Twenty two years ago in 1988 a committee met and established The Journal of Wilkinson
County History, the latest project of the then eighteen year old Woodville Civic Club.
Those members were Mrs. James V. Gross, Mrs. Andrew J. Lewis, Mrs. Best Montfort, Mrs. L.
Jennings Owens, Mr. John South Lewis, and Mr. Ernesto Caldeira.
The mission of the Journals was to collect and publish primary source materials about
our history to aid future scholars and historians with their studies of Wilkinson County.
Mrs. Honey Gross launched the project in March of 1990 with Volume I on Wilkinson County
Cemeteries; followed by Mrs. Lynda Gene Felter Carter's Wilkinson County Marriage Records
1800-1924 published in September of 1991; and then Mrs. Stella Pitts did her Woodville;
Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow, with stories on each of the initial 147 sites in our new
National Register Woodville Historic District; and then in March of 1998 Mrs. Gross did
a two volume compilation of letters and service records of our soldiers who fought for
Now our 5th Volume . .
The 19th Century Plantations of Wilkinson County is being assembled.Mrs. Stella
Pitts will be doing individual stories on the many plantation houses which have
completely survived and are still occupied,oftentimes by the families of the original
builders as well as those plantations which exist and function but without the original
homes. Some of those have ruins or columns or even new houses but have a presence and
An attempt will be made to identify as many other plantations as we can and to provide
as much information as we can about each of them.
The "stories" will give us a snapshot of the properties today... of who owns them and
of who has owned them and their connections to other families in the community...
both now and then. Mrs. Pitts was a News Reporter and a Feature Writer at the
Times Picayune in New Orleans for nearly twenty five years and is. celebrated for her
many articles and stories on historic sites and persons connected with them.
She brings that expertise and those talents to this volume.
It is a two part project with part one being a full color -coffee table" book with
many photographs of probably about forty or so plantations. A later Journal will
incorporate those plantations along with those for whom we have no photographs nor
any history beyond geographical locations and basic ownership details. There are an
estimated two hundred and fifty or so plantations which have existed.
At this stage Mrs. Pitts has completed about twenty six stories with some of the
stories including more than one plantation. Ernesto Caldeira is the editor for
this project, and is photographer, as well as the collector of as many old photographs
as can be found.
They need your help!
To date the following stories have been completed:
Wilkinson County A Backward Glance is an introductory chapter that has been written tracing the earliest
history of this area with native Indians, the earliest European explorers, and Fort Adams.
Now owned by Mr. Glynn McClure and one of the many McGehee properties located in the Pinckneyville area
with its original house.
A Brandon property with an original house and cemetery and still in the Brandon family.
This is a connected story of the Johnson and Stockett families and their ownership of Grove, Glenwood,
and Turnbull and of Governor George Poindexter.
Long known as the Morris Place, and Indian Fields, and now the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Wagner in the
midst of a restoration.
One of the more celebrated and written about historic sites in the county and still in the McGehee family.
One of the least known but most important early sites as the legendary home of Daniel Clark an almost
obscure figure but one of the most important persons during our years as an European colony. You will be
fascinated with persons during the ties to mansions on Royal Street, Houmas House and our Clark Creek
Cold Spring another McGehee property and as happens with so many of our plantations and families...
connections to other plantations from Natchez to New Orleans, this time Elgin in Natchez.
Which was probably one of our more striking early 19th century homes perched on a cliff overlooking
the River at Fort Adams but is largely forgotten today. cemetery ... his wife has her portrait at
Stanton Hall... and you can see parts of the Public Road that went to Natchez and became the Natchez
Trace. It's still in the Brandon family too.
Hampton Hall is not forgotten nor are the Bramlettes and we can catch glimpses of it on a daily basis
but not many remember Blanche McManus and her brilliant international career as an author and artist.
She and her family once lived at Hampton Hall and she is buried in the cemetery there.
The Hills General loor was a hero of the War of 1812 . . and his family inextricably tied in with the
Barrow family of St. Francisville... and made history with the families at The Highlands, and Rosedown
Holly Grove is another home so involved with so many prominent families of New Orleans and St.Francisville
and Natchez, but it began with a Ventress and Duncan Stewart . . our first Lt. Governor.
Homochitto is tucked away north of Woodville and for years has been in the Jensen family. The Hugh Davis
family started there in 1792.
Hope Hill is a sweet cottage on the Jackson Road that has been in a branch of the Catchings family for the
last hundred years.
Kenilwood was in another branch of the Catchings family for just about the same amount of time but was built
by a member of the Chisholm family who founded The Woodville Republican in 1823. It has new owners.
LaGrange was one of the grandest houses but sadly burned at the turn of the century. It has been in lots
of books and it's still in the Ventress family.
Millbrook and the Moreland Place
Millbrook and the Moreland Place are fascinating to us because two living former occupants vividly recount
what life was like there a long time ago . . . and 'give us an idea of what life was like in all of the
country houses in their early days. And they still own it.
Oakdale is just outside town and it's an early house. It's interesting because it has a twin on the other
side of town but its families are more interesting.
Oakwood is in the Buffalo area of the county and has been in the Whetsone family for two hundred years.
Rosemont is well known because of its restoration and Jefferson Davis but there is always something new
Trinity is one of the early plantations near Fort Adams and has been home to some fascinating folks.
Valola and neighboring Brierly are more McGehee plantations still in the family... in this case,
the Redhead branch.
Woodland was once known as Sligo, a name that endures in the county, and was an early Daniel dark property,
but for the last hundred years it has been intact as a Ferguson home.
Those are the stories that are completed.
Some Stories Still Being Written
Although old photographs are being collected and new ones are being taken and research is being done the
following plantations have stories which are, still being written.
Allendale was for years the Jones place and is now being restored by Karen Hewes Lewis and Bruce Lewis.
Desert Plantation in Pond which is still in the Brandon family.
Eirnsley Plantation was home to the Liddells and was a stylish, very early home. It still stands.
Forest Home over near Centreville which has been given a great new lease on life by Mrs. Daisy Howell
and her late husband, Boatner.
Good Intent/Owls Nest
Good Intent/Owls Nest is associated with the Richardson family and is midway between Woodville
Jasmine Hill was the home of Pulaski Cage and has long been in the Rollins family.
Lessley Plantation is still in the original family.
Magnolia is off the Jackson Road.
Magnolia Vale was a Netterville home.
Pleasant Hill which was halfway between Elysian Fields and Woodville and sometimes called Midway
was saved and moved by Mrs. Martha Kee Hewes a few years ago onto her family property two or three
miles east of Woodville.
Pleasant Valley a Spanish land grant that was once the home of Dr. George Peets and in recent years
of Ms. Kathleen O'Fallon a local activist and State Representative.
Richland Plantation once the home of Evans Wall a noted author and another Brandon plantation.
Salisbury Plantation well known for its Federal room at LSU and its great collection of china, silver,
and crystal at the Wilkinson County Museum.
Spring Hill which was a wonderful house on the Jackson Road and has barely survived.
Walnut Grove near Fountainblean has been long associated with the fictional Philip Nolan but
more importantly was a spectacular Federal home that burned in recent years.
And Other Plantations
We Know About But Not Enough
We hope that anyone reading about these plantations will help us if they know of early photographs or have
information about them or their builders, however obscure that information may seem. It might just be
something we don't know and might just be the missing piece to that puzzle!
You can reach us by mail at
P. 0. Box 1055
by e-mail to email@example.com
or give us a call at the museum by calling 601.888.3998.