See Rock City

See Rock City

Monday, September 29, 2008

Holly Springs, MS

Holly Springs is defined by a rich and varied history. Events through the centuries have left an indelible imprint on the face of this town. In the early days, at a place known only to a brave and civilized tribe of Chickasaw Indians, natural springs flowed through hills of holly trees. It became a gathering place for traders and explorers. They called it Holly Springs. Treaties with the government sent the Chickasaws away from their land on the trail of tears to reservations in Oklahoma. There’s not much left to indicate their presence except honorary names of streets like Chulahoma or names of houses like Latoka or Tallalossa.

Post Office

Court House on the Square

The fertile bottoms and rolling hills became the new frontier in the early 1830s. The move was on to develop this new territory and settlers came from the Carolinas, Georgia and Virginia.

First Presbyterian Church - 1860 - Romanesque Revival

Two-and-a-half story gable-front sanctuary featuring recessed central tower (spire no longer extended) with stepped polygonal buttresses, flanked by polygonal towers at building corners. Semicircular fenestration enriched with cast-iron molds with corbel stops, and a decorated ogee arch set above double-leafed entrance door. Construction was in progress when the Civil War broke out. Lower level served as a stable for horses of the occupying Union cavalry while ammunition was stored in the upper level by General Ulysses S. Grant in preparation for the attack of Vicksburg. This was the third church building constructed in Holly Springs by Presbyterians

This was built in 1850 as the first "big house" in Holly Springs. It is listed on the National Register as part of the Southwest Holly Springs Historic District.

Train Depot

Land agents set up offices to service the demands for city lots and thousand-acre plantations. They were the first to build log cabin homes, which were soon remolded or torn down to build quaint raised-basement cottages, such as Polk place, Featherston and Dunvegan.

Holly Springs became a center for law, commerce and agriculture. At one time the county produced more cotton and had more lawyers than any other place in Mississippi.

The fortunes being made in cotton and commerce and sale of land fueled an appetite among its citizens and town leaders for the finer things of society.

Methodist Church- 1849- Greek Revival

The structure preserves the oldest church bell in Holly Springs as well as one of the oldest working Pilcher organs in the world. The church was originally established in 1837 in a small building on the corner of West College and Craft Street. It sits on land belonging to Robert Burrell Alexander who orally deeded the land to the church which was never legally transferred. To help pay for the spire and current face of the building, the pews were rented. Mr. Alexander disapproved so he rented any seats left so anyone could have a free seat. Known for its twin circular staircases, the Methodist Church was used for court sessions when the courthouse was burned during the Civil War and still treasures a Bible returned by a Union Soldier. The church is also deemed "Mother Church" of the North Mississippi Conference. The Memphis Conference met here in 1868 when steps were taken to organize the North Mississippi Conferences.

They set about building churches and establishing schools. For their families, they replaced the dog-trot cabins and built wondrous mansions with tall Corinthian columns like the Greek Revival homes built throughout the South.

These flush times disappeared when the planters, lawyers and shopkeepers went off with the Confederate army to fight the Civil War. Located at the crossroads of two railroads, Holly Springs was a strategic prize fought over by both armies. When Union General U.S. Grant captured the town, his army camped on the lawns of the grand mansions while the General moved his wife into the Walter Place and made his headquarters at Airliewood.

When the town began to recover after the war, an even deadlier enemy struck Holly Springs when the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878 wiped out much of the leadership of the town.

Christ Episcopal Church- 1858- Gothic

The tracker organ, built by Henry Pilcher & Sons (1899) is the oldest in use today. During the war the church was used as a stable for Union horses where soldiers used the hand-wrought pews as feeding troughs as well as dismantled the organ and played crude tunes by blowing into the pipes. The church is also known for its notable rector Dr. Joseph Holt Ingraham who wrote biblical romances such as “The Prince of the House of David”, “The Pillar of Fire”, “The Throne of David” and “St. Paul, the Roman Citizen”. The church, later sold to St. Joseph’s Catholic congregation, features a lofty octagonal spire and 16 stained glass windows as memorials to church members and a high gallery and beautiful brass lectern.

Restoration of the city’s most historic antebellum mansions and cottages has preserved a place in history for another generation. And now Holly Springs is opening its doors to welcome visitors year-round.

Marshall County Historical Museum- 1903

The building that now houses the museum was originally built as a college dormitory for the Mississippi Syndical College, a Presbyterian school for girls established in 1840. In 1970 the building was scheduled to be torn down but was saved by the Marshall County Historical Society to be used as a museum, which through thoughtful donations, now boasts 40,000 artifacts indigenous to the area. Many relics dug up from Holly Springs’ yards. The Museum is currently temporarily located on the Square with a limited collection while the building is being renovated.

More than 64 houses, churches and buildings pre-dating the Civil War stand as a testament to a time when cotton, commerce, land and lawyers forged a raw frontier Indian trading post in a city of culture, wealth and refinement.

Today, Holly Springs is experiencing a renaissance: its columned mansions, quaint cottages and stately churches attract thousands each spring to the annual Garden Club Pilgrimage, and now visitors are also welcomed throughout the year!

"Antebellum Capital of the Mid-South"

Holly Springs is a city in Marshall County, Mississippi, United States. The population was 7,957 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of Marshall County. A short drive from Memphis, Tennessee, Holly Springs is the site of a number of well-preserved antebellum homes and other structures and has a strong tradition of historic preservation. Holly Springs is the site of Rust College, a historically black liberal arts college established in 1866 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal church. The Holly Springs National Forest is also nearby.

Monument to Confederate dead, Holly Springs, MS

Holly Springs was created Feb 1836. The Chickasaw Indians, who came to drink from the great spring water amidst the holly trees, first called Holly Springs "Suavatooky" (or watering place). According to Legend, a young Chieftain named Onohon and a princess of a rival tribe, drowned themselves here to avoid separation. In 1832, the Chickasaw Nation ceded their lands to the US and William Randolph is credited for founding the town in 1835. It was incorporated in 1837. For a very short time, the name of this town was changed to Paris, but due to public pressure it was changed back to Holly Springs.


The City of Holly Springs is served by the Holly Springs School District.

The Holly Springs School District is a public school district based in Holly Springs, Mississippi (USA).


The Mission of the Holly Springs School District is to educate students who can compete in the global community.

Dear Students and Parents,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the administrative staff of the Holly Springs

School District, I would like to welcome you to the beginning of the 2008-2009 school year. The Holly Springs School District is proud to have the opportunity to work with you as we continue the rewarding task of providing a quality education for every student.

I hope everyone took some time this summer to reflect, evaluate, and set goals for the upcoming school year. We can only continue to improve if we celebrate our accomplishments while systematically working to improve areas of need. I believe that we will achieve our goals if we continue to work together.

Educationally Yours

Irene Walton, Superintendent of Schools

Rust College - A historically black liberal arts college established in 1866 by the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church,

Rust College- 1866

This historically African American, and extremely selective, institution was established by Reverend Albert Collier McDonald, the Freedman’s Aid Society and the northern Methodist Episcopal Church when it was realized that newly freed slaves needed direction and above all an education. The school accepted adults and children of all ages for instruction in elementary subjects and eventually grew into Shaw University, named after Rev. S.O. Shaw. The college was then named Rust College after Richard S. Rust, Secretary of the Freedman’s Aid Society. It is known for being the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and for educating notables such as Rev. Hiram R. Revels the first African American United States Senator and civil rights & women’s’ activist Ida B. Wells- Barnett. Its first building was erected on top of a hill where slaves were previously auctioned. The original building burned down in 1940 but a memorial to the auction site stands in its place today.

Mississippi Industrial College (Rust College) This abandoned college building is listed on the National Register.

Rust College is a historically black liberal arts college located in Holly Springs, Mississippi., approximately 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Tennessee. It is the second-oldest private college in the state and is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and one of only ten historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) founded before 1868 still to be in operation.

Mississippi Industrial College (Rust College) This abandoned college building is listed on the National Register.

Mississippi Industrial College (Rust College) This abandoned college building is listed on the National Register.

One of the oldest colleges for African Americans in the United States, Rust was founded on November 24, 1866 by Northern missionaries known as the Freedman's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

Just south of the Tennessee border is Holly Springs, Mississippi. Upon pulling into town, we came across a trio of abondoned institutional buildings. Never ones to pass up a creepy, crumbling facade, we had to explore.

In 1870, the college was named Shaw University. The named changed again to Rust University in 1882. Both names were applied in honor of major donors to the college. The name was finally changed to Rust College in 1915.

On the second floor of one building was this auditorium.

Holly Springs is in northwestern Mississippi, and considered part of the Memphis, Tennessee metropolitan area. There are five gender segregated dorms on campus, with about 900 spaces. There is a full-time professional who lives in each building and is responsible for the educational and operational functions of the residence hall.

Jay S. Stowell (Jay Samuel), 1883-1966
Methodist Adventures in Negro Education.
New York: The Methodist Book Concern, [c1922].

Like all colleges and universities in the United States, under the Crime Awareness and Campus Security Act (1990), Rust College reports their on-campus crime statistics to the United States Department of Education and publish the numbers on the Department's website.


Notable alumni:

Name Class year Notability Reference

Alexander Preston Shaw 1902 Methodist Bishop and notable Preacher,

Alexander Preston Shaw was notable as an African American Pastor, Editor, and Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church and The Methodist Church. He was elected and consecrated to the Episcopacy in 1936. Bishop Shaw held the distinction of being the first African American Bishop of The Methodist Church (at the age of 71) to preside full-time over a predominantly white Annual Conference: the Southern California-Arizona Conference (in 1950, coincidentally the 100th annual meeting of this body), which met that year at the University of Redlands.

Alexander was born 18 April 1879 in Abbeville in northern Mississippi. He was the eighth of eleven children of the Rev. Duncan Preston and Maria (née Petty) Shaw. Alexander's parents were ex-slaves; his father also an Ordained Minister in the M.E. Church, as was Alexander's elder brother, J. Beverly F. Shaw. Alexander married Lottye Blanche Simon 29 March 1911. They had children Alexander Preston Jr., Bernard Johnson, twins Lena Anita and Bessie Elaine, Helen Marguerite, and Wilbur Allen.

Alexander Sr earned the A.B. degree from Rust College in 1902. He then earned the B.D. degree from Gammon Theological Seminary in 1906. He also did graduate work at Boston University.

Bishop Shaw was also reported by Time Magazine as "consistently advocat(ing) self-improvement and development for his race." This was distinguished from "the rough, wild way of pressure groups trying to stamp out anti-Negro actities." Bishop Shaw held that "a sufficient amount of real excellence -- as has been achieved by Marian Anderson and Dr. Carver and Jackie Robinson -- is the surest way." Above all, said Time, "[Bishop Shaw] believe(s) that Negroes should observe the rule he himself has followed with such conspicuous success: take on responsibilities." Said Bishop Shaw:

"If you don't have responsibilities, you don't grow strong enough to handle them."

Ruby Elzy in 1935. Photo by Carl Van Vechten.

Ruby Elzy pioneer black opera singer who created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's Porgy and Bess,

Ruby Elzy (February 20, 1908–June 26, 1943), was a pioneer African American operatic soprano who created the role of Serena in George Gershwin's folk opera Porgy and Bess and performed in it more than eight hundred times. Her big aria in the opera was My Man's Gone Now, Serena's lament after her husband is murdered in a crap game. But it was Anne Brown, and not Ruby Elzy who sang it on the so-called "original cast" album of selections from Porgy and Bess, made in 1940. However, Ms. Elzy can be heard singing it on a CD release of the 1937 Gershwin Memorial Concert, which took place three months after Gershwin's death, at the Hollywood Bowl.

Ruby Elzy also appeared on Broadway in the musical John Henry, in films (The Emperor Jones, Birth of the Blues), on radio and on the concert stage.

She entertained at the White House, December 15, 1937, for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt's luncheon for the wives of U.S. Supreme Court Justices. She appeared with Paul Robeson in the film of The Emperor Jones, and also with Bing Crosby and Mary Martin in Birth of the Blues, though neither of these were starring roles. She sang at Harlem’s Apollo Theater and in the Hollywood Bowl.

Born in Pontotoc, Mississippi, educated at Rust College, the Ohio State University and the Juilliard School, Elzy rose above poverty and prejudice to become one of the most acclaimed singers of her generation, but her career lasted barely a decade. She died at the age of thirty-five in 1943, just as she was reaching the peak of her powers as a singer and about to achieve her greatest dream: to star in the title role of Giuseppe Verdi's Aida.

In 2006, Elzy's biographer, David E. Weaver, produced a first-ever CD compilation of Elzy, featuring the singer in twenty rare recorded and broadcast performances. The CD, entitled Ruby Elzy in Song, was released on the Cambria label.

Ida B. Wells newspaper editor, feminist and anti-lynching crusader,

Ida Bell Wells (July 16, 1862 – March 25, 1931), aka Ida B. Wells-Barnett, was an African American civil rights advocate and an early women's rights advocate active in the Woman Suffrage Movement. Fearless in her opposition to lynchings, Wells documented hundreds of these atrocities.

Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi on July 16, 1862 to a carpenter, James Wells, and Elizabeth "Lizzie Bell" Warrenton Wells, both of whom were slaves until freed at the end of the Civil War. When she was fourteen, her parents and her youngest sibling, a brother only nine months old, died of yellow fever during an epidemic that swept through the South. At a meeting following the funeral, friends and relatives decided that the six remaining Wells children should be farmed out to various aunts and uncles. Wells was devastated by the idea and, to keep the family together, dropped out of high school and found employment as a teacher in a black school. Despite difficulties, Wells was able to continue her education by working her way through Rust College in Holly Springs.

This antebellum house was the birthplace of civil rights advocate Ida B. Wells. It was built in 1853 and is listed on the National Register as part of the East Holly Springs Historic District.

In 1880, Wells moved to Memphis with all of her siblings except for her 15-year-old brother, January. There she got a summer job. When possible, she attended summer sessions at Fisk University in Nashville. Wells held strong political opinions and she upset many people with her views on women's rights. When she was 24, she wrote, "I will not begin at this late day by doing what my soul abhors; sugaring men, weak deceitful creatures, with flattery to retain them as escorts or to gratify a revenge."

"One had better die fighting against injustice
than die like a dog or a rat in a trap." Quote By Ida B. Wells

Wells became a public figure in Memphis when, in 1884, she led a campaign against racial segregation on the local railway. A conductor of the Chesapeake, Ohio & South Western Railroad Company told her to give up her seat on the train to a white man and ordered her into the smoking or "Jim Crow" car, which was already crowded with other passengers. The federal Civil Rights Act of 1875—which banned discrimination on the basis of race, creed, or color in theaters, hotels, transport, and other public accommodations—had just been declared unconstitutional in the Civil Rights Cases (1883), and several railroad companies were able to continue racial segregation of their passengers. Wells refused to give up her seat, 71 years before Rosa Parks, and the conductor, who had to get assistance from two other men, dragged her out of the car. When she returned to Memphis, she immediately hired an attorney to sue the railroad. She won her case in the local circuit court, but the railroad company appealed to the Supreme Court of Tennessee, which reversed the lower court's ruling in 1887.

Wells, in her mid-thirties, c. 1897.

During her participation in women's suffrage parades, her refusal to stand in the back because she was black resulted in the beginning of her media publicity. In 1889, she became co-owner and editor of Free Speech, an anti-segregationist newspaper based in Memphis on Beale Street. In 1892, however, she was forced to leave the city because her editorials in the paper were seen as too agitating. In one of her articles, written after three of her friends who owned a grocery store were attacked and then lynched because they were taking business away from white competitors, she encouraged blacks to leave Memphis, saying, "there is... only one thing left to do; save our money and leave a town which will neither protect our lives and property, nor give us a fair trial in the courts, but takes us out and murders us in cold blood when accused by white persons." Many African-Americans did leave, and others organized boycotts of white-owned businesses. As a result of this and other investigative reporting, Wells' newspaper office was ransacked, and Wells herself had to leave for Chicago.

She also published in 1892 her famous pamphlet Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases. This pamphlet, along with her 1895 A Red Record, documented her research on and campaign against lynching. Having examined many accounts of lynching based on alleged "rape of white women", she concluded that Southerners concocted the rape excuse to hide their real reason for lynching black men: black economic progress, which threatened not only white Southerners' pocketbooks but also their ideas about black inferiority.

In 1893, she and other black leaders, among them Frederick Douglass, organized a boycott of the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. At the suggestion of white abolitionist and anti-lynching crusader Albion Tourgée, Wells and her coalition produced a pamphlet to be distributed during the exposition. Called Why the Colored American Is Not in the World's Columbian Exposition, it detailed in English and a few other languages the workings of Southern lynchings and a handful of other issues impinging on black Americans. She later reported to Tourgée that 2,000 copies had been distributed at the fair.

Also in 1893, Wells found herself thinking of filing a libel suit against two black Memphis attorneys. She again turned to Tourgée, who had trained and practiced as a lawyer and judge, for possible free legal help. Deeply in debt, Tourgée could not afford to do the work, but he asked his friend Ferdinand L. Barnett if he could. Barnett accepted the pro bono job. Two years later, he and Wells were married. She set an early precedent as being one of the first married American women to keep her own last name with her husband's. This was very unusual for that time.

In 1892, Wells went to Great Britain at the behest of British Quaker Catherine Impey. An opponent of imperialism and proponent of racial equality, Impey wanted to be sure that the British public was informed about the problem of lynching. Although Wells and her speeches, complete with at least one grisly photograph showing grinning white children posing beneath a suspended corpse, caused a stir among doubtful audiences, Wells was paid so little that she could barely pay her travel expenses.

During her second British lecture tour, again arranged by Impey, Wells wrote about her trip for Chicago's Daily Inter Ocean in a regular column, "Ida B. Wells Abroad". In doing so, she became the first black woman paid to be a correspondent for a mainstream white newspaper. (Tourgée had been writing a column for the same paper, which was the local Republican Party organ and competitor to the Democratic Chicago Tribune.)

After her retirement, Wells wrote her autobiography, Crusade for Justice (1928). She died of uremia in Chicago on March 25, 1931, at the age of 68.

Anita Ward African-American singer of disco hit "Ring My Bell"

Anita Ward (born December 20, 1956, Memphis, Tennessee) is an African-American singer. She is best known for her 1979 million selling chart-topper, "Ring My Bell".

Before signing a recording contract, Ward obtained a degree in psychology from Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, and had become a schoolteacher. While recording her debut album, record label owner Frederick Knight presented her with a song he had written the previous year for Stacy Lattisaw. Ward did not like the song, but Knight insisted that a dance track was needed to capitalize on the current disco trend, and Ward relented. The song, which was originally a juvenile targeted tune about teens talking on the telephone, was rewritten with more 'adult' lyrics, and the result was the single "Ring My Bell" which reached number one in Canada, the United States, and the United Kingdom in 1979. Disputes with Frederick Knight, a car accident, and the fading appeal of disco music halted Ward's career, and she came to be regarded as a one-hit wonder. Only one other single of hers made the Billboard Hot 100 chart in the U.S., "Don't Drop My Love," which halted at #87.

On New Year's Eve 2002 she performed "Ring My Bell" in New York City's Times Square before a crowd of revelers as part of the city's official celebration. On New Years's Eve 2005, Ward performed in Memphis, Tennessee at Beale Street. She sang "Ring My Bell" and several other disco hits.

She has also appeared in Zagreb, Croatia on January 4, 2006, the night before the FIS World Cup slalom race on nearby Sljeme, with some other groups and singers from disco era; (Nile Rodgers and Chic, Village People, Thelma Houston and Rose Royce).

Notable residents:

Seth Adams, University of Mississippi American football quarterback,

Seth Henry Adams is an American football player from Holly Springs, Mississippi. He plays quarterback for the University of Mississippi Rebels in the Southeastern Conference.

He emerged as a starter at Marshall Academy; as a senior, he completed 151-of-238 passes for 1,904 and 19 touchdowns. In the playoffs he led Marshall past Winston Academy in overtime. He had hoped for a Division 1 scholarship offer, but accepted a scholarship offer to Delta State University, a division 2 school. Scott Eyster, a four year finalist for the Conerly Trophy, would beat him out as a freshman. This led to Adams transferring to Hinds Community College for one season. Hinds only played seven games that year, as several games were cancelled due to Hurricane Katrina, but Adams threw for 1,500 yards and 13 touchdowns and received a scholarship offer to Western Carolina University, a Division 1-AA program. Ole Miss assistant coach Hugh Freeze convinced Adams to meet with coach Ed Orgeron. Adams agreed to walk on to the Ole Miss team. Orgeron informed Adams that he was trying to sign Brent Schaeffer, but he assured him of an opportunity to compete.

In the 2007 Grove Bowl, the University of Mississippi's spring game, he was efficient and accurate, completing 16-of-20 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown with the first-team offense. Currently, he is the projected starter for the 2007 season.

R. L. Burnside (1926-2005), blues musician,

R. L. Burnside (born Robert Lee Burnside, November 23, 1926 - September 1, 2005) was a blues singer, songwriter, and guitarist who lived much of his life in and around Holly Springs, Mississippi.

He played music for much of his life, but did not receive much attention until the early 1990s.

Burnside was born in Harmontown, Mississippi, in Lafayette County. Burnside spent most of his life in the rural hill country of northern Mississippi, working as a sharecropper and a commercial fisherman, as well as playing guitar at weekend house parties. He was first inspired to pick up the guitar in his early twenties, after hearing the 1948 John Lee Hooker single, "Boogie Chillen" (which inspired numerous other rural bluesmen, among them Buddy Guy, to start playing). He learned music largely from Mississippi Fred McDowell, who lived nearby in an adjoining county. He also cited his cousin-in-law, Muddy Waters, as an influence.

R. L. Burnside performing at the Crystal Ballroom in Portland, Oregon in January 2004

During the 1950s, Burnside grew tired of sharecropping and moved to Chicago, Illinois in the hopes of finding better economic opportunities. But things did not turn out as he had hoped. Within the span of one month his father, brother, and uncle were all murdered in the city, a tragedy that Burnside would later draw upon in his work, particularly in his interpretation of Skip James's "Hard Time Killing Floor" and the talking blues "R.L.'s Story," the opening and closing tracks on Burnside's 2000 album, Wish I Was In Heaven Sitting Down.

R. L. Burnside in Redcar, England, 1992. Photo by Phil Wight.

Around 1959, he left Chicago and went back to Mississippi to work the farms and raise a family. Burnside claimed to have been convicted for murder and sentenced to six months' incarceration (in Parchman Prison) for the crime. Burnside's boss at the time reputedly pulled strings to keep the murder sentence short, due to having need of Burnside's skills as a tractor driver. "I didn't mean to kill nobody," Burnside later said. "I just meant to shoot the sonofabitch in the head. Him dying was between him and the Lord."

His earliest recordings were made in the late 1960s by George Mitchell and released on Arhoolie Records. Another album of acoustic material was recorded that year and little else was released before Hill Country Blues, in the early 1980s. An album's worth of singles followed, released on ethnomusicology professor Dr. David Evans' Highwater Records label in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), wintered in Holly Springs prior to his attack on Vicksburg, Mississippi during the Civil War,

Ulysses S. Grant, born Hiram Ulysses Grant (April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885), was an American general and the eighteenth President of the United States (1869–1877). He achieved international fame as the leading Union general in the American Civil War.

Grant first reached national prominence by taking Forts Henry and Donelson in 1862 in the first Union victories of the war. The following year, his celebrated campaign ending in the surrender of Vicksburg secured Union control of the Mississippi and—with the simultaneous Union victory at Gettysburg—turned the tide of the war in the North's favor. Named commanding general of the Federal armies in 1864, he implemented a coordinated strategy of simultaneous attacks aimed at destroying the South's ability to carry on the war. In 1865, after conducting a costly war of attrition in the East, he accepted the surrender of his Confederate opponent Robert E. Lee at Appomattox Court House. Grant has been described by J.F.C. Fuller as "the greatest general of his age and one of the greatest strategists of any age." His Vicksburg Campaign in particular has been scrutinized by military specialists around the world.

Syl Johnson (born 1936), blues and soul singer,

Syl Johnson (born July 1, 1936) is an American blues and soul singer and music producer.

Born Sylvester Thompson in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Johnson sang and played with blues artists Magic Sam, Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells and Howlin' Wolf in the 1950s, before recording with Jimmy Reed for Vee-Jay in 1959. He made his solo debut that same year with Federal, a subsidiary of King Records of Cincinnati, backed by Freddie King on guitar.

He then began recording for Twinight Records of Chicago in the mid 1960s. Beginning with his first hit, Come On Sock It to Me in 1967, Johnson dominated the label as both a hitmaker and producer. His song Different Strokes, also from 1967, featured recently on the Ultimate Breaks and Beats breakbeat compilation.

Like other black songwriters of the period, several of his records at this time explored themes of African-American identity and social problems in songs including Is It Because I'm Black, which reached Number 11 in the R&B charts in 1969.

In 1971, Willie Mitchell brought Johnson to Hi Records, for whom he recorded three albums and a number of singles. Produced in Memphis with the Hi house band, these yielded music of power and enduring value, including the hits We Did It, Back for a Taste of Your Love and Take Me to the River, his biggest success, reaching Number 7 on the R&B charts in 1975. However, at Hi Johnson was always to some extent in Al Green's shadow commercially, if not artistically.

King Records logo from 78rpm record sleeve

After the Hi years ended, Johnson produced two LPs for his own Shama label, the latter of which (Ms. Fine Brown Frame, 1982) was picked up for distribution by Boardwalk Records and produced Johnson's last hit record, the title cut.

Around the mid-1980s, Johnson started a fast-food fish restaurant business, and became semi-retired from performing, only making occasional appearances at blues club gigs.

In 1992, Johnson found out that his classic song "Different Strokes" had been sampled by number of rappers including Wu-Tang Clan, Kool G Rap, Hammer, and the Geto Boys. Stimulated by this fact, he decided to make a come back in the music business. In 1994, he released the album Back in the Game on Delmark Records. The album featured the Hi rhythm section and his youngest daughter Syleena Johnson.

Blues guitarist and singer Jimmy Johnson, and bassist Mack Thompson are his brothers.

Junior Kimbrough (1930-1998), blues musician,

Junior Kimbrough (July 28, 1930 — January 17, 1998) was a prominent bluesman from Mississippi.

Born David Kimbrough in Hudsonville, Mississippi, Kimbrough lived in the North Mississippi Hill Country around Holly Springs. He recorded for the Fat Possum Records label. He was a long-time associate of labelmate R. L. Burnside, and the Burnside and Kimbrough families often collaborated on musical projects. This relationship continues today. Burnside called Kimbrough "the beginning and end of all music." This is written on Kimbrough's tombstone outside his family's church, the Kimbrough Family Church, in Holly Springs.

Fat Possum Logo

Beginning around 1992, Kimbrough operated a juke joint known as "Junior's Place" in Chulahoma, Mississippi, which attracted visitors from around the world, including members of U2 and The Rolling Stones. Kimbrough's sons, musicians Kinney and David Malone Kimbrough (two of Kimbrough's rumored to be twenty-eight children), kept it open following his death, until it burned to the ground on April 6, 2000.

Junior Kimbrough died in 1998 following a stroke, at the age of 67.

Kimbrough began playing guitar in his youth, and counted Lightnin' Hopkins as an early influence. In the late 1950s Kimbrough began playing in his own style, which made use of mid-tempo rhythms and a steady drone he played with his thumb on the bass strings of his guitar. His music is characterized by the tricky syncopations between his droning bass strings and his mid-range melodies. His soloing style has been described as modal and features langorous runs in the mid and upper register. The result is complex and funky, described by music critic Robert Palmer as "hypnotic."

Kimbrough's music defies easy categorization. In solo and ensemble settings it is often polyrhythmic, which links it explicitly to the music of Africa. Fellow North Mississippi bluesman and former Kimbrough bassist Eric Deaton has suggested similarities between Junior Kimbrough's music and Malian bluesman Ali Farka Toure's.

Jeremy LeSueur (born 1980), University of Michigan American football defensive back,

Jeremy LeSueur (born October 5, 1980) is an American football defensive back who currently plays in the Arena Football League for the Philadelphia Soul.

Shepard Smith (born 1964), Fox News Channel anchor born in Holly Springs,

Shepard Smith (born David Shepard Smith, Jr. on January 14, 1964) is an American TV news anchor. He is host of The Fox Report with Shepard Smith and Studio B weekdays on the Fox News Channel. In addition, he anchors the 5:00 p.m. ET weekday news update on Fox News Radio, also titled the Fox Report.

Smith was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi, the son of Dora Ellen (née Anderson) and David Shepard Smith, Sr. Smith attended Marshall Academy, a K–12 private school in Holly Springs, Mississippi. Smith went on to attend the University of Mississippi. He majored in journalism, but left a few credits shy of graduation requirements. He frequently returns to the university during college football season and delivered the university's annual commencement address on May 10, 2008.

Smith has declined to answer questions about his private life, having told Playboy, "I don't talk about those things. I won't tell you what church I go to or whether I go".

James F. Trotter (1802-1866), judge and U.S. Senator who resided in Holly Springs until his death,

James Fisher Trotter (November 5, 1802 – March 9, 1866) was a United States Senator from Mississippi.

Born in Brunswick County, Virginia, he moved to eastern Tennessee, attended private schools, and studied law. He was admitted to the bar in 1820 and commenced practice in Hamilton, Mississippi in 1823. From 1827 to 1829 he was a member of the Mississippi House of Representatives and a member of the Mississippi Senate from 1829 to 1833. In 1833 he was judge of the circuit court of Mississippi; he was later appointed as a Democrat to the U.S. Senate to fill the vacancy caused by the resignation of John Black and served from January 22 to July 10, 1838, when he resigned.

From 1839 to 1842, Trotter was judge of the Mississippi Supreme Court; he resigned in 1842 and moved to Holly Springs, where he resumed the practice of law in 1840. He was vice chancellor of the northern district of Mississippi from 1855 to 1857, and was professor of law at the University of Mississippi from 1860 to 1862. He was appointed circuit judge in 1866 and served until his death that year in Holly Springs. Interment was in Hill Crest Cemetery

Absolom M. West (1818-1894), planter, politician, Civil War general and labor organizer, resided in Holly Springs after the American Civil War until his death,

Absolom Madden West (1818 – September 30, 1894) was a Southern politician, soldier, railroad president and labor organizer.

Absolom M. West was born in Alabama, where his father Anderson West was a county sheriff. His family obtained Federal land grants in Mississippi and moved to Holmes County, Mississippi, in 1837, where he became a plantation owner. He won election to the State Senate of that state as a Whig in 1847. In 1853 he became an officer of the newly formed Mississippi Central Railroad.

Although initially an opponent of secession, when the American Civil War broke out West became a brigadier general in the Mississippi State Militia. He raised a regiment, and later assumed various administrative offices for the state. Sometimes simultaneously, he served as quartermaster-general, paymaster-general, and commissary-general. At his direction, the legislature established a commission consisting of one lawyer and two businessmen to examine and audit the books and papers of his several offices. At the end of the Civil War, West was the only officer of the state to make a final accounting. After 1864, West also served as president of the Mississippi Central Railroad, which by that time had been mostly destroyed by the contending armies. After the war, the railroad was sold to the Illinois Central, and West was returned to the State Senate.

Soon thereafter, he was elected to the Federal House of Representatives although he, along with the rest of the unreconstructed Mississippi delegation, was not permitted to be seated. In the years that followed, West established a branch of the National Labor Union, and served as a Democratic elector for President in the election of 1876

Re-elected to the State Senate, he soon became disenchanted with the Democrats, and joined the Greenback party. For that party, West was a candidate for Vice President on the ticket of Benjamin Franklin Butler in 1884.

He died at Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1894

Mel and Tim

Mel and Tim (Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson), soul musicians from Holly Springs who recorded at Stax Records

Mel and Tim were an American soul music duo active in the 1960s and early 1970s, and best known for the hit, "Backfield in Motion". They are also well known for: "Hope, life's goal"

Mel Hardin and Tim McPherson were cousins from Holly Springs, Mississippi, who traveled to Chicago where they were discovered by Gene Chandler. Mel's mom and Tim's aunt, Yolanda Hardin, helped the duo with their publicity, as she was once a famous singer herself. She signed them to her Bamboo record label, and they recorded their own song, "Backfield in Motion". It was immediately successful, reaching # 3 on the R&B chart and # 10 in the pop equivalent in 1969. Their follow-up song was "Good Guys Only Win in the Movies", which was also the name of their first album.

Hardin and McPherson subsequently moved to the Stax label, where they recorded a second Top Five R&B hit with the ballad "Starting All Over Again". This was also the title track of their second album in 1972, recorded in Muscle Shoals and produced by Phillip Mitchell. They performed at the Wattstax charity concert that year, but later recordings could not repeat their earlier successes.

By 1838 the town consisted of 14 law offices, 6 doctor offices, 2 banks, 9 dry good stores, 5 grocery stores, 5 churches, 3 hotels, and several private schools. The first settlers were large slave owners from Virginia and the Carolinas. The town grew quickly with a population of 1117 in 1840 to over 5000 in 1860.

Holly Springs was used as a storage center for military supplies for Union General Ulysses S. Grant until attacked by Confederate General Earl Van Dorn in 1862. Over $4,000,000.00 in supplies was lost by the Union during this attack.

During the Civil War, the town suffered 61 raids, the courthouse was burn in 1864 during the Civil War, and had hardly recovered when it was struck by the yellow fever epidemic in 1878. Assuming they were immune due to a previous outbreak, Holly Springs refused the recommended quarantine procedures and 2,000 people died. Among the high profile people that also died during this epidemic were: A.W. Goodrich, retired colonel and mayor of Holly Springs; Harvey W. Walter and his three sons; W.J.L. Holland, Holly Springs Reporter Editor; Kinloch Falconer, newly elected Secretary of State.

Holly Springs was a planned community

By Lois Swanee, Museum Curator
The South Reporter, 16 Apr 1998

In 1837 Holly Springs was a boom town. Records show that we were incorporated then, we had ten schools, forty lawyers, thirty-six doctors where two years before there had been wilderness. Marshall County had begun in 1836.

Holly Springs was a planned community. Two of the Randolphs, William and Jack and other entrepreneurs, Samuel McCorkle, one of the Alexanders, were all first settlers. The Randolphs came originally from Virginia. They bought the land where Holly Springs is from the Chickasaws. On one survey map William Randolph's cabin was marked on highway #7 just south of town where that little stream runs by Mrs. High's property. The entrepreneurs laid out the plans for Holly Springs and gave the land for the square, the cemetery, and the public schools. Then they would build houses and set up plantations for second and third sons of Virginians and Carolinians because of the progenitor factor which was an inherited habit of giving everything to the oldest son. The second son usually went into the ministry and the third son went into the military. So Holly Springs was founded for these sons. Other towns were planned communities too. We weren't the only one. The first mayor was named Atlas Dargan.

The Randolphs had seen the Indians growing cotton and knew that he could grow great cotton.

Because of this, in the years preceding the Civil War, Marshall County produced more cotton than other place in the world per capita. Cotton was King. Our society was an agrarian society and cotton made us special.

The 1850s were the opulent period for Holly Springs and most of the grand houses were built at this time. Hamilton Place, Linden Terrace, Fleur deLys, and other big houses now gone were built earlier. There were many houses not so large and the town was developing into a showplace of a town. It was boom again in Holly Springs. Holly Springs was considered the unofficial capitol of north Mississippi. We had an eminent bar of lawyers. Holly Springs was the epitome of culture and refinement. Cultured folks from near and far sent their sons and daughters here to be educated. College Avenue was so named because there were at least six schools facing it. Then there were military schools on each end of town. Later on, Rust College was built in 1866 during Reconstruction as the second school for freedmen. In 1904, Bishop Cottrell, an ex-slave built Mississippi Industrial college.

In 1861 the War between the States erupted and because of our heritage, we sent to war ten Confederates generals: Samuel Benton, James Chalmers, Daniel Govan, W. S. Featherston, Elkanah Greer, John Frazier, A. J. Vaughn, Christopher Mott, Claudius Sears, Edward Carey Walthall, and then there was Ben Williams who was a general in the Mexican War. There was also a number of adjutant generals: A. B. Bradford, Howard Falconer, Kinloch Falconer, West, Ford, Williamson, and others. James Autry was receiving his general's commission when he was killed in the Battle of Atlanta. His father was Micajah Autry who was killed in the battle of the Alamo in 1835.

General U. S. Grant chose Holly Springs as his headquarters and his family to live because it was on the railroad in the way to Vicksburg down thru the middle of the state. In all, 64,000 northern troops were stationed in Marshall County. Because of this, the town suffered as many as 62 raids. All the men were gone to war and one able bodied man who was old stayed here as chief of police to guard the women and children. The women were all loyal Confederates except one who married a Yankee officer and many of them were spies for the Confederates would have had a raid. On one such occasion, General Earl Van Dorn came to town at 3 o'clock in the morning on December 20, 1862, and destroyed millions of dollars worth of Federal supplies after supplying his ragged forces with clothing, food, guns, and ammunition. Then, after one day's work they blew up the rest with dynamite. The only thing destroyed for us during the Civil War was whatever had "Yankee" in it by General Van Dorn. The rest of Holly Springs was saved because General Van Dorn put guards around General Grant's living quarters (Walter Place) to guard his wife and children during the raid. Grant destroyed everything in his path until he got to the town of Port Gibson which was Van Dorn's hometown. To return the war favor, Grant said, "Don't burn this town. It is too beautiful to burn".

The troops from here joined as soon as war broke out. Most of them were young and wanting to defend their southland. It was thought that all the war would take place in northern Virginia and be over in 90 days. They were in every terrible battle from First Manassas to the very end at Appomatic and very few came home, it was a sad time.

Reconstruction was worse than the 62 raids on the town. Holly Springs, Vicksburg and Jackson were the only three towns in the U.S.A. to be federally occupied in that century and we were occupied by the northern army for ten years. It was hard on blacks and whites, everybody suffered. Carpet-baggers ruled the day. General Douglas McArthur's father was the last commandant and Douglas was almost born here. Reconstruction finally came to an end and General McArthur moved to Little Rock and Douglas was born at the base there.

When all of these catastrophes were over and we began to get back on our feet, a terrible scourge of yellow fever hit the town in 1878, hundreds died and even more were ill but lived through it. Because of all the strive and troublesome times, after yellow fever many food people moved away saying it was too hard to make a living here.

Before the epidemic, we were trying to make a comeback. A street car line was built to go from the depot to the square and back in a big oval. Every now and then the tracks were dug up and people wonder what that was.

Former editor Mickle relates history of Holly Springs
By John Mickle
The South Reporter, November 25, 1965

Spring Street was the first main street of Holly Springs. The city was founded in 1836 by William S. Randolph and descendants of early business men are still in business around the square which was the early pulsing heart of the city.

Jesse P. Norfleet, father of Frank and Cham Norfleet of Memphis, had a cabinet shop on the site of the Baptist Church. Eli Walker, father of the late R. E. Walker, worked for him and his grandson, Walker McDonald, is now with the Lucas Furniture Company. Later Mr. Norfleet entered the undertaking business with Israel Sailor under the firm name of Norfleet & Sailor.

Hiram A. McCrosky had a shoe store on Main Street and his grandson, Harvey McCrosky, is doing business here under the firm name of Anderson and McCrosky.

Manufacturing in the firm of Woodrift’s Gun Shop was carried on and the shop stood on the site of the home of Frank Stowjowki and Mrs. Una Thompson. It fronted on Main Street and his residence still stands as a part of Mrs. Grier’s home.

Woodruff literally made a rifle, carving the butt and boring the barrel, doubtless like those used by the embattled farmers on Concord Bridge who “fired the shot heard around the world”.

Main Street faded out with the opening of the square in 1836. The town snapped into prosperity at once.

My grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Dabney Minor, moved here from Spottsylvania County, Virginia in 1836 but located on the Woodlaw Plantation in the Old Salem neighborhood.

Writing to a cousin in Virginia, my grandfather said Holly Springs was teeming with landbuyers and lots were going fast at good prices.

This, when the town was but a few months old, an Episcopal missionary writing in the early records of the Christ Church about four years later estimated that the population was between three and four thousand – doubtless somewhat overestimated.

My grandfather told me the land was wonderfully rich and beautiful, timbered with oak, hickory and chestnut, but no pine trees near Holly Springs. The primeval forest resembled an English park for there was no underbrush as it had been kept down by the Indians who burned the grass annually. There was a wealth of wild flowers and all streams were filled with game fish. The late Capt. John McGowan insisted that salmon used to run the streams annually.

This was the empire that was to support the “City of Flowers” and enable its citizenry to make history, local and national. And the “Square” which I make the subject of my story today, was the pulsing heart of the place. On and around it was to surge a life that was brilliant, intensely interesting and never dull, though business might be.

The people were most wholly descendants of ancestors from the British Isles, whether they came from the north or south. They came principally from the South Atlantic States.

The hub of the Square, the courthouse, was originally a frame building about the size of the present one before it was remodeled in 1926. It was burned during the War by the Yankees but not by authority.

A Federal command resting here put some of its own men, who were prisoners temporarily for some reason, in the courthouse for safe keeping and these climbed upon and fired the clock tower. The Colonel was furious about it and “damned” them thoroughly. Fortunately the public records were saved.

The courthouse was built in 1870, and remodeled into the present building in 1926. Fireproof walls protect the public records.

Three lines of business are now carried on in the stores in which they started. There was a drug store in the Dancy Store Building before the War. Vincent opened the barber shop about 1870 on the north side of the Square. E. A. Shaw succeeded him and gave many middleaged native sons their first shave. The barber shop of those days served as a club and always had a copy of the Police Gazette. Ladies, in passing, always averted their heads that they might not see men in their shirt sleeves, believe it or not.

Whittington opened a meat market where Con Bonds still conducts one. Prior to that, meat markets were operated in the municipal markethouse on the site of the powerhouse. In the rear of the markethouse was the calaboose for city prisoners.

One of the locations of the postoffice before the War was in part of the South Reporter building and the slit in the door is still there. Another, and perhaps earlier location, is owned by C. N. Dean near the city hall. It has boxed the compass since then, coming finally to anchor in the present splendid government building.

During the War of the Sixties, a most unique post office was maintained on the site of the present postoffice.

Neither Confederate nor Federal government kept a postoffice here during the War. The Federals did not occupy the place, but sent raids so frequently from Memphis that the Confederates did not attempt it.

Prior to the War, Bob Simpson kept a store that fronted Memphis Street and was close to the sidewalks on front and side. Old timers still call it “Simpson’s Corner.” The store was vacant during the War and two cracker boxes were placed on it.

In one, soldiers dodging in here on furlough, left letters in one from the boys on the front. People would look them over and take their letters. Homefolks placed their letters in the other box and soldiers returning to their commands would take them and deliver them. The Federals never disturbed the “postoffice”.

In my youth there was only one railroad and, I think two mails a day, the one from the north, and, by far, the largest, arriving in the mid afternoon. The postoffice was small and it took more than an hour to open the mail.

At that hour, the postoffice became the exchange and general meeting place for the town and several hundred people would gather. This was not repeated on Sunday for many people did not go for their mail on Sundays.

My earliest recollection of the Square is connected with two incidents, the first, I am convinced, was the morning after the Van Dorn raid in the War, though I was scarcely three years old. I was in the Kelso Bakery Store, used as a sutler’s shop, and it had been looted. Someone took a handful of greenback money from a box and threw it back and remarked, “That is their money”.

The other incident was about the close of the War. Not all Confederate troops, regular or bushwhackers, were recruited from “the flower of chivalry”. There were some precious cutthroats among them. Both sides tolerated bushwhackers but true soldiers held them in contempt and hung the enemies wherever captured.

A band of robbers invaded the town and murdered poor old Mr. Nelson. When I saw them after they were riding back and forth before what is now Stafford’s Café on the southwest corner of the square. I heard someone say the shoemaker there had whiskey and had barricaded himself in.

After the War, Christmas Eve celebration came to my mind. The chief feature was the pulling of empty tar barrels, end on end, as high as could be reached and touching them off – they made a fine bonfire. Few fireworks were used then but, in later years, there were pitched battles with Roman candles on the Square – very pretty, but very dangerous.

Until the Magnolia Hotel was built, the accommodations were served by taverns and “houses”. The most pretentious extended from Levy’s Corner to, and including, Frank Stowjowski’s and was a frame building, as were most of the buildings on the Square.

The Thomas House and the Bracken Houses faced each other on West College Avenue. Bracken House stood on the site of the Holly Springs Marble Works. McClung, the noted duelist who had killed a number of men, was a guest there once and, as was his custom, he had to have a light in his room all night and walked the floor much of the night.

The Magnolia Hotel occupied all the northwest block except the First State Bank of North Mississippi, served the public for many years before the War. Banks issued their own money in those days, as did states, and values varied from par down.

Col. F. A. Lucas was president of the Bank and later Judge Mills, uncle of Dave McDowell, came here and was in charge. He lived in a beautiful suburban home where M. I. College is now located.

Two newspapers were published here when the War broke out – the Southern Herald by Judge Thomas A. Falconer and another of which Sam Benton was editor. Benton’s wife was a niece of Judge Mills and he was at Col. Benton’s side when he fell at the head of the regiment.

I cannot give the names of all the business houses prior to the 50s but, in dry goods, there were John Hull under the Masonic Hall, Ed and Sam Frank on Rather’s Corner, John C. Walker near Kelso’s Bakery; John Bradley at Jim Warren’s corner, but in another building – I. C. Levy came in 1858 and was in the southwest block.

Book and music stores were Heber Craft’s in Hans Wittjen’s and Louds.

I can’t learn the names of the druggist though there was one at Dancy’s Corner. Dr. Litchfields Drug Store was at Davis Mize & Co.’s corner and Dr. P. A. Willis at Shumaker’s corner. E. H. Mitchell kept a confectionary in Moberley’s shop and served ice cream in summer.

Jack Holland and Jim House kept the best livery stable that Holly Springs ever knew.

Wet as the town was, there was only one saloon, a ten year monopoly having been granted John Bradley & Co. for building and operating the Magnolia Hotel. Sixty drinks in a gallon, good whiskey at fifty cents a gallon, lots of money – just figure it out for yourself.

Business went on during the war.


Athenia (formerly known as Oakleigh or West Home or Clapp-Fant House) (1858) Salem Ave - This home was built by Judge Jeremiah W. Clapp in 1858 after General A. B. Bradford's home burned at this location. It is a Georgian Colonial built of slave-made brick. Judge Clapp escaped capture during a Northern raid by hiding in the hollow of the Corinithian columns supporting the veranda roof. Judge Clapp sold it to James J. House for $15,000, Book 26, 391. House then sold Oakleigh in 1870 to Gen. A.M. West, an executive with the MS Central Railroad and a Brigadier General in the MS State Army. At one time, Judge Alexander Mosby Clayton, a federal judge and later a district Judge of the Confederacy, also lived here. The Dancy family also lived in this home and they sold it to the Fant family in 1927. While the Fants lived in the home it was named Oakleigh. It is currently owned by Ben Martin who changed the name of the home to Athenia in honor of his family's home, Athenia, that was never completed due to the Civil War. More history [Bobby Mitchell provided many of the facts above as well as articles appearing in The South Reporter; photos courtesy of: American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2. Photo entitled West Home copied from Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol II, Franklin L. Riley, Editor, published in Oxford, MS, 1903. Submitted by Cheryl Berthelsen.

The West Home

Excerpt from "Some Historic Homes of Mississippi" By Mrs. N. D. Deupree.
Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Edited by Franklin L. Riley, Secretary;
Vol. VII., Oxford, Mississippi: Printed for the Society; 1903


Among the historic homes of Mississippi none are more beautiful than the West home in Holly Springs. It is an old colonial mansion, set far back in a grove of stately oaks, many of them luxuriantly draped in ivy. The house was built in 1842 by Judge J. W. Clapp, who superintended the construction so carefully that it is said he saw every brick and piece of timber that went into the structure. If a workman ever succeeded in slyly putting an imperfect brick or piece of timber in, he only made double work for himself, for he surely had to take it out. The outer walls are two and a half feet thick, and between the outside and inside layers of brick there is a layer of charcoal which effectually excludes dampness. The plastering, the same put on when the house was built, has scarcely a crack, and is white and polished as marble. The hall is unusually spacious and opens into rooms of almost lordly dimensions. The double parlors and library are each twenty feet square, with ceilings eighteen feet high. On each side of the folding doors between the parlors, there are fluted columns reaching from floor to ceiling. The walls are ornamented with rich cornices done in fleur-de-lis with borders of Greek key-work; the mantels are of marble exquisitely carved in grapes and leaves. The dining-room at the end of the hall is oval in shape, thirty feet long, lighted by four long windows which open on the gardens and lawn. This magnificent antebellum home, with its spacious dining-room, broad halls, double parlors, stately library and handsome furnishings, surrounded by grounds perfected by years of cultivation, was an ideal place for the dispensing and enjoyment of genuine Southern hospitality; and it is much to be regretted that we cannot give the details of at least one of the distinguished gatherings that so often graced the home in the golden age of Mississippi. A broad curving stairway, adorned with statuary in niches placed at intervals, leads to the second story hall of the same dimensions as the one on the first floor. There are four large bedrooms on this floor, each with a dressing-room and bathroom attached. A wide veranda extends around three sides of the building; across the front it is covered, the roof supported by Corinthian columns with Medieval capitals. On the east are extensive grounds filled with shrubbery and carpeted with grass; on the west, is the garden of roses.

Judge Clapp was elected a member of the Confederate Congress, and when war was declared a price was put upon his head. He was a small man, and had the zeal which usually belong to small statures. Twice, when on short visits home, his residence was raided by the Federals in search of him. Once he made his escape from the back of the house, and through the orchard while his son held the enemy at the front regaling them with buttermilk. The next time the house was surrounded before the family were aware of the invasion; but the judge, rich in resources, climbed to the attic and crept out along the eaves of the porch and hid in the capital of one of the massive Corinthian pillars which support the roof. So much for being small and agile.

The house was occupied by General Smith of the Union army at the time General Van Dorn made his famous raid into Holly Springs in 1862. [An account of this raid may be found in Vol. IV. of the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society.] Out of the house the Yankees came tumbling, rushing through the yard, down the lane, over the orchard fence, on into the woods they went half clad, as it was just daybreak.

After the war, Judge Clapp moved to Memphis and the beautiful mansion became the home of General A. M. West, one of the noblest sons of the old State. General West spent his life in planning for the upbuilding of the State. In politics he was a Whig; in 1847 he was elected by an unprecedented majority to the State Legislature, where he served for ten years. He was twice elected Senator from a Democratic district. When Mississippi seceded, A. M. West went with her and was one of the first to organize a brigade; he was commissary, quartermaster and paymaster of the Confederate army, with the rank of major-general. He was brigadier general of the Mississippi troops at the outbreak of the war. He was nominated for governor by the Whigs at the time the Democrats nominated and elected Charles Clark. In 1864, General West was elected president of the Mississippi Central railroad. This road was used alternately by Federals and Confederates during the war, and at its close the roadbed was a wreck, the stock unfit for use, the company without money or credit. However, through the tireless energy of the president, the road was soon rebuilt, newly equipped and ready for work. This is looked upon as the crowning work of General West's life. Without his solicitation and while making these almost herculean efforts for the restoration of the railroad, the people elected him to the United States Senate, but he and his colleagues were refused seats by the reconstruction party. He was twice nominated for vice-president of the United States.


Additional historical notes: Plantation home of Henry Alexander Jones, Marshall County, MS. Original part built by William Lumpkin of Athens, Georgia, in 1837 of hand hewn oak logs. With later additions, there were seven bedrooms, including four upstairs.

Athenia Drawings

Old Mills of Marshall County

Lumpkins Mill Drawing

Old Mills of Marshall County

The South Reporter, 16 Apr 1998
By Hugh Henry Rather

When I was a young boy and later in my teens I heard much from my father, which my brother John Edward also heard, about the old water powered mills of Marshall County and particularly about Lumpkin's Mill that was built by our ancestor, great-great-great-uncle William Blanton Lumpkins, who came from Athens, Ga. In 1836 to settle in the area six miles south of Holly Springs.

Lumpkin's Mill was built in 1840 after W.B. Lumpkin had bought 4,000 acres of land from a Chickasaw Indian Chief. The mill was built just north of where Spring Lake is and where Wall Doxey State Park is now situated.

My father showed me the exact location of where the mill was before being burned by the Yankees in 1862. It was one of the largest mills in north Mississippi and was four stories high.

The first story walls were built of native brown sandstone, the upper floors of oak timber structure, cypress clapboards and roof shingles, and heart short leaf pine flooring.

It had a hand-cranked elevator with pulleys to raise and lower the cab to all floors that were used to store cotton bales.

An earth dam was built one fourth of a mile north of the mill to hold a large lake fed by dozens of springs coming out of the hills around the lake.

A long elevated flume from the lake carried water from the lake carried water from the lake to the top of the large wood waterwheel, which was an overshot wheel to supply power for machinery that could grind corn into meal, wheat into flour, and other machinery that could gin cotton, and saw logs into lumber.

W.B. Lumpkin built a home on a hill just west and above the mill for himself and his family.

North Mississippi became the promised land in the 1830s for many people who lived in the states of Georgia, Tennessee, the Carolinas and Virginia after the United States government signed the Treaty of Pontotoc with the Chickasaw Indians in 1832 in which the Indians agreed to sell their land in this area to settlers coming from surrounding states. The Indians were to go to the Oklahoma Territory and live on land granted by the U.S. government.

Settlers came in droves to north Mississippi during the 1830s and 40s to buy land for their homes, crops, livestock, etc. The first industry was carried on by the many water powered mills built to grind corn into meal, wheat into flour, and machinery to gin cotton and saw logs into lumber.

Marshall County was blessed to have three rivers and several creeks where mills could be built to obtain water power.

There were three types of mills which had wheels: 1. the overshot wheel where water went over the top; 2. the undershot wheel where water went under the wheel; 3. a later type was the turbine usually made of metal that turned in a horizontal plane.

I have obtained much information from people, books, magazines, and old record books at the Marshall County Courthouse which named many of the county's mills along with the roads close to the mills.

The Board of Police wrote on record books written in 1840s, 50s and 60s. The five Board of Police members were not law enforcement officials, but had the same duties as present day supervisors have.

The Board built bridges but they did not hire people to repair the roads. That job was left to the owners with land along a stretch of road to do.

The Police did appoint overseers to be in charge to see that the work was done correctly. I have found the names of 25 water mills in Marshall County. There are likely to be more.

William B. Lumpkin had come to this county in 1836 and 1837. His father William came from Athens, Ga., along with his son, John Wesley Lumpkin, and his wife Anna, and also the daughter of William Lumpkin, Louisiana Lumpkin Jones and her children, Emma Chasteleete Jones and Henry Alexander Jones, who was my great-grandfather.

William Lumpkin bought land from a Chickasaw Indian Chief and built a large, rambling home with part of it being two stories of squared up logs and the home was named Athenia, after Athens, Ga.

Later, the outside of this home was covered with clapboard and the interior walls and ceilings were covered with plaster on oak lathes.

All seven of these people, including William's wife Elizabeth, lived here, which was a happy home for them, with a barn, smoke house, stable, and other outside facilities and fenced in areas for horses, cows, mules, chickens, hogs, and a large vegetable garden and a fruit tree orchard.

When my great-grandfather, Henry A. Jones reached the age of 17, he worked for his uncle, W.B. Lumpkin at Lumpkin Mill, which was three and a half miles from Athenia. During the fall months, the mill was very busy grinding corn into meal and ginning cotton.

In early November, 1847, Henry Jones had worked later than usual at the mill, and it was getting dark when he left on his horse, headed for Athenia. Henry had gone about a mile and a half and the road was now through an area with large trees, where he heard a blood-curdling sound that was like a baby crying among the trees.

He well knew that it was no baby but a grown panther on the way to attack him. He put the spurs to the horse to run faster, because he had heard that a panther could run faster than a horse.

The chase became faster and in order to stop the cougar, he threw off his hat so that the big cat would stop to tear up the hat. After the creature continued the chase. He had a small sack of cornmeal, tied to the saddle, which he pushed off to delay the panther again.

After a while, he three off a sack of newly ginned cotton that had been meant for his mother to pad a quilt with.

That did not stop the beast long enough, but he was getting close to home, and as a last resort, he three off his coat just as his horse came into the yard of Athenia.

As luck would have it, his uncle John Wesley Lumpkin was just coming from hunting with his gun, which he used to shoot and killed the cougar.

I have listed 25 mills below in Marshall County with the river or creek each were standing, starting from north to south.

The first is Wolf River with Davis Mill, Clear Creek had Bradley Mill and Clear Creek Mill. Coldwater River had Polk's Mill, Parham's Mill, Tompkins' Mill, Quinn's Mill, Jackson's Mill, and Lockhart's Mill. Red Banks Creek had Morris Mill, Chewalla Creek had Collins' Mill, Carnathan's Mill, and McNiell's Mill. Pigeon Roost Creek had Carlock's Mill and Hunt's Mill. Little Coldwater had Butler's Mill. Lumpkin Pond Springs overflow had Lumpkin's Mill and Ford's Mill from Ford's Pond. The name of the lake that is now Spring Lake in Wall Doxey State Park. Cuffawa Creek had Bradley's Mill. Blackwater Creek had Blackwater Mill. Tippah River had Callahan's Mill, Kibbler's Mill and Tippah Mill. There were probably more mills I hope to find later.

There were five of these mills that had small battles of skirmishes around them during the Civil War. These mills were Davis Mill, Quinns Mill, Jackson's Mill, Lockhart's Mill and Lumpkins Mill, which was burned by the Yankees, including 100 bales of cotton stored within.

The Union troops also burned William B. Lumpkin's home and stole all his cows, horses, chickens, hogs, turkeys and killed his dogs. The family was left with food and shelter.

Where was Henry Jones when all of these disasters were happening? Henry Jones was riding a horse in Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest's cavalry, which was giving the old grinch Gen. Sherman fits, which was delaying his march to Atlanta.

After the war ended, Henry Jones went back to Athenia and he and his wife Elizabeth Catherine Dunlap Jones reared a family of four daughters and two sons at the Athenia Farm. Lumpkins Mill was never rebuilt after the war.

Lumpkin's Mills

The Reporter, March 10, 1871

It is rumored that a party of northern or western capitalists are negotiating, through Messrs. Donoho, Joy & Co., of Memphis, for the purchase of this well known millsite, near this place; and also 3000 acreas of valuable lands in connection therewith, all belonging to Col. Wm. Lumpkin. We will be glad to learn that Col. L. has concluded the contract; it will be advantageous to him, but it will be vastly more advantageous to our county. We know of no more favorable site for any kind of manufactures. The water power is great and easily manageable. The location is only six miles south of Holly Springs, on the railroad; and the surrounding lands are fertile, high and healthy. It is a most eligible location for a manufacturing town. A cotton or woolen factory, paper mill, corn and wheat mills, and other manufactures, might be most profitably established there. And of course such improvements would add to the value of all neighboring lands.

The Reporter, Jan 9, 1879

The mill and gin on the Lumpkin Place, seven miles south of Holly Springs, took fire and burned to the ground on January 2, 1879. It contained thirteen bales of cotton and one thousand pounds of cotton seed. The mill was worth $1,000 and was uninsured. The fire was accidental.

Best Family Cabin

Red Banks, Marshall County, MS
Built ca 1835

Submitted by Jan Roderick. Please contact Jan for permission prior to using these photos.

Buried in unmarked graves at the Tallaloosa Cemetery.

Abijah Best, b. ca 1801, d. after 1870
Judie Mason Best, b. ca 1800, d. unknown (Wife of Abijah)
Euphemia Dundis Best, b. Sept. 11, 1846, d. 3-12-1861 (d/o Abijah and Judie)

Martha Stephens Best & Berry Ozro Best

Bonner Home/Cedarhurst (Sherwood Bonner House) (1858) Salem Ave. – Built by Dr. Charles Bonner, whose oldest daughter, Sherwood (1849-1883), was born here. She was a writer of Southern dialect stories. General Ord occupied the home during the Civil War. The Hon. W.A. Belk, statesman, educator and judge purchased the home in 1903 from the Bonners. More history [Photo courtesy of: Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol II, Franklin L. Riley, Editor; published in Oxford, MS, 1903. Submitted by Cheryl Berthelsen.; Photos courtesy of the American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2]

Photo 1

The Bonner Home

Excerpt from "Some Historic Homes of Mississippi" By Mrs. N. D. Deupree.
Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Edited by Franklin L. Riley, Secretary;
Vol. VII., Oxford, Mississippi: Printed for the Society; 1903

This home on Salem street, in the historic little city of Holly Springs, was built in 1858 by Dr. Charles Bonner, a native of Ireland, who in the "Flush Times" came to Mississippi, and finding it a goodly land, cast in his lot with the cultured and refined people that he found had preceded him to this land of promise. Among the lovely daughters of the sunny clime there was one fairer than all the rest to the young doctor from across the seas, and to her he offered his heart's best affection and won her love and hand in marriage. Having secured the bird, he must needs furnish the cage. The home is a commodious brick mansion built in Gothic style, with windows opening to the floor, a wide portico in front, the roof supported by ten slender iron pillars, with handsome fret-work also of iron joining the pillars. The balcony has the same design of fret-work in the balustrade that surrounds it. One enters a wide reception hall; on the left is the library peopled with books, bright with pictures, luxurious with soft-toned rugs and richly carved furniture; a big, open, wood fire-place, tiled in pale yellow, surmounted by a hard-wood mantel, and with brass andirons, which were piled high with blazing logs whenever the frost-king overstepped the bounds of his domain. From the chimney-piece the astral lamps shed a soft radiance over a long table piled with books and papers. The library is connected with the hall by folding doors. On the right is the drawing room, also connected with the hall by folding doors. When these doors open, the whole front of the house is converted into one grand room. The family was preeminently literary, and the literateurs of the country often visited there; and when the grand drawing-room was ablaze with light that "shone o'er fair women and brave men," it was a scene of delight. From the rear hall a broad stairway leads by easy flights to the upper story; on the first landing is an arched window in two sections filled with tinted glass. The upper hall is without a partition and has a sash door opening onto a balcony in front. There are four large bedrooms on the second floor, with double windows in front and long narrow ones on the sides. In the rear yard, and remote from the dwelling, as was the custom in days gone by, are the servants' quarters, the kitchen and store-rooms. Beyond these lie the vegetable garden and orchards, which were planted by Dr. Bonner.

The house stands quite a distance from the street, and is surrounded by a spacious lawn shaded by fine old oaks, holly and cedars. A large grapevine has claimed one old monarch for its own, and after climbing to the top and falling back has then climbed up again until but little of the tree can be seen. On the west side of the lawn there is a broad driveway bordered by a row of walnut trees; on the east side is the garden devoted to flowers of every variety native to the soil and climate.

Photo 2

Into this lovely home came sons and daughters to bless and to brighten its lofty rooms and spacious grounds. First came Catherine Sherwood, who inherited her sense of humor and love of books from her father, her beauty and womanliness from her mother; the next to gladden the hearts of the parents was Ruth Martin, now Mrs. David McDowell, who lives in "The City of Flowers." The eldest daughter is best known as "Sherwood Bonner." Her life was beautiful in the charm of intelligence and sensibility that were ever about her, like a rose-tinted atmosphere heavy with the perfume of flowers. She was a brilliant conversationalist and won the admiration of all who heard her low, sweet voice. A fine linguist, she lived in the English classics with a love that made her akin to their genius. Her contributions to literature prove the excellence she might have attained had her life been longer spared. (For a more extended sketch of the life and writings of this gifted woman see Vol. II. of the Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society.) During the Civil War, Dr. Bonner had charge of the hospitals of the city and frequently gave rooms in his home for the use of convalescents, who, amid the beautiful surroundings and under the care of the lovely Mrs. Bonner, soon regained health and strength. The home was several times occupied by the Federal officers as headquarters. At one time the family was turned out of the house and it was filled with sick and wounded Federal soldiers. Raids were made not only on the dwelling, but on the larder as well. The time came when the poultry-yard was reduced to three chickens, and the farm-yard had but two little pigs scampering around. Mrs. Bonner, hoping to save these for a time of greater need, hid the chickens in the attic and the pigs in the cellar; but alas! the chickens would cackle, and the pigs would grunt, thus betraying their hiding-places, and finally paid the penalty of their noise by falling a prey to Yankee appetites.

In 1903 the home passed out of the possession of the Bonner heirs and was purchased by State Senator William A. Belk, who has given his home the pretty and appropriate name of Cedarhurst.

Box Hill

Box Hill (ca 1836) Chulahoma Ave, The Jones family lived in Box Hill for many years. Mrs. Egbert Jones was born in VA in 1868 and she married Egbert Jones, who was from Holly Springs. The front door of this home opened onto Chulahoma Ave and the back door to a 4000 acre farm. Next door to this home is another Jones home, Cottage Hill. [The South Reporter, Dec 9, 2004]

Cedar Crest on Museum's Annual Historic Tour

The South Reporter, September 17, 1992
by Lois Swanee

Cedar Crest

On September 26 the Museum will sponsor our annual historic tour of the county – this time to Red Banks and Byhalia. One of the homes we will visit will be Cedar Crest, circa 1853, which is the home of Mrs. Reeves Power and her family. Her son, Shelby Power, will be our host.

The Treaty of Dancing Rabbit with the Chickasaw Nation opened most of north Mississippi for settlement. The treaty allowed any Indian who wished to remain to claim a section of land. An Indian named Noyea was granted the property on which Cedar Crest is now situated. Captain G.C. Adams bought the land and in 1848 began construction on Cedar Crest. In 1853 the property was sold to James Wells.

Cedar Crest contains approximately 2500 square feet and was patterned after a dollhouse owned by Captain G.C. Adam's daughter. The lumber was cut on the property and air dried. The ceilings are 14 feet high. The windows and doors permit cross ventilation, which was so important in the South in those days. Handplaned boards and handmade square headed nails were used in the construction. Sills were hand hewn trees. The walls are cross braced and covered with split laths made of green lumber. The green lumber was used so the moisture would not be soaked out of the mortar mix. Doors are pegged construction. The two chimneys each provided fireplaces to heat three rooms.

The original kitchen was on the south side behind the oldest room in the house. The oldest room, which is now used for storage, was Captain Adam's original schoolroom. The original ceiling, painted with blue calcimine paint is visible in places.

During the Civil War, Cedar Crest was used at various times as a place for sick and wounded soldiers to recover. Hospitals were all but non-existent at that time. One of the soldiers who recuperated there returned after peace was declared and married his nurse, a daughter of the Wells.

When General Grant was headquartered in Holly Springs, various units were quartered in the homes around the area. Officers took over Cedar Crest while the balance of the soldiers and the Wells' family lived in the lower front yard. It was during this time that the need for cooking fuel led to the destruction of the hardwood grove in which the home was located. Considerable scavenging also took place.

The Powers acquired the house between 1873 and 1885 and it has remained in the Power family until this day.

This wonderful historic tour will be Saturday, September 26 at 9 a.m. at the Museum. Reservations must be made in advance to get your name in the picnic basket. The proceeds go to the Museum. Wear your walking boots.

Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Christ Episcopal Church (1839) Randolph St. - The Episcopal Church completed in 1857 was built on the site of the old St. Joseph Church, which was moved to the present site on College Avenue. It has hand carved woodwork in its Gothic ceiling design and carved pews. The church has a slave gallery in the form of the balcony and the bell towers is not always in use anymore. In the 1870s Holly Springs received gas before the surrounding towns and the only original gaslight fixtures in town still in use are in the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian loft and Grey Gables, which are now electrified. Originally, they could be pulled down and lit. [The South Reporter, Nov 21, 1991; photos courtesy of American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3, photo 4]


Cloverland Plantation (1848) - now demolished, was located east of Hudsonville on the Sylvestria plantation and 6 miles NE of Holly Springs, home of Robert H. & Martha Pegues Wall. The image of Cloverland was preserved by Architect Hugh H. Rather, Jr., of Holly Springs. This architectural drawing may not be reproduced without the permission of the Hugh H. Rather, Jr. family.

Crump Place

Crump Place (1837) Gholson St. – It was built by Samuel McCorkle (relative of the Rather family), who was the first banker in the county, and first land commissioner to the Indians. It is the birthplace of Edward H. "Boss" Crump, U.S. Congressman in TN and mayor of Memphis, whose mother lived in this home until her death at age 98 in 1940. Her great-uncle was Samuel McCorkle. She was born at the family plantation, The Lodge, on Old Sylvestria Road in 1842. The Randolph Holt family also lived in Crump Place after the Crumps. It is owned by the Woods. [The South Reporter, Nov 30, 2000 and Dec 2, 2004]

Depot & Hotel, The Old (see Illinois Central Railroad Depot & Hotel) (1859) Van Dorn Ave.


Dunvegan (aka Norfleet-Cochran Place) (ca 1845) corner Gholson and Craft – Built by Jesse P. Norfleet, who came to Holly Springs from Suffolk, VA, in 1838. The land was purchased Jan 3, 1845 (Deed Book L, p. 672) and later sold on Sep 28, 1861 to James Jarrell House (Book Y, 488) who sold it to Phillip Pointer, son of Dr. David Pointer in late 1865. Phillip Pointer sold the house in 1870 to John T. Brown of Waterford. Mr. Brown sold it in 1876 to Captain Sam Franck who sold it to Thomas F. Sigman. Samuel Vadah Cochran purchased it from the Sigmans on Oct 12, 1920. [Old Timer Press, June 1983].

Elk's Home, 1916 Postcard, 1916 Postcard back

1916 Post Card

1916 Postcard Back


Farewood, Maury St, is not an antebellum home nor is it old. It was copied from a Natchez antebellum home "Edgewood". It sits on the same lot as the "Hammond House" that burned in 1990, which faced Van Dorn Ave and Farewood faces Maury St. [The South Reporter]

Felicia (1836) Chulahoma Ave - built by Jack Randolph

Fennel-Hogan (1827)

Fiddler's Green (1901) Built by the C.C. Stephenson family, who lived in it for more than a century. It is now owned by the Crells. [The South Reporter, Nov 10, 2005.]

Finley-Dunlap Cottage (1840) Van Dorn Ave.

Finley Place (aka Jones-Shuford Home) (1856) Falconer Ave - The property was sold by William Chisolm to Mrs. Martha Alston Reese Jones in April 1859. When her husband, Rufus Jones, died she moved to Holly Springs with her four children. This home may have been built by Spires Boling. The Surgeon General of Grant's Army occupied this home in Dec 1862 during Van Dorn's Raid. Mrs. Jones sold it to her son-in-law, Dr. Shuford, on Jan 1, 1872. George Finley then purchased the home in Aug 1906 and left it to his son, Thomas Finley, in Nov 1923, whose dau, Ruth Finley, lived her entire life in the home. Her sister, Margaret, lived at Strawberry Plains after many years of living in OK. The Finley sisters donated Finley Place and Strawberry Plains to its current owner, the National Audubon Society. More history [The South Reporter, Apr 14, 2005; photo, courtesy of Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Vol. VII, Franklin L. Riley, Editor; published in Oxford, MS, 1903. Submitted by Cheryl Berthelsen.]

The Jones Home

Excerpt from "Some Historic Homes of Mississippi" By Mrs. N. D. Deupree.
Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Edited by Franklin L. Riley, Secretary;
Vol. VII., Oxford, Mississippi: Printed for the Society; 1903

One of the large and handsome homes of the fair little city of Holly Springs was built in 1857 by Mrs. Rufus Jones, who was Miss Martha E. A. Reese, of Madison, Ga. She was married to Mr. Rufus Jones in 1840 and came to Marshall county, Miss., to the plantation home of Mr. Jones near old Tallaluce. Here they resided until the death of Mr. Jones in 1856. The widow then moved with her family to Holly Springs and built the home in which she lived until her death in 1874. The house is colonial in its architecture, with a wide hall and a partition running across it, making a square reception hall in front. Opening into this reception room on the right is the parlor; back of the parlor is the library; low bookcases, filled with books, line two sides of the room; a handsome table littered with books and papers, cosy corners and window seats make it homelike and livable. On the left of the front entrance is the dining-room, where are to be seen treasures of priceless worth. The first to attract attention is the table with its handsome base and claw feet; next a side-board, stately and grand. The china cabinet contains rare pieces of china, some of which are over eighty years old, notably a soup tureen with a cover and platter, a pitcher shaped much like the Greek olpe and of the palest shade of Delft blue, used for a sweet-milk pitcher. Among the treasures of the dining-room is a table cloth of damask exquisitely woven in figures of birds of Paradise. The center-piece, about one yard square, shows the birds of life size, and so perfectly was the weaving done that they seem to stand out in relief from the service; next to this center is a wide border of plain linen with a sheen of the finest satin; next to this is an outer border of woven figures of smaller birds mingled with leaves and flowers. This table cloth was used at the wedding of Elizabeth Alston Crawford to Joseph Reese, in 1814; at the wedding of Martha E. A. Reese to Rufus Jones, in 1840; at the wedding of Amanda Reese to Judge Martin Crawford, of Columbus, Ga., in 1842; and again at the wedding of the eldest daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Rufus Jones, Miss Augusta Reese Jones, to Dr. Franklin Brevard Shuford, a gallant Confederate soldier and an eminent physician of Holly Springs. Stop for a moment and think of the distinguished men and cultured women who have sat around the table spread with this handsome damask, and been served from those precious dishes,—a sigh for the times that are past will come from the lips as you gaze upon these mementoes of that happy olden time.

In the chambers above, the furnishings would delight the eye of the connoisseur. Let a description of one room suffice. The bed-room set of four pieces and the chairs are of solid rosewood; the dressing case is low and has two drawers with swell front, and a cabinet on each side; the mirror is eighteen inches by thirty-six, of French plate glass; on either side of the mirror is a smaller cabinet with tiny drawers, just the size to hold a stock or collar; it is enough to make a lover of these dainty accessories of milady's toilette quite envious, and to wonder why all the dressers do not have such conveniences. The wash-stand and tiny work-table correspond in style and finish with the dressing-case. But the bedstead is the most attractive, because of its size and exquisite carving; it is seven and a half feet wide and eight feet long. The two sides and foot piece are low and beautifully hand-carved in conventional designs; the head-piece and canopy reach the ceiling, and the carving is in designs of fruits and leaves most exquisitely wrought. The other rooms are similarly furnished.

An ample portico extends part of the way across the front, the roof supported by smooth white columns; a balcony held by heavy brackets with an iron railing guards the door of the upper hall, and from this balcony a fine view of the park and the "City of Flowers"can be obtained. In the yard are fine old forest trees, around whose thunks the ivy clings riotously; vines are trained over the portico and around the balcony; rare flowers grow in profusion on the east side of the home.

As were most of the handsome homes of Holly Springs, this, too, was used at different times and by various Federal officers as headquarters while Grant's troops occupied the city. At one time Mrs. Jones and her family were ordered to vacate the house at once. She told the officer that she had no place to go and asked if she might not have the dining-room, which was then an ell-room. They told her no, as they needed that room to serve their meals in. Then she asked to be allowed to retain the kitchen, again she was refused; they needed the kitchen for cooking. She was obliged to seek shelter in the room of one of her servants, and see her large and comfortable home occupied by her country's foes.

At the time of Van Dorn's raid, December 20th, 1862 (see Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Volume IV.), the surgeon general of Grant's army and family were quartered there. When the Confederates clashed in, the doctor dashed out to some more reliable hiding place, and did not return for several hours after Van Dorn left. The doctor's wife was greatly distressed and making loud lamentations, when a young son of Mrs. Jones', a boy of nine or ten years of age, said to her "You needn't be scared, our soldiers don't fight women." She said she was alarmed about the doctor; the boy replied, "O, they'll let him go, he's a Doctor." This same small boy had felt the pangs of hunger more than once since the beginning of hostilities, and when Van Dorn broke open the stores and set fire to the buildings, provisions of every kind were scattered in every direction; hundreds of barrels of flour were rolling about the streets, and under the skillful manipulation of this same little boy one of them rolled into his mother's storeroom. He anticipated the speedy return of the Federal troops and surmised they might go hunting, therefore he emptied the flour into a cedar chest and burned the heads, hoops, and staves of the barrel, thus providing against the loss of his biscuit. A few hours later, he made another trip to the stores and saw casks of rice split open and the snowy grains sifting into the dust. He procured a sack and filled it with rice, getting about two bushels. Rice would not roll, so he caught an old army mule and got the rice up on its back and made his way home through the crowds of sol diers, horses and wagons unnoticed; and was sure of rations for a while.

Since 1874 the home has been owned and occupied by the eldest daughter, Mrs. Augusta Reese Shuford. One son lives at the Macon home; another lives at beautiful "Box Hill" in the western part of "The City of Flowers."

First Presbyterian Church (1836)

First United Methodist Church (1849) Van Dorn Ave. - The Methodist Church has been used as a courthouse (when it burned during the Civil War), as a hospital during the Yellow Fever epidemic, again for the courthouse (during renovation in 1927), as a school (when it burned in the 1920s), and again as a school in 1968 when Marshall Academy used it for classrooms. Also it has been used by clubs and organizations as well as a church. A hundred years ago the Christmas custom was to have a Christmas tree lighted with candles. It again caught on fire but fortunately was squelched in time and ended the custom. The Pilcher organ is the original and was one of four Pilchers in town. Others are in the Presbyterian and Episcopal churches and one was in the beautiful little auditorium of the Mississippi Synodical College, which was torn down in 1945 to make an empty lot. The three remaining organs sound great and are still in use. The land was given to the church by Mr. Robert B. Alexander, a prominent citizen of that day. [The South Reporter, Nov 21, 1991]

Fite House (aka McCutchan House) (1906) Byhalia

Fleur-De-Lys (1840) Memphis St, built by Mary Malvina Shields Burton of VA [The South Reporter, Sep 9, 2004]

Franck Place (1857), built by Dr. B.W. Ross. After the war, the G. Wiley Wells family lived in this home. Captain Sam Franck lived in this home from 1880-1895. His wife also lived there; however, she died before him. He was a German immigrant and a naturalized American citizen. He fought for the Confederacy and was a quartermaster. [The South Reporter, Apr 13, 2000] 1875 Postcard to Sam Franck, 1875 Postcard back

1875 Postcard to Sam Franck

1875 Postcard Back

French House (1910) Byhalia – Built for Dr. Fitch, later sold to the French family.

Galena Plantation (1845) - now demolished, built by Mathew James Coxe (1819-86) who also built "Airliewood" mansion in Holly Springs, MS in 1858 as his townhome. Tom & Moultrie Lacey later farmed this plantation's land for several years. It was located near Highway #4 West. [Architectural Drawing Courtesy of the late Hugh H. Rather, Jr.: Galena Plantation. The Hugh H. Rather, Jr., family owns the copyright on this image.] Additional historical information: Floor plan drawn by Hugh H. Rather, Architect, from a sketch by Moultrie Lacey who lived here during the 1920s & 30s with his mother, 2 brothers, and grandmother. The Laceys were related to the Coxe family. Mrs. L. A. (Chesley) Smith Jr. took photos of this home while it was still standing, which preserved its appearance for posterity. [The current Red Oak Plantation now sits on part of the property of the Galena Plantation, which originally covered thousands of acres. The South Reporter, Sep 23 & 30, 1999.]

Coxe Family

Galena Plantation
At Galena Coxes held vast tracts of land

Edward Coxe, a wealthy gentleman of Scotch descent, came to North Mississippi before the formation of Marshall County and bought large tracts of land for his five sons. To William Henry Coxe fell the land in which Galena was built. This was in 1832. It is located 12 miles west of Holly Springs on the old Chulahoma Road. William Henry Coxe migrated to this section from South Carolina having spent a short time in Georgia on the way. He came with a large caravan of covered wagons which transported all his slaves, household goods, etc. The livestock was also included in this migration. The family, with the old black mammy, drove through in the family carriage.

Reaching their destination they first erected a crude log cabin in which they lived until they could build a house to their liking. Around this site there was erected a regular village consisting of a commissary, a blacksmith shop, wagon shop, cabinet shop, brick kiln, etc. The house, two years in construction, designed by Will H. Coxe, was of a peculiar type of architecture, being in the form of the letter H. Through the center of the house, running the full length, was a wide hall with vaulted ceiling. Opening into this hall from the east was the dining room; from the west was the parlor. A distinctive feature of this house was the bathroom, which joined the family bedrooms, and was equipped with a shower bath. (Bathtubs were unheard of in this section at that time.) The kitchen and storeroom, built of brick, were separate from the house. The framework of this house was all of solid oak, handhewn, morticed and pinned; the lumber, heart pine. All of the bricks were burned on the plantation by slave apprentices. The cabinet work was also done by these apprentices.

The name Galena was chosen because of an Indian legend to the effect that there was a certain stone on this property that possessed magical powers. Contact with this stone brought peace and rest and quiet. The doors of this home were ever open to the public, and stories of the grand social functions, elaborate and expensive, which have been passed down from generation to generation, still stir the heart and excite the imagination of the hearers. William Henry Coxe traveled extensively and bore the evidence of these travels by the beautiful pieces of furniture and other decorations that graced the home.

Prior to the Civil War, Henry Coxe deeded Galena to his daughter, Mrs. Lida Coxe Brewer, whose family lived there, William Henry Coxe having moved to Holly Springs. During the Civil War, Galena was frequently in the line of march of the Federal army. The only fighting that took place there was a skirmish at Coxe's Crossroads, but that was a rather important skirmish. All the valuables of Galena were hidden away. The silver, very old and valuable, was put in an old leather trunk. Its hiding place was kept secret until the last year of the war; one of the slaves revealed the place to the last bunch of Yankee raiders that visited the place before the surrender. It was all taken. In former raids, cotton, mules and other farm products were stolen or confiscated. On one occasion the Yankees were in the act of taking away the corn sheller, which was considered an indispensable farm article by Mrs. Brewer. She discovered their purpose and protested, attempting to take the corn sheller from the Yankee vandal. A scuffle ensued in which Mrs. Brewer would have been the loser but for the timely arrival of a commanding officer, who made the miscreant relinquish the sheller to its owner.

During the Reconstruction Period, at the time when Galena was closed and Mrs. Brewer was living with her brother, Matt Coxe, some two or three miles distant, two German peddlers came at dusk and asked the caretaker (a Negro woman who with her small children were living in the back yard of Galena) if they might sleep on the back porch that night. Permission was given and soon they were all asleep. Sometime in the night some local bandits disguised as Ku Klux, supposing that the peddlers had money, came and foully murdered one and left the other unconscious. They took all the money and articles of value that were on their persons and in their packs. The noise of the onslaught so frightened the Negros in the yard that they locked and barricaded the doors, and not even cries for help from the wounded man after he had returned to consciousness could move them to open the door until daylight. At dawn they opened the door and went to the aid of the man. They sent for Mrs. Brewer, who opened the house and ordered the caretaker to nurse him back to health. Mrs. Brewer visited him daily, bringing him little delicacies to stimulate his appetite. He was soon sufficiently restored to go on his way. Many years later Mrs. Brewer was in a fashionable ice cream saloon in Memphis when a well-dressed prosperous-looking man came up to her and said, "Are you not Mrs. Brewer of Galena?" On being informed that she was, he told her that he was the man that she had nursed back to health. He insisted on treating her to the nicest treat the house afforded.

Soon after this, Mrs. Brewer sold Galena to her uncle Matt Coxe and moved to Vicksburg. At the death of Matt Coxe, she inherited the property, and for many years her family would alternate from Vicksburg to Galena as their fancy struck them. A peculiarity about this home is that there has never been a birth or marriage in it. At the death of Mrs. Brewer the property went to her granddaughter, Mrs. Amelia Lacey.

For many years the house with its wealth of furnishings has been closed. It is said that there is a fortune tied up in the antique furniture tucked away in this old home. The style of furniture adopted by William Henry Coxe, the builder of Galena, was very plain, massive type, of the best wood. The bedroom furniture was rosewood, the dining room of oak, the piano of rosewood. There were many odd tables collected by William Henry Coxe from his world travels. Mrs. Lacey has a rare collection of old papers and documents, jewelry and antebellum apparel in her townhome in Holly Springs. She has the original land grant on which is the mark of the Indian from whom Edward Coxe, the founder of the Coxe family in Marshall County, bought the property. She has a fancy shirt that was worn by William Henry Coxe in his balmy days; a letter written by George Washington to General Moultrie, who was great-grandfather of Mrs. William Henry Coxe; General Moultrie's silver card receiver, a silver spoon with a palmetto tree, the Moultrie coat of arms engraved on it; the pearls, rings and wedding ring worn by General Moultrie's daughter when she married Lloyd Ainsley. Eight generations of brides in this family have worn these jewels at their weddings, the last of which was Mrs. Amelia Lacey. This house is in a splendid state of preservation owing to the excellent material used in its construction.

Editor's Note: This home has been torn down.

Submitted by Martha Fant.

Galena Information

(Source: Tour information file at Marshall County MS Library) The story of Galena had its origin in the 18th century. Lord Ainsley's daughter married General Moultrie of Revolutionary fame and later Governor of South Carolina. From their union was a daughter who became the wife of a young Scotchman, William Henry Cox, who settled in Georgia. After the 1832 cession, the elder Cox purchased estates from the Chickasaw and sent his five handsome sons with several hundred slaves to Mississippi to cultivate them. William Henry, Jr., built Galena – from timber to brick, nails and ironwork – all with the labor of his slaves. The slave quarters were so large that travelers often asked what village they were passing. The plantation name, given for the Scotch mineral symbolizing peace, is in contrast to Galena's history. Lavish entertainers, foppish dressers, heavy drinkers, dare-devil sportsmen, the Cox brothers came to violent ends. William Henry, Jr., on a drunken spree, rode a spirited horse up a stairway leading to the house and broke his neck. Toby, a younger brother said to have been more beautiful than any woman, killed his bride during a drunken orgy, then turned the gun on himself. Because his bride's family would not allow her body to be buried on the Cox lot, she lies in an unmarked grave; but Toby sleeps beneath a masterpiece of imported Italian marble, as do all the members of the Cox family. Another of the brothers, groomed to the last degree, drove a span of horses over a bluff at Memphis into the Mississippi River; a street in Memphis now bears his name. Of the five brothers, William Henry was the only one to have a child; his daughter Lida, married Clark Brewer. At the death of her father and uncles she inherited the plantation. The post office located in her store was closed at her request; but when people living a mile or so from Galena asked for a post office, the Government obtained permission from Mrs. Brewer to use the stamp of Galena. Hence the community, like so many other Mississippi communities, took the plantation's name. During the War Between the States, the battle of Cox's Cross Roads was fought nearby, and a number of family treasures were stolen. Other family heirlooms, however, are in possession of the descendants.

Please note the following correction/addition to the above information from the tour information file at the library:

Edward Coxe was born in Oglethorpe County, Georgia, the son of Bartley Coxe (of Virginia) and Susannah Carlton. Edward married Charlotte (or Eliza?) Victoria James, and they had the five sons who came to Mississippi following their inheritance of his Chickasaw Cession lands. In 1842, at the age of 17, William Henry Coxe married 16-year-old Amelia Brailsford of coastal South Carolina. The Brailsfords were a very prominent family connected with William Henry's mother's family, the Jameses.

Source: A Southern Tapestry: Marshall County, Mississippi, 1835-2000, by Hubert H. McAlexander Jr., (Virginia Beach, VA: Donning, for the Marshall County Genealogical Society, 2000). pp. 27-28, 38, 43, 48-49, 65, 67, 68; illustrations inside front and back covers pp. 28, 57, 119, 137.

Corrections submitted by Barbara G. Fant, Sep 27, 2002, former owner of Coxe Place

(Martha) Gardner Home (1849) Red Banks. This home burned down years ago. It was located two miles south of Red Banks, near Holly Springs. It was built by John Etheldred Gardner from oak logs from the virgin forest. The two rooms in front were just as they were when he finished them in 1859. Mett Gardner (84 yrs old at time of interview) remembered her parents telling about arriving on horseback from TN, where they were married in 1809. The father was from VA and the mother from IL. They also brought a packhorse carrying a table and a Seth Thomas clock. The table was used for a door for the log cabin in 1849 until the door could be built. [The South Reporter, date unk]

Gatewood-Bolling (1853) was built by Spires Boling, and now houses the Ida B. Wells Art Gallery and Museum. Ida B. Wells' family lived in this house and she may have been born here. Originally on this site was the home of William Randolph, founding father of Holly Springs, whose home burned in 1857.

(John Anna) Gayler Plantation, Mt. Pleasant

G.C. Goodman Home (1840) Red Banks, built by Henry Moore. It was set afire during the Civil War, but Mrs. Eliza Moore extinguished the flames.

Governor Matthew's House (aka The Holly) (1836) Chulahoma St. – Once town home of Governor Joseph Matthews (elected Governor in 1848), who also lived on his plantation 16 miles East of Holly Springs (now in Benton Co). The 2000 Holiday House Tour was the first year this home was open to the public. [The South Reporter, Nov 9, 2000, and Dec 1, 2005]

Graceland, Too (formerly known as Bryant House) (1853) Gholson Ave, museum open to public housing Elvis memorabilia [The South Reporter, Aug 12, 2004]

Greenwood (formerly known as The Mimosas) (1837) Built by Colonel Roger Barton, one of four founding planners of the town of Holly Springs. [The South Reporter, Oct 28, 2004

Greenwood Plantation (1838) Plantation once owned by the Hull family and the Alfred Brooks family.

Gray Gables

Grey Gables (formerly known as the Nelson Place) (18470), College Ave – Built by Morris Hatchel, originally owned by W.S. Randolph, land surveyor in the early 1830s; purchased in 1870 by James House who doubled the size of it and changed it to face south instead of west. [Old Timer Press, June 1983; The South Reporter, Jan 8, 2004; Photos courtesy of the American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2]

Photo 1

Photo 2

Greystone (ca 1840), built by Dr. F. W. Dancy, town physician, came to Holly Springs from southern AL. It was sold to the McDermotts, who were living at that time in the depot.

Hamilton Place (1838) Mason St, built by William F Mason, history

The Mason Homes

Excerpt from "Some Historic Homes of Mississippi" By Mrs. N. D. Deupree.
Publications of the Mississippi Historical Society, Edited by Franklin L. Riley, Secretary;
Vol. VII., Oxford, Mississippi: Printed for the Society; 1903

About the year 1825 William F. Mason, a boy of fifteen years, left his home in Baltimore to try his fortune in Tennessee. He went to Fayetteville, but did not remain there long, going thence to Pulaski, where he engaged in mercantile business. He often rode on horseback from Pulaski to Baltimore to buy goods. After some years in this business his health began to fail; his physician advised him to take a trip to New Orleans on a flatboat and fare in all respects as the boatmen did. He took the advice and the trip; lived on fat bacon and corn hoecake; roughed it generally, and returned much improved. In 1837 he came to Holly Springs, just one year after Marshall county had been organized and named and the town laid off. The Indians were more numerous than homes. In 1840, he helped to organize the Presbyterian church, becoming one of the charter members. He was also made an elder the same day. During this year he began the erection of a handsome home, the first large house in the young city. It stands at the end of the street running south from the courthouse square, which it fronts. Mr. Mason was wont to say: "My front door is in town, my back door in the woods." The unbroken forest lay just beyond his premises. The house is of colonial architecture and differs but little from numbers of the ante-bellum homes of Mississippi. The size, shape and style of the windows make or mar the interior effect; and the builder of this home realized the truth of this and planned his windows on a generous scale, filling the sash bars with small squares of glass which give one the assurance that he is inside of a house and yet do not obstruct the views of the world ouside. A door of generous proportions admits one to the hall of spacious dimensions. A Venetian screen divides the hall. The stairway leads straight up from the front hall to a wide landing lighted by a double window set with tiny panes of tinted glass; while from the landing a shorter flight of steps leads to the long upper hall. There are four rooms on each side of the halls. A porch in front, on the first floor, and a small balcony, in the second story, have light railings. Many fine old monarchs of the wood stand sentinel in the grounds.

Mr. Mason and family resided in this home until about 1850, when he built a new and handsomer home in the southern part of the city. The old home is now owned and occupied by Dr. S. D. Hamilton. In the new home two styles of architecture were combined which has a very pleasing effect in the midst of so many colonial structures. The house is almost square but has the arched doors and windows usually defined as Gothic. The windows are filled with diamond-shaped glasses, leaded instead of barred. The home stands on rising ground, having almost the appearance of an English manor house, generously proportioned and well situated. The approach is simple, but effectively contrived; from the gate the broad, smooth walk divides and leads around the two sides of an oval-shaped bit of lawn; the walks are bordered with violets and other low-growing flowering plants; a large magnolia stands in the center of the plot of grass; nearer the house is a wide-spreading live-oak, whose branches shade the house and portico effectually from the western sun. The hall is broad and roomy and opens into rooms of handsome dimensions. On the left is the parlor, the walls covered with beautiful paneled paper; the windows are long and arched, draped in misty lace; handsome paintings and engravings ornament the walls; a pier glass above a marble shelf, which rests on a brass standard, occupies the space between the north windows. A polished mahogany table holds among its treasures a card-receiver, which has the honor to be the only article of furnishing left whole in the room after a raid of the federal soldiers in 1862. They cut the paintings from their frames, tore the draperies from the windows, and stripped the carpets from the floors. The china cabinet contains several pieces of china seventy-six years old, all of the pieces being models of Ceramic art. One of the pieces is a pitcher decorated in low relief with figures of gypsies around their camp-fire, kettles hanging on cranes, and with trees bending above the encampment; but, alas! this work of art was the victim of a ruthless hand, and one side of the spout is gone.

The grounds around this home are extensive and laid off with taste and skill; on the lawn are tall oaks and stately magnolias, scattered here and there; some where nature planted them, others placed where the shadows from their broad branches subdue the light and heat of the too ardent rays of the summer sun. South of the house is the flower garden, filled with plants and flowers of every variety.

Mr. William F. Mason was treasurer of the Illinois Central railroad for seven years prior to the beginning of the late war between the States.

The home is now owned by Mr. W. A. Jones, whose wife was Miss Maggie Mason. The dear mother, older grown than when she came to this lovely home, and a dear sister, also, live in the family of Mr. Jones, loved and honored by all.

Hamilton-Harris House (1900) College St.

Hamner House (1850) Memphis St.

Happy Hill Plantation (location of Alexander-Tyson Home) (ca 1830) - present day location of this former plantation is intersection of Highways 78, 7 and 4 (the new Walmart is located on this property). It was the first plantation in the county and was settled by the first white settlers, Robert Burrell Alexander and his father, John Edmund Alexander, both of VA. Robert Burrell Alexander built a two room double log cabin on the crown of the hill, which eventually grew to 13 large rooms. Happy Hill lasted until the 1960s. [The South Reporter, Jul 9, 1998 & Aug 12, 2004]

H. Harris Lomenick (1890) [The South Reporter, Oct 6, 2005]

Hazelwood Plantation (circa 1860) - now demolished, was located 3 miles SE of Holly Springs and 1 mile SE of "Morro Castle", home of Olin & Martha Lumpkin. [Architectural Drawing Courtesy of the late Hugh H. Rather, Jr.: Hazelwood Plantation. The Hugh H. Rather, Jr., family owns the copyright on this image.] This plantation is no longer in existence. Additional historical information: Although, Hazelwood was demolished several years ago, the base of the chimneys, cistern, well, and part of the foundation remain. The family that lived here last said the house was haunted.

Hazelwood Plantation

Hillside (1861) Van Dorn Ave. This Italianate Victorian home was built by F.W. Rittlemeyer, a carpenter from Prussia. He also built Airliewood for William and Amelia Coxe. It was also owned by Sam West and the Curt Ayers family. It is currently owned by Jennifer and Christian Knox. It was open for the first time to the public on the 2000 Holiday House tour. [The South Reporter, Nov 16, 2000]


Van Dorn Ave., Holly Springs
Photos courtesy of Jim Knox on behalf of Christian & Jennifer Knox

Hilltop, aka Old Fennell House (1858) Park Ave. The home is located at the top of a glen above the springs where the settlement of Holly Springs began.


Hopkins House (1839) College St.

Holland House (aka Illinois Central Section House) (1859) College Ave. - Built by Robert Hastings.

Fort Daniel House

Hugh Craft House (aka Fort Daniel House) (1851) Memphis St. – Built by Hugh Craft, who settled in Holly Springs in 1839. He was a surveyor for the American Land Co., and was charged with setting the metes and bounds of lands opened for development following the Chickasaw Cession of 1832. It was headquarters of Federal Colonel Robert C. Murphy during Van Dorn's raid. The Craft descendants lived in this home from 1851 until 1992. It is currently owned by Chelius Carter. [The South Reporter, Dec 4, 2003 and Dec 2, 2004]

Illinois Central Railroad Depot & Hotel (1870) Van Dorn Ave, this building replaced the old depot that was blown up in Van Dorn's raid from a drawing by Simplot of Harper's magazine in 1862. At one time the depot was the hub of the community with many of the residents in their horse and buggies waiting to see the arriving passengers. The depot had a dining room and a ballroom. It is currently a private residence. [The South Reporter; photo courtesy of: Biographical and Historical Memoirs of Mississippi, Chicago: Goodspeed Publishing Co, 1891. Submitted by Cheryl Berthelsen: depot 6; photo courtesy Deb Haines, 2002: depot 7; photos courtesy of: American Memory Project, Library of Congress: depot, depot 2, depot 3, depot 4, depot 5]


Depot 2

Depot 3

Depot 4

Depot 5

Depot 6

Depot 7


Imokalea (1844) – Built by Mr. Knapp, a silversmith. The second oldest brick structure in Holly Springs with walls 27” of solid brick. It was once owned by Wall Doxey. [Photo courtesy of: The South Reporter, unk date]

Kate Freeman Walthall Clark Art Gallery (1848) College St - Displays over 1,000 paintings of Kate Freeman Clark's work while she studied under William Merritt Chase in NY during the early 1900s. She returned to her native Holly Springs in 1923 and stored her work until her death in 1957. Her great uncle was Major General Edward Carey Walthall who, after the War, was a United States Senator. [The South Reporter, Feb 1, 2001]

Latoka (1839) Randolph St. – Built by W.S. and Frances Randolph of Virginia (one of the town's founders). It was named for an Indian princess, Latoka, daughter of a chieftain, who lived in this area before Holly Springs was founded. Latoka was owned in 1839 by Ann Mason. It was conveyed to Adrian Mayer, lawyer, in 1851. It was purchased in the 1950s by Mr. & Mrs. Claude Smith. [Latoka Brochure: photo 1; photo courtesy Deb Haines: photo 2]


Latoka 1

Linden Hill

Linden Hill (aka Carl Akins House) (1841) Van Dorn Ave. - The back section was built by William Ragan facing west. The front section was added in the 1850s facing south on Van Dorn. Judge Thomas Dunlap, N.W. Cawthon and Carl Akins families have also lived in this house.

The Lodge – Birthplace of E.H. Crump's mother in 1842. Located on Old Sylvestria Road, plantation home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Thomas. It was the first settlement of the Hull family in Marshall County.

Lucas (1880) Walthall St.

Lumpkin's Mill (1840) (Old Mills article)

Little Dixie (1839) built by Israel Sailor

marshall County Museum

Marshall County Historical Museum (1903) College St, built as a dormitory for the old Mississippi Synodical College - Houses many local historical artifacts and features a Civil War Room. Ms. Lois Swanee is the Museum Curator. [The South Reporter, Dec 3, 1998] Marshall County Historical Museum website

McCrosky Place (1841) College St

The Magnolias (1853) Craft St, Built by William F. Mason as a wedding present for his daughter, Elizabeth, who married Colonel Thomas Harris.

Malone House (1839), College and Alderson, it was built by J.C. Alderson. Later it was purchased by Dr. T.J. Malone. It was torn down in 1990 to build a metal building for a meat market. [The South Reporter, Jul 15, 2004]

Milan Plantation, no longer in existence. The new "Galena Plantation" is located on the property that once was Milan Plantation. It is owned by Bill Fitch. [The South Reporter, Sep 30, 1999]

Mississippi Central Office

Mississippi Synodical College (1903) 1906 postcard - postcard back - see Marshall County Historical Museum

1906 Postcard

Postcard Back

Mississippi Central Railroad Office (1851) Gholson St. The house originally was located on the site where the third Presbyterian Church is located. It was moved down the street by oxen. When the house arrived, it was discovered it was facing the wrong way. The oxen could not turn the home, so it sits with the front facing the backyard. [The South Reporter, Dec 2, 2004]

Montrose (1858) Salem St. - Built by Alfred Brooks as a wedding present for his daughter, Margaret Brooks, wife of Robert McGowan. When Margaret died after the birth of her fifth child, the house was sold to Judge James T. Fant, who sold it to Dr. Robert H. Peel. In 1938, it was purchased and restored by Mrs. Minnie Wooten Johnson, widow of Jackson Johnson. Mrs. Johnson willed Montrose, completely furnished, to the Holly Springs Garden Club. In 1981 it was designated as the site of the Mississippi Statewide Arboretum. [The South Reporter, Nov 18, 1999. [Above photo courtesy of Jack Durham; photos courtesy of: American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2]

Peel House

Montrose 1

Montrose 2

Morro Castle Plantation

Morro Castle Plantation (circa 1857) – Morro Castle was never completed and is now demolished. It was located 3 miles South of Holly Springs. The two rear one story wings were finished and lived in by William Blanton Lumpkin until his death in 1877. [Architectural drawing courtesy of the late Hugh H. Rather, Jr., drawn in 1979, from a sketch by Aunt Lula Jones Jarratt in 1928. The Hugh H. Rather, Jr. family holds the copyright on this drawing.] Additional historical information: Front (North) Elevation. The house would have looked similar to this if it had been completed. The War Between the States caused the work to stop suddenly. Only the brick walls of the front two story portion were built. The house stood on a hill and thus a person on the observation cupola would have been able to get a general view of much of the surrounding plantation land. The design of this mansion is similar to other homes that had been built in W. B. Lumpkin's native Georgia.

Mosley Home (1854) Barton – Built by Fleming Mosley

Mosley Home Oldest Landmark Left in Community

The South Reporter, September 8, 1988

Editor's Note: The following information about the Mosley home in the Barton community was researched and written by Glenda Sloan, a lifetime resident of Barton. Miss Sloan is a senior at Ole Miss majoring in journalism and the daughter of J.E. Sloan, a dairyman in Barton.

Barton is the community being featured in September as part of the Chamber of Commerce's community recognition project.

Two of the most prominent families to settle in Barton were the Mosleys and their distant cousins, the Flemings. The Mosleys established a homestead in Barton around 1854, still part of DeSoto County at that time. It was not until 1873 that Barton became a part of Marshall County.

The Flemings, who built a similar house within the same year, claimed a piece of land near the Tennessee state line. Since the state boundary was then closer to Collierville, they settled on the tip of the Marshall County border. Later, the state lined was moved further back into Mississippi after many disputes. Thus, the old Fleming house is located in Shelby County, Tennessee.

Standing among a grove of oak trees, the Mosley home, built with pegs and square nails, is the oldest landmark still standing in Barton. Today it is in the process of being reconstructed by its present owners, the Walkers. The house possesses not only a lonely, quiet, beauty, but also a legend of tales and stories.

The large colonial home was built by Fleming Mosley, a native of Laurens District, South Carolina and a colonel in the militia. Upon moving his family to Barton, he became engaged in farming. When first constructed, the house contained three large bedrooms, a parlor, a dining room, and a kitchen connected onto the back of the house. Separated by a wall, twin staircases led to the upstairs bedrooms. The right upstairs room could only be reached through the stairs located in the master bedroom. This one bedroom belonged to a blind daughter who found security in the private stairway.

Legends say the house was used as a hospital during the Civil War. No such records exist proving this to be true. However, the upstairs left bedroom carries a mark of stained blood on the floor. Although unidentifiable as blood for certain, some of the boards are darker in color and appear to have a greasy look to them. The oak trees in the grove still bear the scars of mini-balls from the war. Military history books record that skirmishes occurred in the Barton area. When Confederate troops retreated back to Byhalia after an attack on Collierville.

The house may have been used to lodge wounded soldiers because there was no other place in the vicinity.

According to letters written by Mosley ancestors, northern troops camped in the grove and in barns surrounding the house. The Mosley family lived in the house throughout the Civil War before selling it during the carpetbagger period and moving to Texas. When recalling the war years later to their children, Fleming Mosley's daughters told of Federal troops taking over the kitchen, ordering cooked meals and damaging the property.

According to other tales, Fleming Mosley was a conscientious objector during the Civil War. When Confederate soldiers arrived at his house to conscript him into the army, he secretly fled through a cubby-hold in the upstairs bedroom leading to a loft above the kitchen. The Confederacy was never able to locate and draft Mosley. Many say this is why he silently left Barton in the first years following the War.

Inside the house, one of the bedroom doors has been scarred by a continuous beating. Theory has it that the mark was made by a horse hidden in the house by a Union officer seeking to avoid thieving Confederates. A former owner of the house claims the scar was caused by a caretaker's bird dogs, kept in the house to escape death by unfriendly neighbors.

Mosswood (1839) Salem St. Built by Adrian N. Mayer who came to Marshall in the 1830s with his relatives, the Lumpkins of Athens, GA.

Norfleet-Rand (1841) Maury St.

Oakview Mansion (1864) on Rust College Campus

Old Gaw House (1859) Van Dorn Ave.

Old Methodist Parsonage (1860) Spring St. - The Methodist Parsonage was under construction when the Civil War broke out and to complete it, the federal blockade between Holly Springs and Memphis had to be broken to get materials. The land was donated to the church by Robert B. Alexander. [The South Reporter, Nov 21, 1991 and Dec 3, 1998]

Rust College (founded 1866) - contains one of the oldest buildings in the USA dedicated to Black Education. This is the site of the campground for General Grant's troops. The Roy Wilkins Collection on civil rights is on display at the Leontyne Price Library.

Rutledge (1860) Gholson St., the back portion was built in 1860 by Walter Goodman, President of the Mississippi Central Railroad, for his son. The front portion and wrap around porch was built in 1890 by LA Rather. [The South Reporter, Nov 11, 2004]

Sailer-Matthews (1840-1850) Center St.

Shadow Lawn (1841) Salem Ave, built by Adrian Mayer. [The South Reporter]

Snowdoun Plantation – Owned by the Govan family on Sylvestria Road, it was burned during the Civil War, home of Sally Govan Mott (wife of Brig. General Christopher Mott).

St. Thomas Hall 1840's

Strawberry Plains

Strawberry Plains (1851) Highway 311 – Built by Eben Davis of VA (cousin of Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy) on a 4000 acre plantation. Davis was one of the earliest settlers of Marshall County. He built a Methodist Church, which burned, and gave the land for Strawberry Church from his plantation. When the house was built it was the finest house in the country. The plantation was self-sufficient and had an ice house, flour mill, blacksmith, carriage house, cotton gin, stable, slave quarters and the school for Davis' children and the slaves' children. During the Civil War, Davis left for his other plantation in Alabama, and left his wife, Martha Greenlee to run Strawberry Plains. The home was burned during the Civil War with only the walls standing. Mrs. Davis and her children partially rebuilt the house. The Finley family has owned it since the late 1950s. Dr. John and Margaret Finley Shackelford began restoration of the home in 1968. Donated to the National Audubon Society by the late Mrs. Margaret Finley Shackelford and Ruth Finley. [The South Reporter, Apr 15 & Nov 4, 1999 and Nov 30, 2000]

Sandusky Place (1844) Randolph St, built by James B. Wilson. Currently in the restoration process by owners Jim and Janine Knox. It now has a new roof and chimneys.

(William) Strickland Place (1828) – Built by Dr. James Thomas/Thompson, whose daughter, Mildred, became the wife of Major William Matthew Strickland. The William Strickland Place is believed to be the first two-story house built in Holly Springs. Jefferson Davis was a frequent visitor of this house. The owners hid a Northern officer from a Confederate raiding party. To show their appreciation the Federals did not turn the home into a hospital sparing it from destruction. Strickland Place is no longer in existence, the Catholic Church sits on its lot. [The South Reporter, Mar 11, 2004]

Suavatooky (aka The Old Butler Place) (ca 1838-39) Memphis St – Built by B.S. Williamson; Suavatooky is an Indian name meaning Cool Water. This home was used as a hospital during the Civil War. It was owned by Dr. and Mrs. Butler from 1866 until his death in the 1880s. In the early 1920s it was used as a hospital for Holly Springs. This home was torn down in 1988. [Marshall Messenger, Nov 4, 1987; The South Reporter, July 8, 2004]

Summer Trees (1851) Red Banks, MS – Built by Washington Sanders Taylor on land purchased from the Chickasaw Indians.

The South Reporter, November 7, 1991
by Lois Swanee, Museum Curator

This authentic Greek revival home was built by Sanders Washington Taylor, a North Carolinian by birth, between 1820 and 1850 on hundreds of acres of land he had acquired from the Chickasaw Indians.

In 1826 Mr. Taylor's daughter, Tranquilla, married Spencer Harvey. Harvey's best friend, Robert McCraven, fell deeply in love with Spencer's bride. To save further heartbreak, McCraven moved to another country, now called Texas.

Tranquilla's father, Sanders Taylor, was said to have been a stern taskmaster in dealing with his slaves. One night in April, 1829, a disgruntled slave aiming at old Mr. Taylor accidentally shot and killed Tranquilla's husband, Spencer.

Upon hearing of his friend's death, Robert McCraven returned to Mississippi. Two years later, he and Tranquilla married and during the ensuing years had nine children of their own.

Luckily, Summer Trees escaped destruction during the ravages of the Civil War, Nathan Bedford Forest used the plantation as a camp for his troops while defending Holly Springs. In appreciation to the family, Forest gave his silver curry comb to Tranquilla.

Along with the poetry of Lord Byron, romantically inspired by Greek revival architecture gained great popularity throughout America during the first half of the nineteenth century. The Greek influence in domestic architecture suited both the mild climate and the gracious way of life in southern America.

It is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Alfred Cowles. They purchased Summer Trees in 1969. During this time they have extensively restored the original part of the house and they have added a library, new kitchen, butler's pantry, master bedroom, pool and gazebo.

Tallaloosa (see Best Cabin) [Photos courtesy of: American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2, photo 3]

Tarkio (ca 1840) Randolph St, the original servants house is in the backyard. [The South Reporter, Jun 4, 2004]

Tenelon Hall (ca 1840) College St, it was the home of Mrs. Rosa Tyler who was born in 1841. Upon her death, Dr. Sowell and his family lived here.

The Terrace

The Terrace (1842, additions in 1857 and 1920s) Chulahoma Ave

Thesion (1836) Spring St & Gholson Ave, originally built of logs (now covered), built by and home of the county's first probate clerk, Gordentia Waite.

Thistledome (1840) Hwy 309, Byhalia – Built by A.L. Chalmers. It was purchased in 1890 by E.B. Horn who later sold it to Mr. And Mrs. Deaton McAuley in 1938. Thistledome is now a bed and breakfast. (photo)

Walthall-Freeman-Clark Place (ca 1840) College Ave – It was built by Banet W. Walthall as a log house and embellished ca 1848. Confederate Major-General Edward Cary Walthall lived in this home earlier. Kate Freeman Clark moved to NY ca 1892 to study art. She returned to live in her family's home in 1923 after everyone had passed away. She left her home to Holly Springs along with her paintings and enough money to build the art gallery next door to display her paintings. [The South Reporter, Nov 25, 1999]

White Pillars (ca 1838) Maury St, built by Thomas A. Falconer, editor of the Holly Springs Banner and Gazette. Thomas, and his two sons, Howard and Kinloch, died in this home of yellow fever in 1878. [The South Reporter, Oct 28, 1999; photos courtesy of the American Memory Project, Library of Congress: photo 1, photo 2]

Photo 1

Photo 2

The Whittens (1840) Gholson St, originally was a three room log home built by D.D. Jones. When the front walk was redone about 1950, upside down ale bottles from the Civil War period were found lining the walk. [The South Reporter, Oct 28, 2004]

Woodcote – Plantation owned by the Clayton family.

Woodland (1844) eight miles north of Holly Springs – Built by Richard Oscar Woodson (born 26 May 1813, Cumberland Co VA). A log house was built first in 1844 which became the kitchen when the larger home was built.

Woodlawn (1844), Hudsonville – Plantation owned by the Minor family.

Wynne House (1872), Randolph & Roberts, built by GA Palm

Yellow Fever House (1834) Gholson Ave, the first brick house built in the county and served as the land grant office [The South Reporter, Aug 12, 2004]

Phillips Grocery

Try one of their world renowned hamburgers in the famous two-story building

that was once a bar & brothel with early 1900’s decor.
“One of the world’s greatest burgers!” -USA Today.

541 East Van Dorn Ave. 662-252-4671
Open Monday- Thursday 10am -4pm, Friday 10am -5pm & Saturday 10am -6pm

Enjoy a glimpse of the Old South in the Antebellum Capitol of the Mid-South just steps away from the hustle and bustle of Memphis. Holly Springs features daily home and garden tours, historic museums, art galleries, shopping, camping, world famous burgers at Phillip’s Grocery and a one-of-a-kind shrine to Elvis You have to see to believe! The New York Times has called us an “antebellum encyclopedia” and when you visit you’ll see why.

We are home to Strawberry Plains National Audubon Sanctuary and Education Center where guides can bring both history and science classroom assignments to life; The Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery showcasing the renowned painter’s life work; The Ida B Wells Museum dedicated to the civil rights activist and journalist. Three historic churches, one being the first church in the country started by newly freed slaves and is home to the oldest Pilcher organ still in use; Rust College, the birthplace of the Civil Right Movement and the second oldest historically African American college in the U.S.; An unbelievable collection of Elvis memorabilia at Graceland Too! compiled by The Kings biggest fan; Fitch Farms Galena Plantation, working plantation and wild game preserve, where you can enjoy a day of trail riding among the majestic trees and rolling hills before hitting the hay in the original home of General Nathan Bedford Forest; Walter Place Gardens & Estate open for tours Monday- Saturday at 1pm and Sunday at 2pm, where visitors can experience the Old South first hand and was the home chosen by General Ulysses S. Grant to house his wife and son during the Civil War; Kirkwood National Golf Course, ranked 7th in the state and among the top 50 courses in the country by Golf Digest; Chewalla Lake & Wall Doxey National Park offering camping, swimming, fishing and family fun; And Philips Grocery, a rustic country store/restaurant that was once a saloon and is now home to world famous hamburgers, according to USA Today and Gourmet! Magazine.

Painted Bunting

Hummingbird festival a grand success

HOLLY SPRINGS, MS - Record numbers of Ruby-throated Hummingbirds and the largest crowd ever gathered at Strawberry Plains Audubon Center for the ninth Hummingbird Migration Celebration Sept. 5-7. Hummingbird bander Bob Sargent and his crew tagged a record 281 birds over three days and recaptured one adult female that had been banded at the center on Sept. 9, 2006. Sargent said the “tremendous numbers of hummingbirds are due to the great job and impeccable habitat maintained at Strawberry Plains. The grounds and plants were at their best with more floral nectar at one site than I have ever seen. " The crowd was just as impressive, with more than 8,100 people attending the festival to enjoy live-animal demonstrations and programs about Mississippi wildlife, a nature trade show and other activities. Visitors are invited to come see the abundant hummingbirds throughout September.

We welcome you. We are conveniently located 40 miles southeast of Memphis, 30 miles north of Oxford (the home of Ole’ Miss), 60 Miles northwest of Tupelo and 70 miles east of Tunica, Mississippi. We can arrange both driving and walking tours of the area and with advanced arrangements; we can help you plan corporate retreats, meetings, luncheons or dinners in an antebellum setting.

Burton Place- 1840- Greek Revival

The lot is enclosed by a cast-iron fence manufactured by Jones-Mcllwain which was originally around the courthouse. The fence was purchased in 1925 when the courthouse was being renovated for $300.00. The walls of the home are over two feet thick, there are two sets of window frames for each window opening and each doorway has two doors. The home, previously called Fleur de’ Leis, was built in early Virginia style by Mary Mavina Shields Burton and her husband who were the very first divorce recipients in Mississippi.

Ida B. Wells- Barnett Art Museum/ Gatewood-Bolling House

This antebellum home that now houses an extensive collection of African and African American art was built right after the Civil War. The original house built in its place burned in 1857 which belonged to William Randolph, one of the town’s founding fathers. The current home is said to be were Ida was born a slave in July of 1862, a month before the Emancipation Proclamation was passed. She attended Rust College where we graduated in journalism and eventually became a pioneer in the Civil Rights and women’s movements.

Open: All day everyday, just ring the bell!
Admission: $5 per person

Still taking care of business

"The universe's, the galaxy's, the planet's and the world's ultimate Elvis fan" spends every minute of every day filling Graceland Too with -- with what?

By Mike Batistick

June 27, 2001 | His name is Paul MacLeod and he lives in Holly Springs, Miss. He is the world's biggest Elvis fan. He has sired only one child in his 58 years, a son, whose birth name is Elvis Aaron Presley MacLeod. Four years ago, his wife and the mother of his child, Serita, gave him an ultimatum: "Choose me or choose Elvis." MacLeod chose Elvis.

Boy, did he choose Elvis.

With a deep Southern twang, mighty sideburns and a freewheeling pair of dentures, MacLeod says he has welcomed over 220,000 curiosity seekers into his overstuffed antebellum home, which the girthy, Mississippi-born quinquagenarian calls Graceland Too. In fact, the two-story house, built in 1853, is so crammed with Elvis paraphernalia that it's unclear where this former Detroit autoworker sleeps. Certainly not on the second floor: Elvis phones, Elvis dolls, Elvis pillows and three cardboard Elvis models take up each and every step leading to the second story. Even if you could traverse the labyrinth of rockabilly kitsch, you'd still have to contend with a mountain of newspaper clippings, record albums and Elvis-related magazines once you reached the landing.

MacLeod is an excitable man. He believes that Elvis Presley is the "greatest entertainer I think bar none the world has ever seen," and he's got 55,000 newspaper clippings that he says prove "the King's unparalleled influence on international pop culture at large and in the universe." MacLeod will open his home up to anyone, day or night, because, he says, he never sleeps. He's too busy completing his life's work: From "Cheers" to "The Sopranos" to "Days of Our Lives," MacLeod has taped every TV program that has mentioned Elvis since the King died, in his Graceland bathroom, on Aug. 16, 1977. All this information -- whether in newspapers, on VHS tape or printed in a magazine -- is meticulously cross-referenced and stored in steamer trunks, which cover an entire wall in his living room. What he plans to do with this information, however -- "the house is full from floor to wall to ceiling, I'm telling you, boxes, boxes, boxes" -- remains unclear.

Here are some of the things MacLeod's got: 10 guitars allegedly used by the King; over 1,000 original pressings of Elvis LPs and singles; a carpet clipping that once adorned the floor of Graceland's infamous Jungle Room; tickets to Elvis' final concert; a Graceland security guard jacket; a Hughes High School yearbook denoting "Elvis Priestly" as the winner of an April 9, 1953, talent contest (the name is misspelled, "like the guy on the 90210 TV show," he says); and a Longhorn Elementary report card dating back to 1951 in which the King flunked music class. MacLeod says he even has a petal from the first flower ever placed on Elvis' grave.

But his most prized possession? A Super 8 film that MacLeod claims contains the last images of Elvis before his death. Of course, MacLeod won't show it to anyone and keeps this film under lock and key in the back of his house. To date, he says, no one except his son has ever seen it.

There's not a whole lot to do in Holly Springs. With a population of just 7,000, the quaint, sleepy town has a pleasant feel, smells like magnolia trees and has an aura that makes you want to drink sweet tea in a rocking chair while wearing overalls. According to a tourist pamphlet issued by the Holly Springs Tourism and Recreational Bureau, outsiders should visit the Bank of Holly Springs, the state's oldest charter bank, or Rust College, the state's oldest black college. If that doesn't suit tastes, the town's "world famous hamburgers and homegrown blues" are available, respectively, at Phillips Grocery and the annual Memphis Street Blues and Gospel Festival, a gathering said to bring more than 1,000 visitors to town each fall. If all else fails, visitors can kill quail at Dunn's Shooting Grounds just outside the town limits. Otherwise, Graceland Too is more or less your last resort.

But for Elvis fans, the town has a strategic, almost mythical location. Holly Springs sits just about halfway between Memphis, Tenn. -- where Elvis died -- and Tupelo, Miss., where Presley was born on Jan. 8, 1935, to Vernon and Gladys Presley. (The tight, two-room house was built in 1933 by Vernon and his brother, Vester, with the help of a $180 loan from Tupelo landlord Orville Bean. It was Bean who had the elder Presley jailed three years later for forging a check following the sale of a hog.) In that house, Elvis spent the first year of his life, the only survivor of a twin birth. His brother, Jessie Garon, emerged stillborn 35 minutes before Elvis came along.

So, between Memphis, Tupelo and Holly Springs, Elvis faithful can find a megalopolis of Elvis lore all within a little over an hour's drive. If Las Vegas were due west about 30 miles, Holly Springs would be smack-dab in the middle of the Elvis Bermuda Triangle. And if that were the case, MacLeod would be a noble thane in this great domain.

"Aw hell," he told me over the phone a few days after I visited, "when you were here, what you saw, that ain't half of it, what I got coming in here. Shit, I got three more semis worth of Elvis stuff coming." MacLeod doesn't own a car. "Everything you can think of connected with Elvis. Got eight TVs running, I got 31,000 tapes in here at four-and-a-half hours apiece. That's a lot of stuff mentioning Elvis. You won't believe it. That's just in video, that's nothing to do with radio and all that stuff. I tell you, we got 25,000 books in here on Elvis already. The house is full from floor to wall to ceiling and when Disney came down here" -- it's unclear whether the entertainment company, in fact, did -- "they had the whole collection listed at $10.5 million. But I ain't selling nothing. I'm trying to preserve a piece of history. This kind of history ain't worth any amount of money."

Whether it's history or not, the collection is certainly unique and has attracted its share of high-profile visitors. When Robert Altman's film "Cookie's Fortune" was filmed in Holly Springs in 1997, cast members Glenn Close, Chris O'Donnell and Lyle Lovett each visited Graceland Too. In addition, MacLeod claims that everyone from Montel Williams (a picture seems to prove it) to the late Minnesota Fats to Priscilla Presley's chauffeur has walked through its doors.

"Mr. MacLeod is obviously a great connoisseur of the history of Elvis Presley and he has been very instrumental in bringing tourists to the city to visit the site," says Holly Springs' current mayor, Andre Deberry, who took over after Mayor Eddie Lee Smith died in February. "I understand he has probably one of the best collections of artifacts, of historical and, I guess, personal artifacts of Elvis, and we view that as being positive for the city. Anytime we can have people coming into the city to view the city for whatever reasons, for tourist attractions, bringing celebrities to enjoy things as well as regular folk, we are more than happy to have such a person bring in that sort of clientele to the city."

"I got movie companies coming in here from all over the world, documentary companies; some of them want to pay up to $10,000 just to shoot in here," MacLeod says. He reiterates regularly that production companies have offered him a $10,000 sum at least 100 times. "People from Switzerland, Sweden, Paris, France, Germany, ABC, NBC, CBS, South Africa, Belgium, China, VH1, MTV, Discovery, PBS -- and they just shot a big-ass thing down here for tourism called 'Mississippi Roads.' And I don't know if you ever heard of a country western show that comes out of Nashville, the "Crook & Chase Show." It's real famous now. They ended up doing one of the nicest interviews I've ever seen done on this property out of any film crew I'd ever seen here. I was scared to let them in 'cause I thought they were kind of making fun of something, but they didn't -- they said the collection is worth $5.5 million. They sent one lady here that had a few Elvis items in her house from San Francisco. When she got here she went right out the front door and cried her ass off like Niagara Falls, Canada. She thought she had Elvis stuff, but she saw this Elvis stuff and she went out crying like hell."

MacLeod was born Oct. 17, 1942, and grew up in the house that would eventually become Graceland Too. His Elvis obsession began in 1956 when he purchased Presley's debut recording, "That's All Right"/"Blue Moon of Kentucky," the double-sided 45 recorded at Memphis' legendary Sun Studios for the paltry sum of $4.

In the early '60s, MacLeod migrated north to work at "Elvis' favorite car manufacturer, Cadillac Motor Car Division, in Detroit, where I worked on the assembly line, where they built the cars." Whether in Michigan, Tennessee, Mississippi or Vegas -- he's spent plenty of time in all four locales -- MacLeod continued to collect Elvis memorabilia. (One time in Vegas, MacLeod says, he hustled $250,000 away from Col. Tom Parker, Elvis' enigmatic manager who was the mastermind behind the King's rise to fame.) When son Elvis Aaron Presley MacLeod came along in 1974, the boy was soon enlisted to help Dad collect more stuff.

"The house here belonged to my family, and for a long time here, my wife lived here with me," he says. "Long, long time we lived here. Serita and me had a perfect marriage. I don't know, one day she just told me, 'Make up your mind,' either her or the Elvis collection. I told her 'bye' and that was the last time I seen her. She had to do what makes her happy, I had to do what makes me happy. I hope she's happy wherever the hell she's at."

With Serita gone and his son zestfully aboard the Elvis fan wagon -- MacLeod Jr. is now 27 years old, is 6-4 and weighs in at a hefty 240 pounds -- MacLeod Sr. continued his collection in private until a few years ago when a wayfaring couple came knocking on his door.

"They [the couple] was making a pilgrimage down I-78 to see Elvis' birthplace in Tupelo and they stopped in town to get some grub and told a waitress lady about how they was just at Graceland," MacLeod recalls. "'Hell,' the waitress lady says, 'if you been to Graceland and you're going down to Tupelo, why don't you go right down the street here and knock on this guy's door. His son is named Elvis Aaron Presley and they got the world's largest collection, you won't believe it. Maybe if you knocked on the door and told them who you are, what you're doing, maybe they'll let you take a look.' People are now showing up here from every damn where from word of mouth."

Among the hundreds of thousands of people MacLeod has welcomed into his home, over 3,000 of them, he says, have been Elvis impersonators. This population subset has been a disparate bunch, according to the proprietor, ranging from a 12-day-old baby who, when placed in MacLeod's 1950s greaser leather jacket, allegedly raised his left hand and swaggered his hips, Elvis style, to a 105-year-old woman who imitated the King while eating a peanut butter and banana sandwich, Elvis' well-known plate of choice. Before Elvis' longtime cook, Mary Jenkins Langston, passed on in June 2000, she made a visit. Even Elvis Presley Enterprises, the corporation controlled with iron fists by Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, has sent representatives to Holly Springs to get a piece of MacLeod. The company once asked him to participate in a video collage for the company's flagship restaurant, Elvis Presley's Memphis, on Beale Street in downtown Memphis.

"We planned on having several collections of clips depicting Elvis' permeation of modern-day media and culture," said Todd Morgan, director of media and creative development at Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises. "We knew Paul had kept vigil with his VCRs for many years, trying to catch on tape all he could of the mentions of Elvis on television, so we hooked the producer up with Paul. I don't think he found anything in Paul's collection that we could use for the project. But Paul and his son were most gracious and helpful and we appreciated it."

This perhaps is the most uncanny fact about Graceland Too: It's no more far-fetched, imbalanced and wrought with Elvis mythology than the legitimate Graceland in Memphis. In the 24-plus years since Presley was discovered by then-lover Ginger Alden face down on his bathroom tile, the victim of heart failure at age 42, Graceland proper has morphed into as much of an American original as its bizarro junior just 30 minutes to the south.

Just look at the Graceland Mansion tour. There is no live guide. Visitors pay $16 for admission and an audio guide that offers about half an hour of clumsily rewritten history that glosses over the less savory aspects of Elvis' life. During the tour's finale, the narrator talks ever so briefly about Elvis and Priscilla's divorce in 1973. This was the event largely credited with sending the King into drug abuse and ending his much-ballyhooed "second career," as Graceland calls it, launched by the 1968 comeback special where he donned his leather jacket and sang all his pre-film hits. "Although they were divorced in 1973," says the voice, "Elvis and Priscilla still remained good, good friends." Never mind the duo's alleged extramarital dalliances -- it has been whispered for years that the former couple hardly spoke after their divorce.

Once the tour is complete, all you have to do is look across Elvis Presley Boulevard to catch a glimpse of a piece of Elvis history that may be the purest embodiment of the King's final moment as a true rock star: a red, white and chrome 1976 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide 1200 motorcycle, the one MacLeod claims Elvis was riding during the last night of his life, the motorcycle MacLeod claims he has Elvis riding on Super 8 film.

"I was up there every night for a month before he died," MacLeod says, his eyes burning like a minister's. "I knew all the guards at Graceland at that time, and I was up there morning, noon and night doing rounds with the guards. I had a Super 8 millimeter and I was carrying a 35 millimeter Minolta camera tripod carrying case with a 400-foot high-powered lens. That thing could get pictures of your eyelashes way down the street. Now this was before he died; I got him riding the motorcycle that night, red and chrome Harley-Davidson Electra Glide, same one they got in that museum. Ginger Alden, that girl who found him, the world's greatest living entertainer dead, she's on the back of the bike."

Whether that tape really exists hardly matters. By the time you've traveled from Memphis to Holly Springs to Tupelo and back, you want to believe that the last image of Elvis Aaron Presley that exists -- no matter how bloated and drugged out the King may have been -- is of him riding a primo Harley with a 21-year-old girl on the back. It doesn't get much more rock 'n' roll than that.

About the writer

Mike Batistick is a journalist and playwright living in New York City.

Mississippi Quail Hunting - Mississippi Turkey Hunting

If you’re a quail hunter, you’re about to discover one of Mississippi’s best-kept secrets. The quail hunting in Mississippi is second to none. And, Fitch Farms/Galena Plantation at Holly Springs, Mississippi is the best of the best. The rich, fertile soil of Mississippi provides the perfect habitat for large covies of bobwhite quail, whitetail deer and wild turkeys. You’ll enjoy quail hunting the traditional Southern style. Lots of fast flying quail, well-trained dogs, experienced and courteous guides, comfortable lodging and meals to make your mouth water. This is real, genuine plantation style quail hunting.

Sharpen your shooting eye at the Wobble Trap. Climb aboard one of their fine jeeps, especially rigged for quail hunting, or get in the saddle of one of Galena’s fine walking horses, and you’re off for a day to remember.

Mississippi is famous for lots of things. The University of Mississippi and the Natchez Trace, Mississippi State University and the casinos on the Gulf of Mexico and Tunica. Who could leave out the mighty Mississippi River, known as “Big Muddy.” But now that the secret is out, Mississippi will be known for its fantastic quail hunting, deer hunting and wild turkey hunting.

We hope you’ll enjoy browsing our web site, and that you’ll give us a call. We’d enjoy talking with you and promise you a fine time in Mississippi’s great outdoors.

You’ll not visit another home like Walter Place. It is unique.

Walter Place took the large columns and broad pediment style of Greek Revival houses being built across the South in the 1850s and elevated it to a grander scale.

Harvey Washington Walter, who made a fortune building the Mississippi Central Railroad, asked the town’s noted architect, Spires Boling, to create something different from mansions on the other side of town. His challenge was to build the grandest home in Holly Springs.

The center section of the house was classic Greek Revival but Boling added massive medieval Gothic towers with castellated battlements to each end of the house. The design was unique then and has never been duplicated. It was among the last great mansions built before the Civil War.

During the occupation of Holly Springs, Union General U. S. Grant recognized it as a house suitable for his wife. Julia Grant, her black slave, Julia; and her son moved into Walter Place in 1862.

A little more than a dozen years after the end of the Civil War, a more deadly enemy invaded Holly Springs. Walter Place became a hospital for victims of the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. Col. Walter sent his wife and daughters to live in another town but he and three of his sons died from the fever within days of each other.

The house was bought by Jorja and Michael Lynn in 1983 and has been restored to its original condition.

The Cottages of Walter Place Estate were once guest houses used to lodge Oscar Johnson’s friends from St. Louis who came south to hunt bear, deer and quail in the early 1900’s.

Far from rustic accommodations, the quaint raised-basement houses had undergone total redesign by Theodore Link, the architect who built the Mississippi Capitol. Johnson contracted with Link in 1903 to make Walter Place, the two cottages and the 15 acres of land between into a fabulous place to live and visit.

Before Johnson acquired the cottages, these residences had figured prominently in the history of early Holly Springs.

A log home had been built in 1834 on the site of Featherston Place by Alexander McEwen, a land agent who gave Holly Springs its name.

In 1858 McEwen’s daughter married Winfred Scott Featherston. Featherston returned to his house from the Civil War as a Brigadier General.

Across the circular drive is Polk Place which bears the name of its owner Thomas Polk, who was a cousin of U. S. President James K. Polk. Link lent his flair for design to an addition that includes a beautiful porch with a Palladian arch and Chippendale railings.

The architectural style of these houses, with the dining room and living areas below ground level, provided cool breezes on hot southern days.

When owners Jorja and Michael Lynn bought Walter Place and began restoration, they found a dusty landscaping plan which had been stored in the attic.

They were the drawings of Theodore Link who had been commissioned in 1903, not only to redesign and restore the houses of the estate, but also to create a design for gardens that would span the 15 acres between the Walter house and the guest cottages.

It was Oscar Johnson, Col. Walter’s son-in-law, who dreamed to build a botanical garden to be known as Johnson Park. However, he died in 1916 before the plans could be fully carried out.

Michael Lynn decided to complete the plans 90 years later and those plans are becoming a reality today.

Creating the gardens is a three-phase process to carry out the plan’s vision for natural trails, fish ponds, waterfalls and driving paths.

Tree Houses

Spring Head


Polk Yard

New Gate



Harvey Washington Walter - The Builder

Walter Place has provided many different uses for the three families who have owned it.

Harvey Washington Walter, who made a fortune in the practice of law and spear-headed the building of the Mississippi Central Railroad, intended his new home to be the grandest mansion in a town which already boasted many magnificent columned houses.

His architect was Spires Boling, who had already built mansions along Salem Avenue across town. Walter challenged him to create something grander than the classic Greek Revival house with tall white columns. Boling did employ the traditional Greek Revival facade but flanked each end with tall Gothic towers topped with castellated battlements.

Walter accomplished his goal. The style was unique in the south and has never been duplicated. Constructed in 1859, it was the last of the great southern mansions built before the Civil War.

Walter Place provided a residence befitting a man of such stature: a lawyer, a railroad pioneer, a man of principle who would later be asked to run for governor of the state of Mississippi.

Walter was a native of Kalamazoo, Michigan. He moved with his parents to Ripley, Miss., when he was eight years old. While serving as a school teacher he passed the bar and was attracted to the bustling city of Holly Springs, where speculation in land, commerce and cotton provided plenty of business and a prosperous living for an enterprising young lawyer.

Recognizing the need for transportation for the county’s burgeoning cotton production, Walter organized the Mississippi Central Railroad, an asset that made Holly Springs a strategic prize to be fought over by Union and Confederate armies when Civil War came to Mississippi.

Walter had only two years to enjoy his luxurious home before he had to leave it. In 1861, he answered the call of the Confederate army and joined the First Mississippi Cavalry as a colonel. He was sent to Florida, where he saw no combat action.

His wife and family went away for the duration of the war and a family friend, Mary Govan, whose home had been commandeered by the Union army for a hospital, moved into Walter Place with her daughter-in-law and two daughters to watch over it.

In 1862, when Holly Springs was captured by Union troops, Gen. U. S. Grant selected Walter Place to provide a residence for his wife and son, Jesse; and her slave, also named Julia. Grant took Airliewood across town for his headquarters as he planned the invasion of Vicksburg.

The legendary raid on Holly Springs by Confederate General Earl Van Dorn destroyed the ammunition Grant had stockpiled in the town. Van Dorn's officers stormed to Walter Place looking for Mrs. Grant and her baggage.

Mrs. Govan said Mrs. Grant was not there and refused to allow them to look for her baggage, saying that a southern gentleman would not invade a lady’s bedroom. It is said that because of the actions of Mrs. Govan, Grant issued an order that Holly Springs be spared from the torches that burned most other large homes in Mississippi.

After the Civil War, Colonel Walter set about helping rebuild Holly Springs and guide it through Reconstruction. He served as sheriff and as Mississippi's secretary of state.

As Holly Springs was enjoying recovery from the war, Walter Place once again was a focal point in history when it was became a hospital for those stricken with the Yellow Fever Epidemic of 1878. Believing that the high ground of Holly Springs would be safe from the disease, the city opened its doors to refugees, some of whom already had the virus. The local mosquito population was soon infected and spread the epidemic with deadly results in Holly Springs.

Colonel Walter again sent his wife and daughters away from Holly Springs but he and three of his sons stayed to help the sick and bury the dead. Col. Walter and his three sons died within days of each other from the deadly disease.

With the death of Colonel Walter, the family was in perilous financial shape. Fredonia Walter and her children went to the Delta to live with her sister, Minnie, and her husband, Secretary of State Henry Myers. The fate of Walter Place was uncertain for years until it was saved by her daughter, Irene and her husband, Oscar Johnson.

Oscar Johnson – The Dream

Oscar Johnson, a Red Banks native, married Col. Walter’s youngest daughter, Irene. He and his brother, Jim, opened a mercantile store on the Square in Holly Springs. They decided the grass would be greener in St. Louis and opened a store there.

They got the U. S. Army contract to supply soldier boots just before the Spanish-American War. This made them immensely successful and lead to their founding the International Shoe Company which manufactured Red Goose Shoes and eventually became Florsheim Shoes.

In 1901, Oscar Johnson bought Walter Place from his mother-in-law. He remodeled the forty-year-old house and frequently filled his private rail car with his St. Louis friends to come south and hunt quail.

Since the Walter house wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone, he bought Featherston Place, Polk Place and Alicia to house them. Johnson hired Theodore Link, the architect for the Mississippi Capitol building and who did work for Johnson in St. Louis, to modify all of the cottages into guest houses attached to the Walter Place grounds.

He instructed Link to create a park on the grounds which he intended to give to the city of Holly Springs. He envisioned having a large spring-fed lake and a huge pergola. He had created an immense drainage system to feed the lake.

Unfortunately, Oscar Johnson died of a heart attack when he was 51 years old before he had deeded his park to the city.

After Irene Johnson sold the property when her husband died, the next owners subdivided and sold off a large portion of the estate. In the late 1930s, Mrs. Johnson, at an auction on the courthouse steps, bought Walter Place back when her daughter, Dr. Anne Walter Fearn, was forced to leave China where she was serving as a missionary and came home to live.

Walter family descendents never really lived there again and the house was left largely to caretakers for decades.

Jorja and Mike Lynn - Restoration

In 1983, Jorja and Mike Lynn were living in Minnesota, where Mike was general manager for the Minnesota Vikings NFL football team. They saw an ad in the Holly Springs newspaper that Walter Place was for sale.

A native of Holly Springs, Jorja had always wanted to have Walter Place. After seeing the ad, she urged Mike to buy it. The Lynns became the owners of Walter Place as a second home. The next nine months were spent stripping down and restoring the grand mansion.

When Mike retired in 1992 and they made their permanent address at Walter Place, they considered taking up Oscar Johnson’s dream for a botanical garden park. The original plans, drawn up by Theodore Link, were given to the Lynns by a neighbor who had fished them out of the trash when the Johnsons moved. It had been stored in the attic all those years.

The plans were drawn for what was then a 40-acre garden. It was to include an amphitheater and a large lake. The Lynns found the rim of what was called the Japanese lake and the bottom of the Japanese bridge.The Lynns consulted with John Keefe of New Orleans, the foremoste authority on antebellum properties in the South. After reviewing the possibilities, Keefe was encouraging.

"You have the whole architectural ensemble," Keefe told the Lynns. "You have the whole landscape ensemble, the whole garden ensemble. You put all that together, you finally have a grand antebellum house in the context it was intended."

The Lynns decided to proceed with the project and bought Polk Place and Featherston Place and began work on the cottages and gardens in 2003. The first phase of the Botanical Gardens was finished in 2005. When completed the gardens will include 15 acres. The English basement cottages were each completely restored and furnished with 18th and early 19th Century antiques.

The original brick and iron entrance is still intact. The gates were made by the iron foundry in Holly Springs before the Civil War. They were moved from another estate and the Beaux-Arts iron on top was added in 1917. The Lynns have committed to opening Walter Place, the cottages and the gardens to visitors year around.

4 1/2-star Ranking "Best Places to Play," 2004
4-star Ranking Golf Digest's Places to Play, 1998-1999, 2000-2001
#10 Ranked Course in Mississippi
America's Best Golf Courses Everyone Can Play - Top 75 Affordable Courses

This championship 18 hole, par 72 course can play up to 7,100 yards. Dramatic elevation changes, wooded valleys, creeks and lakes add challenge to your round. Lush Bermuda Grass fairways and roughs line each hole while gradually contoured Champions Bermuda Grass greens await your approach shots. The clubhouse offers a Pro Shop and Grill for your added convenience.

The Cottages at Kirkwood offer first class accommodations on the golf course. These four-bedroom cottages with living and dining areas and kitchen facilities are perfect for any occasion. You can rent a single room or an entire cottage and still enjoy the Common Area with its fireplace, convenient kitchen and dining area. Consider the Cottages at Kirkwood for family gatherings, meetings and seminars, football weekends, wedding parties and, of course . . . golf vacations.

Located just 35 miles southeast of Memphis, Kirkwood National is only thirty minutes north of Oxford, home of the University of Mississippi, and an hour east of Tunica. Kirkwood National is the perfect choice for first-class golf, conference and banquet facilities, a preferred residential community, swimming and more. You will thoroughly enjoy the wooded sanctuary of Kirkwood National, hidden enough to be private, close enough to be convenient.



Quick Facts

Who was the first person to die of the Yellow Fever Epidemic in Holly Springs?

Mayor Goodrich was the first person to die of the epidemic. He died on August 31st, 1878. You may visit the The Yellow Fever Martyrs Church and Museum (circa 1841) East College Ave., Holly Springs, MS 38635, 662-252-3669, Museum dedicated to preserving the legacy of seven Catholic martyrs who gave their lives during the Yellow Fever epidemic of 1840. Open by appointment only. Would you like to take a Virtual Tour of the Yellow Fever Martyrs Church and Museum? Click Here .

Who was the first African American Senator?

Hiram Rhodes Revels. (1827-1901) He served from February 23, 1870 until March 3rd, 1871. He was the first African American Senator, Secretary of State ad interim of Mississippi in 1873. President of Alcorn Agriculture College, Rodney Mississippi from 1876 to 1882; moved to Holly Springs, Marshall County Mississippi and continued his religious work. He died in Aberdeen Mississippi January 16, 1901. He is buried in Hillcrest Cemetery, Holly Springs, Mississippi

Who founded Holly Springs?

Holly Springs was founded by a group of Virginia entrepreneurs headed by Sephus and Jack Randolph who bought this land from the Chickasaw Indians. Indian royalty actually lived here.

What is Kudzu and where did it come from?

Kudzu's History: Up and Down the Power Pole Kudzu was introduced to the United States in 1876 at the Centennial Exposition in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Countries were invited to build exhibits to celebrate the 100th birthday of the U.S. The Japanese government constructed a beautiful garden filled with plants from their country. The large leaves and sweet-smelling blooms of kudzu captured the imagination of American gardeners who used the plant for ornamental purposes. Florida nursery operators, Charles and Lillie Pleas, discovered that animals would eat the plant and promoted its use for forage in the 1920s. Their Glen Arden Nursery in Chipley sold kudzu plants through the mail. A historical marker there proudly proclaims "Kudzu Developed Here." During the Great Depression of the 1930s, the Soil Conservation Service promoted kudzu for erosion control. Hundreds of young men were given work planting kudzu through the Civilian Conservation Corps. Farmers were paid as much as eight dollars an acre as incentive to plant fields of the vines in the 1940s. "Cotton isn't king in the South anymore. Kudzu is king!" Channing Cope

Does Holly Springs have Museums or Art Galleries?

Yes, Holly Springs has the Marshall County Historical Museum located on Van Dorn Ave, you can reach it by dialing 662-252-3669. We also have two art galleries, the Museum Ida B. Wells Family Art Gallery on Randolph Street, 662-252-3232 and the Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery on College Ave, Gallery there number is 662-252-5300

Can you tell me about the climate in Mississippi?

The climate of Mississippi is subtropical in the southern part of the state and temperate in the northern part; the average annual rainfall is more than 50 in. (127 cm). Mississippi has a warm, humid climate, with long summers and short, mild winters. Temperatures average about 28° C (about 82° F) in July and about 9° C (about 48° F) in January. The temperature varies little across the state in summer, but in winter the region near Mississippi Sound is significantly warmer than most of the rest of the state. The recorded temperature in Mississippi has ranged from –28.3° C (–19° F), in 1966 at Corinth in the NE, to 46.1°C (115° F), in 1930 at Holly Springs in the N. Yearly precipitation generally increases from N to S. Thus, Clarksdale, in the NW, gets about 1270 mm (about 50 in) of moisture annually and Biloxi, in the S, about 1550 mm (about 61 in). Small amounts of snow fall in N and central Mississippi. In the late summer and fall, the state is occasionally struck by hurricanes moving N from the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi is also struck by tornadoes, especially from February to May.

What is the State bird?

The state bird is the Mockingbird. Holly Springs is fortunate in having an Audubon Sanctuary located 3 miles north of town where we have an annual Hummingbird Migration Celebration in early September. To find out more information about it, you can call 662-252-1155 Strawberry Plains Audubon Center.

In what county is Holly Springs located?

Holly Springs is located in Marshall County.

Who was the first Mayor of Holly Springs?

Though little is known about him, the first Mayor was Atlas Dargan.

What year was Holly Springs incorporated?

Holly Springs was incorporated in 1837, one year after Marshall County was organized.

Can you tell me how many historic homes are in Holly Springs?

There are about 175 homes and buildings in the Holly Springs/Marshall County area. A few of them are listed below. You may click here for a complete listing of homes.

Dunvegan (circa 1845) 154 West Gholson Avenue, Holly Springs, MS 38635, 662-252-2943, Unusual English Basement style home filled with Regency and Empire antiques.

Grey Gables (circa 1849) 390 College Street, Holly Springs, MS 38635, 662-252-2943, Originally begun as a simple dwelling then embellished in the 1870's with flamboyant Italianate features. Shortly after "The Late Unpleasantness", the owner was killed by a band of military stragglers who invaded his home. Furnished with outstanding antique furniture including pieces by Mallard and a vast collection of Sevres porcelain.

Montrose & the Montrose Arboretum (circa 1858) 335 East Salem, Holly Springs, MS 38635, 662-252-2515, Two-story columned Greek Revival built as a wedding present for the daughter of Alfred Brooks. Now operated by the Holly Springs Garden Club as a house museum. The aboretum contains over 50 different specimens of trees native to the area.

Terrace, The (circa 1844) 315 West Chulahoma, Holly Springs, MS 38635, historic downtown, 662-252-2943, This pioneer cottage is where the first baby in Holly Springs is said to have been born.

Walter Place (circa 1858-59) 330 West Chulahoma Ave., Holly Springs, MS 38635, 662-252-2515, Used by Union General Ulysses S. Grant and his family during the Civil War. Architecturally unique combination of Gothic and Greek Revival.

Do you know what the original name for Holly Springs was?

Holly Springs was originally called Suavatooky.

Can you name the movies that have been made in Holly Springs?

Cookie's Fortune was made here in Holly Springs. The movie is set in the deep South. Actually, let me amend that - it's set is a world that is a gentle caricature of the deep South, a place which is manufactured from a combination of reality and the outsider's preconceptions. Take the atmosphere from Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, add a dose of comic exaggeration, shake everything up, and you get Holly Spring, Mississippi. The result may remind some viewers of the setting devised by the Coen Brothers for Fargo - an off-center habitat where all sorts of unusual events can transpire. In both films, people adhere to quaint customs and traditions. Here, for example, the way to get the true pulse of a friend or neighbor is to go fishing with them. Producer was Robert Altman. Robert Altman also produced M.A.S.H. Several of the stars of the above movie lived here in Holly Springs during the filming, including Robert Altman, Patricia Neal, Glen Close, Lyle Lovett, Liv Taylor, Ned Beatty, Juliann Moore and Charles Dutton to name a few.

Big Bad Love was made here in the year 2000. It was produced by Debra Winger and directed by Arllis Howard. Both actors starred in the movie. (Our own Lisa Liddy and Dr. Monaghan had small parts).

Heart of Dixie was made here in 1989. Directed by Martin Davidson, starring Ally Sheedy, Phebe Cates, Treat Williams.

Did you know we have some famous people that are from Holly Springs?

One comes to mind, Shepard Smith. 'Shep Smith' is a news personality of the FOX News Network.

We also have a few authors currently living in Holly Springs. Lois Swanee and Milton Winters. Both have written books about this area.

Do you know about the 'Mitford Series' books?

The Mitford Series books are written by Jan Karon and she choose Holly Springs as the place that the fictional person in her series, Father Tim came from. Jan Karon visited Holly Springs as recently at February 2006.

At Home in Mitford, Karon's first book in the Mitford series, was nominated for an ABBY by the American Booksellers Association in 1996, 1997, and again in 1998

I took this from one of the letters she received and this is her response. A reader wrote, “I’m looking for my own Mitford. I wish for a place where everyone knows each other and loves each other. I want a Father Tim to tell my fears to . . . ” Her reply was "We must look for Mitford in every simple courtesy, in every funny thing that people say or do, in all our connections with others, and in the kindness we show them and that they show us. We must almost always go out of our way to make Mitford happen, for it requires true involvement with others."

What college did Ida B. Wells - Barnett attend?

Ida B. Wells was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi in 1862 and died in Chicago, Illinois 1931 at the age of sixty-nine.

She was the oldest of eight children. When her parents died in 1880 as a result of a yellow fever plague in Holly Springs, Wells took it upon herself to become a teacher in Holly Springs in order to support her younger siblings.
In spite of hardship, Wells was able to complete her studies at Rust College in Holly Springs, and in 1888 became a teacher in Memphis, Tennessee.

What do we have in common with Elvis Presley?

I am sure you will find lots of local people who have either met or have seen Elvis in concert. But we also have Graceland Too Paul McLeod is the curator and creator of Graceland Too. It's a manic floor-to-ceiling (including the ceiling) tribute to The King. It is all hand done, with none of the burrs sanded off. Paul drinks lots of Coca-Cola and only sleeps four hours a night. The museum is open 24 hours a day -- he says to just knock louder at night.

Are there many great places to eat in Holly Springs?

We have a multitude of places that are great to eat in town. This link will take you to the Visit Holly Springs website. Then choose restaurants from the left coloumn. This has a great list of places to choose from.

Where can I find a list of towns and cities in Marshall County?

You can click here and get an updated list of cities and towns in Marshall County

What groups of Indians lived in MS?

Three major groups of Native Americans lived in the Mississippi region when European exploration of the area began. The Chickasaw lived in the north and east, the Choctaw in the central part, and the Natchez in the southwest.

Did the Great Depression affect Mississippi?

During the Great Depression (1929-1939), thousands lost their farms in Mississippi. The price of cotton fell from twenty cents a pound in the 1920s, to five cents by 1931. State legislature created a program called Balancing Agriculture With Industry (BAWI) in 1936. These laws freed new businesses from paying certain taxes and provided bond money to build factories for new industries. The discovery of petroleum at Tinsley in 1939 and Vaughan in 1940 also helped the economy in Mississippi.

Is the Magnolia the state flower or the state tree?

Yes it is! The answer to both is yes.

Adopted on February 26, 1952.

Although no specific species of magnolia was designated as the state tree of Mississippi, most references recognize the Southern Magnolia, Magnolia grandiflora, as the state tree. The large, lustrous, evergreen foliage makes the Southern Magnolia a desirable ornamental plant. Its flowers are produced more abundantly in southern areas than anywhere else.

Mississippi school children were allowed to vote for their state flower on November 28, 1900. The magnolia, cape jasmine, and yellow jasmine were favorites. In all, children voted for forty-two flowers. Out of 23,278 votes, the magnolia received 12,745. It was not made official by the legislature. In 1935, Mississippi's Director of Forestry started a state tree movement, again allowing school children to vote.

The magnolia again won by a landslide. It was adopted on April 1, 1938. On February 26, 1952, the magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) was finally officially adopted as Mississippi's state flower.

Native to Asia, the magnolia was named for the great French botanist Pierre Magnol, who died in 1715.

Van Dorn Raid

Earlier that year, Union General Ulysses S. Grant had begun moving munitions and supplies down the Mississippi Central Railroad toward Vicksburg, a key fortification on the Mississippi River. Grant’s army swept into Holly Springs, where the General set up his headquarters at the gothic antebellum mansion named Airliewood, while installing his wife and son in the town’s most lavish mansion, Walter Place. By the middle of November, he had established a supplies and munitions depot in Holly Springs before moving on to establish headquarters in Oxford, some thirty miles further south.

On December 20, 1862, Van Dorn led a cavalry force of 3,500 into Holly Springs, surprising the slumbering Federal forces there. Although few died—1,500 Union soldiers were captured and quickly paroled—the destruction of supplies was massive. Fires lit the skies and smoke clogged the air. Thousands of bales of cotton, intended for sale to finance Grant’s army, were burned; railroad car after railroad car packed with bacon was torched, great pools of fat spreading out beneath. Estimates at the time set the damages at $1 million for the loss of medical supplies alone.

Many structures in Holly Springs were lost, including the courthouse, the railroad depot and a majority of the town square; but the humiliating loss to Grant set his Vicksburg campaign back three months and raised Van Dorn to heroic status.

Markers have been erected throughout Holly Springs describing crucial events and places the raid took place. You can pick up information on the Raid as well as a map of the markers at the Tourism Bureau.

Antebellum Churches
Tours: By Appointment
Admission: $2- $3 per person

October 22nd- 25th, 2008

Annual Kudzu Festival

Holly Springs Town Square

Live music, carnival, Kansas City sanctioned Mississippi State Barbecue Championship, arts,crafts & family fun!

April 17th - 19th, 2009

Holly Springs Pilgrimage

Explore our dramatic yesterdays today! Tour a few of our many historic homes, meet ledends from the past and shop one-of-a-kind arts & crafts!

Information on 2009's Pilgrimage Coming Soon!

Make plans now to attend the 70th annual Holly Springs Pilgrimage, April 18th- 20th! Feast on antebellum splendor, local storytellers brimming with the colorful stories of Holly Springs’ past, costumed guides, Pilcher organ recitals in antebellum churches, gracious southern luncheons, tours of historic Hillcrest Cemetery guided by ghosts from Holly Springs’ past, free rides in antique carriages pulled by Percheron draft horses, a native plant sale and country store at the Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, one-of-a-kind arts & crafts throughout the town as well as a traditional southern supper in one of our glorious mansions—Montrose!

Home tours are from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are just $35 a person (seniors 65+ and groups of 12 or more receive a $5 discount) for the Friday and Saturday tours. Sunday tickets are only $25 per person (no discounts given) but all three churches will be closed for services, as will Montrose. Children under 12 admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Please call 662-252-2365 or 662-252-6479 for special school group rates.

2008 Pilgrimage Features:

Homes & Museums

Athenia, a Greek Revival home, built in 1858 by Judge Jeremiah W. Clapp, a member of the Confederate Congress. Judge Clapp was a man of small stature and feared capture during Holly Springs’ 62 raids, so it is believed that during raids, the Judge hid in one of the mansion’s grand columns. The current owner has identified a crawl space of sufficient size to contain a small person. The home features priceless Zuber wallpaper and its original bronze gasoliers, which have been converted for electricity.

Montrose & Montrose Arboretum, a Greek Revival home, was built in 1858 by Alfred Brooks as a wedding present for his daughter. Eventually it was donated to the city under the terms that it be rented to the Holly Springs Garden Club at a rate of $1 a month for 100 years. The home has been featured on the silver screen and is used as a magnificent setting for antebellum weddings and parties. The grounds are covered with fifty different native tree specimens and are labeled with common and botanical names.

Walthall-Freeman Clark Place, built in 1840 as a log house and embellished in 1848, was home to Confederate Major-General Edward Walthall, who later served in the United States Senate. The home then went to Walthall’s niece, Kate Freeman Clark, a local artist who studied under William Merritt Chase in New York around 1892. In 1923she returned to Holly Springs after the death of her beloved teacher and never painted again. During her life, the only painting of hers ever displayed was one given to the Brooks Art Gallery in Memphis. She never sold any of her paintings as they were like the children she never had. Having no surviving family and never married, Kate donated all of her paintings and enough money to build a gallery in her name next door to her home. The Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery, on the tour for the first time, features just a few of the acclaimed painter’s 1000+ works.

Davis Plantation- Strawberry Plains Audubon Center, another Greek Revival home, was completed in 1851 using bricks handmade on the property. The property was the home of Eben Davis, a distant cousin to Jefferson Davis. Given the relationship, Union soldiers regularly preyed upon the family, and the home was ultimately the only home burned in Holly Springs during the Civil War. The home stood in partial shambles until 1970, when it was remodeled and ultimately donated to the National Audubon Society some years later. The grounds feature hummingbird and butterfly gardens as well has hiking trails throughout the 2800 acre estate. The site is also home to the Hummingbird Migration Celebration held the weekend after Labor Day, Sept. 5th-7th, 2008.

Burton Place, built in Early Virginian style in 1848, the home was constructed by Mary Mavina Shields Burton, the first woman in Mississippi to receive a divorce. Designed to conserve heat, the home boasts walls two feet thick, with two sets of windows and two sets of doors in each frame. The home retains its original outdoor kitchen and slave quarters as well as a cast iron fence that once surrounded the Courthouse. The fence, featuring fleur-de-lys details, was purchased at an auction for $400 and it is joked that it is the only privately owned fence bought with public funds.

The Church of the Yellow Fever Martyrs, built in 1841 by the Episcopalians but sold to the Catholics in 1858, was completely disassembled by hand and moved to its current location. During the yellow fever epidemic, the Catholic sisters and their priest, Father Oberti, devoted themselves to caring for the victims and ultimately died of the fever themselves. The church was later converted into a museum to honor the martyrs who were buried in Hillcrest Cemetery.

Tour of Hillcrest Cemetery

Hillcrest Cemetery is the setting for storytelling as local townspeople, dressed in costumes of the day, re-enacting roles of Holly Springs' most illustrious characters. The cemetery is also the resting place of 14 confederate generals, unknown soldiers from the Battle of Shiloh, first African American senator Hiram Revels, acclaimed writer Sherwood Bonner, who studied under Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Kate Freeman Clark, a local painter who studied under William Merritt Chase.
Tours begin at 10 minute intervals; Friday 5 p.m.-- 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m.--12 p.m. Tickets are just $10 per person and children under 12 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Call 662-252-2365 or 662-252-6479 for group pricing.

An Evening at Montrose

Saturday, April 19th

Beginning at 6 p.m., guests are invited to enjoy a traditional southern supper, silent auction to benefit the Montrose restoration fund and a cash bar. The celebration continues at 8 p.m. with the presentation of the Pilgrimage Queens and live music by local favorites-- The Diggs. Enjoy the entire evening for $25 per person or join us after supper at 8 p.m. for $15 per person/ $25 per couple.

Yellow Fever House- 1836- Greek Revival

Headquarters for the Holly Springs Tourism Bureau

One-story three-bay flanking-gable brick building with dentilled segmental-arch brick windows cornices on facade. This was the first brick building in Holly Springs. It was used for the U.S. Land Office after the Chickasaw Nation ceded its lands and the entrance faced west at the time. It later became the home of W.J.L. Holland, editor of the Holly Springs Reporter, who housed the first yellow fever victims brought to Holly Springs and in turn was one of "Yellow Jack's" last victims. Currently the house is being used for the Holly Springs Visitors Bureau.
Stop by when you visit Holly Springs to get the "Exploring Historical Holly Springs Walking and Driving Tour" brochure.

Hugh Craft House- 1851- Greek Revival

The home was built by Hugh Craft, an early land commissioner. His descendants lived in the house for 146 years until it was sold in 1997. The house is an example of the southern interpretation of Greek Revival architecture similar to George Washington’s Mt. Vernon which is a southern colonial. The Jones McIllwain Foundry, who made the first arms for the Confederacy, manufactured the original fence still around the house. It was the first insulated house in town. Two brick walls were built and charcoal was placed between them. During the war it was the headquarters for Federal Colonel Murphy at the time of Van Dorn’s Raid in 1862. On one of the columns of the house Murphy inscribed the dates of all 62 sub sequential raids. The original detached kitchen and slave quarters are still standing. The walls are still stained with the writing of its Pre-Civil War tenants.

Featherston- 1836- Greek Revival

Alexander Calvin McEwen, one of the first settlers and credited for giving Holly Springs its name, built the home shortly after coming to the area in 1834. When McEwen’s banking business went under he surrendered the house which then became the home of Winfield Scott Featherston and his wife Elizabeth in 1858. They lived in the home and raised a large family in the small raised basement cottage until the early 1900’s when Oscar Johnson purchased the home along with two others and made them into guest homes for his many guests. He hired renowned architect Theodore Link, who designed the Mississippi State Capitol, to make all of the homes look more similar.

Walter Place - 1859 - Greek Revival/Gothic Revival

Open for tours daily, this antebellum estate includes one of the South’s most dramatic mansions in Walter Place. Tall Gothic towers flank traditional Greek Revival columns. Harvey Washington Walter built the house after becoming wealthy as a lawyer and founder of the Mississippi Railroad. During the Civil War, General Ulysses S. Grant’s wife, Julia stayed here with their son and slave Black Julia. Oscar Johnson, married to Walter’s daughter, bought the estate and began work on a park to give to the city but suddenly died in 1917. Now owners Mike and Jorja Lynn have picked up Oscar’s plan. The estate includes two English basement cottages, Featherston Place and Polk Place. Between Walter Place and the Cottages is a 15-acre botanical garden with walking trails, waterfalls fed by natural springs, ancient trees and flowers of the season.

Greenwood – 1837 – Greek Revival

The house was once the home of Roger Barton who was nominated to congress, the Senate and U.S. Consul in Havana. All of which he refused. Greenwood is said to have been built when Holly Springs was an Indian trading post and there were little to no other houses built. The home does not face the street because, legend has it, there was nothing between the house and the town square at the time and Mr. Barton wanted to sit on his porch and be able to see everything going on downtown. The home was also used as a Catholic girl’s school until 1907. In 1979 a restoration began which unearthed a small tunnel beneath the dinning room said to have hidden valuables and used for escape during the Civil War. In uncovering the walls it was found that small trees still covered in bark were used for studs.

Magnolias- 1852- Gothic Revival

This home built by William F. Mason, one of the founders of the town, and features hip roof with intricate cast-iron balustrade, posts and frieze made by the Jones-Mcllwain foundry in Holly Springs showing New Orleans influences. The Tudor arched entrance has a door which bears the marks of a bayonet thrust through it during the Civil War. It is said that a group of Federal soldiers saw a black man walking while they rode into town and bullied him into telling them who the richest man in town was and where he lived. He replied Mr. Mason so the soldiers came to the house and used their bayonets to jab the front door as well as the eyes from the portraits throughout the house after destroying every piece of china and tearing out many of the keys in the piano. The home was also used largely in the movie Cookies Fortune in 1999 which is where it received its pink paint color..

Hamilton Place- 1850- Greek Revival

Built by William F. Mason for his son Carrington and new wife Marie Bodie, accredited for saving Holly Springs with her piano, the home was the first mansion built in town. Marie Bodie studied piano under acclaimed pianist Mr. Wollenhaupt in New York and was given a one of a kind Steinway piano as a wedding gift from her husband when they relocated from Memphis. The rosewood instrument was chosen and presented by Henry E. Steinway, the founder of Steinway and Sons, himself. After the Van Dorn Raid Union General Benjamin Henry Grierson was ordered to take revenge on the town by burning it to the ground. He approached the grandest house in town to begin his fury when he noticed the beautiful piano. Marie was upstairs when she heard a song written just for her by her beloved teacher being played downstairs. She sauntered down to question the musician and found out Grierson had studied under the same teacher. The industrious woman invited him back night after night for impromptu concerts where he soon confided: “You and your piano can take credit for saving Holly Springs”. The home originally had three floors and six massive Corinthian columns but was hit by lightening and partially burned in 1927. The columns were never replaced.

Walthall Freeman Clark Place- 1840- Log House

This was the boyhood home of Major General Edward Carey Walthall and eventually Kate Freeman Clark, Walthall’s granddaughter. Kate came to live in the house after she left a blooming 30 year painting career in New York where she studied under renowned artist William Merritt Chase. She painted over 1,000 works but refused to sell any stating they were the children she never had. When she returned to Holly Springs she never painted again. In her will she left funds to build a gallery to house all of her paintings, with the exception of one she donated to the Brooks Art Gallery in Memphis, and to this day The Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery is the only gallery in the world to house only the works of a single person.

Grey Gables- 1848- Italianate

Originally a modest house when first built; this home was renovated in 1872 by James J. House a flamboyant figure in Holly Springs. The large arched porches are lavishly embellished with millwork spindrels, the bohemian windows on the façade are framed with decorative cast iron lintels and feature embellishments of gold dust which allow the occupants to see out but no one to see in and the hand carved woodwork in the double parlor were carved in the memory of Mr. House’s son who drowned in a lily pond on the property. The carvings are of a little boy with wings who was copied from the Greek mythology of “Icarus” who with his adventurous spirit and his wings of wax, flew too close to the sun melting the wax and fell into the ocean and drowned. The home is also the first in Holly Springs to have indoor plumbing. Wooden tubs in the attic collected rainwater which filled the wooden, zinc lined bathroom tub which are all still in the house.

Finley Place- 1856- Greek Revival

Mrs. Rufus Jones built this house for her daughter who married Dr. Bernard Shuford, a surgeon in the Confederate army and during the Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant’s personal physician used the house with his medical personnel. The home was designed by Spires Bolling whose famous trademark can be seen in the majestic octagonal columns which were on both the front and back of the house until a one-of-a-kind two story solarium was built on the back. The home was donated to the Audubon Society and now serves as part of the Audubon headquarters located in Strawberry Plains/ Davis Home.

Airliewood- 1858- Swiss Chalet- Gothic

Built in 1858 as a town house for planter Will Henry Coxe of Galena Plantation, this Gothic villa is based on designs by noted Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan. The iron fence and massive entrance gates are identical to those at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point which may be why General Ulysses S. Grant occupied the mansion as his military headquarters during the Civil War. Troops camped around the 15 acre estate and are credited with removing all by four of the silver door knobs which are still in the home and shooting off all of the pickets on the magnificent fence which were eventually replaced by the current owners who also had lab testing done to replicate all of the original colors throughout the home. Airliewood has undergone a complete and detailed restoration with an addition of a private residence built behind the mansion utilizing the same distinctive Gothic architectural features.

Athenia - 1858 - Greek Revival

Judge J. W. Clapp, a member of the Confederate Congress, built this house after the original house built in 1839 by General A. B. Bradford burned down. During the Civil War the judge escaped capture by hiding in the far left, when facing the home, Corinthian column. The house passed into the hands of General Absolom M. West who was twice nominated as Vice- President of the United States and also Mr. Dancy a druggist who invented “Indian Queen” hair straightener which made him a fortune. The opulence can be seen in the original bronze gasoliers and Zuber wallpaper. It is considered the finest example of Greek Revival architecture in Mississippi.

Montrose & Montrose Arboretum- 1858- Greek Revival

Montrose was built by Alfred Brooks as a wedding present to his daughter, Margaret who died shortly after during the birth of her fifth child. The house features a graceful circular stairway, parquet floors, beautiful cornices and ornate medallions which were refurbished by Minnie Wooten Johnson who purchased the home in 1938. In Minnie’s will she left the home to the city of Holly Springs under the grounds that it be rented to the Holly Springs Garden Club in the amount of $1 a month for 100 years. In 1981 the Montrose Arboretum was designated the site of the Mississippi Statewide Arboretum. The site features 50 different specimens of native trees all labeled with common and botanical names. The home was also featured in Hollywood movies including: “Cookie’s Fortune”, “Heart of Dixie” and “Third of July, 1862”.

Heritage- 1870- French Italianate

Built by C. J. Antey, an early Holly Springs druggist, the surprisingly large home features Venetian glass and an original parquet ceiling. Mr. Antey’s drug store located on the Square was the only business that did not close during the Yellow Fever Epidemic. WR.B. Hill, the first white child born in Holly Springs, fell in love with Athey’s daughter but the wedding was called off the night before because Mrs. Athey had a premonition that the pairing were doomed for disaster. The pair continued to see each other and were finally married 20 years later when Mrs. Athey died. They served the original wedding cake which had been preserved all that time with bouts of brandy. All who attended said the cake was delicious.

Wakefield- 1858- Greek Revival

Holly Springs contractor and merchant Joel Wynne built the house. After the Civil War, Mrs. Anne Dickens, a widow from Kentucky, bought the house and was criticized for entertaining Union soldiers during the war. The rumors proved to be true when Union Lieut. W. A. Newton, who was the most hated military figure in the county, and Mrs. Dickens fell in love and married. They moved away in 1880 and the home then went to a gambler who wagered the home in a poker game and lost. The home was in his wife’s name but she honored the bet and moved out. The current dining table in the home, marked and dated 1830 by Berkey and Gay, first belonged to Reverend Newitt Vick, founder of Vicksburg.

Cedarhurst- 1857- French Gothic

The entire porch, including balustrade, is constructed of lacy cast iron grillwork made at the local Jones-Mcllwain Foundary. The home has only had two owners, Dr. Charles Bonner and the Belk family. Sherwood Bonner, Dr. Bonner’s daughter was the secretary and protégé to Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and was known for her Southern dialect stories. She used scenes of Holly Springs in her novel “Like Unto Like”. While with Longfellow in Boston she heard of the Yellow Fever Epidemic that had stricken her home town and, even at the urging of her teacher to stay in Boston to fulfill her bright literary future, returned home to find her father and brother stricken. She stayed by their sides until they both passed away on the same day and never returned to Boston.

Hilltop- 1858- Greek Revival

Half of the house was torn away in the late 1940s, leaving an unusual small home with big house features. The home is located at the top of a glen where springs mark the settlement of Holly Springs. The Fennell family is credited with its construction and were known for their large family of 19 children.

Kate Freeman Clark Art Gallery

The gallery holds most of the paintings and drawings of renowned artist Kate Freeman Clark, a Holly Springs native who went to New York in the 1890’s to study art under famous painter William Merrit Chase. In 1922 Kate returned to Holly Springs with the passing of her mother and teacher and never painted again. In her lifetime she painted over 1,000 paintings and refused to sell any stating they were her unborn children. Upon her death she left funds to build an art museum to house her paintings. It is the only gallery in the world to showcase the art of a single artist.

Strawberry Plains- 1851- Greek Revival

Strawberry Plains was built in the 1850s by Eben Davis, believed to be a cousin of Jefferson Davis, Resident of the Confederacy. In 1863 Eben Davis had gone to war, leaving his wife home with six grandchildren who had the measles. A Union general came with his men and pounded the door, informing Mrs. Davis that they were going to torch the house and she had 10 minutes to get out. The grounds were burned and the Davis family lived in the remains until the 1950s when the Finley’s bought the property. Margaret Finley Shackelford willed it to the Audubon Society for use as its headquarters.

Marshall County Courthouse- 1837

Once Marshall County was deemed the county seat owners of the land on which the courthouse is now located on made a donation of 50 acres to the city. The tract of land sold for enough money to not only build a courthouse and jail but also the first school which was housed in the courthouse. It was originally surrounded by a wooden fence and hitching posts which were later replaced by a cast iron fence that was eventually sold at public auction and is now surrounding Burton Place. During the Van Dorn Raid much of the Square was burned to the ground including the original courthouse. It was rebuilt exactly as it was before in 1890.

Chewalla Lake

Located just 5 miles north of town in the Holly Springs National Forest, the lake is a popular spot to fish, picnic and swim. The site features boat ramps, fishing pier, 40 picnic sites, tent sites, RV hookups, swimming beach complete with sand and miles of walking trails.

Fitch Farms- Galena Plantation

A 7,000 acre working plantation and lodge with accommodations in restored Pre-Civil War cabins including the original home of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Guests can enjoy some of the finest quail, deer and turkey hunting in the state or just simply ride horseback among the majestic trees.

Wall Doxey State Park

Just 7 miles from town, the park features tent sites, modern cabins, RV hookups as well as meeting and event facilities. Guests can enjoy a 60 acre lake offering great fishing, water playground, boat ramps, nature trails, picnic shelters, swimming activity area and Frisbee golf course.

Hillcrest Cemetery- 1837

A sculpture garden with a deep history lesson, Hillcrest is a park-like resting place for great numbers of illustrious figures throughout history. Also known as “Little Arlington”, the cemetery is home to 11 confederate generals as well as the unclaimed body of an unnamed Union soldier. Other notables include: Hiram Revels, the first African American senator; Kate Freeman Clark, renowned painter; Albert Herr, eighth son to the king of Germany; George Anderson, noted pilot who first explored Antarctica and many famous writers. The site is also the resting place of The Yellow Fever Martyrs, Father Oberti and 6 of the Sisters of Charity who perished while taking care of those struck as well as two unmarked mass graves for the yellow fever victims who were buried instead of burned.

Chalmers Institute- 1837

Initially known as the Holly Springs Literary Institution, it was chartered by an 1839 act of the Mississippi Legislature as “The University of Holly Springs”, making it the first university in the state of Mississippi. In 1847 Rev. Samuel McKinney reopened the school under a new name: Chalmers Institute for Thomas Chalmers (1780-1847), a hero in the struggle to bring religious freedom to Scotland.
Plans are underway to preserve this historic structure into a trade school for teaching historic preservation technology & crafts.

Holly Springs Raceway

An 1/8 mile NHRA approved track with family fun racing on Saturday & Sunday. Saturday gates open at 3:00, Time Trials at 5:00 eliminations at 7:00. Sunday gates open at 3:00 Time Trials at 4:00 eliminations at 5:00. Also every Sunday, Test-N-Tune and grudge racing.

Cottrell Cemetery

Cottrell Cemetery is the final resting place for many noted African Americans who played important roles in Holly Springs and the South, including Bishop Elias Cottrell, the founding father of Mississippi Industrial College; Natalie Doxey, founder and director of the famous Rust College A’Cappella Choir; and Osborne Bell, Marshall County’s first African American Sheriff.

Train Depot

The Swiss Chalet style building built during the Victorian period once housed hotel rooms as well as a banquet hall sitting over 200 people. A century ago the Holly Springs Depot was the social hub and cultural center of the mid-south since the Illinois Central Line, built as the Mississippi Central Line in the 1850’s connecting the north with the south, and the San Francisco Line, built in the 1880’s connecting the east and west, converged at this point.

It has been speculated Federal General Ulysses S. Grant slept here on a cot while occupying Holly Springs during the Civil War. His wife and son were staying at Walter Place while Grant was sending and receiving telegrams at all hours of the night so many believe he would have stayed there not only to stay in immediate contact but to also keep his wife and son out of harms way.

The original Depot was badly burned during Van Dorn’s Raid but is still housed within the current Depot built shortly after the war ended.

Annie’s Restaurant

Enjoy a soulful menu of home-cooked favorites just like Mamma used to make!

198 North Memphis St. 662-252-4222
Open Monday 11am -3pm, Tuesday- Saturday 11am -7pm & Sunday 11am -6pm

Granny Walnuts Sweet Shop & Deli

Sit down and relax with a plate lunch or deli sandwich after cruising through

their fun collectables.

130 East College Ave. 662-252-9888
Open Monday- Friday 8am -2pm

JB’s Family Restaurant

Savor the best biscuits and gravy in town!

120 Heritage Dr. 662-274-0705
Open Monday- Sunday 6am- 10pm

Phillips Grocery

Try one of their world renowned hamburgers in the famous two-story building

that was once a bar & brothel with early 1900’s decor.
“One of the world’s greatest burgers!” -USA Today.

541 East Van Dorn Ave. 662-252-4671
Open Monday- Thursday 10am -4pm, Friday 10am -5pm & Saturday 10am -6pm