prior to the civil war the forks of the road slave market was the largest in mississippi and the second largest in the country. in 1807 the u.s. government prohibited the importation of slaves from africa but there was a surplus of slaves in maryland and virginia which were sold in the south. slaves traders isaac franklin and john armfield conducted an annual caravan of slaves from virginia to natchez. in 1833 the city of natchez prohibited slave trading in the city for fear of cholera epidemics. as a result of this law the forks at the road site became natchez's major slave market. today there is little to see at the site of the forks at the road but it is still an interesting spot to visit for students of american history.
I know I'm not the only one who finds it interesting roaming through old cemeteries because I've heard from some of you. It makes for such an historical record! The Natchez City Cemetery was established in 1822, but nearby is The Gardens, circa 1794.
The area near Memorial Park was once a burial ground, but once this cemetery was completed the graves were moved here. You'll find people from all over the world interred within these gates. The cemetery is a grassy park-like plot dotted with large oaks, cypress trees, pretty camellias, azaleas and roses plus stately monuments, mausoleums and statuary.
The cemetery is open daily from dawn to dusk. Individuals or groups are welcome, but please be respectful as you wander through the acreage.
FYI: Once a year in November, an 'Angels on the Bluff' tour takes visitors through the cemetery, where costumed actors tell of the life and death of certain idividuals buried here. Tickets can be purchased at the visitor's center (1-601-446-6345)
For an unobstructed view of the Mighty Mississippi, travel to Natchez-Under-The-Hill, where you'll not only find a casino housed inside a Paddleboat, but a few quaint buildings erected during an earlier time of Natchez's somewhat colorful history--this was a rough part of town where you'd find brothels, bars, taverns and fistfights.
This area was also a waterfront which saw 'thousands of steamboats, paddle wheelers, barges, flatboats and quarter boats arrive to its shores'. Many accidents were caused by inept pilots at the wheel. There were also boiler explosions and fires, accounting for loss of life. Eventually passenger service declined and the freight traffic increased.
Carts and mules delivered goods from the waterfront to other parts of Natchez. A mule driven trolley carted folks up the hill.
In the 1930's the US Army Corps of Engineers tinkered with an upstream loop on the river, causing it to flow faster and stronger than before. In times of flooding, this landing became eroded. Recent flooding in 1997, caused this area to be closed for a time.
Today there are a number of restaurants, gift shop and of course, gambling, offered here in Natchez-Under-The-Hill. We dined at one of these restaurants, The Magnolia Grill--please see the tip.
FYI: The first steamboat to arrive in Natchez, was the New Orleans in 1811. For more history, go to the website below.
the natchez visitor reception center is a good first stop on a visit to natchez. at the visitor reception center you can get information on hotels, restaurants, and the historic attractions of natchez.
the house on ellicott hill was built in 1798 and is one of the oldest houses in natchez. the house on ellicott hill is located at the terminus of the natchez trace. the house on ellicott hill is listed on the national register of historic places. the house on ellicott hill is owned and operated by the natchez garden club. see their web site for admission info.
greenlea is a beautiful greek revival home built by edward templeton in 1855. sadly for mr. templeton is that he died before it's completion. not open to the public except during the natchez pilgrimage.
Built by Haller and Julia Nutt, 1860-1861, Longwood is said to be the grandest octagonal house in America. Unlike the other Natchez mansions, which are primarily in the Greek Revival style, Longood is a superb example of mid-19th century Oriental style.
Unfortunately, because of the outbreak of the War Between the States, and the untimely death of Mr. Nutt, the house was never finished. However, Julia and her several children finished the spacious basement and lived there for many years.
The unfinished nature of Longwood is both a bane and a blessing. The basement rooms contain original furnishings and artwork, while the upstairs provides a glimpse of the intricate details of the construction. It is also a sober reminder of the devastating change of life in the South as a result of the War.
Today Longwood is owned by the City of Natchez and is operated by the Pilgrimage Garden Club. The dome atop the house was reconstructed in 1993. The house and grounds, a National Historic Landmark, is open for tours and is a "must see" for those who visit Natchez.
Forks of the Road is small park on the northeast side of Natchez that marks the spot of what was once the second largest slave market in the United States. An interpretative exhibit tells the story of the slave trade.
Slavery, which has been practiced in almost every country of the world, is one of the greatest blights in the history of mankind and one of the most misunderstood. Although the majority of slaves were Africans and the majority of slave owners were whites of European descent, it was far more complex than a simple black and white situation. There were also white slaves wtih fair skin, blue eyes and sandy hair. Slave owners included whites, American Indians, and also thousands of free blacks. The politically correct (albeit historically inaccurate) concept of slavery puts all the guilt on one race and makes all members of the other race victims.
As new economic realities, as well as conscience, brought a gradual phasing out of slavery in the northern states, most of the northern slaves were not freed but were "sold down the river" to southern plantations. Actually far more free blacks lived in the South than in the North. Some northern states were so racist that they did not allow blacks within their borders whether slave or free.
To those who have an interest in learning more about this tragic chapter in American history, I highly recommend a book which I saw on the shelves of a bookstore in Natchez, "The Myths of American Slavery.
Rosalie is an antebellum house built in the 1820s by Peter Little.
The house is situated not far from the old site of Fort Rosalie.
It served as Union Headquarters during the civil war. But the furniture is still intact because General Walter Gresham had the furniture and fragile pieces taken to the attic and locked away .
The house is now owned by the Mississippi Daughters of the American Revolution.
Daily Tours: 9:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tours include the first and second floor.
Only 10 miles south of Natchez is this wonderful wildlife area. The nature was overwhelming. But it came as shock to us that there is legal hunting in a wildlife refuge area.
We always thought refuge meant shelter.....
Nevertheless it was a great area to visit and enjoy.
This beautiful mansion is located on the Mississippi Bluff near the site of the Natchez Indians' massacre of the French at Fort Rosalie. It was the headquarters of the Union Army during the Civil War.
It is enhanced by wide galleries, simple columns, and Federal fanlights above the exterior doors. The house is set inside an antique cypress picket fence, adjoining the Bicentennial Garden, a four-acre park overlooking the mighty Mississippi.
d' evereux is located near the forks at the road about three miles east of downtown natchez. this beautiful greek revival plantation house was built in 1836. d' evereux was the home of william s. elliott a wealthy natchez planter. d' evereux is listed on the national register of historic places. not open to the public but you can photograph the home from the driveway.
While D'Evereux is a private residence, it is okay for one to drive through the driveway. Please do not attempt to access the porches, house or dependencies. Also, it was built in 1836, not in 1840. The grounds once included the Baptist Church yard for a total of 80 acres.
Built in 1858 by Thomas Henderson, a planter of cotton and merchant, Magnolia Hall is a huge home in the old aristocrat part of town. The two story columns in front portico show off that magnificence. Henderson had a stroke and died around 1864. They had family traumas and this ended up with Natchez Garden Club in 1984 to maintain. It was damaged in Civil War, but restored for damaged portions. The furniture is period authentic. Tours are 9:30-3:30 Mon-SAt and fee is $5.
This is another tragedy in the time of the Civil War. Most laborers were brought here from the north and Italy to do the work, when it started in 1859-bad timing- They stayed until the final day when the war broke out and after if was over, the family was broke and out of funds. The father, Haller Nutt, had died during the war and one son.
The building is octagon shape, and was to be 6 storied with the observatory on top. Intent was for 32 rooms on about 15000 SF. Imagine the beauty if finished. What a shame. This could have been a stand out of the proud Old South if completed.
It is called the "oriental villa". Nutt completed only the basement level to live in during the war. The family lived in the cellar until 1897. Children/heirs owned until 1968 and now maintained by Pilgrimage Garden Club.