitarist; godfather of "rockabilly" guitar.
Ellis Burks, former MLB outfielder.
Ellis Rena Burks (born September 11, 1964 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is a former outfielder and designated hitter who played in Major League Baseball for 18 seasons. He batted and threw right-handed.
Charles Burnett, filmaker.
Charles Burnett (April 13, 1944, Vicksburg, Mississippi) is a MacArthur Award-winning American filmmaker. Like many black families, his parents decided to leave Mississippi for California in the Great Migration, in search of jobs in the booming defense industry and better living conditions, including the chance to vote. Burnett grew up in Los Angeles, California in Watts. He earned a bachelor's and master's degrees at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Burnett's style is rarely violent. His most original work concentrates on the lives of the African-American middle-class, who were seldom treated in films. He made his first feature, Killer of Sheep (1977), while a graduate student at UCLA. Though the film was not given a wide release at the time and remained hard-to-come-by through subsequent decades (because of its unauthorized use of music in the soundtrack), it became a touchstone film among knowledgeable people in American cinema. In 1990, the film was selected by the Library of Congress for preservation in the United States National Film Registry for being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant." In 2007, the soundtrack rights were at last cleared, and the film was given a wide release.
Odia Coates, country singer.
Odia Coates (1942 - May 19, 1991) was an American singer, best known for her work with Canadian singer-songwriter Paul Anka.
The daughter of an evangelical minister, Odia Coates was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi but as a young girl her family moved to Watts, California. From an early age, she sang in her church choir and eventually became a member of the Southern California State Youth Choir.
Coates is best remembered for her duet with Paul Anka called "(You're) Having My Baby" that went to No. 1 on the Billboard charts in 1974. They recorded several more duets that produced Top 10 & Top 20 hits such as 1974's "One Man Woman/One Woman Man" plus in 1975 "I Don't Like To Sleep Alone" and "(I Believe) There's Nothing Stronger Than Our Love". Coates also recorded "Make It Up To Me in Love", a sequel to "One Man Woman/One Woman Man", with Anka in 1977. Though the disco-flavored track was one of producer Tom Moulton's best works, the single failed to chart.
She had minor success as a solo artist with the Anka-penned track "You Come And You Go". She's also well remembered for singing another Top 10 Hit, "Country Roads" with John Denver in 1971. Coates went on to record on her own, meeting with modest success.
Odia Coates died from breast cancer in 1991, aged 49.
Rod Coleman, defensive tackle for the Atlanta Falcons.
Roderick Dwayne Coleman (born August 16, 1976 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is an American football defensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He most recently played for the Atlanta Falcons. He was originally drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the fifth round of the 1999 NFL Draft. He played college football at East Carolina. He was injured during the 2007 NFL Season and placed on injured reserve. Was since cut by the Falcons and has not been able to find a team willing to give him a new contract.
Eva Davis, preserved and saved the Old Vicksburg Courthouse, made it into a museum,
Jefferson Davis, Mexican war hero, U.S. Congressman, Senator, Secretary of War, and President of the Confederate States of America resided at his Mississippi river plantation "Brierfield" south of Vicksburg in Warren County.
Jefferson Finis Davis (June 3, 1808 – December 6, 1889) was an American politician who served as President of the Confederate States of America for its entire history from 1861 to 1865 during the American Civil War. During his presidency, Davis was never able to find a strategy that would defeat the larger, more industrially developed Union. Davis's insistence on independence, even in the face of crushing defeat, prolonged the war. While not disgraced, he was displaced in Southern affection after the war by the leading general, Robert E. Lee. After Davis was captured in 1865, he was charged with treason (although never convicted) and was stripped of his eligibility to run for public office. This limitation was removed in 1978, 89 years after his death. A West Point graduate, Davis prided himself on the military skills he gained in the Mexican-American War as a colonel of a volunteer regiment, and as U.S. Secretary of War under Franklin Pierce.
Willie Dixon, blues bassist, singer, songwriter, and producer.
William James "Willie" Dixon (July 1, 1915 – January 29, 1992) was a well-known American blues bassist, singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. His songs, including "Little Red Rooster", "Hoochie Coochie Man", "Evil", "Spoonful", "Back Door Man", "I Just Want to Make Love to You", "I Ain't Superstitious", "My Babe", "Wang Dang Doodle", and "Bring It on Home", written during the peak of Chess Records, 1950-1965, and performed by Muddy Waters, Howlin' Wolf, and Little Walter, influenced a worldwide generation of musicians. Next to Muddy Waters, he was the most influential person in shaping the post-World War II sound of the Chicago blues. He also was an important link between the blues and rock and roll, working with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley in the late-1950s, and his songs were covered by some of the biggest bands of the 1960s and 1970s, including Bob Dylan, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Rolling Stones, The Doors, The Allman Brothers Band, and the Grateful Dead.
Dixon was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi on July 1, 1915. His mother Daisy often rhymed the things she said, a habit Dixon imitated. At the age of 7, he became an admirer of a band that featured pianist Little Brother Montgomery. Dixon was first introduced to blues when he served time on prison farms in Mississippi as an early-teenager. He learned how to sing harmony as a teen as well, from local carpenter Leo Phelps. Dixon sang bass in Phelps' group, The Jubilee Singers, a local gospel quartet that regularly appeared on the Vicksburg radio station WQBC. Dixon began adapting poems he was writing into songs, and even sold some of them to local music groups.
Dixon left Mississippi for Chicago in 1936. A man of considerable stature, at 6 and a half feet and weighing over 250 pounds, he took up boxing; he was so successful that he won the Illinois State Golden Gloves Heavyweight Championship (Novice Division) in 1937. Dixon turned professional as a boxer and worked briefly as Joe Louis' sparring partner. After four fights, Dixon left boxing after getting into a fight with his manager over being cheated out of money.
Dixon met Leonard "Baby Doo" Caston at the boxing gym where they would harmonize at times. Dixon performed in several vocal groups in Chicago but it was Caston that got him to pursue music seriously. Caston built him his first bass, made of a tin can and one string. Dixon's experience singing bass made the instrument familiar. He also learned the guitar.
John "Kayo" Dottley, college All-American and Professional Football Player,
John "Kayo" Dottley was an American football running back in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears.
John played the ukulele.
Brian Alan Formby, creator of the original "Okra mascot" costume for Delta State University.
Louis Green, linebacker for the Denver Broncos.
Louis Edward Green (born September 23, 1979 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is a football player. Green attended Jefferson County High School in Fayette, Mississippi and was a letterman in football. A linebacker who plays for the Denver Broncos, he previously went to Alcorn State University.
On February 19, 2007, the Broncos resigned Green to a 3-year, $2.5 million contract with a $300,000 signing bonus
Milt Hinton, jazz bassist,
Milt Hinton born Milton John Hilton (Vicksburg, Mississippi, June 23, 1910; d. Queens, New York, December 19, 2000), "the dean of jazz bass players," was an American jazz double bassist and photographer.
Milt Hinton is regarded as one of the greatest jazz bassists of all time. He has been nicknamed "The Judge" for his outstanding musical ability. Hinton was born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, on June 23, 1910. He lived in Vicksburg until the age of eleven when he moved to Chicago, Illinois. He attended Wendell Phillips High School and Crane Junior College. While attending these schools, he learned to play the bass horn, tuba, cello and the double bass.
In the late 1920s and early 30s, he worked as a freelance musician in Chicago. During this time, he worked with famous jazz musicians such as Jabbo Smith, Eddie South, and Art Tatum. In 1936, he joined a band led by Cab Calloway. Members of this band included Chu Berry, Cozy Cole, Dizzy Gillespie, Illinois Jacquet, Jonah Jones, Ike Quebec, Ben Webster, and Danny Barker.
Hinton possessed a formidable technique and was equally adept and bowing, pizzicato, and "slapping," a technique for which he became famous while playing with the big band of Cab Calloway in the 1930s. Unusually for a double bass player, Hinton was frequently given the spotlight by Calloway, taking virtuosic bass solos in tunes like "Pluckin' the Bass." His work can be heard on the Branford Marsalis album Trio Jeepy.
Also a fine photographer, Hinton documented many of the great jazz musicians via photographs he took over the course of his career. Milt Hinton was one of the best friends of the great jazz trumpeter Louis Armstrong.
Hinton played a rare Gofriller Double Bass during his latter career. The dimensions of the bass being much larger than that of a cello or violin, one could make many fine cellos or violins from the amount of wood required to make a single double bass. The bass was in pieces in a cellar in Italy and a musical agent arranged the purchase from the family for Hinton. Hinton in his autobiography "Bass Line" ascribed the tone as magnificent and said it was one of the reasons for his long success in the New York recording studios in the 50's, and 60's .
According to a search of The Jazz Discography (from http://www.lordisco.com/), Hinton is the most-recorded jazz musician of all time, having appeared on 1,174 recordings.
Hinton passed away in 2000 at the age of 90.
Joseph Holt, longest serving Judge Advocate General of the Army.
General Joseph Holt (January 6, 1807 – August 1, 1894) was a leading member of the Buchanan administration and was Judge Advocate General in the United States Army, most notably during the Lincoln assassination trials.
George McConnell, former guitarist for Widespread Panic, Kudzu Kings, and Beanland.
George McConnell is an American guitarist from Vicksburg, Mississippi who played for Widespread Panic, Kudzu Kings, and Beanland. He attended the University of Mississippi where he was in the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.
McConnell co-founded Beanland in Oxford, Mississippi in 1985 with guitarist Bill McCrory. After some early shuffling, the band's line-up consisted of McConnell and McCrory on guitar, John Hermann on keyboards, Ron Lewis on bass, and Harry Peel on drums. The band recorded a self-titled debut album in 1991 and toured extensively, mainly around the south and southwest, playing blues-oriented rock as part of the nascent early-90's jamband renaissance.
Shortly after the album's release, keyboardist John Hermann left Beanland to join Widespread Panic. McConnell kept Beanland alive briefly as a four-piece with a much-altered line-up, and recorded a follow-up album in 1992, but the band dissolved soon after.
McConnell went on to play for several years in the country-rock band Kudzu Kings, eventually leaving to devote his time to a guitar store he opened in Oxford.
In 2002, following Widespread Panic guitarist Michael Houser's diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, McConnell and saxophone player Randall Bramblett were asked to accompany Widespread Panic on the band's summer tour. Initially McConnell sat in for a few songs per show to add support to Houser's playing, however when Houser was unable to complete the tour McConnell filled in as the lead guitarist. McConnell was named as the new lead guitarist in the band following Houser's death in August 2002.
McConnell served as Widespread Panic's lead guitarist for four years from 2002-2006, recording two studio albums and three live albums with the band. His last show with the band was July 30, 2006, in St. Louis, Missouri.
Michael Myers, defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals.
Michael Myers (born January 20, 1976 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is an American football defensive tackle who is currently a free agent. He played college football at the University of Alabama.
Beah Richards, African-American film and television actress,
Beah Richards (July 12, 1920 – September 14, 2000) was an American actress with a long career on stage, screen and television. She was also a poet, playwright and author.
Born Beulah Richardson in Vicksburg, Mississippi, her mother was a seamstress and PTA advocate and her father was a Baptist minister. In 1948, she graduated from Dillard University in New Orleans and two years later moved to New York City. Her career started to take off in 1955 when she portrayed an eighty-four-year-old-grandmother in the off-Broadway show Take a Giant Step. She often played the role of a mother or grandmother, and continued acting her entire life. She appeared in the original Broadway productions of Purlie Victorious, The Miracle Worker, and A Raisin in the Sun.
"There are a lot of movies out there that I would hate to be paid to do, some real demeaning, real woman-denigrating stuff. It is up to women to change their roles. They are going to have to write the stuff and do it. And they will."
Richards was nominated for a Tony award for her 1965 performance in James Baldwin's The Amen Corner. She also received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance as Sidney Poitier's mother in the 1967 film Guess Who's Coming to Dinner. Other notable movie performances include Hurry Sundown, The Great White Hope, Beloved and In the Heat of the Night (as the abortionist, Mrs. Bellamy (a.k.a. "Mama Caleba").
She made numerous guest television appearances including recurrent roles on The Bill Cosby Show, Designing Women, and ER (as Dr. Peter Benton's mother.) She was the winner of two Emmy Awards.
In the last year of her life, Richards was the subject of a documentary created by actress Lisa Gay Hamilton. The documentary Beah: A Black Woman Speaks was created from over 70 hours of their conversations. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Film Festival.
Beah Richards died from emphysema in her hometown of Vicksburg, Mississippi at the age of 80.
Frederick Henry Sollys, owner and operator of Sollys' Hot Tamales for 52 years and creator of its unique original recipe.
Taylor Tankersley, Florida Marlins relief pitcher.
Taylor Mark Tankersley (born March 7, 1983 in Missoula, Montana) is a left-handed relief pitcher for the Florida Marlins. He is a son of a nuclear physicist.
He began playing baseball at a young age, but also excelled at soccer. When Tankersley began high school, he chose to play baseball exclusively. His senior year at Warren Central High School in Vicksburg, Tankersley went 13-0. He also played first base whenever he was not pitching. Warren Central won the Mississippi 5A Baseball State Championship that year.
After high school, Tankersley continued his baseball career at the University of Alabama. He started and did relief work for the Crimson Tide. After three years throwing for the Tide, Tankersley was a first rounder in the 2004 major league draft. The twenty-seventh pick overall, Taylor was the Marlins' first pick. He made his major league debut on June 3 2006, pitching a scoreless inning in relief.
Candace Palmertree Werginz, a Vicksburg native who now lives in Atlanta, publisher of online magazines CurvyGirl.com and Bombshells.com.
Delmon Young, outfielder for the Minnesota Twins.
Delmon Damarcus Young, (born September 14, 1985 in Montgomery, Alabama), is an outfielder for the Minnesota Twins. He is the younger brother of MLB player Dmitri Young, an Outfielder and First baseman for the Washington Nationals. Despite having little major league experience, Young has already received a reputation around baseball for his strong and accurate throwing arm in the outfield. Don Zimmer, now a consultant with the Rays, has compared Young's arm to that of Jesse Barfield or Raúl Mondesí. In terms of hitting ability, at 6'3", 205 pounds, Delmon presents an intimidating and strong plate presence, and his hitting ability has often been compared to that of Albert Belle. He has a line drive swing with a slight uppercut that can produce long home runs and bullet line drives.
Dmitri Young, first baseman for the Washington Nationals,
Dmitri Dell Young (born October 11, 1973 in Vicksburg, Mississippi) is a Major League Baseball first baseman for the Washington Nationals. His nickname is "Da Meat Hook."
Anchuca, a Choctaw Indian word meaning "happy home," is one of the most significant antebellum homes in Vicksburg, Mississippi. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this impressive Greek Revival landmark represents the first columned mansion in Vicksburg and the first historic home to become one of Mississippi's finest bed and breakfast inns. Surrounded by stately live oaks and located in the heart of Vicksburg's Historic District, Anchuca was built in 1830 by local politician J. W. Mauldin. In 1847, Victor Wilson, a local coal and ice merchant added the columned front and the two-story dependency in back. Standing proud through the Siege of Vicksburg in 1863, the house was put into service providing shelter for those who had suffered severely through the War.
Joseph Emory Davis, patriarchal brother to Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the owner of the magnificent Hurricane Plantation located in Warren County, Mississippi, and a great American pioneer in his own right, lived here until his death on September 18, 1870, at the age of 87. Jefferson Davis was reunited with his brother (and father figure) at the home in January 1869. The town's legend testifies that it was during this stay that Jefferson Davis did indeed speak to friends and neighbors from Anchuca's front balcony, marking this site for many historians and Southerners alike as one of the last public addresses to the people of Vicksburg by Jefferson Davis.
Today, Anchuca's bold, impressive exterior gives way to an elegantly refined yet comfortably inviting interior. The antebellum home is handsomely furnished with fine antiques and art representing the late 1700s to the mid-1800s. Anchuca stands in grand tribute to Vicksburg's rich history and offers its bed and breakfast guests a sensuous escape complete with a hearty dose of Southern hospitality.
Where Coca-Cola was first bottled in 1894!!
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum features the history of one of the Nation's beloved beverages, along with equipment of the type that Joseph Biedenharn used to bottle Coke for the first time anywhere in the world in 1894.
A wide variety of original Coca-Cola advertising and memorabilia is on display to allow the visitor to follow the evolution of “The Pause That Refreshes!”
The restored candy store and office area will take you back to a simpler, sweeter time with furnishings and displays from the 1890s. We offer our visitors ice cream, fountain Cokes, Coke floats and a wide selection of Coke souvenirs.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum was a collaborative effort between the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, and the Biedenharn family, the original bottlers of Coca-Cola.
The museum houses a wide variety of exhibits interpreting the beginnings of Coca-Cola, the history of the Biedenharn family, the process used to first bottle Coca-Cola, a reproduction of the equipment first used to bottle Coke, the history of Coca-Cola advertising, and Coca-Cola memorabilia from past to present.
The authentically-restored candy store and office area feature furnishings and displays of the 1890s and offers ice cream, fountain Cokes, Coke floats and a wide selection of Coca-Cola souvenirs.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is owned and operated by the Vicksburg Foundation for Historic Preservation, and is one of the Foundation's key success stories in preserving Vicksburg’s unique historical and architectural heritage.
Joseph Biedenharn was born on December 13, 1866, in Vicksburg, the eldest of eight sons and four daughters. His father, Herman, and Uncle Henry, founded a retail confectionary business known as Biedenharn and Brother. Joe eventually took over the operation of the candy business and it became the Biedenharn Candy Company.
In 1890, Joe and his father Herman built a two-story brick building at 1107 Washington Street which served as Joe's wholesale candy company on one side and his father's shoe store on the other.
The Biedenharns bottled Coca-Cola here and in other locations in downtown Vicksburg until 1938 when the new Coca-Cola plant was constructed at 2133 Washington Street.
The building was sold out of the family and used for a variety of commercial purposes. In 1979, the family repurchased the building and began a rehabilitation using historic photographs to restore the building’s major spaces and to install exhibits interpreting the Biedenharn’s Coca-Cola heritage. The family then donated the building to the Vicksburg foundation for Historic Preservation.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is owned and operated by the VFHP and is one of the Foundation's key success stories in preserving Vicksburg and American history.
In 1866, Dr. John S. Pemberton, a pharmacist in Atlanta, Georgia, created what would become the most recognized and popular soft drink on earth.
Dr. Pemberton, no relation to the famous officer who defended Vicksburg during the Siege of Vicksburg, and Coca-Cola's second owner, Asa Chandler, began distribution of the syrup to other soda foundations across the South, including Vicksburg.
The rest of the story will come from Mr. Joe Biedenharn in a letter to then vice president of the Coca-Cola Company, Harrison Jones, dated September 11, 1939.
Replying to your inquiry in your recent letter, beg to advise that I think it was in the summer of 1894 that we first bottled Coca-Cola at what was then 218-220 Washington Street, Vicksburg, Mississippi.
It was through Mr. A. G. Chandler's suggestion to me upon one of his business trips to Vicksburg that finally led up to our bottling Coca-Cola. He suggested to me that we stock and job Coca-Cola syrup to supply the fountain dispensing trade in and around Vicksburg. The agreement between us was that we were to buy not less than 2,000 gallons of Coca-Cola syrup during a 12-month period, subject to 25 cent per gallon rebate at the end of the 12-month period.
We were operating a wholesale and retail confectionary business and were dispensing Coca-Cola through our soda fountain, so this proposal fell right into line with our jobbing business.
Consumer demand has increased and was increasing rapidly, as a Coca-Cola would only be had in the cities where the fountains were dispending it. The thought struck on day, "Why not bottle it for our country trade?" We were in the soda water bottling game and it was easy to start it going.
We sent one of our first cases of bottled Coca-Cola to Mr. Candler and he wrote back that it was fine. Prices at that time were 785 cents per case on Coca-Cola and 60 cents per case on bottled soda water. This started us off on the right track and I have seen Coca-Cola grow with us from a five-gallon keg the first year to what it is today."
When Joe Biedenharn decided to bottle Coca-Cola, he used the bottles that he had on hand, those that he was using to bottle soda water using equipment he had bought from the Sarasota Springs operation. These were Hutchinson blob-top bottles embossed with "Biedenharn Candy Company, Vicksburg, Miss."
These bottles were sealed with a rubber disk that was pushed into the neck of the bottle and held with a wire. The bottles were used for only a short time because the rubber changed the flavor of the drink after about a week.
In the early 1900s, Joe switched to straight-sided crown bottles which maintained the integrity of the true taste of Coca-Cola. They did not, however, give any uniformity to the packaging image of the beverage. The color of the glass varied from clear and aqua to differing shades of blue, green and amber.
In addition, the amount of liquid that a bottle contained varied from 6-7 ounces. The early straight-sided crown bottles were hand blown in molds which often left rough seams, bubbles, imperfections and irregular areas of thick and thin glass. After 1910, the bottles were machine-made and became more uniform. Biedenharn straight-sides were embossed with "Biedenharn Candy Company, Vicksburg, Miss.," with Coca-Cola in script across the base in some cases.
Amber Straight Side
By 1913, those involved in the Coca-Cola Company saw the need for a distinctive package in order to fight imitators. Ben Thomas, one of the original patent bottlers, noted that "we need a bottle which a person can recognize as a Coca-Cola bottle when he feels it in the dark.”
As a result of some inaccurate research by the team at Root Glass Company of Terre Haute, Indiana, a bottle was designed that resembled the cacao bean, the source of chocolate instead of the coca bean. Nonetheless, the Root Glass Company bested eight other competitors at a meeting of the seven bottlers in 1916.
The exaggerated center section was trimmed down and the “contour” bottle, or “Mae West” bottle or “Hobble skirt” bottle, whichever name you chose, was born. The bottle was recognized by the United States patent office in 1960, a distinction among bottles shared at the time by only one other.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is open every day, except New Year's Day, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Our hours are:
9 am - 5 pm Monday-Saturday
1:30 pm - 4:30 pm Sunday
Admission prices to the museum are shown below. Seven percent (7%) sales tax will be added when you buy your ticket.
Under 6, Free!
6-12 years, $2.00
Over 12, $3.00 (effective 1 Jan 2006)
10 or more ($2.25 adults, $1.75 12 and under)
Our museum team is anxious to serve you, and help you make the most of your Vicksburg visit.
The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is located in downtown Vicksburg in the heart of the city’s shopping and tourism district.
Start at the Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum and our friendly staff can help you make the most of your time in Vicksburg, whether you have a week or an hour.
We are within easy walking distance of many of Vicksburg’s finest shops and tourist attractions, as well as the Vicksburg Convention and Visitor’s Bureau and the Vicksburg Convention Center.
If you are traveling west on I-20, take Exit 4B and head west on Clay Street to Washington Street and turn right. We are in the middle of the second block on the right side of the street.
If you are east bound on I-20, take exit 1 just after crossing the Mississippi River bridge and head north on Washington Street. We are just north of the intersection of Washington and China Streets on the right side of Washington St.
We can't wait to see you!
"The First Bottling of Coca-Cola"
On a summer day in 1894, Joseph Biedenharn, a candy merchant and soda fountain operator, had an idea that would reshape the soft drink industry. He took the popular fountain beverage, Coca-Cola, put it in bottles, and delivered it to rural areas outside of Vicksburg.
It was the first time Coca-Cola had been sold in bottles. Mr. Biedenharn created a totally new concept of marketing the beverage and established the cornerstone of the independent network of franchise bottlers who now distribute bottled Coca-Cola all over the world.
Born in 1866, Joseph Biedenharn was the eldest of eight children and, in his teens, became part of the candy business founded by his father and uncle. Later, he and his brothers Will, Harry, Lawrence, Herman, Ollie, Albert and sister Katy acquired franchises to bottle Coca-Cola in Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas.
The building located at 1107 Washington Street, where the first bottling took place, was built in 1890 and is operated today as the museum interpreting this important moment in our nation's history.
Preserving A National Treasure ... All of Us, One Brick At A Time!
It is our pleasure to welcome you to the Vicksburg Historic Foundation for Historic Preservation website. We are pleased to have this opportunity to share the work of the Foundation with you, as well as to provide valuable information about ways to preserve Vicksburg's unique architectural heritage.
The VFHP was founded in 1958 and incorporated in 1959 to identify, preserve, protect and interpret our community's rich architectural resources. By reviewing the components of our web site, you can learn more about our projects, both past and present, about how you can help to further historic preservation in our community and about the tools and resources you can apply to your own preservation projects.
We hope that you will occasionally visit this site to learn about our on-going project and upcoming fundraising events.
What is a Vicksburg Pierced Column?
The Vicksburg Pierced Column is an architectural elements that is found more often in Vicksburg than in any other community. The column is called "pierced" because it is not a solid, round, or square support. The center section is jigsawn in a variety of patterns and split in the middle or slightly lower than middle with a boxed section which often contains a jigsawn ornament. There is a plain or molded base and capital.
In 1987, the Foundation conducted an inventory of building which retained pierced columns and conducted research in order to determine the origin of the column.
At that time, there were fifty extant buildings with the columns and evidence though historic photographs of about fifty more buildings which, at one time, had porches supported by pierced columns.
The Foundation sent inquiries to state historic preservation offices throughout the southeast and north along the Mississippi River requesting information about builds with similar columns in their states. From their response, we learned that there were single examples in New Orleans, Pensacola, and a couple of other towns, but no community had anywhere near the number of pierced columns that Vicksburg had.
We also checked old newspaper advertisements placed by lumber yards, builders, and hardware stores to see if pierced columns were mentioned; they were not. At present, we do not know who created the first pierced columns or why they became so popular in Vicksburg.
The pierced column appears in about 1870, the height of the steamboat era and when Italianate was the most prevalent style. It has been suggested that the column was designed by a carpenter off of one of the steamboats. The reason for the suggestion is that the center section of the column is oftentimes a diamond, heart, or spade, being the icons most associated with card playing. Perhaps the carpenter played poker aboard a riverboat, but his identify remains a mystery.
All we know is that in 1987 there were about fifty buildings with columns and those fifty could be divided into fourteen different styles of columns. Today, there are only forty buildings that retain their pierced columns, but the support remains an important architectural detail that is truly Vicksburg's own
Help us find the answer to this mystery! Do you have a clue in your attic?
Confederate flags, including one that was never surrendered, the tie worn by Jefferson Davis at his inauguration as Confederate President, fine portraits, china and silver, exquisite antique furniture, the trophy antlers won by the steamboat Robert E Lee in an 1870 race, antebellum clothing, toys, Indian and pioneer implements, and an original Teddy Bear given to a local child by Theodore Roosevelt are just a few of the thousands of artifacts which are housed in the Old Court House Museum- Eva W. Davis Memorial.
The Old Court House, built in 1858, stands today as Vicksburg’s most historic structure and has hosted such guests and speakers as Jefferson Davis, Ulysses S. Grant, Booker T. Washington, Teddy Roosevelt, and William McKinley. Won’t you visit us too?
Hours & Admissions
Open Monday through Saturday 8:30-4:30
Open until 5:00 during Daylight Savings Time
Seniors 65 and above $4.50
Students grades 1-12 $3.00
Group rates available for groups of ten or more.
Advanced reservations are preferred for parties of 10 or more and can be made by calling 601-636-0741 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Old Court House Museum is operated and maintained by the Vicksburg and Warren County Historical Society, a private, non-profit organization.
A Photographic Tour Of Civil War Vicksburg
Like a spirit land of Shadows
They in silence on me gaze
And I feel my heart is beating
With the pulse of other days;
And I ask what great magician
Conjured forms like these afar?
Echo answers, ‘tis the sunshine,
By its alchymist Daguerre.
Caleb Lyon, Photographic Art Journal, 1851
Jefferson Davis remarked after the fall of Vicksburg “The clouds are truly dark over us,” and I believe this is a most apt description of the impact the fall of Vicksburg had on the war. Through the photographs that follow I will try to transport the viewer to that “Spirit land of Shadows” and walk the streets of wartime Vicksburg. All of the photographs in this tour are from the collections of the Old Court House Museum.
Vicksburg Circa 1860
This photograph is one of the earliest known views of the Hill City.
Founded by the Reverend Newit Vick in 1819 and incorporated in 1825, by 1860 Vicksburg was a major transportation hub that catered to steamboats and the railroad. Boats left daily providing connections to the major towns in the Mississippi River Valley, and rail service linked the city with Monroe, Louisiana to the west and Jackson, Mississippi to the east. In 1860 Vicksburg had a population of 4600 and was the second largest city in the state after Natchez.
The rugged hills of Vicksburg made the city a natural defensive point on the Mississippi River. One Union soldier on seeing the terrain for the first time wrote his sister, “Tis the opinion of all that Vicksburg is the strongest fortified place in the Confederacy.”
Corner of Washington & Clay Streets, Circa 1864
Note the Washington Gallery Banner upstairs over William Tillman’s Saddle Shop – it was one of many photographic establishments operating in Vicksburg during the Union occupation of the city.
Photography was invented by Frenchman Louis Daguerre in 1839, and his invention spread very quickly to America. The earliest documented photographer in Vicksburg was a Mr. Gibbs who owned “Gibbs Sky-Light Gallery” on Washington Street in 1849.
Trick Image by Vicksburg Photographer
Henry J. Herrick, Circa 1860.
Among the photographers who came to Vicksburg was Canadian Henry J. Herrick in 1854. When the war started Herrick closed his shop and joined a local unit, the Warren Dragoons, as a First Lieutenant.
Most of the local photographers in Vicksburg joined the army like Herrick, or were forced to close because of the scarcity of supplies; thus photographs of the city during the time it was held by the Confederacy are almost non-existent. But with the surrender of the city on July 4, 1863, a number of photographers entered the city with the victorious Union army. These men made their living by providing their art to both soldiers and civilians alike, and they contributed to a rich visual legacy of life in Vicksburg during the occupation.
View of Vicksburg taken from the top of the Court House looking to the southwest.
In the distance with the tall spire is St. Paul’s Catholic Church, and just opposite on the lofty
prominence was the home Sky Parlor Hill, known for it’s wonderful view. During the siege.
citizens went there at night to watch the Union shells in flight over the city.
Watching the action from Sky Parlor Hill was exciting, but it could also be dangerous:
The other day while standing on Sky Parlor Hill a shell exploded and pieces struck in the flagstone near the steps. This was from a machine. Then a parrot shell from the eastern side passed over us and into Washington Street – between them a shot from a gunboat missed the batteries and struck the hill just below where we were standing – at the moment there was firing all around us – a complete circle from the fortifications above all around to those below and from the river.
Mrs. Emma Balfour, Vicksburg A City Under Siege
Four Mile Bridge on the Southern Railroad, four miles east of Vicksburg, circa 1864.
Note the Union soldiers camped on the far side of the bridge.
West of Vicksburg a small railroad line began at Monroe, Louisiana and terminated on the banks of the Mississippi River. From there passengers and freight were brought into the city on ferries, transferred to railroad cars and sent to points east. Vicksburg was the funnel through which men and supplies flowed from the Trans-Mississippi into the eastern Confederacy.
The Marine Hospital Battery at Vicksburg, taken after the siege.
Located in the southern part of the city, this battery was one of the most
powerful in the river defenses, mounting three 42-pounder smoothbores, two
32-pounder smoothbores, and two 32-pounder rifles.
To maintain control of the Mississippi River in front of Vicksburg, the Confederates built a series of artillery positions along the Vicksburg waterfront. Mounting 37 heavy guns and stretching for over three miles in length, the Confederate River Batteries made certain that any Union vessel attempting to pass Vicksburg would have to run through a gauntlet of fire.
Steamboats docked at Vicksburg, circa 1866.
As long as the Confederacy controlled Vicksburg, they could deny use of the Mississippi River to Northern shipping.
Steamboatmen who follow a legitimate business, and who have manhood enough to attend to their own business, without carrying into our midst the weapons of destruction, wherewith to murder our citizens and destroy our young Confederacy, will ever be allowed, without let or hindrance, to navigate the free waters of the Mississippi...
Vicksburg Evening Citizen, January 31, 1861
Mr. Tom Lewis standing in front of a cave on Grove Street, Circa 1890’s.
To escape the hail of iron being thrown into the city during the siege, citizens dug caves into the sides of the hills for shelter. The caves did their job very well – during the siege less than 20 civilians were killed by the bombardment.
The cave was an excavation in the earth the size of a large room, high enough for the tallest person to stand perfectly erect, provided with comfortable seats, and altogether quite a large and habitable abode (compared with some of the caves in the city) were it not for the dampness and the constant contact with the soft earthy walls.
Mary Webster Loughborough
My Cave Life in Vicksburg
One of the most unique homes in Vicksburg – The Castle, circa 1863.
Note the Union soldiers camped on the lawn.
Constructed in the early 1850’s by Thomas Robbins, the Castle was one of the most interesting homes in Vicksburg. Built like a real castle, the home boasted a moat and was surrounded by an Osage Orange Hedge. In 1859 the home was sold to Armistead Burwell, an outspoken Unionist. Burwell was an outcast in Vicksburg because of his views and once wrote a friend, “I dare not go any place in the interior (would be hung or imprisoned if I did). Despite his allegiance to the United States, after the siege the Federals destroyed Burwell’s home and built an artillery battery on the site, known appropriately enough as the Castle Battery.
The Castle Battery was part of the Union defenses of Vicksburg built after the siege
to protect the garrison from Rebel attack. Note the pile of artillery carriages in the foreground.
The Shirley House, circa 1863.
Known to the troops as the White House, the Shirley home is the only wartime structure in the Vicksburg Military Park. Behind the house is the camp of the 45th Illinois Infantry.
Owned by James and Adeline Shirley, before the couple bought the home it was described in the Vicksburg Weekly Whig as “a most desirable residence in a healthy location.” During the siege the home was in anything but a healthy location; the house was located directly in front of the Confederate fortifications and would have been burned by the Rebels if not for the fact Mrs. Shirley refused to leave the residence. The stubborn lady remained in the house with her young son until Union soldiers persuaded her to leave three days after the siege started.
Those three days must have been a time of great distress to my mother, and I think she never entirely recovered from the strain caused by the war. She has told me that she and the two house servants sat most of the time in the chimney corner, where the bullets might not strike them.
Alice Shirley and the Story of Wexford Lodge
View of China Street showing the Washington Hotel, circa 1876.
During the siege the building was pressed into service as a hospital.
Reverend William Lovelace Foster, Chaplain of the 35th Mississippi Infantry, spent time in the Washington Hotel ministering to sick and wounded soldiers. He wrote of the hotel,
It was comparatively secure from those troublesome mortar shells – for the most of them passed over & it was too far from our lines to be disturbed by firing from that direction. Dr. Whitfield with several assistants attended to the invalids. All the rooms were soon crowded with the sick & dying – Some in bunks & some upon the floor. Everything was conducted as well as possible but O the horrors of a hospital!
A Double-Banded Brooke Rifle in the Vicksburg river defenses, taken after the siege.
There were two Brooke Rifles in the river batteries, a 6.4 inch gun in the appropriately named Brooke Battery, located in the southern part of the city,
and a 7 inch gun in Battery Five in the northern part of town.
The Brooke Rifle was invented by Confederate naval officer John M. Brooke, and were produced in two locations: Tredegar Foundry in Richmond, Virginia, and the Confederate Naval Ordnance Works in Selma, Alabama.
The fire from the 7-inch Brooke, manned by cannoneers of the 1st Tennessee Heavy Artillery, played an important role in helping to sink the U.S.S. Cincinnati.
The U.S.S. Cincinnati, sunk at Vicksburg on May 27, 1863.
After the siege the Federals raised the ship and put it back into service.
The U.S.S. Cincinnati was ordered on May 27, 1863, to try and neutralize the Wyman’s Hill and Water Batteries in the northern part of the Confederate river defenses. Soon after coming in range of the Rebel artillery the ship was struck below the waterline by a 128-pound bolt fired from a 7-inch Brooke Rifle. The ship tried to withdraw upriver to safety, but was struck repeatedly by the Confederate guns and sank, with a loss of five killed, fourteen wounded, and fifteen missing.
The Willis-Cowan Home, circa 1850’s.
This house was John C. Pemberton’s Headquarters during the siege.
There are no known wartime photographs of the structure.
During a heavy shelling on May 30, 1863, Pemberton’s Headquarters was struck several times by Federal shells. Mrs. Emma Balfour, who lived next door, noted in her diary:
I never saw anything like it. People were running in every direction to find a place of safety. The shells fell literally like hail. Mrs. Willis’ House was struck twice and two horses in front of her door were killed. General Pemberton and his staff had to quit it.
It was in this house that General Pemberton met with his generals on the evening of July 3, 1863, and made the decision to surrender Vicksburg the next day.
The Warren County Jail on the corner of Grove and Cherry Streets in Vicksburg, Circa 1864.
Captured Union soldiers were confined in the courtyard of the jail during the siege. During the occupation period, the Federals kept Confederate soldiers and civilians in the jail.
Horace Fulkerson, a Confederate Cotton Agent, was captured in October 1864 and sent to the Vicksburg Jail. He recorded his description of the inmates in his memoirs:
The prisoners numbered some three hundred, representing Federal and Confederate soldiers and civilians, common thieves, highway robbers, murderers, blockade runners – in fact every class of criminals known to the calendar of crime. There were in the crowd young men and old men, boys, a few white women, and a number of negroes. It was indeed a grand medley of humanity with dark secrets locked up in many a breast.
Battery Sherman, one of the Union Fortifications defending Vicksburg after the siege, circa 1864.
After Vicksburg surrendered, General Grant ordered that all of the ditches and approaches used by the Union Army during the siege be filled in so that they could not be used by an attacker against the city. In the winter of 1863-1864, a new defensive line was dug, much shorter than the first, only five miles in length that could be held by a small garrison. Battery Sherman was one of the artillery emplacements along this new line, located on the Jackson Road entrance to the city.
Captured Confederate Artillery at Vicksburg, Circa 1864.
When Vicksburg fell, the Federals took possession of a huge amount of Confederate Artillery, consisting of 50 smoothbore field guns, 31 rifled field guns, 22 howitzers, 46 smoothbore siege guns, 21 rifled siege guns, 1 siege howitzer, and a 10-inch mortar for a grand total of 172 artillery pieces of all types.
Captured Confederate Ordnance at Vicksburg, Circa 1864.
Along with the artillery, the Federals captured 38,000 artillery projectiles, 58,000 pounds of powder, and 4,800 artillery cartridges. In 1864 a reporter from the Vicksburg Daily Herald toured the Federal Ordnance Department and wrote, “We then visited the yard in which are piled over one hundred thousand cannon balls, shot and shell, of different kinds.”
Union Soldiers on the lawn of the Warren County Courthouse after the siege.
Note the cupola support column on top of the clock tower with a large chunk removed
by a shell fragment.
On July 4, 1863, the victorious Union Army marched into Vicksburg, and the United States flag was raised over the courthouse. Having to surrender was bad enough, but doing it on Independence Day made things worse for the citizens, and they didn’t forget the pain of surrender. The city did not celebrate the holiday again for 82 years – July 4, 1945, at the end of World War II was the next official celebration in Vicksburg.
We suppose it is well enough to remind the absent-minded reader the Fourth of July puts in an appearance this morning, the day on which the Continental Congress at Philadelphia adopted the Declaration of Independence...In old times it was customary to celebrate the day with considerable pomp and spread-eagle vaporing; but now, in this unfortunate section where the great natural rights of safety, life, liberty, and property have been almost swept away by our bayonet rulers, but few are found to do the occasion reverence.
Vicksburg Herald, July 4, 1872
Unidentified gathering on the courthouse lawn, circa 1865.
On seeing the United States flag flying over the courthouse, Unionist Dora Miller wrote, “Now I feel once more at home in mine own country.”
More typical was the reaction of Alice Shannon, who wrote to her sister that she could see “that hateful flag flying from the Court House Hill.”
Union Soldiers at Brierfield, Jefferson Davis’ home south of Vicksburg, Circa 1864. Note the sign the soldiers erected over the front door, “The House Jeff Built.” According to a newspaper account,there was another sign over the back door saying,
The “Jeff Place” is also a very fine plantation. The residence has not been injured, except the door locks and one or two marble mantels broken up, apparently for trophies. The Jeff furniture has been removed, but the rooms are still furnished with furniture brought here.
Vicksburg Daily Herald, 6 July 1864
Jefferson Davis remarked after the fall of Vicksburg “The clouds are truly dark over us,” and I believe this is a most apt description of the impact the fall of Vicksburg had on the war. Through the photographs that follow I will try to transport the viewer to that “Spirit land of Shadows” and walk the streets of wartime Vicksburg. All of the photographs in this tour are from the collections of the Old Court House Museum.
African American Heritage
Are you looking for a place to visit with rich African American History?
Come to Vicksburg, Mississippi.
From the earliest settlers in the Vicksburg area, to the present day, African Americans have contributed significantly to the City's infrastructure: its neighborhoods, schools, churches, governmental facilities and social organizations. But the African American contribution here is not limited to memoirs or museums. It's a living, breathing story still being told today, a vibrant force in Vicksburg. Today's community appreciates their ancestor's sacrifices and is sincere about preserving their legacy for future generations.
The Jacqueline House African American Museum
The Jacqueline House African American Museum is Vicksburg's only museum for the exclusive study of history and culture of people of African descent in the Vicksburg-Warren County area. The collection of over 20,000 items has material in all formats: photographs, books, manuscripts, music, posters, newspapers, and rare ephemera. In addition, the collection houses selected artifacts, including items dating back to the slave period. Reservations required.
The only African American cemetery in Vicksburg established by the Vicksburg Tabernacle #19 Independent Order of Brothers and Sisters of Love and Charity around 1884. The final resting place for members of some of the prominent African American families in Vicksburg's history. There are more than 5,500 graves scattered across the grassy tree-studded cemetery, which date from 1884 to the 1940s.
Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
The first African Methodist Episcopal Church in Mississippi and the first Masonic Lodge in Mississippi was organized here in1875. In 1890, Campbell College, the first African American College in Mississippi to be established without the aid of whites, operated out of a building behind Bethel. The college moved to Jackson, Mississippi in1897 and was later absorbed by Jackson State University. Reservations required
Duff Green Mansion circa 1856
The lovely 3-story Duff Green Mansion was constructed by skilled slave labor and was a hospital for Confederate and Union soldiers during the Civil War. Lunch
The Old Court House Museum
A national landmark built in 1858. The largest crowd ever to fill the courtroom occurred on Saturday night, October 12, 1901, when the nationally acclaimed Negro leader and educator, Booker T. Washington spoke.
Vicksburg Battlefield Museum
Learn about the life of Jesse Leroy Brown born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi on October13, 1926. On October 21, 1948 Ensign Brown won his wings and became the first Black pilot in the United States Navy. See the gunboat model named in his honor, the USS Jesse L. Brown (DE-1089).
The Vicksburg National Military Park
A Civil War Memorial where Colored Troops of the United States Army were involved in the Vicksburg campaign. A beautiful bronze monument is dedicated to their bravery. Visit the Cairo Museum and Gunboat, where four Black Sailors held the rank of Seaman.
On the Historic Waterfront at Vicksburg, Mississippi
On April 12, 2002, the City of Vicksburg unveiled its first riverfront mural by renowned artist Robert Dafford. The electricity of this project has spread across the South and up and down the Mississippi River.
The panels of the Vicksburg floodwall are the canvas capturing the City of Vicksburg's crucial past, present and future roles in American history, commerce, culture, religion, and technology.
Our Latest Mural Postings:
Dedicated: May 29, 2008
SPONSOR: The Garden Clubs of Vicksburg
The Vicksburg Garden Clubs and Planter's Hall:
"Academic and Athletic Excellence"
Vicksburg's first Garden Club was founded by Hester Craig Flowers in 1931 to "further the interest in home flower gardens and general beautification of the city."
By 1943, membership had grown to a point that the members were divided into twelve clubs with an overall council. Accomplishments included the establishment of the "Vicksburg Historical Tours" (now called Pilgrimage), beautification projects that added flowering trees, shrubs and garden areas throughout the city, educational programs to foster the love of gardening in the young, and the preservation of Planters Hall.
Built in 1834 as the Planters Bank, this Greek Revival building housed the bank and living quarters for its president until 1842, when the bank failed.
In 1956, the Vicksburg Council of Garden Clubs purchased the building and raised funds for its restoration. They furnished it with antiques and for the next 40 years used it as a tour home and garden club center.
Seated at the table in the mural are three members from the Vicksburg Garden Clubs who each became the president of the Garden Clubs of Mississippi. They are Hester Flowers, Fannie Peeples, and Clyde Everett.
Rosa A. Temple High School,
Dedicated: May 8, 2008
SPONSOR: Alumni and Friends of Rosa A. Temple High School
Rosa A. Temple High School:
"Academic and Athletic Excellence"
In 1959, Rosa A. Temple High School , named in honor of a beloved long-time school teacher, was built for African Americans and the old school, J. G. H. Bowman High, formerly known as Magnolia Avenue (1924) was closed.
Mr. O. W. Sanders served as Temple's first principal and Mr. J. E. Stirgus followed after the retirement of Sanders.
Noted for its academics and athletics, Rosa A. Temple High School became one of the most prestigious high-schools in the state of Mississippi . The philosophy of this school was based upon the belief that every child, regardless of social position, or intelligence, should have an opportunity to totally develop his or her individual abilities and interests, so that he or she may be able to practice those ideals which characterize good citizens of a democracy.
Rosa A. Temple High School was the last officially segregated high school in Vicksburg , existing as such until 1971 when Vicksburg schools were desegregated.
Miss Mississippi Pageant
Dedicated: June 27, 2008
SPONSOR: Vicksburg Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Miss Mississippi Pageant:
"Pageant Produced Four Miss Americas"
The Miss Mississippi Scholarship Pageant was started in 1934 with the annual event held in different cities until 1958. In that year, Vicksburg hosted its first pageant under the leadership of Mayor Johnny Holland and the Vicksburg Jaycees, and it has been the home of the event ever since.
In 1959, Mary Ann Mobley was crowned Miss Mississippi in Vicksburg and went on to become Mississippi's first Miss America. That success was repeated the next year, when Lynda Lee Mead representing the University of Mississippi was crowned Miss America in Atlantic City.
Twenty years later, Cheryl Prewitt of Ackerman held the Miss America title and then in 1986 Susan Akin of Meridian was crowned.
The Miss Mississippi Pageant is one of the top scholarship contributors in the Miss America organization.
Dedicated: May 3, 2003
SPONSOR: International Paper Company
THE FAMOUS BEAR HUNT:
"The Teddy Bear is Born"
On November 12, 1902, the Washington Post reported that President Theodore Roosevelt was headed to Smedes, Mississippi, 25 miles north of Vicksburg, for a 4-day bear hunt. The article said the president "did not anticipate the pleasure of killing a bear so much as the pleasure of a few days complete recreation in the woods."
The guide for the hunt was Holt Collier, a scout during the Civil War and later a guide for Gen. Wade Hampton. Collier had helped kill 1000 bears, nearly 150 in a single season.
On November 14, the hounds cornered a 235-pound bear. Collier tied it to a tree and called for the president. When Roosevelt arrived, he would not shoot the bear.
Political cartoonist Clifford Berryman drew Roosevelt with a little bear tied to a tree with the caption, "Drawing the Line in Mississippi." Soon toy manufacturers were producing "Teddy's Bears," later called Teddy Bears.
Dedicated: May 7, 2004
SPONSOR: The City of Vicksburg & Mississippi Arts Commission
NEW BEGINNINGS, LASTING LEGACIES:
From the earliest settlers to Vicksburg, African Americans have made significant contributions to social, educational, religious, economic and political progress.
Vicksburg was home to Hiram Rhodes Revels, the first African American U. S. Senator, the first President of Alcorn State University and the pastor of Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church: the first AME church in Mississippi (1864), the home of the first African American Masonic Lodge in the state (1875) and Campbell College (1890), the first college in Mississippi to be established by blacks.
Other important leaders made great strides in education including Rosa A. Temple, J. G. H. Bowman, William Demby and Dr. Jane McAllister, the fist black woman to receive a PhD in education in the United States.
Other African Americans provided spiritual guidance: Rev R. T Middleton, Dr. John J. Morant, and Rev. Kelly Rucks. Leading the field of dentistry at the turn of the century was Dr. D. D. Foote, while his contemporary, W. E. Mollison, helped organize Lincoln Savings Bank and practice law.
The first black embalmer in Mississippi was William Henry Jefferson, who, along with his wife Lucy, were actively involved in community affairs including membership in a number of fraternal and social societies.
These and many additional African American community leaders helped to improve to quality of life for the residents of Vicksburg and have left a lasting legacy.
Dedicated: April 12, 2002
SPONSOR: Ergon, Inc.
VICKSBURG WATERFRONT, CIRCA 1907:
"A City Born of the River'"
The river determined the location of Vicksburg to be on the hills above the Mississippi, safe from floods. The river was the highway of mid-America, the lifeblood of the town, and a haven for flatboats, barges, snag boats, dredges, steamboats and towboats.
Buildings grew to line the hills, church spires pointed heavenward, and a handsome courthouse dominated the skyline. The river carved a new channel in 1876, leaving Vicksburg without a port until 1903 when the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers diverted the Yazoo River into the old bed.
This scene of the city, circa 1907, is a reminder that Vicksburg was born of the river.
Dedicated: January 11, 2005
SPONSOR: The City of Vicksburg & The Mississippi Arts Commission
VICKSBURG NATIONAL MILITARY PARK:
"The World's Art Park and Best Marked Battlefield"
The Vicksburg National Military Park, established by Congress on February 21, 1899, commemorates the campaign, siege, and defense of Vicksburg during the Civil War. The 1,800 acres of the park are dotted with over 1,300 monuments, making it the "art park of the world."
The most impressive of the memorials is the Illinois Monument, which was dedicated on October 26, 1906 and modeled after the Roman Pantheon. On its walls are 60 bronze tablets which record the names of the 36,325 Illinois soldiers who participated in the Vicksburg campaign.
The memorial was designed by William L. B. Jenney, who served as General Sherman's chief engineer during the Vicksburg operations, and cost $194,423.92.
The Shirley House, to the right of the monument, is the only building in the park that survived the siege. Built in the 1830's as Wexford Lodge by attorney Nicholas Gray, the house remains a part of the battlefield's landscape today.
The idea for the park can be credited to Civil War veterans of the Blue and Gray Association who, in 1895, formed the Vicksburg National Military Park Association., Veterans helped to mark the park, resulting in its recognition as one of the world's most accurately marked battlefields.
Dedicated: June 3, 2003
SPONSOR: Friends of the Old Court House Museum
JEFFERSON DAVIS AT BRIERFIELD:
"The painful selection of a president"
On a February day in 1861 as Jefferson and Varina Davis were pruning roses on the lawn at Brierfield, their home south of Vicksburg, a messenger arrived information Davis that he had been elected president of the Confederate States of America.
Mrs. Davis wrote, "He looked so grieved that I feared some evil had befallen our family. After a few minutes' painful silence, he told me, as a man might speak of a sentence of death ..." The mural captures the approaching storm clouds of war.
He left the next day for Montgomery, Alabama, for the inauguration, making his first speech as president-elect at the Vicksburg Wharf.
Davis was a graduate of West Point and a hero of the Mexican War. He served in the United States Congress, Senate, and was Secretary of War.
After the War Between the States, he was a greatly revered Southern statesman and predicted for America "a future full of promise, a future of expanding national glory, before which all the world will stand amazed."
Dedicated: March 18, 2006
SPONSOR: Family & Friends of Blanche Terry
& Vicksburg-Warren Historical Society
THE SIEGE OF VICKSBURG:
"Mississippians Don't Know ... Surrender"
Vicksburg voters opposed secession from the Union but once the war began, they supported the Confederacy, over 2500 local men joining the Southern ranks.
The first attack on Vicksburg was in the spring of 1862. The enemy was repulsed, Col. James Autry telling them "Mississippians don't know the meaning of the word 'surrender.' Col. Autry's kin had died at the Alamo. During that time, the CSS Arkansas attacked and crippled the Union fleet and thwarted the efforts of a Union ironclad in a battle in front of the city.
In the winter of 1862, Union troops were badly defeated at the Battle of Chickasaw Bluffs north of Vicksburg, General William T. Sherman's Army losing 1,776 men. Unable to take the city by storm, Ulysses S. Grant and the Union Army placed the Vicksburg under siege for 47 days from May 17 to July 4, 1863.
The Union victory is considered by many to be the turning point of the war. The Siege of Vicksburg is studied by military strategists today and its lessons applied in modern warfare. Few cities suffered or sacrificed more for the Southern case that did Vicksburg.
Dedicated: April 9, 2005
SPONSOR: The J. Mack Gamble Fund of the Sons and Daughters of
Pioneer Rivermen & The Friends and Descendants of the Sultana
THE SULTANA DEPARTS FROM VICKSBURG:
"The Worst Maritime Disaster in U. S. History"
The Sultana, a side-wheel steamboat built in Cincinnati in 1863, was 260 long and was designed to carry only 376 people along with its cargo.
On April 24, 1865, the Sultana docked in Vicksburg to pick up Union soldiers recently released from Confederate prisons. The Federal Government paid steamboat lines $5 per soldier for the trip to Cairo, Illinois.
Prior to its arrival in Vicksburg, it was discovered that one of the four boilers was leaking. Instead of taking the time to replace the boiler, and perhaps lose the commission to ferry the men, a metal patch was placed over the bulge in the boiler. The time that it took to make repairs allowed for more soldiers to crowd onto the decks of the boat until it overflowed with more than 2,300 souls.
The Sultana made several stops along its northward journey up the Mississippi. When it was 7 miles north of Memphis in the early morning hours of April 27, three of the four boilers exploded. Over 1,700 people were killed in the explosion, the fire that followed, and in the swift flood waters of the Mississippi.
The accident is said to be the worst maritime disaster in American history.
Dedicated: June 11, 2005
SPONSOR: The Anderson Tully Company
LOGGING ON THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER:
"Beginnings of the World's Largest Hardwood Mill"
One of Vicksburg and Warren County's greatest natural resources is its hardwood forests. For years, the harvesting of timber was hard work that was achieved by hard men and animals working in unison.
After trees were cut, oxen and mules were used to "snake" or pull the logs out to a cleared "deck." Oxen were preferred for the heavy work and mules for the lighter work because the mules were considered to be quicker and faster while the oxen were more plodding, stronger and methodical.
Logs were then "cross hauled" onto log wagons and the animals pulled the wagons to a landing on the river, a short distance away.
A crane at the river's edge placed the logs on a barge which was then floated to the mill. This cross hauling technique of loading logs was employed, in one way or another, from the inception of logging until the advent of the Knuckle Boom Loader in the 1960's.
Dedicated: May 23, 2006
SPONSOR: Ray & Nancy Neilsen
THE MISSISSIPPI RIVER SUNSET AT VICKSBURG
"One of America's Most Beautiful Sunsets"
Probably one of the most picturesque views of Vicksburg is that of the two bridges over the Mississippi River. The first bridge was constructed between 1927 and 1930 at a cost of $6.5 million.
The bridge was, at that time, the only bridge across the river between Memphis and New Orleans. The steel cantilever bridge is 7500 feet between the approaches with a total length of 2.89 miles.
In 1963, the Mississippi Bureau of Public Roads announced that a new four-lane bridge would be build immediately south of the present bridge and world be on the interstate currently under construction.
The new Mississippi River bridge at Vicksburg opened for traffic on February 15, 1973. The boats pictured with the bridges are the Motor Vessel Mississippi, owned by the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers; the U. S. Coast Guard Cutter Kickapoo; and the mid-river supply boat, the Big Valley, owned by Ergon.
Dedicated April 29, 2006
SPONSOR: The Alumni and Friends of the Brothers' School
THE BROTHERS OF THE SACRED HEART
"The Brother's Boys: A Legacy of Educating Young Men "
Known for strict discipline and demand for diligent work, the Brothers of the Sacred Heart took charge pf education of Vicksburg Catholic young men when they arrived at St. Aloysius Academy on the corner of First North and Grove streets in 1879.
The school enrollment tripled in the first year from 50 to 150 and included former St. Francis Xavier male students in grades 5-12. The large brick building housed classrooms on the bottom two floors and the Brothers quarters on the top floor.
In 1882, the school was incorporated under the name St. Aloysius Commercial College. The school moved in 1948 to Clay Street and the original building was demolished to build a new city school.
In 1968, the Brothers left Vicksburg and St. Aloysius and St. Francis were combined into one school system. A fire destroyed the Clay Street school in 1977 and the present building was constructed in 1979. The building in this mural is the first school building on Grove Street.
Dedicated April 18, 2006
SPONSOR: The Pat Cashman Family
1953 Tornado: "The Highest Award for Journalism"
On a balmy Saturday afternoon in the winter of 1953, a tornado etched a path of destruction from Vicksburg's waterfront through downtown and into a northeast residential area.
The December 5th twister is to date (2006) one of only two F5 tornadoes in Mississippi history and the third deadliest in the state. The tornado claimed thirty-eight lives, including five children who were watching a movie in the Saenger Theater on Walnut Street and two children at the Happyland Nursery.
Within an hour relief agencies were mobilized, help came from surrounding cities, and survivors and the dead were being uncovered from the debris. Scores of buildings were destroyed or were damaged beyond repair by the high winds and subsequent fires, including historically important buildings such as St. Paul Catholic Church, which had stood on Vicksburg's high bluffs since 1849.
The Vicksburg Sunday Post Herald received journalism's highest award, the Pulitzer Prize, for its courage under deadline pressure. The Sunday newspaper was printed and then delivered by its carriers the morning following the tornado. Mr. Pat Cashman is pictured below at the unveiling ceremony.
Dedicated: January 17, 2004
SPONSOR: Sisters of Mercy, St. Louis Region
THE SISTERS OF MERCY IN VICKSBURG:
"A Century of Christian Service to Man and God"
The Sisters of Mercy have contributed to the health, education, and spiritual well-being of the residents of Vicksburg since the arrival of six nuns in 1860.
The Cobb House (c. 1830) became their first home and a school for 70 students. During the Civil War, the Sisters closed the school to travel throughout Mississippi nursing both Union and Confederate soldiers.
After the war, the Sisters reopened the school and continued their ministry of nursing in the decades following, nursing the city's residents through several yellow fever epidemics.
Their nursing contributions expanded over the years to include a nursing school and to culminate in the modern Mercy Hospital.
The Sisters continued to expand their spiritual mission by building a convent in 1868to house their ever-growing number of nuns, a building that is one of the best examples of Gothic Revival architecture in Mississippi.
The "Sisters School" also continued to expand with the construction of an auditorium in 1885 and an academy building in 1937.
The Sisters of Mercy have left a lasting legacy in Vicksburg.
Dedicated: May 13, 2004
SPONSOR: Ray Neilson and Family
CROSSING THE MISSISSIPPI, LAST OF THE FERRIES
"The Connection of East and West at Vicksburg"
Prior to the construction of a bridge in 1930 across the Mississippi River at Vicksburg, train cars crossed to Louisiana on "ferries for trains" called transfer boats.
The inclines at Kleinstown in Vicksburg and Delta Point in Louisiana were constructed from June to October 1885, with the first training crossing the Mississippi by transfer steamer on October 27, 1885. These inclines were constructed with a "cradle" that could be raised or lowered with the rise and fall of the river.
The first two transfer boats, used until the turn of the century, were the "Northern Pacific" and the "Delta." The Louisiana and Mississippi Valley Transfer Company later operated two vessels at Vicksburg, the "Pelican" and the "Albatross."
The Pelican was built in 1902 by the Iowa Iron Works at a cost of $230,000. It was followed by the Albatross which was built in 1907, also by the Iowa Iron Works, and was 308 feet long by 53.8 feet wide with a draft of 7 feet 6 inches and powered by six boilers.
Trains were ferried across the river night and day with these boats until the highway rail bridge was completed in 1930, making it faster and safer to cross the Mighty Mississippi.
Dedicated: October 6, 2006
SPONSOR: Alumni of Carr Central High School
CARR CENTRAL SCHOOL ON CHERRY STREET
"Making an impact on a community and its citizens"
Carr School was designed in the Tudor Gothic style by William Stanton, a well-known architect, who had designed many religious, public, commercial, and residential buildings across Mississippi.
The school was built in 1924 by the E. G. Parish Construction Company of Jackson, Tennessee, at a cost of $220,000. It was named in honor of John P. Carr who served as superintendent of the Vicksburg Public Schools for eighteen years prior to completion of the school and who would continue to serve for seven more years.
When it opened its doors, Carr School accommodated kindergarten, elementary, and junior high students. It also house the administrative offices for the superintendent and his staff. In 1932, the building became a high school and remained such until 1959 when it reverted to a junior high school with the completion of H. H. V. Cooper High School. Carr closed in 1979 when the classes were shifted throughout the city.
During its service, the school was instrumental in developing students who achieved distinguished careers in all major disciplines: medicine, law, engineering, business, education, religion, athletics and the military.
This mural was made possible by Carr Central High School alumni who wish to recognize the contribution that the school made to Vicksburg and the positive impact that it had on their lives.
Dedicated: December 11, 2002
SPONSOR: CalsonicKansei Mississippi
WASHINGTON STREET, VICKSBURG, 1912
"A Key Center of Southern Commerce and Culture"
Dedicated: December 5, 2003
SPONSOR: Ray and Nancy Neilsen
NOGALES: A GIBRALTAR ON THE MISSISSIPPI:
"Early Exploration of the Walnut Hills"
The Spanish were the first Europeans (in 1541) to discover what is today called Fort Hill, the second highest spot between Memphis and New Orleans. When the French arrived in 1682, they laid claim to the region. The Treaty of Paris in 1763 divided French possessions and this area was ceded to Great Britain.
At the end of the American Revolution, England granted this territory to the United States. Spain, however, claimed the area by an early treated with Great Britain. To assert her claim, Spain established Fort Nogales (Spanish for "walnut") in 1790 as an outlet for her Spanish Trading Company. A settlement called Walnut Hills developed around the fort and residents supplied the soldiers with meat and other staples.
Spain lost control of the fort to the United States in a treaty signed in 1795 but continued to occupy the fort despite demands for evacuation. In 1798, the United States was determined to remove the Spaniards by force, but the fort was evacuated without incident.
The fort was renamed Fort McHenry in honor of Secretary of War James McHenry. The fort deteriorated and was abandoned in the early 1800s.
Dedicated: May 12, 2005
SPONSOR: Vicksburg Council of Garden Clubs Keep Vicksburg/Warren Beautiful Entergy
THE CITIES BEFORE VICKSBURG:
"Prehistoric Settlement in Warren County"
The Vicksburg-Warren County area has a long prehistoric heritage. There is evidence of prehistoric Native Americans in this area as early as 2000 B. C. These early cultures were from the Poverty Point Period and were followed by the Baytown Period and the Coles Creek Period.
The Native Americans during the Poverty Point Period were hunter-gatherers and were semi-sedentary, but were also beginning to develop regional trade and exchange networks.
The major innovations of the Baytown Period were the introduction of bow and arrow technology and horticulture.
This mural depicts the Kings Crossing site (C. 1000 A. D.) which is a prime ceremonial center during the Coles Creek culture.
These prehistoric Native Americans were some of the first people in the Mississippi valley to use large float-topped mounds extensively, both for the chief's houses and their temples. In the following period, the Mississippian, the culture development intricate ceremonies and elaborated detailed pottery and carvings in stone and wood.
The Mississippian culture died out in the late 1600s and five distinct tribes established themselves in Warren County: the Tunica, the Yazoo, the Koroa, the Ofo, and the Tioux. The tribes lived near the mouth of the Yazoo River, near present day Redwood.
Dedicated: January 31, 2003
SPONSOR: City of Vicksburg and Mississippi Arts Commission
WELCOME TO VICKSBURG, MISSISSIPPI
"A Fascinating City of National Importance"
The City of Vicksburg was founded by Newit Vick, a Methodist minister. He died of yellow fever before the town could be laid out, however, leaving that task to his son-in-law John Lane.
Incorporated in 1825 with a population of 180, the city grew rapidly because of its location on high bluffs overlooking the Mississippi River and soon became the largest and most progressive city in the state.
The city administration worked diligently to provide educational facilities, fire and police protection, and a new city hall in the latest Beaux Arts style.
Public transportation begin with horse-drawn trolleys and, by 1899, ten miles of track carried electric trolleys to the far corners of the city.
One of the highlights of recreational activities was watching the Vicksburg Billies, a semi-pro baseball team.1763
Dedicated: March 23, 2007
SPONSOR: Friends of the Sprague
The Steamer Sprague in Port:
"The Big Mama of the Mississippi"
The largest and most powerful stern wheel towboat ever launched (318 feet long, 61 feet wide), the steamer Sprague, was constructed in 1901 by the Dubuque Boat and Boiler Works in Iowa for the Monongehela River Consolidated Coal and Coke Company.
The Sprague broke the record for towing when, in 1907, it pushed the largest tow of barges handled by a steam-powered vessel- 60 units, 1,125 feet long, 312 feet wide, and 67,307 tons. Unfortunately it also broke the record for the most tows lost- 53,200 tons of coal above Osceola, Arkansas.
In April 1927, the steamer transported human cargo during the massive Mississippi River flood, rescuing an estimated 20,000 people bringing them to Vicksburg.
In 1948, the steamboat was decommissioned at Memphis having traveled a distance equal to forty times around the equator and was to be scraped. A reprieve came from the citizens of Vicksburg who purchased the Sprague for use as a floating theater for the melodrama Gold in the Hills and as the home of a river-related museum and the Vicksburg Yacht Club.
Affectionately called "Big Mama," the Sprague burned in 1974 and eventually sank in 1979.
Dedicated: June 28, 2007
SPONSOR: Sponsored by Ray and Nancy Neilsen and Family
in Memory of Craig Neilsen
"The Blue are the Roots ... the Rest are the Fruits"
Famed musician and prolific song writer Willie Dixon was born in Vicksburg in 1915. In 1936, he moved to Chicago, taking with him an appreciation of African field songs, gospel, blues, and country music.
Over the next 50 years, Dixon created a playlist of more than 500 songs and he helped to define what we know as the blues and rock and roll. Some of Dixon's best known works include "Hoochie Coochie Man," "I'm Ready," "Back Door Man," and "Built for Comfort."
His songs were performed by the most famous artists of the 20th century including Muddy Waters, Sam Cooke, Little Walter, Etta James, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and Eric Clapton.
Dixon is shown playing in the Blue Room, a regionally famous Vicksburg lounge, which showcased the talent of many of the most important musicians of the era including B.B. King and Ray Charles.
The owner of the lounge, Tom Wince, seen behind the counter, entertained audiences with musicians such as Fats Domino, Louis Armstrong, Dinah Washington, and the Red Tops, shown on the dance floor, a popular Vicksburg band that enjoyed a statewide following. The Blue Room opened in the 1940s and closed in 1972.
Dedicated: June 12, 2007
SPONSOR: Jacque and Larry Nicola
In honor of their parents, Lillie and Fouad Nicola and Dixie Justice
LAND OF COTTON:
Vicksburg Prepares for the Visit of President McKinley
When William McKinley, the 25th president of the United States (1897-1901), visited Vicksburg on May 1, 19 01, cotton was “king” in Vicksburg and Warren County, as is evidenced by this arch of cotton bales (each weighing about 450 pounds) that greeted him and his wife.
Vicksburg had, at the time, a world-wide reputation for the quality of her cotton, being located in the center of the long-stapled cotton district, whose product, technically known as Bender’s cotton, commanded the highest market price.
Not only were Vicksburg ’s fields fertile, but her development as a transportation hub, on the Mississippi River with easy access to the railroad, made the city a “cotton center.” The cotton trade was divided into two sharply defined branches- cotton factors who represented the producer and cotton brokers who represented the manufacturer.
In 1888, Vicksburg ’s cotton receipts were 60,000 bales valued at $3,000,000. The Vicksburg Cotton Exchange, an organization founded in 1874, received all cotton market reports during the regular season and performed the functions of the city’s board of trade.
Other businesses associated with the cotton trade were cotton compresses and three cottonseed oil mills- the Refuge, the Vicksburg , and the Hill City Cottonseed Oil Company.
Dedicated: March 28, 2008
SPONSOR: Friends of "Gold in the Hills"
"Gold in the Hills Melodrama:"
"World's Longest Running Melodrama"
The longest continually-running melodrama in the world began with modest roots on March 28, 1936, by Julia Arnold on a U. S. Army Corps of Engineers barge that had been redesigned to resemble a riverboat and renamed the Dixie Belle.
"Gold in the Hills," an 1890s-era melodrama, was written in 1930 by J. Frank Davis. The play was set in the New York Bowery and featured a classic "good" versus "evil" plot.
Over the years, hundreds of volunteers have comprised a cast of cancan dancers, Nell (the heroine farm girl), John (the hero farm boy), the villain and his accomplice.
In 1948, "Gold" moved to the Sprague, the largest and most powerful sternwheel towboat ever launched, which had been decommissioned and purchased by the City of Vicksburg to serve as a floating theater and river-related museum. When the Sprague burned in 1974, the play was performed in a number of places until a new theater was built in 1977.
Vicksburg National Cemetery Entrance Gates, NPS Photo
Vicksburg National Cemetery embraces 116 acres, and holds the remains of 17,000 Civil War Union soldiers, a number unmatched by any other national cemetery. Covering ground once manned by the extreme right of Maj. Gen. William T. Sherman's XV Army Corps during the siege of Vicksburg, it was established by an act of Congress in 1866, and serves as the final resting place for United States soldiers who gallantly served this country in times of national and international conflict.
During the Civil War, soldiers that succumbed to wounds or disease were typically buried close to where they died. If their name was known, their grave could be marked with whatever materials were at hand — most commonly the etching of the name into a wooden board.
After the creation of Vicksburg National Cemetery, extensive efforts were made by the War Department to locate the remains of Union soldiers originally buried throughout the southeast in the areas occupied by Federal forces during the campaign and siege of Vicksburg — namely, Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. However, by the time of these re-interments many of the wooden markers had been lost to the elements, and identification of many of the soldiers was rendered impossible.
Unknown Soldier Grave Marker, NPS Photo
Others who died during the Federal occupation of Vicksburg were buried at various points in the Vicksburg vicinity prior to the cemetery's establishment. Record-keeping was haphazard under wartime conditions and these grave locations were often lost. Following the Civil War, the U.S. Army located and exhumed the remains of 300,000 Union soldiers buried in the South, re-interring the remains in national cemeteries throughout the country.
Nationwide, 54% of the number re-interred were classified as "unknown". At Vicksburg National Cemetery, 75% of the Civil War dead are listed as unknowns, while at Salisburg (N.C.) National Cemetery, 99% of the 12,126 Federal soldiers interred are listed as unidentified. Rounded, upright headstones mark the graves of the known soldiers, while small, square blocks, etched with a grave number only, designate the burials of the unknowns. A few graves are marked by nongovernment-issued headstones. No one of national fame is buried in Vicksburg National Cemetery, with Brevet Brig. Gen. Embury D. Osband qualifiying as the highest-ranking veteran interred (Grave #16648, Section O). In the late 1860's, two Confederates were mistakenly buried in Section B of the cemetery (Private Reuben White, 19th Texas Infantry Regiment, Grave #2637; Sergeant Charles B. Brantley, 12th Arkansas Sharpshooters Battalion, Grave #2673).
Cemetery Superintendent John Trindle Family Marker, NPS Photo
The first national cemeteries established by Congress in 1862 were to provide a burial place for "soldiers who shall die in the service of the country". At the time, this provision applied only to Union war dead. Following the Spanish-American War, veterans of later wars became qualified for burial in national cemeteries, and approximately 1,300 veterans of conflicts subsequent to the Civil War are interred in Vicksburg National Cemetery. A scattering of other burials includes veterans who served during peace time, former cemetery superintendents and their families, wives and children of veterans, government workers, and a few civilians of the past century.
Vicksburg National Cemetery was under the jurisdiction of the War Department until 1933, when administration was turned over to the Department of the Interior's National Park Service. The last cemetery superintendent, Randolph G. Anderson, retired in 1947, and supervision of the cemetery became the added responsibility of the superintendent of Vicksburg National Military Park.
Vicksburg National Cemetery has been closed for burials since May 1961 except to those individuals who had reserved space for interment prior to that time.
Memorial Day - Vicksburg National Cemetery, NPS Photo
The names of the soldiers interred in Vicksburg National Cemetery have been compiled from the original cemetery ledgers. The three-volume set contains only basic information about each known veteran, recorded at the time of re-interment. Although the handwritten pencil entries are in remarkable condition, many do contain inaccuracies and/or only partial information about the soldier. The listings on this site identify information as it was recorded in the Vicksburg National Cemetery ledgers.
Confederate dead from the Vicksburg campaign originally buried behind Confederate lines, have now been re-interred in the Vicksburg City Cemetery (Cedar Hill Cemetery), in an area called "Soldiers' Rest." Approximately 5,000 Confederates have been re-interred there, of which 1,600 are identified.
No matter what obstacles arise, "Gold in the Hills" delights audiences every year who come to cheer and clap for the hero and heroine, boo the villain (often throwing peanuts at him), and sing along with the cast.
The Board of Mayor and Aldermen invites you to visit Vicksburg, a progressive city where you will discover a community committed to excellence. Vicksburg is a unique blend of old and new in a city that offers plenty to see and do. From the specialty shops of historic downtown, to the modern Pemberton Mall, and on to the outlet mall, shoppers experience a relaxed atmosphere and friendly people. The Vicksburg National Military Park captures a piece of American history while the Waterways Experiment Station beckons you to encounter tomorrow's engineering marvels up close. Riverboats docked along the "Mighty Mississippi" provide games of chance, not to mention a spectacular view of "Ole Man River."
Vicksburg, motivated toward prosperity and change, aggressive in attitude, and led by a city government committed to growth and service, invites you to take the time to get to know us. Attitude is everything and in Vicksburg ours is friendly and neighborly. The City of Vicksburg invites you to visit the "Red Carpet City of the South" where Southern Hospitality is alive and well and awaiting your arrival.
Come and experience what we enjoy everyday! "Vicksburg, a fun place to visit...a great place to live!"
The Mississippi River has long played a part in the historical, economic and residential development of Vicksburg. Founded in 1811 and incorporated on January 29, 1825, Vicksburg rapidly grew as a center for commerce, agriculture and river traffic.
In the 1800's, river travel up and down the Mississippi was fraught with danger. Riverbends were littered with the remains of hundreds of riverboats. In 1838, Congress passed the first federal steamboat safety regulations. Although the Steamboat Act of 1838 made passenger safety requirements federal law, inspections and certifications were virtually impossible and the law was effectively unenforceable.
The hazardous conditions of river travel enabled the railroads to make significant inroads throughout the lower Mississippi River regions. In 1831, the Vicksburg and Clinton Railroad was organized for the purpose of shipping and receiving cotton and other products between the river port and inland Mississippi. Early rail operations in Vicksburg consisted of "mule power," but by 1840 the line was complete to Clinton and "on track."
In 1846, the line and track spanned the state and was renamed the Vicksburg & Meridian Railroad, the only east-west railroad between Memphis and New Orleans.
Vicksburg's best known contribution to American history is probably the part she played in the epic known as the Civil War.
In 1859, the Mississippi state convention adopted an official resolution calling for immediate secession from the Union if an abolitionist was elected president. Following Abraham Lincoln's election, the state seceded by a vote of 8415 on January 9, 1861. With this vote, Mississippi followed South Carolina into the Confederate States of America.
By February, seven states had seceded. On February 9, 1861, representatives of these states met in Montgomery, Alabama and the provisional Confederate Congress elected Jefferson Davis as President of the CSA. Two days later, in Vicksburg, President Davis gave his first address as the first President of the Confederate States of America. In this address, he stated that he struggled "earnestly" to maintain the Union and the constitutional equality of all states but "our safety and honor required us to dissolve our connection with the United States. I hope that our separation may be peaceful. But whether it be so or not, I am ready, as I have always been, to redeem my pledges to you and the South by shedding every drop of blood in your cause..."
Both the Confederacy and the Union expected a war, if fought, to be over after the first battle. After the first meeting near Manassas Junction, Virginia in July 1861, both factions were to realize the war would be long and hard.
Throughout the war, no matter the outcome of the battles, the South remained intact as long as the river remained open. As the North's attention narrowed to the 150 mile area between Port Hudson and Vicksburg, the South's economy was disrupted . The fall of New Orleans and the surrounding strongholds resulted in major evacuation procedures along the Lower Mississippi Valley region. Cotton was removed or prepared for destruction. Storekeepers loaded their goods and headed inland. Families left to visit relatives and acquaintances elsewhere in the state, and those left behind waited for the arrival of the Union fleet.
Vicksburg maintained rail access to the heart of the Confederacy at this time but most of the other towns along the river could not. They soon found their situation untenable.
Two weeks after capturing New Orleans, Farragut started up the Mississippi with repaired and resupplied warships. Although not an easy voyage, the northern troops pressed on. Baton Rouge fell first. On May 12, 1862, Natchez surrendered without a fight.
The first advance Union units arrived off the coast of Vicksburg on May 18, whereby Commander Samuel P Lee of the USS Oneida delivered an order for the surrender of the city. The city's reply, delivered five hours later, was "No!" According to Colonel James L. Autry, Military commander of Vicksburg, "Mississippians don't know and refuse to learn how to surrender to an enemy."
After a period of intermittent bombardment from the river, Farragut conceded that he could not run his fleet past the "Gibraltar of the Mississippi." As he was not equipped for river combat, his guns could not be elevated high enough to strike the city, and 1,400 troops would be hard pressed to scale the hills to overtake the garrison. Farragut withdrew his ships and returned to New Orleans.
Farragut arrived off Vicksburg again on June 25, with a force including 3,200 troops on transports and several mortar schooners designed to bombard the elevated shore batteries. The following two days of bombardment marked the city's first concentrated assault and provided her first casualties.
The bombardment was only the beginning of continuing strife for the residents of Vicksburg. During the historic Siege of Vicksburg, the citizens of Vicksburg and her defenders began living in caves dug out of the hillsides, conducting their daily business as well as possible ... while under constant bombardment from all sides. The siege caves of Vicksburg have long remained one of the most unique aspects of the city.
On July 1, 1863, General Pemberton met with his commanders regarding the prospect of being relieved or fighting their way out of the besieged city of Vicksburg. Two days later Generals Grant and Pemberton met in the afternoon to discuss surrender. Grant's final terms stopped short of unconditional surrender, with a major point being that 30,000 Confederates in Vicksburg would be paroled rather than imprisoned.
Pemberton officially accepted the terms around midnight. The next morning, a victorious Union army marched into Vicksburg following the forty-seven day siege.
In 1899, the Vicksburg National Military Park was created through an Act of Congress. This park, now a member of the National Park System, commemorates and preserves the infamous siege line and the historic heritage of Vicksburg. Considered by many to be one of America's most beautiful national memorials, it is the final resting place for 17,000 Union soldiers, 13,000 of whom are unknown.
The Civil War ended in Mississippi on May 4, 1865, with the surrender of the last Confederate forces by General Richard Taylor to General Edward R.S. Canby.
With the final surrender of the Confederate States of America, the North tried to stabilize local conditions. President Lincoln's wishes to reunite the nation with forgiveness, understanding and welcome for the Southern states, died with him. The South's reconstruction under the new President, Andrew Johnson, was harsh and stories of individual states and cities were similar .. bankruptcy, devastation, internal strife under reconstruction governments.
Vicksburg pressed forward during this trying period. The levee system, vital to river communities, was rebuilt with the return of the Army Corps of Engineers. Land was returned to planting and harvests were shipped to market towns. The rebirth of the steam boat industry, which made a remarkably rapid comeback, was a vital component of Vicksburg's "rebirth."
On April 26, 1876, the Mississippi River accomplished what the Union army could not accomplish 13 years prior -- the river cut across DeSoto peninsula, breaking DeSoto Point and destroying what was left of the Vicksburg, Shreveport and Texas railroad terminal and ferry. This break effectively cut off the east-west rail line. More importantly, it left the river port of Vicksburg with no river. The economic effect on the city was devastating.
The change in the river course helped change Vicksburg's course. In 1873, a Vicksburg office of the Army Corps of Engineers was established to coordinate federal and local river management and flood control efforts. The city still enjoys the pleasure of being "home" to the Corps.
In 1878, the city appealed to the government for assistance in restoring its port area. An extensive study of port restoration by the Corps of Engineers resulted in a massive undertaking that diverted the Yazoo River south through the former bed of the Mississippi River. The Yazoo River Diversion Project, along with other stabilization projects, took 25 years to complete. On January 7, 1903, the city of Vicksburg officially opened the diversion canal and started to reassert herself as a river city.
Throughout the years the growth and economic climate of Vicksburg and Warren County have been heavily influenced by "Ole Man River." With the recent legalization and development of the dockside gaming industry, a new chapter in the area's history is being written.
We face the future with a sound basic economy and unlimited possibilities. We can look to the future with faith, determination and confidence from a strategic location that will lead to a commercial prominence approaching the importance of our military history.
We hope you will join us in saying "Vicksburg-Warren County is a GREAT place to live!"
Vicksburg's Famous Round Tables Restaurant
Southern Home Cooked Food Known Across the South!
Monday through Friday
11:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m.
Round Table served till 2:00 p.m.
Ala carte served till 9:00 p.m.
Bar Open Each Evening
Monday through Friday
11:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m.
Take Out Orders!
Vicksburg, Mississippi Attractions
I'd say Vicksburg has more to see per city block than other towns its size. Antebellum and homes and other historic buildings are all over the place, so there's plenty to see, whether you're taking one of two scenic driving routes or a carriage ride through downtown and the garden district. There's also quite a view, I'm told, from the river itself; so I plan to take a sunset cruise my next trip-if I ever leave.
Title: " Watermelon Truck "
Limited Edition Serigraph
Unforgettable Rooms $99 to $175
Reserve Your Stay at Annabelle
Experience true Southern Hospitality and grace in this impressive Victorian- Italianate residence built circa 1868 and the charming adjacent 1881 Guest House with it’s fifty-five foot long gallery, which overlooks the sparkling swimming pool, the river valley below and the Louisiana delta across the Mississippi river.
The mansion was built by John Alexander Klein, on his Cedar Grove Estate for his son Madison Conrad Klein. The area which encompasses five of Vicksburg’s most important houses, including Annabelle is know as the Historic Garden District.
Ahern's Belle of the Bends (circa 1876)
508 Klein Street
$110-$160; senior discount, military discount
Visa, MC, Discover
Rates include exceptional Southern breakfast in formal dining room. A Vicksburg historic masterpiece of Italianate Architecture circa1876 with private gardens, exquisite suites and exceptional breakfasts. Elegant, comfortable rooms with private full bath, individual temperature controls and several amenities. Complimentary beverages, full hot breakfast.
Welcome to Vicksburg's finest Bed and Breakfast Inn, Ahern's Belle of the Bends. Our magnificent circa 1876 postbellum mansion, named for the famous paddlewheel steamship that brought Teddy Roosevelt to Vicksburg in 1908 is embellished with unique crown mouldings of Bavarian plaster and Gold Leaf that adorn the 13 1/2 foot ceilings. Exquisite antiques, many original to our bed and breakfast, can be seen in each room illuminated by original crystal chandeliers. The hand carved millwork encompassing the windows and doors is unique to Ahern's Belle of the Bends and is the only home to feature this rare and beautiful adornment. Come visit us ...
Excellence in Service... ALWAYS!
Welcome to our Bed and Breakfast!
The Inn's 7 elegant rooms and beautifully furnished living areas provide the perfect setting for a romantic celebration or a tranquil retreat from everyday life. When you choose a magnificent honeymoon suite or another inviting room, your experience will be memorable!
Each room in both houses evokes the flavor and opulence of the Victorian age, a slower, more genteel time. Annabelle invites you to experience Vicksburg as it was in an earlier, more elegant era. Some rooms offer fireplaces and relaxing whirlpool baths. All rooms have comfortable beds dressed in fine linens, 13 foot ceilings adorned with beautiful chandeliers, private baths with spa inspired amenities, soft fluffy robes, phones, cable television and wireless internet connections.
Mary And Dan
We require notification of any change in reservation or cancellation 7 days prior to arrival. Early departures will be charged for length of reservation. A 50% non-refundable deposit is required for long term reservations and for multiple room reservations.
All of our beautiful guest rooms are located in the mansion and feature very comfortable full, queen and king size beds. Each room has a beautiful and immaculate private bath with tub/shower, marble floors, hair dryers and an array of fine bath amenities. Soft egyptian cotton bed linens, fluffy bath towels and plush terrycloth bathrobes compliment your luxurious accommodations. Each room is individually temperature controlled and has cable television, VCR's and wireless internet connection. Exquisite antiques, hand carved oriental wool rugs, fireplaces (decorative only) and quaint sitting areas complete the ambiance of your room.
The Josephine $169.00
This magnificent room on the second floor, named in honor of the former owner is breathtaking with a king size lace canopied bed.
The warm, rich plum colored walls and soft ivory accents highlight the beautiful and rare antique (circa 1830) black walnut armoire and chest of drawers. The master bath with double sinks and marble floors is sunny, bright and immaculate. You can gaze at the beautiful gardens that are resplendent in the spring time with dogwoods, redbuds and of course a stately magnolia tree. There is a lovely view of the Mississippi River from this room.
The Azalea $129.00
This stunning, easily accessible main floor accommodation features a full size antique half tester canopy bed with matching armoire and princess dresser that is original to our home. The soft hues of peach and lilac compliment this exquisite room. You will surely relax and unwind in the standard size jacuzzi bath tub. This room has a lovely view of the side gardens that feature magnificent azaleas in the springtime.
The RoseHaven $149.00
This second floor suite done in shades of dusty rose and aqua features beautiful bay windows so common of italianate homes of this era. The room is very large and has a stunning antique (circa 1830) queen size, solid pecan Camp Bed and a full size antique (circa 1810) solid pecan Rope Bed. There is a rare, beautiful lithograph by the victorian artist Bessie Pease Gutman that hangs in this room that is original to our home as well as two aqua colored brocade settees. The large, immaculate 2 room bathroom features one room that has a tub and shower combination and another room that features a pedestal vanity. This is the perfect, spacious room to accommodate up to four persons very comfortably .
The RiverScene $149.00
A stunning second floor suite accented in pale greens, dusty rose and buttercup offers a queen size antique (1840) pencil post bed in black walnut. The Exquisite and rare rosewood dresser highlights this room that boasts a lovely seasonal view of the Mississippi River. Above the fireplace mantle is a mirror that is original to our home that is made of carved wood and gold leaf overlay and accents the gold leaf crown moulding featured throughout this luxurious and private room.
Breakfast is: Candlelight, Soft Music, Fine China and Crystal...
... fluffy scrambled eggs, flaky and delicate croissant french toast, country bacon, fresh fruits and home baked sweet breads, sausage, biscuits and homemade country gravy, juices, tea and fresh brewed coffee...
just a sampling of what our guests look forward to each morning in the grand dining room of our bed and breakfast...
One seating at 9 am .
Enjoy our elegant yet comfortable guest retreat where you can snuggle up with a good book from our library, play cards and board games or simply relax and enjoy good conversations in this private area reserved just for you.
Wicker porch swings and rocking chairs invite you to enjoy our double verandahs where the birds serenade you... catch a glimpse of the famous paddlewheel boats that ply the Mighty Mississippi and listen to the calliopes playing dixieland tunes.
Our breathtaking parlor with magnificent cypress and bavarian plaster mouldings set the stage for a challenging game of chess... reading the history of Vicksburg and the war or relaxing on the exquisite antique furnishings with a cup of tea...
Stroll through our grounds where you will marvel at century old trees including a crepe myrtle and ginkgo tree that are original to our gardens and are over 160 years old , gaze at weathered statuaries original to our gardens or relax in our gazebo, sitting under our stately Magnolia tree, perfect for quiet, intimate conversations.
Welcome to Baer House Inn Bed and Breakfast!
The Inn is a large Victorian mansion built in 1870 with personalized service for our limited number of guests. Our 7 guest rooms are all located in the main house and are tastefully furnished with period antiques, king & queen sized beds and private bathrooms.
A full breakfast is served each morning in the ballroom and a social hour is held each evening with wine and snacks.
We are located in the heart of historic Vicksburg, within walking distance to museums, antique shopping, historic Washington Street, restaurants and the National Military Park.
We have packages for weekday and weekend getaways that include romance, history, golf or shopping. Let us know what your interests are and we can tailor a package for you. We can also accommodate you with specialty private candlelight dinners at the mansion for anniversaries, honeymoons, birthdays or other special events.
Arrive as strangers, depart as friends!
The Baer House has an interesting history, filled with love and happenings of two very different families. The home was built on a site with a brick structure dating prior to 1850. In 1870 Leona and Lazrus Baer constructed the huge Victorian with a goal of impressing guests with the elaborate woodwork and grand ballroom. This home was filled with beautiful daughters and a beloved son. They lived, loved, laughed, and cried within the walls of this happy home.
Leona Baer had decided on the home's special construction and monitored it's building. She insisted it be of similar design to the large Eastlake style Victorians just becoming popular for the wealthy in America. She also was adamant that the kitchen would be inside the house and there would be privies on the first floor for guests and on the second floor for family; a his-and-hers two-story outhouse was the result! The home had 9 fireplaces, 4 cisterns, a wellhouse and a carriage house. It is one of the best examples of Eastlake Victorian style in the state of Mississippi and is included in Victorian Houses of Mississippi. The cornice is modillioned and the windows display segmental arches with raised brick drip molds. Fish scale shingles and carved vergeboards accent the gable ends. The home clearly reflected the prosperity that Mr. Baer, a Jewish immigrant from Germany, had accumulated by the 1870's through his dry goods store, Baer and Brothers, established in 1865. Baer House Inn is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Please come and help us enjoy this wonderful home. Step back in time - enjoy the elegant rooms, woodwork, and style of the past. Try Southern hospitality at its best.
History abounds in Vicksburg. Enjoy antique shops, outlet malls, historic homes, carriage rides in old town, and even gaming on our river boat casinos. You can visit the National Military Park and watch the grand Mississippi River roll by.
The Bonnie Blue Room has a private bathroom with shower and tub. City views from a large bay window which also provides natural light and an open atmoshere. Cable flatscreen TV, beautiful antique king size bed, 2 chairs, love seat and a coffee table provide a spacious social area. A coffee maker, refrigerator and a small library make this room with its original chestnut floors even more comfortable and inviting. shower and tub. $135 Su-Th, $155 weekends and holiday period
The Mei Ling Mini Suite is a richly adorned room with Chinese and Victorian artwork and antiques. A very comfortable room for the discerning traveler. With cool colors and eye pleasing heartwood pine floors. Your suite includes a private parlor before entering the bedroom. The Mei Ling Suite is perfect for relaxing or enjoying time with that special someone. The four-poster queen-size bed is perfect for a soothing sleep. Private bathroom has a shower. $135, $145 weekends and holidays
The Pineapple Room features cheery colors and collective art from the Pacific Oceana areas. Here in this special room, two new lives were brought into the family. A spacious half-tester king bed is the center piece, where you can rest in style. The large room is next to the second floor front gallery. Bathroom is across the hall. $110
The Rhett is a richly decorated room with a view of the back garden. Sleep luxuriously on an antique canopy queen bed and let yourself feel the warmth that flows from every part of this room. The bathroom is across the hall with tub and shower. $110
The Tara is an inviting room. Relax in the quiet, tranquil elegance of your room. The period queen bed has received rave reviews for comfort. Private bath with tub and shower. Decorative fireplace. $115
The Scarlett is a wonderfully romantic room. The antique love seat next to the hearth is a perfect place to relax, enjoying a private moment before the evening social hour in the parlor. A spacious room with a dream-inducing king-size bed. The romantic atmoshere is ideal for that special weekend getaway package the Baer House offers. Large bathroom with shower and tub. $125 Su-Th, $145 weekends and holidays.
The Leona Suite is located on the first floor with a private entrance. Part of the original 1870 structure, it has Eastlake Victorian furnishings which include a queen bed with a Tempurpedic mattress, The bathroom floor and jacuzi tub surround are Italian stone. Heartwood pine floors and 12 foot ceilings complete this guest room. $195 nightly.
Package for the Pineapple and Rhett room together is $165 a night.
Prices are for two guests (additional person is $35 in same room)
Delectible breakfast included in all rates.
Weekend packages start at $300 - $400 (depending on activities): 2 nights, 2 breakfasts, tour of two homes, carriage ride in historical section, dining available. Call for packages to be tailored to your wishes
Complimentary beverages are available in the guest kitchenette.
Long term rates for those staying longer than a week. Rates begin at $40/night - call for more information. Certainly better than an apartment or hotel!
Smoking is allowed on the galleries only, not inside.
Active military, church and group discount rates.
Accepting Visa, Mastercard, American Express
Vicksburg Mississippi Bed and Breakfast
This fine Vicksburg Mississippi Antebellum Estate is one of the largest and most elegant bed and breakfasts in the South. Situated on five acres of gardens, this historic mansion inn specializes in creating a warm, elegant atmosphere perfect for the business traveler or honeymoon couple and is consistantly voted Best Bed and Breakfast in Vicksburg. Known for our elegant rooms and warm hospitality our staff takes pride in ensuring each guest enjoys their stay in any of our 33 rooms and suites spread out in five historic buildings. All guest to our inn enjoy a complimentary wine and cheese hour to meet and mingle with staff and guests from 4:00pm - 5:00pm each evening in the restaurant, a chocolate and sherry turndown service performed between 6:00pm and 8:00pm each evening while you are out, coffee and muffins at 7am, breakfast each morning between 8:00am - 9:30am and a 10:00am historical tour of the mansion. All of this included in the rate of your room! All visitors are encouraged to visit our courtyard dining room. Executive Chef John Kellogg uses 30 years of experience and his French culinary training to create unique dishes you will only find at Cedar Grove Mansion Restaurant! For those seeking the perfect location for a Southern wedding Cedar Grove has one of the most beautiful outdoor wedding locations in all of Mississippi coupled with the best cuisine offered in our region. So come enjoy our gardens, rooms and suites, in-house restaurant and bar and friendly staff on your trip through Vicksburg. Vist us, Stay with us, Dine with us, Time and Time again...
WI-FI IS NOW AVAILABLE TO GUESTS IN ALL OUR COMMON AREAS!!!
Cedar Grove History
Once upon a time in the land of cotton, there lived a planter and a businessman by the name of John Alexander Klein. Being a shrewd young man, he diversified his wealth in the fields of banking, lumber and cotton until he could afford a wife and a family. Elizabeth Bartley Day came to New Orleans to visit relatives. The young girl's face never left his mind.
He began the Greek Revival style mansion we know as Cedar Grove in 1840 while he waited patiently for Elizabeth to mature into the beautiful young woman he wanted to grace both his arm and his home. In 1842, he married Elizabeth. She was 16, he was 30.
Then off to Europe for a year-long honeymoon. While there, Klein bought many of the furnishings we now find at Cedar Grove like the Italian marble fireplaces, French empire gasoliers, Bohemian glass for the doorway, towering gold leaf mirrors, exquisite clocks and paintings that adorn the mansion. In New Orleans, they commissioned Prudent Mallard to make several pieces of furniture. The best example of his work can be found in the Grant Room. When the young couple returned to Vicksburg, they lived in the poolside cottage as the beautiful and elegant Cedar Grove developed underneath the skilled hands of many craftsmen. In 1852, Cedar Grove was finished.
Then the War came and Cedar Grove experienced bombardment by cannon. A cannon ball is still lodged in the parlor wall. Mrs. Klein experienced rejection in Vicksburg due to her family ties to General William T. Sherman.
The Kleins survived the War with their house in tact mainly because it had been used as a Union hospital. Many of the furnishings are original to the house.
We welcome you to elegant and graceful Cedar Grove, a living fairytale echoing a time and a place that has long past. Come to Cedar Grove, re-live the story, and create a memory that will last your lifetime.
Cedar Grove invites you to stroll through the surrounding Garden District.
Along the way you will find several historic homes and inns. To find the Garden District, take I-20 Exit 1A, go north 2 miles on Washington Street, and turn left on Klein Street.
The Centennial Suite ($195/$215) #33
King bed, large parlor, 2 fireplaces, wet bar with refrigerator and microwave, spa tub for two, separate shower, double vanity.
The Mississippi Suite ($195/$215) #34
King bed, large parlor, fireplace, wet bar with refrigerator, spa tub for two, separate shower, double vanity, a separate daybed.
The Yazoo Suite ($195/$215) #35
King bed, large parlor, fireplace, wet bar with refrigerator and microwave, spa tub for two, separate shower, double vanity, a separate daybed.
There are still those in the region who recall the vivacity of the Shlenker House in the Roaring Twenties. That period of devil-may-care attitudes, it is said, suited the house particularly well, and it was then that the place was a lively center of social activity and the setting for some of the era's most memorable mid-Mississippi occasions.
One Vicksburg matron insisted that, because of the leaded glass that is a favored feature of the Cherry Street facade, the interior lights were "magnified in their magic" and the house, when fully lighted, was regarded by many as a landmark from which directions were taken and given in this historic residential center of Vicksburg.
A unique house in a unique architectural city, Shlenker House reflects a pure modified example of the Prairie school of architecture made famous by Frank Lloyd Wright.
It was, in fact, that element that caught the collective eye for detail of the National Register of Historic Places, as well as the selection board that declared the house a Mississippi Landmark.
Not just "A Room and A Bath!"
Two minutes from Interstate 20, Cherry Street Cottages and Shlenker House are a great central location for day trips to nearby Jackson, Monroe, Natchez. We make a great half-way point between Dallas and Atlanta or Memphis and New Orleans.
Along the Mississippi River Valley, in towns and cities including Vicksburg, Jewish communities thrived in the second half of the 19th and early part of the 20th centuries. Today, there exists a Jewish cultural corridor along the Mississippi River, a self-guided driving tour stretching from Memphis to New Orleans, linking Hebrew historic sites. The Cherry Street Cottages are at the heart of this important historic zone.
Many Jews left Alsace, the much disputed territory on the France-Germany border, in the early and mid-19th century to settle in the mid-South. Others were lured by the promised opportunity of the burgeoning economies based on cotton and sugar.
Born of a successful emigrant merchant family, David Shlenker was educated in Vicksburg and New Orleans and became a successful cotton factor and leader in the City of Vicksburg.
His home, built in 1907, reflects his success, influence and education. At the time of his death in 1913, his firm was considered one of the staunchest and most successful in the South.
Even with this success, which included a term as alderman for the City of Vicksburg, David Shlenker never lost ties to the less fortunate. His greatest legacies may have been his utmost integrity and honesty, his charity and philanthropy, and the love of his employees and business associates.
The Shlenker house is a testimonial to this important Southern businessman and Jewish leader. Vicksburg is also home to many other important Jewish historic sites. Evidence of Vicksburg's once robust Jewish community is adjacent to Vicksburg National Military Park: historic Anshe Chesed Cemetery. At 721 Clay Street downtown is the former B'nai B'rith Club.
Other important regional sites are also nearby as Vicksburg lies in the heart of the Jewish cultural corridor. In nearby Jackson is the Goldring/Woldenberg Institute of Southern Jewish Life.
The Corners Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn (circa 1873)
601 Klein Street 601-636-7421, 800-444-7421, fax: 601-636-7232
16 rooms · $110-$190.
All Major Credit Cards Accepted
Come experience the elegance and charm of the Corners Mansion Bed & Breakfast Inn. Sit in high back rockers and soak in the magnificent sunsets over the Mississippi River, return to a gentler time inside the exquisite double parlour or relax on the back verandah with lemonade and enjoy the lush gardens and incredible crepe myrtles. Our fifteen guest rooms are all unique; some have canopy beds, fireplaces, private porches, views, whirlpool tubs. Close to the historic downtown and Convention Center. All rooms have private baths, cable TVs and telephone and high speed internet hookups. Your stay includes a wonderful icomplimentary lemonade and tea
A long, wide stairway leads to the wrought-iron laced porch surrounding the main doorway of this magnificent mansion situated in the historic district of Vicksburg. Considered to be one of the finest examples of Palladian architecture in the state, it escaped destruction during and after the Civil War's siege by serving as a hospital for Confederate and Union soldiers. Beneath its high ceilings and richly decorated walls of cardinal reds, deep blues and rich greens, the polished floors carry bloodstained marks from wounds. In one room, the ceiling beams show where a cannon-ball struck. Original works of art hang throughout and the mansion is furnished with a mix of antiques and comfortable furnishings. Duff Green contains four luxurious bedrooms with amenities to satisfy the expectations of the most discerning visitor. All guest rooms have an individual character, working fireplaces and porches where guests can relax in the evening air. Guests may also enjoy the complimentary bar during happy hour in one of the elegant reception rooms and during the day can sunbathe on the secluded patio that surrounds a swimming pool.
Duff Green Mansion
For over 145 years the Duff Green Mansion has stood majestically in the center of the historic district of Vicksburg, Mississippi. Built in 1856 as a wedding gift by successful businessman Duff Green for his bride Mary Lake, the mansion was designed for entertaining. Prior to the siege of Vicksburg, the home was well known for the many lavish parties that set the standard for hospitality and good taste.
In 1863, the home was hit at least five times by Union cannonball. The Greens hastily offered the Mansion for use as a hospital as a means to try and save their new home, and retreated to two caves built in the side yard. In one of these caves, Mrs. Green gave birth to her son and named him William Siege Green.
Both Union and Confederate wounded were moved to the Mansion. The Union troops were placed on the top floor with Confederates housed on the main floor. The kitchen on the bottom floor was converted to an operating room where hundreds of soldiers were treated.
After the surrender of Vicksburg on July 4, 1863, the Mansion was leased to the United States Government for use as a Soldiers Home where wounded soldiers could recuperate before their respective journeys home.
In 1866 after all soldiers had left, the Greens moved back in their home where they continued to live until Mr. Green’s death in 1880. Mrs. Green sold the mansion that same year to the Peatross family who maintained it as their family residence until 1910. The property was then sold to Fannie Vick Willis Johnston, a great-granddaughter of Vicksburg’s founder Rev. Newet Vick. Mrs. Johnston lived in the Mansion until her new home Oak Hall (The Stained Glass Manor) was completed around 1913.
Mrs. Johnston, a generous philanthropist, donated the Mansion for use as a boy’s orphanage and later as a retirement home for elderly widows. When she died in 1931, her estate sold the property to the Salvation Army for $3,000.00.
The Salvation Army ministered to the needy from their mansion headquarters with weekly church services, daily meals, and a safe place for transients to stay for fifty-four years. In 1985, the property was sold to Mr. & Mrs. Harry Carter Sharp of Coral Gables, Florida. This sale enabled the Salvation Army to move to a larger and more suitable site and the Sharps to embark on a new adventure.
The Sharps completely restored the Mansion to her former glory over a two and one half year period with the professional expertise of local architect Skip Tuminello. The combined efforts of The U.S. Department of the Interior, The Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and Tuminello insured the accuracy of the restoration. As many as twenty-seven layers of paint were removed, thirteen fireplaces restored, and fifteen bathrooms added. Magnificent chandeliers grace the fifteen and one-half foot tall public reception rooms painted in vivid historic colors. The entire mansion is decorated with period antiques and accented with works of art.
Five luxurious guest rooms, each with private bath and working fireplace, invite overnight guests to a memorable stay in one of the South’s finest Bed & Breakfast Inns. The Duff Green Mansion is the perfect location for Weddings, Receptions, Rehearsal Dinners, Bridal showers, and functions for all occasions large or small.
The Dixie Room
Contemporary king size bed, antique armoire, chests, and dresser. Private bath with a tub/shower combination. This room sleeps up to three using a rollaway bed. This is a cozy and comfortable room with a taupe decor, blue accents, original art and beautifully detailed hand loomed rug.
The Camellia Room
This room features a half tester rosewood double bed circa 1840. Additional antique rosewood furnishings compliment the pastel shades of teal, making this a romantic and historic room. Private bath with a tub/shower combination, the Camellia sleeps up to three using a rollaway bed.
The Confederate Room
Two antique reproduction four poster double beds are combined with antiques of the period making this room very inviting. A comfortable sitting area is ideal for relaxing by the fire or reading. Restful blue tones and oriental carpets combine to make up the decor. Private bath with shower/tub combination, this room can sleep up to five adults using a rollaway bed.
The Magnolia Room
This room features a queen size half tester bleached pine bed circa 1750. This is a bright and large room featuring antique country french pine furniture and comfortable sitting area. Oriental rugs accent the soft green tones. Private bath with tub/shower combination, this room sleeps up to three adults using a rollaway bed.
All rooms are in the main house.
All rooms have private baths, working fireplaces, telephones, individual central air and heat, and cable television.
All rooms are located adjacent to the off street parking area and are accessible to the handicapped.
Guests have complete access to the main floor of the Mansion, Pool & Patio, and the Gardens & Porches.
THE DUFF GREEN MANSION IS LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES AND HAS RECEIVED SEVERAL AWARDS AND CITATIONS FOR THE OUTSTANDING RESTORATION AS SET FORTH BY THE DEPARTMENT OF THE INTERIOR. THE DUFF GREEN MANSION IS ONE OF ONLY FOUR STRUCTURES IN VICKSBURG RECOGNIZED BY THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION. THE DUFF GREEN MANSION IS A MEMBER OF CONDE NAST/JOHANSENS RECOMMENDED HOTELS AND INNS, THE MISSISSIPPI BED & BREAKFAST ASSOCIATION, THE VICKSBURG CHAMBER OF COMMERCE, AND THE VICKSBURG PILGRIMAGE COMMITTEE.
No charge for children 5 and under.
House Tours for Bed and Breakfasts are normally conducted at check-in.
Flowerree (1870) 2309 Pearl Street, 601-638-2000, 800-791-2000
6 rooms, 2 suites · $130-$300
Rates include tour of mansion, plantation breakfast. Listed as part of Historic American Building Survey and on the National Register of Historic Places. Home of the youngest colonel in the Confederate Army, a leader in Pickett's Charge at Gettysburg. One of the finest Italianate houses. Noted for its ornate plaster and woodwork with 2' thick walls. Furnished entirely in period antiques. Closest mansion to the River. Extensive gardens and Grecian pool.
George Washington Ball House
Bed & Breakfast Inn • Special Events • Antiques
According to land records, George Washington Ball, a well-to-do, distant cousin of our first president, built this Federal style house about 1822, making it one of the largest homes in “Old Town” Vicksburg at the time. In fact, Ball’s neighbors included the early founders of Vicksburg.
The house was unrecognizable, obscured by additions and neglect, and its history untold for nearly a century until it was fully restored in 2004.
Today the George Washington Ball House, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, has regained its place of prominence in Old Town. Whether spending a relaxing weekend or hosting an elegant event, guests will enjoy their time in historic Vicksburg.
The Ball Suite
The Washington Suite
The George Suite
The George Washington Ball House has three guest rooms for overnight accommodations. Guests enjoy a full plantation breakfast served each morning at neighboring Anchuca Historic Mansion & Inn, as well as turndown service each night and access to the grounds and swimming pool at Anchuca. Daily Rate: $125
The Governors's Inn (circa 1826),815 First East Street,601-661-9141
5 rooms - Weekdays $85 - $115 and Weekends $95 - $125
One of Vicksburg's Oldest Historic Homes in the heart of downtown Vicksburg, the Governors Inn was built in 1826 by the 12th governor of Mississippi and was recently renovated to reflect its glory years. The tiered gardens house the oldest Japanese Magnolia tree in the state of Mississippi. We are near all shopping and casinos and limousine service is available.
Linden for Every Season
Linden Plantation Gardens is an all-season wonder with many faces. From the glorious azaleas in spring, to the friendly perennials and annuals in spring and summer to the fire of fall and the contrast of winter.
The spirits of its native American residents join those of the Blue and Gray, General Sherman, the Vick and Brabston kin, and ancient magnolias and cedars to welcome you down the sunken road into Linden Plantation Gardens.
Joy And Bryan
Joy Brabston, renowned garden expert, is ready to share her visual journey to return Linden Plantation Gardens from 40 years of neglect and abandonment into the present 8-acre Southern garden featured in books, magazines and newspapers across the country.
Linden Dining Room
The unique house showcases the historical period. Experience the ambiance of the old made new as you are welcomed to Linden Plantation Gardens.
Best Reason to Stay:
Getting away! When you need to escape, the "Polly House" at Linden Plantation Gardens is waiting to take you away from all the hustle and bustle and offers wonderful seclusion in a delightful plantation garden!
Delta Magazine, March-April 2006
A History of Linden Plantation and Gardens
Linden was established in 1827 by John Wesley Vick, the son of the Rev. Newitt Vick, who founded Vicksburg. He married Ann Marie Brabston who was living with her parents, near Washington, Mississippi. The Vicks had secured vast land grants from the U. S. Government. The land on which Linden was founded was deeded to John Wesley Vick and his uncle Burwell Vick in the early 1820's.
The original house was built in 1827, two years after the founding of Vicksburg and 10 years after Mississippi became a state. The final treaty with the Choctaw tribe was not signed until 1830. The eastern boundary of Linden today is the Choctaw Treaty Boundary.
Anne Marie died in childbirth and John Wesley moved into Vicksburg. Anne Marie's brother, James, and his wife, Roche, assumed ownership of Linden about 1840.
Roche was the first great gardener of Linden. She created 12 acres of formal gardens on the grounds. The magnolias she planted in 1847 still flank the entrance to the present house. Eastern Red Cedars planted during the same period now form the nucleus of a 1/4 acre botanical garden.
Like most Warren County planters, including Jefferson Davis, the Brabstons did not support secession. The Brabstons, also like most planters, were Whigs. Nonetheless, war came. The battle of the Big Black River took place about 6 miles NE of Linden. The Confederates retreated into the fortification of Vicksburg and the union Army swarmed over the rural countryside of Warren County. The first group that overran Linden established a field hospital in the school building and a Union surgeon, Dr. Joyceline, and his wife resided in the house at Linden. Since armies of that day survived by foraging, the store houses of Linden were soon empty. Wagons were loaded with flour and other food supplies; the cotton gin and other buildings were torn down for the lumber. All of the farm animals were also taken.
During the siege of Vicksburg, James became ill in Madison County, Mississippi while attending to other business interests. As Madison County was still controlled by the Confederacy, it was considered "enemy" territory. Roche appealed to General Sherman to allow her to leave "occupied" Warren County to visit James, and bring him home. Sherman denied her request and accused her of being a spy. After spending the night and visiting with Mrs. Sherman, she had Dr. Joyceline intervene and permission was granted.
After the war, James paid his insurrection taxes ($33.54) and reclaimed Linden. He also signed his Oath of Allegiance. Roche filed claims with the U.S. Government in the amount of $9,375 for the damages done during the siege. The claim was denied. The next generation's mistress, Agnes Willis Brabston, (the present owner's grandmother), continued the claim into the 1900's. No settlement has ever been made.
While Linden survived, the economy of the South, especially the "hill country", was wrecked. The soil was worn out and at the turn of the century, the boll weevil arrived. Even worse, the present owner's grandfather, William H. Brabston and husband of Agnes, died in 1889 at the age of 32, leaving a widow and five small children. Roche died in 1895. They survived by selling land and when all the land was gone, except Linden, they borrowed and heavily indebted it.
Following service in WWI, Bryan Willis Brabston, Sr., the present owner's father and namesake, was single and secured what was considered a plum of a job-rural mail carrier. He spent his life paying off the debt on Linden.
Agnes died in 1943 and Linden was abandoned and heavily vandalized in the following years. Fortunately, some of the furniture, silver, china and other things were saved before the house burned in 1956. Some are on display in the present home.
Polly's Cabin Garden
Upon retirement in 1994, Bryan and his wife Joy returned to Linden, converting the then cow pastures into eight acres of formal gardens. Realizing the importance of the land, the Brabstons have opened the home and gardens to the public, so that others may share in its beauty.
Rare winter hummingbird nests at Linden
They're buff-bellied, broad-billed, white-eared and black-chinned. And they're in Vicksburg.
They're a rare species of winter hummingbirds, and they've been captured, identified and banded, or tagged, by researchers to determine why they're here.
“The ones that are here now are very rare. They come British Columbia to spend their winters in the Southeast. We're trying to figure out why,” said Bob Sargeant, founder of the Hummer Bird Study Group.
Sargeant said the particular species of winter hummingbird identified at Linden Plantation in Vicksburg this year was the Rufous, but Black-chinned and Calliope species have been spotted here before.
Joy Brabston, owner of Linden Plantation, said she first spotted the Rufous a month ago.
“They're not like the ruby-throated ones that are very friendly. They're very skittish and fly away in a heartbeat,” Brabston said.
Sargent, who has been researching hummingbirds for 20 years, said six to eight birds are usually banded every winter in the northern part of Mississippi.
“But a lot depends on how many are reported to us. We depend on the public to notify us if they see one during the winter,” he said.
“I encourage everyone to leave hummingbird feeders out during the winter and to contact me if they spot one from Nov. 15 to March 15,” he said.
A romantic, family- oriented Bed and Breakfast Inn in Vicksburg, Mississippi. For your vacation, make Vicksburg your historic Civil War travel destination. While soaking up Vicksburg history, consider staying at the Last Major Vick Home in Vicksburg - 1902-8 Stained Glass Manor- Oak Hall, Vicksburg's Historic Vick Bed and Breakfast Inn.
"Possibly the finest example of Mission style architecture in Mississippi." "One of the most lavish residential displays of leaded and stained glass." As quoted in the National Register of Historic Places.
1902 - 1908 (?) Fannie's Home at 2430 Drummond Street (now Stained Glass Manor - Oak Hall) completed. Probably designed by George W. Maher - Father of "Indigenous American Architecture" - often called "Prairie" or "Mission" . (Frank Lloyd Wright was taught by Maher - early years). Art (Stained) Glass by Louis J. Millet - who taught Maher and Wright - and did Art Glass in State Capitol in Jackson. Louis J. Millet was the first dean of architecture in Chicago and the head of The Chicago Art Institute. Home is on National Register of Historic Places, U.S. Department of the Interior.
1919 - (March 16) - Junius W. Johnson killed by tornado at Panther Burn. Fannie sells Panther Burn in December.
1929 - Rotary Club of Vicksburg honors Fannie with Loving Cup Award(1929) which originally was to have been "The man who has done the most for Vicksburg." (Fannie shuns publicity, & graciously refuses to be photographed or interviewed).
1931 - (September 20) - Fannie Vick Willis Johnson passes away. Her tombstone reads: "She lived for others"
1931 - 1966 - Fannie's home administered as widows home by Episcopal Diocese.
1966 - Mayor John Holland (and wife Sarah) buy home. Home then has series of renters / owners. 1995 - Bill and Shirley Smollen become trustees of this National Historic Register Tour Home; rename it Stained Glass Manor - Oak Hall. It is also a Bed and Breakfast - Charter Member of the Mississippi B&B Association.
per Lynn Baker
(one - if not the best - of the finest Caterers in Mississippi)
6 Cups Strong Tea
1 Cup Sugar (while Tea is hot)
1 can Frozen Lemonade
4 cans water
2 1/2 Cups Pineapple Juice
Mix together, then freeze, then serve as a slush.
Bill's Baked Ham
Spray the insides of your roaster pan with non-stick oil.
Cut oranges (and lemon and/or pink grapefruit, if desired) into slices about 1/4 to 1/2 inches thick.
Line the bottom of the roaster pan with these.
Trim most of the fat from the ham and place in the pan.
Add wedges of apple, orange, pineapple, etc. around the ham and pour in their juices, about one liter of Coca Cola, and 1/2 a 5th of your choice of wine (we have used everything from a chardonnay to a light burgundy)
Score the top of the ham lightly in a criss-cross pattern. Insert whole cloves about 1/2 inch apart into the entire top. Using toothpicks, put slices of the fruits (maybe adding cherries for color) on top of this. Then pour honey or molasses over the top and pack brown sugar by hand on top of the entire assembly.
Put lid on roaster and place in a preheated oven at about 375 degrees. Bake for about 20 minutes per pound of ham. Baste occasionally until done.
Posted by Palmer at 9:09 PM