Natchez

Natchez


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Natchez, the youngest son of Cochise, was born in 1856. His mother, Dos-teh-seh, was the daughter of Mangas Coloradas. As a young man he took part in raids on white settlers and in 1872 was with his father when he met Brigadier General Oliver Howard. This resulted in the establishment of the Chricahua Reservation in Arizona.

Taza, Cochise's older son, became chief when his father died in 1874. Two years later Taza died and Natchez became the leader of the Chiricahuas Apaches.

In September 1880, Natchez joined Geronimo and Juh in an attempt to lead their people from the San Carlos Reservation into the Sierra Madre. However, in 1883 General George Crook managed to persuade the Apaches to return to Arizona.

Natchez and Geronimo broke out again in May 1885. Once again General Crook was sent after them. Natchez lived in the Sierra Madre until he was caught by Crook in September, 1886. Natchez now joined the all-Indian "I" Company, 12th Infantry at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

In 1897 Natchez worked as a scout for Captain Hugh Scott and the 7th Cavalry. After leaving the army he moved to the Mescalero Reservation in New Mexico.

Natchez died on 16th March, 1919.


History & Culture

U. S. Senator Roger Wicker and Congressman Greg Harper at the opening of Fort Rosalie in 2016 during the Natchez Tricentennial.

Natchez National Historical Park tells the story of Natchez in the American South. The park protects the sites and structures associated with the peoples of Natchez and its surrounding area from earliest inhabitants to the modern era. The name Natchez is derived from the "Natchez" American Indians who inhabited the area at the time of European exploration. The historic sites maintained by the park, and the surrounding preservation district, give visitors an opportunity to understand the region's social political, and economic development, particularly in the pre-and-post Civil War era's. They also provide insights into the region's commercial and agricultural history, especially in relation to the Mississippi River, slavery, and cotton.

The park is composed of five NPS owned properties: Forks of the Road, Fort Rosalie, Melrose, the William Johnson House, the Natchez Visitor Center, and a larger area known as the preservation district.

In June, 2021, Natchez National Historical Park began the acquisition of the nationally significant Forks of the Road, the second largest slave market in the Deep South. Working with the City of Natchez, the National Park Foundation, and the Friends of the Forks of the Road, the park is in the process of compiling a long-range development and interpretive plan for the site.

Constructed in the 1840s, the suburban estate, Melrose, was built by a wealthy attorney and cotton planter and was home to his family and 22 enslaved people who lived and worked there. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, the main house on the estate has been called "One of the Great Houses of the American South." The estate is recognized not only for the high quality and finishes of the Greek Revival mansion and intact grouping of outbuildings, but also for the collection of 19th century original furnishings that have been well maintained and preserved over the years.

William Johnson, known as "The Barber of Natchez," was born into slavery but was freed at the age of 11. Johnson eventually owned several barber shops, rental property, a farm, and timberland but his greatest contribution may very well be his lengthy personal and business diary that offers a glimpse of antebellum southern life and relations between whites and non-enslaved blacks. William Johnson's townhouse is in downtown Natchez.

Established by the French among the Natchez people on the eastern bank of the Mississippi River in 1716, Fort Rosalie was intended to guarantee control of the largest and most navigable river in North America. The fort anchored a European settlement that survived three different periods of European rule over the course of the 1700s (French, British, and Spanish) and developed into the capital of the Mississippi Territory under United States governance at the end that century. The settlement coalesced into the town of Natchez, and the territory into the state of Mississippi in 1817.

In 2020, Natchez National Historical Park acquired the Natchez Visitors Center, a 25,000 sq. ft. facilty located near the Mississippi River bridge. The visitor center serves not only as a Mississippi State Welcome Center but also as the Southern Terminus for the Natchez Trace Parkway. Here, visitors to Natchez can enjoy exhibits, a gift shop, panoramic view of the river, and assistance from a knowlegeable and welcoming staff in planning their visit to the greater Natchez area.

The community of Natchez, the nonprofit Historic Natchez Foundation, and the National Park Service work in partnership to enhance the city's preservation landscape. Today, much of the city's 19th century built environment maintains a high level of preservation through the designation of 8 National Register of Historic Places districts, 13 national historic landmarks, and the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recognized Forks of the Road slave market site. These preserved sites provide a collective historic context that includes NPS owned properties and strengthens educational and interpretive efforts between the National Park Service and the surrounding community.


The traders

The importance of the Forks of the Road as a slave market increased dramatically when Isaac Franklin of Tennessee rented property there in 1833. Franklin and his business partner, John Armfield of Virginia, were soon to become the most active slave traders in the United States. Franklin and Armfield were among the first professional slave traders to take advantage of the relatively low prices for slaves in the Virginia–Maryland area, and the profit potential offered by the growing market for slaves in the Deep South.

Armfield managed the firm’s slave pen in Alexandria, Virginia, while Franklin established and ran the firm’s markets at Natchez and New Orleans. By the 1830s, they were sending more than 1,000 slaves annually from Alexandria to their Natchez and New Orleans markets to help meet the demand for slaves in Mississippi and surrounding states.


SEE WHY WE HAVE THE TOP TOURS IN NATCHEZ!

This is one of the best tours I have ever been on! The history is amazing! The knowledge of the people working the tour was unparalleled! You could tell they loved being a part of the history and sharing it with others!! I would love to go back and take my mom to enjoy this!!

I visit Natchez yearly and Natchez Pilgrimage Tours is the place to purchase your pilgrimage tickets. Not only are they friendly and helpful, you feel like you are chatting with old friends who are glad to see you!

There are so many beautiful homes in Natchez. I'm not sure how anyone could plan a trip there without the Natchez Pilgrimage Tours website! It was so helpful and the tours we booked were unforgettable. I highly recommend a trip to Natchez and using this website as a resource.

When I traveled to Natchez, MS my friends and I wanted to explore several of the historic homes. We didn't know where to begin, and found The Natchez Pilgrimage Tours website to be a very useful resource and made our travel planning much easier! Would recommend!

I travel to Natchez from Springfield, MO at least two times each year, for Spring and Fall pilgrimage. I always purchase tickets from Natchez Pilgrimage Tours and find them extremely helpful and friendly. Whether someone is traveling to Natchez for the first time or the 50th time, starting with Natchez Pilgrimage Tours is very helpful. I'll be returning in late September.

We bought tickets online for this event. Upon arriving at the church, it appeared that we were the only ones arriving. Soon afterwards, a tour bus pulled up and unloaded. The music and story telling is just magnificent and beautiful and moving. Don't miss this as it stands alone for excellence!

&ndash Mary Kathryn H. | TripAdvisor

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Start your Natchez Trace Road Trip in Nashville

Judy and I flew to Nashville to soak in the lively atmosphere of Music City and take in a performance at the Grand Ole Opry. The next morning, we entered the beginning (or end) of the well-marked Trace at the Double Arch Bridge.

As bridges go, the Double Arch is a lovely thing, impressive in its simplicity. However, getting our first glimpse of the scenic Parkway, made us feel conflicted. We wanted to continue down the canopy-covered road, but our plans included a longed-for visit to Graceland in Memphis. Elvis was calling.

We detoured to Memphis and found those ghosts of Elvis—lurking among his home, costumes and platinum records. The King still reigns supreme at Graceland.


Legends of America

The Natchez Chief was known as the “Great Sun”

The Natchez are a Native American people who originally lived in the Natchez Bluffs area, near the present-day city of Natchez, Mississippi. The name, belonging to a single town, was extended to the tribe and entire group of towns, which also included peoples of different blood who had been conquered by the Natchez or had taken refuge with them. The Tioux and Grigras were two unrelated nations under the protection of the Natchez.

On his trek up the Mississippi River in 1699, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville described eight tribal towns in addition to Natchez. It is probably safe to infer that the nine towns, including Natchez, represented the entire group.

Antoine-Simon Le Page du Pratz, another explorer in the area, alluded to a tradition that the Taensa and Chitimacha were formerly united with the Natchez, but, left them, though the latter had always recognized them as brothers. The Taensa were probably an offshoot of the Natchez, but, the Chitimacha were of a distinct linguistic family.

The Natchez attack the French

It is difficult to form an estimate of the numerical strength of this tribe, as the figures given vary widely. It is probable that in 1682 when first visited by the French, they numbered about 6,000, and were able to put from 1,000 to 1,200 warriors in the field. The Natchez engaged in three wars with the French, in 1716, 1722, and 1729. The last, which proved fatal to their nation, was caused by the attempt of the French governor, Chopart, to occupy the site of their principal village as a plantation, and it opened with a general massacre of the French at Fort Rosalie, established in 1716. The French, in retaliation, attacked the Natchez villages with a strong force of Choctaw allies, and in 1730, the Natchez abandoned their villages.

A small section remained not far from their former home, and a second group fled to Sicily island, near the Washita River, where they were attacked early in 1731 by the French, at which time many of them were killed, and about 450 captured and sold into slavery in Santo Domingo. The third and most numerous division was received by the Chickasaw and built a village near them in north Mississippi, called Nanne Hamgeh. In 1735 these refugees numbered 180 warriors or a total of about 700.

That same year, another group of Natchez refugees settled in South Carolina by permission of the colonial government, but some years later moved up to the Cherokee country, where they still kept their distinct town and language up to about the year 1800. The principal body of refugees, however, had settled on Tallahassee Creek, an affluent of Coosa River. In 1799, their warriors were estimated to have been about 50. Having suffered severe losses, the remainder scattered far and wide among other tribes.

The Natchez and other tribes on the lower Mississippi River occupied a somewhat atypical position among the Indians. They seem to have been a strictly sedentary people, depending for their livelihood chiefly upon agriculture. They developed considerable skill in the arts and wove a textile fabric from the inner bark of the mulberry which they employed for clothing. They made excellent pottery and raised mounds of earth upon which to erect their dwellings and temples. They were also one of the eastern tribes that practiced head flattening.

Generally, the Natchez were peaceable, though, like other tribes, they were involved in frequent quarrels with their neighbors. All accounts agree in attributing to them an extreme form of sun worship and a highly developed ritual. Moreover, the position and function of the chief among them differed markedly from that among other tribes, as their head chief seems to have had absolute power over the property and lives of his subjects. On his death, his wives were expected to surrender their lives, and parents offered their children as sacrifices. The nation was divided into two classes — nobility and commoners.

It was a strongly matrilineal society with descent recognized along female lines, and the leadership passed from the chief, named “Great Sun”, to his sister’s son which ensured the chiefdom stayed within one clan. They spoke a language that has no known close relatives, although it may be very distantly related to the Muskogean languages of the Creek Confederacy.

Grand Village of the Natchez, Mississippi

Today, most Natchez families and communities are found in Oklahoma, in two primary settlements within the southern halves of the Muscogee and Cherokee Nations. Two Natchez communities are also recognized by the state of South Carolina. Small Natchez communities and settlements can also be found in and throughout the Southeast. The nation developed a constitution in 2003, which confirms its long-held traditions of self-government. Approximately 6,000 Natchez are members of the nation. The last speaker of the language died in 1965.

More Information:

Natchez Nation
PO Box 484
Gore, Oklahoma 74435
918-506-9404

Compiled and edited by Kathy Weiser/Legends of America, updated October 2019.


10 Interesting Historical Facts About The Natchez Trace

This exceptional old trail is full of ghost stories, historical anecdotes, and unique scenery you won’t find anywhere else!

Home » 10 Interesting Historical Facts About The Natchez Trace

The Historic Natchez Trace Parkway

Whether you’ve traveled the beautiful Natchez Trace Parkway many times or planning your visit, you’re probably aware that there’s quite a bit of American history (10,000 years to be exact) along this 444-mile National Scenic Byway and All-American Road. This exceptional old trail is full of ghost stories, historical anecdotes, and unique attractions you won’t find anywhere else. Want to hear more? Take a look at these top 10 historical facts about the Natchez Trace.

    from gunshot wounds on the Trace, supposedly. He was on his way to Washington, D.C. and historians still debate whether it was suicide or murder that took his life.
  1. The old Trace was full of highwaymen. One was Joseph Thompson Hare, who’s said to have buried his unfaithful mistress alive near the trail. He was thereafter haunted by the vision of a phantom white horse, until he was hanged for his crimes in 1818.
  1. U.S. President Andrew Jackson was known as “old hickory.” It seems he got this name due to his perseverance while leading troops down the dangerous route during the War of 1812.

Jackson Falls at milepost 404 is also named for Andrew Jackson.

  1. Historians believe the Natchez Trace was originally formed by herds of bison traveling to salt licks near Nashville, TN from the Mississippi River.
  1. A good bit of the Trace’s 19 th century traffic was from Kaintucks, traders who floated goods down the Mississippi River then traveled back north on foot.
  1. Milepost 423.9 marks the Tennessee Valley Divide. In 1796, this was the southern border of the United States, with the Chickasaw Nation to the south.
    , located at milepost 286.7, is a complex of eight ancient burial mounds dating to roughly 2,000 years ago. This trading hub was very active during its time.
  1. The West Florida Boundary is located at milepost 107.9. A territory administered in part by France, Great Britain, and Spain, rebels in part of the territory established the Republic of West Florida for 90 days in 1810.
  1. The first recorded traveler on the Trace was an unknown Frenchman in 1742. He wrote of the hardships of the trail and its “miserable conditions.”
  1. The Trace was first officially known as the “Columbian Highway.” The name was given by President Thomas Jefferson, who ordered expansion of the trail to build links to the distant Mississippi territory.

Ready to get out there and explore what cool facts you can dig up on your own? Visit our website and our friends at the National Park Service to learn more about this fascinating 444-mile historic route.

You can download our free Visitors Guide here. Get social with us and follow The Natchez Trace on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!


Slaves strike back

The most famous case in which Natchez slaves murdered their overseer occurred in 1857. Duncan Skinner, a cruel white overseer of Clarissa Sharpe’s Cedar Grove Plantation southeast of Natchez, was found dead in the woods. Some thought Skinner had fallen from his horse, but Skinner’s brother, Jesse, did not believe that was possible and asked for an inquiry. A group of planters investigated Skinner’s death. The planters tortured Cedar Groves slaves and forced them not only to confess to the murder, but to also falsely implicate a white carpenter, John McCallin, as instigator of the killing. Local planters resented McCallin’s designs on the widow and used the implications of murder to run him out of town. McCallin claimed he was innocent that he had nothing to do with the murder. Even though a jury consisting of these same planters found McCallin guilty of lying and complicity, he was not sentenced. There was no evidence there was only the forced confession of the slaves, who could not testify against a white man in court. The planters instead issued a public warning against him. McCallin was innocent and the planters knew it.

The planters knew what had really happened: they knew that Cedar Groves slaves had killed Skinner because he was a cruel overseer. After less than five minutes of deliberations, a jury found three Cedar Groves slaves guilty of Skinner’s murder. They were publicly changed in December 1857.


Natchez Civil War Sites Driving Tour


Site 1: Natchez Visitor Center
Your driving tour of Civil War sites in Natchez begins at the Natchez Visitor Center which contains exhibits about regional history.

From the Natchez Visitor Center parking lot head southeast toward South Canal Street. Turn left onto South Canal Street and drive .66 miles and turn left onto Main Street and drive .06 miles. Turn left onto South Broadway Street and drive .03 miles. The Gazebo at Bluff Park will be on the right.

Historical Sketch of Bluff Park

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 2: Bandstand at Bluff Park
On April 30, 1865, to commemorate the assassination of President Lincoln, a procession of mourning moved through the streets of Natchez. Federal troops and Natchez citizens gathered around the bandsand in Bluff Park and listened to a eulogy presented by Mr. Dillingham of Maine, a U. S. Treasury agent.

Start out going southwest on South Broadway for .06 miles. Take the first right onto Silver Street and proceed down the hill, when you reach the bottom you have arrived at Natchez Under-The-Hill.

Federal occupation of Natchez Under-The-Hill

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 3: Natchez Under-The-Hill
On July 13, 1863, Federal troops, under the command of Brig. General Thomas Ransom, landed at Natchez Under-The-Hill and occupied the city without opposition. In his official report, Ransom noted "the citizens were completely surprised and hardly realized our design until the place was fully occupied and picketed."


Start out going southwest on Silver Street for .50 miles. Take the first left onto Washington Street and drive .06 miles. Turn left onto South Broadway Street and drive .06 miles and take the first left onto Orleans Street. The Rosalie Mansion is on the right.

Rosalie Mansion

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 4: Rosalie Mansion

Union officers established their headquarters at Rosalie, the classical revival home resting atop the bluffs. Members of the Wilson family continued to occupy the second floor of the house while Federal officers lived and worked downstairs.

Start out heading southeast on Orleans Street toward South Canal Street for .06 miles. Turn left onto South Canal Street and drive .57 miles. When you come to the North Canal Street and Madison Street intersection you have reached the site of former Fort McPherson.

Historic Map of Fort McPherson

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 5: Fort McPherson
Soon after their arrival, Federal troops began the creation of Fort McPherson, a large earthwork in the northern suburbs of the city. Designed by Capt. Peter Hains of the Engineering Corps, the fortification could accommodate 5,000 troops and provided an unobstructed view of the river and surrounding countryside.

Start out by going northwest on Madison Street towards Linton Avenue for .11 miles. Take the 2nd right onto Clifton Avenue and drive .13 miles to the end of the street.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 6: Clifton
Federal troops destroyed this palatial home of wealthy Natchezians Frank and Charlotte Surget, ostensibly because it impeded the construction of Fort McPherson. After touring the property before its demolition, Union Gen. Thomas Kilby Smith remarked that "one continuously wonders that such a paradise could be created here on earth."


Start out going southwest on Clifton Avenue towards Mulberry Street for .09 miles. Take the 1st left onto Mulberry Street and drive .08 miles. Take the 2nd left onto Linton Avenue and drive .31 miles. Take a slight left turn onto Maple Street and drive .04 miles. Turn slight left to stay on Maple Street and drive .26 miles. The site of the former Marine Hospital is on the right.

Marine Hospital

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 7: Marine Hospital
Designed by Robert Mills, architect of the Washington Monument, the Marine Hospital was one of the thirty such structures across the United States. Federal officers transferred many soldiers who had survived the Vicksburg campaign, to the facility for medical care and recuperation.

Start out going North on Maple Street toward National Cemetery for .01 miles. Take a slight left turn onto Cemetery Road and drive .09 miles. The Natchez city cemetery is on the right.

Natchez City Cemetery

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 8: Natchez City Cemetery
Laid out in 1822, the Natchez city cemetery has been described as one of the most interesting and beautiful in the South. The cemetery is the final resting place for many Confederate dead.

Start out going North on Cemetery Road for .31 miles. The Gardens is on the right.

The Gardens

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 9: The Gardens
Due to its close proximity to the Marine hospital and city cemetery, Federal troops used this 18th century house as a medical facility.

Start out going north on Cemetery Road for .15 miles. The Natchez National Cemetery is the right.

Natchez National Cemetery

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 10: Natchez National Cemetery
The Federal government purchased the original 11 acres site from local residents in 1866 although some of the earliest interments date from the 1850s. Notable graves include those of Wilson Brown, a former slave and Medal of Honor recipient, two Buffalo Soldiers, and members of the 58th U. S. Colored Soldiers.

Start out going south on Cemetery Road for .55 miles. Take slight right onto Maple Street and drive .46 miles. Turn left onto Oak Street and drive .06 miles. Wigwam is on the left just past Wigwam Alley.

Federal Troops at Wigwam

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 11: Wigwam
Douglas and Eliza Rivers were evicted from their home, The Wigwam, in the spring of 1864. Federal troops used the home as officer barracks and staff offices. This photo shows members of the 23rd Iowa Infantry on the front porch.

Start out going southeast on Oak Street and take the first left onto Myrtle Avenue and drive for .10 miles. The Towers is on the right.

The Towers

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 12: The Towers

Natchez's best example of Italianate architecture, this house served as headquarters for Fort McPherson. Union troops resided there with members of the Fleming family until their eviction in 1864.

Start out going southwest on Myrtle Avenue towards Oak Street for .10 miles. Take the 1st left onto Oak Street and drive .19 miles. Take the 3rd right onto North Union Street and drive .04 miles. The Burn is on the right.

The Burn

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 13: The Burn
The earliest purely Greek Revival mansion in Natchez, The Burn served as offices for the Engineering Department responsible for designing and constructing Fort McPherson. Prior to the occupation, The Burn was home to the John Walworth family.

Start out going southwest on North Union Street for .09 miles. Shields Town House is on the left.

Shields Town House

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 14: Shields Town House
The former owner of the Natchez Foundry, Maurice Lisle built this house in late 1850s. Lisle sold the foundry in 1858 and became a gas fitter, installing gas pipes and lines in scores of Natchez houses and businesses. The Union Army hired Lisle to assist in the construction of a water works inside Fort McPherson.

Start out going southwest on North Union Street for .02 miles. Take the first right onto B Street and drive for .07 miles. Take the first left onto North Commerce Street and drive .14 miles. Take the 2nd right onto Monroe Street and drive .15 miles. Take the 1st left onto North Wall Street and drive for .08 miles. Choctaw is on the right just past High Street.

Choctaw

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 15: Choctaw
Federal troops occupied the home of George Malin Davis, a Natchez lawyer and rabid secessionist known as a "fire eater." Family legend holds that troops picked the jeweled eyes of the inlaid birds from a valuable center table.

Start out going southwest on North Wall Street toward Jefferson Street for .05 miles. Take the 1st right onto Jefferson Street and drive .07 miles. Take the first right onto North Canal Street and drive .07 miles. Take the first right onto High Street and drive .22 miles. Stanton Hall is on the left just past North Pearl Street.

Stanton Hall

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 16: Stanton Hall
Stanton Hall is one of the great houses of the American South. In 1857, Frederick Stanton died shortly after the house was completed. Stanton's widow and family continued to occupy the opulent mansion throughout the 19th century.

Start out going southeast on High Street toward North Union Street for .21 miles. Turn right onto Franklin Street/US-84 Bus E/US-61 Bus N. Continue to follow US-84 Bus E/US-61 Bus N for .93 miles. Turn left onto Liberty Road and drive .07 miles. Turn left onto St. Catherine St/US-84 Bus/US-61 Bus S and drive .06 miles. Forks of the Road is on the left before you reach Junkin Street.

Historic Map of Forks of the Road

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 17: Forks of the Road
Prior to the Civil War, Forks of the Road was the second-largest slave market in the Deep South. After the Federal occupation of Natchez, members of the 14th Wisconsin and the 58th U. S. Colored Troops worked throughout the night to destroy the slave pens. The destruction of the market symbolized the end of slavery in the Natchez District.

Start out going west on St. Catherine Street/US-84 Bus W/US-61 Bus S toward Rembert Street for .01 miles. Take the 1st left onto Junkin Street and drive .09 miles. Take the 1st left into East Franklin Street/US-84 Bus E/US-61 Bus N and drive .08 miles. Take the first right to stay on East Franklin Street and drive .02 miles. Turn left to stay on East Franklin Street and drive .07 miles. East Franklin becomes Liberty Road, continue on Liberty Road for .62 miles. Turn left onto Old Pond Road and drive .05 miles. Take the 2nd left onto Oakhurst Drive and drive .07 miles. Oakland is on the right. If you reach Bayou Lane you’ve gone about .1 miles too far.

Oakland

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 18: Oakland
The home of John and Katherine Minor, this house was often referred to as the Union Hotel, due to the fact that the owners frequently entertained Federal officers. A member of a prominent slave-owning family, Katherine Minor once referred to herself as an "abolitionist at heart."

Start out going southeast on Oakhurst Drive toward Old Pond Road for .07 miles. Turn right onto Old Pond Road and drive .04 miles. Take the first right onto Liberty Road and drive for .62 miles. Liberty Road becomes East Franklin Street, continue on East Franklin Street for .04 miles. Take a slight left onto Main Street and drive .32 miles. Main Street turns into John A. Quitman Blvd., continue on John A. Quitman Blvd for .15 miles. Monmouth is on the right. If you reach East Franklin Street you’ve gone about .1 miles too far.

Site 19: Monmouth
Members of the 12th and 14th Wisconsin and 28th Illinois Infantry camped on the lawn of Monmouth, the former home of General John Quitman, once governor of the State of Mississippi and a Mexican war hero, who had died in 1858. Quitman's daughters, who had married Confederate officers, continued to reside there during the Federal occupation.

Start out going east on John A. Quitman Blvd. Take the first right onto Melrose Avenue and drive for .19 miles. Turn left onto Conner Circle. Linden is .04 miles ahead.

Linden

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 20: Linden
Jane Gustine Boyd Conner is often referred to as Natchez's "Mother of the Confederacy," as she sent all five sons and three sons-in-law into the Confederate ranks. The war took a heavy toll on Jane Conner's family she would lose one son, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, a sister-in-law, and seven grandchildren during the conflict.

Start out going northwest on Conner Circle for .04 miles. Turn left onto Melrose Avenue which will become Melrose Montebello Parkway and drive .40 miles. Melrose is on the left.

Melrose

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 21: Melrose (National Park Service site)
Although John McMurran, the builder of Melrose, was considered to be a Union man, his son, John Jr., joined Quitman's Light Artillery, a Confederate unit. After the occupation of Natchez, Federal troops set up a picket line at McMurran's front gate while members of the 58th U. S. Colored Troops regularly drilled on the front meadow, and McMurran was shot in the head while coming home from his law office one evening. He lost an eye but survived.

Start out going north on Melrose Montebello Parkway for .01 miles. Take the 1st left onto Ratcliff Place and drive .07 miles. Take the 2nd left onto Armstrong Street and drive .07 miles. Take the first right onto Duncan Avenue and drive .22 miles. Auburn is on the left.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 22: Auburn
Completed in 1812, Auburn was home to Stephen Duncan, widely recognized as one of the wealthiest planters in the South on the eve of the Civil War. In September 1863, the staunch Unionist and his family boarded the Forest Rose, a Union gunboat that had been put at their disposal. Duncan and his family lived in New York City for the remainder of the war.

Start out going west on Duncan Avenue toward Auburn Avenue for .44 miles. Turn left onto Homochitto Street and drive .02 miles. Hope Farm is on the left.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 23: Hope Farm
During the war, this house was home to the Elias Montgomery family. Three of the Montgomery sons would fight for the Confederacy, including Eli, Jr., age 14. Young Eli appears to have died in a Lauderdale Springs Hospital before seeing battle. He is buried in the Natchez City Cemetery with a tombstone emblazoned with the words, "Victim of War."

Start out going north on Homochitto Street for .31 miles. Dunleith is on the left .2 miles past Dunleith Street.

Dunleith

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 24: Dunleith
The only remaining house in Mississippi with an encircling colonnade, Dunleith was built by Charles Dahlgreen, who raised two infantry units for service in the Confederacy. Dahlgreen's brother, John, however, became an admiral in the Union navy, a case of brother pitted against brother. During the Civil War, the Confederate sympathizer, Alfred Vidal Davis and his family resided at Dunleith.

Start out going northwest on Homochitto Street for .09 miles. Twin Oaks is on the right just past Arlington Avenue.

Twin Oaks

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 25: Twin Oaks
Charles DuBuisson built the main portion of Twin Oaks in the 1850s, although sections of the house are believed to be much earlier. DuBuisson was a professor of classics at Jefferson College, and later, practiced law in Natchez. His son, also named Charles, was a corporal in the First Mississippi Light Artillery and later, served in Wirt Adam's regiment of the Mississippi Cavalry.

Start out going north on Homochitto Street for .33 miles. Stay straight to go onto Orleans Street and drive .28 miles. Take the 2nd right onto South Pearl Street and drive for .01 miles. Pleasant Hill is on the left. If you reach Washington Street you’ve gone a little too far.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 26: Pleasant Hill
This raised Greek Revival house was moved to its present location in the 1850s to make way for the construction of Magnolia Hall. During the war, members of the prominent Postlethwaite family, many of whom fought for the Confederacy, lived at Pleasant Hill.

Start out going northeast on South Pearl Street towards Washington Street for .08 miles. Magnolia Hall is on the right just past Washington Street. If you reach State Street you’ve gone a little too far.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 27: Magnolia Hall
Considered to be the last great mansion built in Natchez prior to the war, Magnolia Hall was home to the Henderson family. In May, 1864, Maj. Christensen, Chief of Staff to General Canby, and his fellow officers occupied the mansion. According to family letters, the Union soldiers "were well-behaved, sang well and liked to dance."

Start out going northeast on South Pearl Street for .14 miles. Take the 2nd left onto Main Street and drive for .08 miles. Take the 1st left onto South Wall Street and drive .09 miles. The Courthouse is on the left just past Market Street. If you reach Washington Street you’ve gone a little too far.

Adams County Courthouse

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 28: Courthouse
Since its construction in 1820, this building has been the seat of Adams County government. It was remodeled in the 1920s. Photographers captured images, such as this one, of Union troops milling about the grounds.

Start out going southwest on South Wall Street for .07 miles. Take the first right onto Washington Street and drive .07 miles. Take the first right onto South Canal Street and drive for .23 miles. Take the 2nd right onto Franklin Street and drive .07 miles. Take the first right onto North Wall Street and drive .15 miles. Mercer House is on the right just past Market Street.

Mercer House

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 29: Mercer House
The design of this house is attributed to Levi Weeks, an accomplished New York architect active in Natchez in the early 19th century. Later occupied by wealthy physician and planter, William Newton Mercer, the house was occupied by Federal troops who are depicted on the front steps in this photograph.

Start out going southwest on South Wall Street for .07 miles. Texada is on the right just past State Street. If you reach Washington Street you’ve gone a little too far.

Historic Natchez Foundation

Site 30: Texada
Built between 1793 and 1805 and considered the earliest brick house remaining in the Old Southwest Territory, Texada was appropriated by Federal troops in 1865. Lt. Theodore D. Johnson issued the order which specified that "all the furniture would be retained in the house."


The French, the Natchez Indians, and free people of Color

The first known free black person in Natchez was connected to the Natchez Indians and their struggle against French intrusion. In 1723, violence erupted between the French and the Natchez Indians, who dominated the region. The French were keenly aware of the role that black people played in the backcountry of their empire. On November 23, 1723, the minutes of the Superior Council of Louisiana reported a French ultimatum to end the current conflict with the Natchez. This demand read: “That they [the Natchez Indians] bring in dead or alive a negro who has taken refuge among them for a long time and [who] makes them [sic] seditious speeches against the French nation and who has followed them on occasions against our Indian allies.”

The French managed to arrest and to execute the unnamed African in 1723, but it has been impossible to trace the origins of this free man of color who endangered the French empire through his role as a black leader among Native Americans. By threatening the French position in the Natchez District, he upset the imperial and racial balance in the area and invoked the fear of a cross-racial alliance among Africans and the Southeastern Indians. The free African’s presence countered the divide-and-conquer strategy the French often employed in Indian relations and forced them to widen that strategy to keep slaves and American Indians in the region divided as well. An alliance between Africans, enslaved or free, and Indians was rightfully perceived as a fatal combination for European settlers. In 1729, this combination spelled disaster for the French colony at Natchez in what is referred to today as the Natchez Rebellion.


Legends of America

Natchez Trace Map by Frederick Smoot, courtesy Tennessee Gen Web.

Mileposts and Sites:

For thousands of years, people have been using the Natchez Trace, today memorialized as the 442-mile Natchez Trace Parkway that winds its way through Mississippi, Alabama, and Tennessee, providing tourists exceptional scenery and thousands of years of American History.

The earliest known people to utilize the forested road, called a trace, were the Mississippi Mound builders, whose culture flourished from about 800 A.D. to 1500 A.D. These hunters and gatherers followed the early footpaths created by the foraging of bison, deer, and other large game that could break paths through the dense undergrowth. These early peoples also built roads, cultural centers, and numerous earthen monuments, which were used as burial sites and temples, several of which can still be seen along the Natchez Trace Parkway.

Later, the trace was frequented by the Choctaw, Chickasaw, and Natchez tribes, who called the region home and traveled upon the trail on hunting and trading expeditions. By the time the first European explorer, Hernando de Soto, came to the region, the path was well worn, and the Mississippi Mound builders were gone. Later, more explorers would use this “wilderness road,” followed by frontiersmen and pioneers.

Some of the Natchez Trace’s best-known travelers were farmers and boatmen from the Ohio River regions of Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Kentucky who floated supplies down to ports in Natchez, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana at the beginning of the 1800s. Regardless of where they came from, they were collectively known as “Kaintucks.” Other famous figures traveled the Natchez Trace, including Meriwether Lewis, who had previously led the Lewis and Clark Expedition. While making his way from Missouri to Washington D.C. in 1809, he died under mysterious circumstances at a small cabin in Tennessee. He was buried there, where his body remains today. Just a few years later, General Andrew Jackson traveled on the Trace with his troops during the War of 1812.

13 Confederate Graves, Old Natchez Trace. Kathy Weiser

Though U.S. Troops began to improve the Natchez Trace beginning in 1801, it wasn’t until the War of 1812 that the military capitalized on the efforts. The popular path through Choctaw and Chickasaw lands became a vital thoroughfare when it was believed British ships threatened the Gulf Coast. Having traveled the Trace repeatedly on other business, General Andrew Jackson relied on the Trace several times to transport his troops. His cavalry traveled to Washington, Mississippi, just north of Natchez, on it in 1813, and when the troops were released without participating in the battle, the entire 2nd Division Tennessee Regiment slogged their way back along the Trace. Though the road was the best choice at the time, the troops still had to contend with knee-deep mud, oxen dying from the heat, an occasional rattlesnake, and a “heavy a shower of hail and rain that ever fell upon poor soldiers in the world,” according to soldier A.J. Edmundson. It was during this trip that Andrew Jackson earned his nickname “Old Hickory.”

From mid-1813 to mid-1814, Jackson and his troops left to fight the Creek War in Alabama. Jackson took one of the Natchez Trace’s newest residents, John Gordon, with him. Captain Gordon became the leader of one of Jackson’s companies of “spies,” or scouts. Gordon left his family and home at the Natchez Trace and the Duck River’s intersection and became a Tennessee hero of the Creek War. With the Creek War conclusion, Jackson and his troops again focused on Great Britain and the Gulf Coast. In 1815, the misery of the 1813 trip up the Trace was likely forgotten with a more celebratory journey.

Whether famous, infamous, or anonymous, travelers of the Natchez Trace relied heavily on this wilderness road that meandered through a diverse terrain of swamps, rivers, and rolling hills. The Trace was a road home, a path of exploration, and a link to the Old Southwest’s growing population. Over time, new roads and population centers were developed steamships carried people and supplies upstream, and the Old Trace fell out of use. Though the trace was no longer regularly used, it was not forgotten. Its’ centuries of history, legends, and lore of the many occupants and travelers along the trail would continue to “haunt” those who lived and traveled through the area. Tales of buried treasure, ghost stories, outlaws, witches, and more, became as much a part of the Natchez Trace as the pathway itself. (See: Legends and Mysteries of the Natchez Trace)

The Natchez Trace was officially reestablished as a unit of the National Park Service in 1938. Years later, in 2005, the Natchez Trace Parkway was completed, extending from Natchez, Mississippi to Nashville, Tennessee. Today, the route still serves as a connection between population centers and allows modern travelers to explore and discover earlier generations’ history and culture. The Parkway incorporates numerous visitor stops of historic, natural, and archeological interest, including seven Mississippi Mound sites. The Tupelo Visitor Center interprets the archeology and history of the Trace.

Continue next page for milepost/points of interest along the Trace.


Watch the video: Natchez Trace Parkway Drive