Read MELROSE.indd text version

Melrose Melrose

A Cotton Kingdom Estate

National Park Service U.S. Department of the Interior National Park Service U.S. Department Historical Park Natchez Nationalof the Interior Mississippi Natchez National Historical Park Mississippi

The first Melrose family The first Melrose family

The fortunes of Pennsylvania-born John McMurran began rising soon after his arrival in Natchez in the mid-1820s. Mr. McMurran established a profitable law practice, wonhis arrival in Natchez The fortunes of Pennsylvania-born John McMurran began rising soon after election to the state legislature, married into a respected local family, and acquired practice, of five plantations. In in the mid-1820s. Mr. McMurran established a profitable law the first won election to the state 1841, John McMurran purchased 133 acres of land just outsidethe Natchez. Over the next eight legislature, married into a respected local family, and acquired of first of five plantations. In years, John McMurran purchasedslave acres of land just outside of Natchez. Over outbuildings. 1841, a combination of free and 133 labor constructed the estate's mansion and the next eight Finally, combinationYear's Day slave labor constructed thetheir twomansion and outbuildings. years, a before New of free and 1849, the McMurrans and estate's children moved into their new house. Finally, before New Year's Day 1849, the McMurrans and their two children moved into their new house.

The Greek Revival mansion Revival The Greek mansion

Melrose was considered by many to be the finest home in all of the Natchez region. The Greek Revival style main Melrose was considered by many to be the finest home in house featured a full-height front entry porch with four all of the Natchez region. The Greek Revival style main massive Doric columns. A two-story colonnaded porch house featured a full-height front entry porch with four spanned the entire length of the rear elevation. Atop the massive Doric columns. A two-story colonnaded porch building's hipped roof rested a raised decorative roof spanned the entire length of the rear elevation. Atop the deck. building's hipped roof rested a raised decorative roof deck. The McMurrans furnished their home with "all that fine taste and a full purse" could provide. Carved Ionic The McMurrans furnished their home with "all that fine columns flanked oak-grained pocket doors connecting taste and a full purse" could provide. Carved Ionic two parlors and a personal library housing many columns flanked oak-grained pocket doors connecting two parlors and a personal library housing many

volumes. Ornate Rococco style chairs and marble-topped tables, wall-to-wall carpets, silk-trimmed wooden volumes. Ornate Rococco style chairs and marble-topped Venetian blinds and fine silk drapes filled the main tables, wall-to-wall carpets, silk-trimmed wooden house. Over the dining room table hung a magnificent Venetian blinds and fine silk drapes filled the main mahogany "punkah" that when operated by a slave house. Over the dining room table hung a magnificent shooed flies away from the food. Most rooms were mahogany "punkah" that when operated by a slave connected to bells hanging on the back of the house by shooed flies away from the food. Most rooms were rope pulls or small cranks. These bells summoned the connected to bells hanging on the back of the house by slaves quartered in the upper floors of the two brick rope pulls or small cranks. These bells summoned the dependency buildings just behind the main house. A slaves quartered in the upper floors of the two brick hidden hallway in the rear of the first floor provided for dependency buildings just behind the main house. A discrete movement of house slaves. hidden hallway in the rear of the first floor provided for discrete movement of house slaves. In the years following the Civil War, the white owners of Melrose leased fields to African American families In the years following the Civil War, the white owners to plant cotton. Reuben and Alice Sims and their of Melrose leased fields to African American families children, were among the sharecroppers who returned to plant cotton. Reuben and Alice Sims and their the land at Melrose to commercial agricultural use. children, were among the sharecroppers who returned the land at Melrose to commercial agricultural use.

Behind the big house Behind the big house

The grounds behind the main house presented quite a different picture . Here the McMurrans constructed the The grounds behind the main house presented quite a buildings which housed a kitchen, livestock, carriages, different picture . Here the McMurrans constructed the tools and the estate's slaves. The Melrose slaves tended buildings which housed a kitchen, livestock, carriages, vegetable gardens and fruit trees planted behind each of tools and the estate's slaves. The Melrose slaves tended the large brick dependency buildings. Trees were planted vegetable gardens and fruit trees planted behind each of near the rear slave quarters to shade them. The back the large brick dependency buildings. Trees were planted yards were little more than open spaces broken only by near the rear slave quarters to shade them. The back fences, dog and poultry pens, and dirt roads or paths. yards were little more than open spaces broken only by fences, dog and poultry pens, and dirt roads or paths. Slaves were in the fullest sense part of day-to-day life at Melrose. Between 1841 and 1861 the estate's enslaved Slaves were in the fullest sense part of day-to-day life at labor force rose from eight to twenty-five. Rachel Melrose. Between 1841 and 1861 the estate's enslaved cooked the McMurran family's meals which were served labor force rose from eight to twenty-five. Rachel by Marcellus the table waiter. William drove the cart to cooked the McMurran family's meals which were served town to pick up supplies or a visiting relative's luggage. by Marcellus the table waiter. William drove the cart to Others tended gardens and yards, cared for livestock, town to pick up supplies or a visiting relative's luggage. drove the carriage that took master and mistress to town Others tended gardens and yards, cared for livestock, or to visit neighbors, and generally kept the estate's drove the carriage that took master and mistress to town buildings and grounds in good order. or to visit neighbors, and generally kept the estate's buildings and grounds in goodwas one in which the slaves The ideal southern household order. were rarely seen but always ready to serve. Training The ideal southern household was one in which the slaves began early. Children as young as six were often tasked were rarely seen but always ready to serve. Training began early. Children as young as six were often tasked

The Melrose slaves The Melrose slaves

with watching the infants and toddlers of other slaves while parents worked. By the age of eight children spent with watching the infants and toddlers of other slaves their day working with their parents and others to learn while parents worked. By the age of eight children spent the skills required to serve their master. their day working with their parents and others to learn the skills required to duringtheirstill of the night could the Only in the quarters serve the master. slaves "lower the mask" a good servant must always Only in the quarters during the still of the night could the wear. Here they could sit in a doorway with their pipes slaves "lower the mask" a good servant must always glowing dully in the darkness. Children could play wear. Here they could sit in a doorway with their pipes marbles or hide-the-switch. Perhaps young and old alike glowing dully in the darkness. Children could play chuckled over a folktale spun with both humor and marbles or hide-the-switch. Perhaps young and old alike wisdom. chuckled over a folktale spun with both humor and wisdom.

The Melrose landscape

When John and Mary Louisa McMurran purchased the Melrose tract in 1841 it consisted of little more than gently rolling hills covered with former cotton fields. The property was bounded on three sides by deep bayous. The McMurrans built their new home on the highest point of land near the center of the property. This site not only signified the importance of the main house, it also allowed the cool breezes to flow from the west-facing entrance through open corridors to the rear galleries. The Melrose landscape evolved as a mixture of ornamental grounds, natural settings, and work areas

defined by fences and native cherry laurel hedges. A long, winding drive lined with trees stretched from the cypress pond at the main gate up to the stately mansion. The lawn seemed to go on forever looking like a vast green carpet. Each spring this vast expanse became covered with wildflowers. On both sides of the main house cultivated roses, cypress vines, tulips, hyacinths, and hedges intermingled with nooks of wildflowers, native azaleas, and other wild trees and shrubs to give the estate the look of an English park. Just south of the main house, past the orchard, stands the preserved remains of a brick "parterre"- once a carefully laid out formal garden.

The history of the estate Following the death of their daughter and two

grandchildren, John and Mary Louisa McMurran decided to sell Melrose and move in with Mrs. McMurran's widowed mother in a similar estate called Woodlands, which was located just across the bayou along the west boundary of Melrose. Elizabeth and George Malin Davis purchased Melrose from the McMurrans in 1865. Melrose remained with the Davis family descendents, the G. M. D. Kelly family, until 1976 when it was sold to Natchez residents John and Betty Callon.

Melrose was first open for public tours in 1932 with the first Natchez Spring Pilgrimage. The resident families of Melrose continued this tradition until the property was acquired by the National Park Service in 1990. Melrose is one of two units of the Natchez National Historical Park open to the public. It represents one of the most completely preserved antebellum estates in Natchez with many original furnishings and outbuildings.

Your visit to Melrose

The Melrose estate is easily accessed from U.S. highways 84, 98, and 61. Daily tours are available on the hour between 9:00 a.m and 4:00 p.m. There is a limit of 20 visitors per tour. Large groups are recommended to make reservations in advance. Some buildings are wheelchair accessible. Interpretive programs for visitors include tactile exhibits and assisted listening devices. Special tours for buses or educational groups are available by appointment. Hours: Gates open daily 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m Closed Christmas and Thanksgiving days.

Tour fees: Adults 18-61 Groups of 13 or more Children 6-17 U.S. Citizens 62 or over Children Under 6

$8.00 $7.00 $4.00 $4.00 FREE

TOUR PRICES ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE. Natchez National Historical Park Melrose Unit 1 Melrose-Montebello Parkway Natchez, MS 39120 (601) 446-5790

IP PI RI VE

MISSISSIPPI RIVER

STATE ST.

R BR ID G

E

M IS SI SS

William Johnson House

BROADWAY N. CANAL ST.

CLIFTON AVE. LINTON AVE. MAPLE ST.

CEMET

D. E RY R

S.

N CA

BRIEL AVE.

Visitor Reception Center

AL

. ST

S. CANAL ST.

WALL ST.

MADISON ST.

MONROE ST.

PEARL ST.

JEFFERSON ST .

O A K ST.

. HIGH ST

B ST.

COMMERCE ST.

RAVENNA LN.

84

US

UNION ST.

ELM

T.

ST .

GEO

ORLEANS ST.

FRANKLIN ST.

PS

RANKIN ST. MARTIN LUTHER KING ST.

RGE

. WASHINGTON ST

STATE ST.

BIS

MAIN ST

NK IN DR .

JO HN R. JU

W SHA

IT T

CH

MO

HO

CO N

LE E D R

LW R . W

JU

IL L E OODV

NK

AV E

.

.

AU

BU

RN

CO R

DR.

IN

AN

AV

ST .

DU

NC

E.

D A VE.

WI

CH S T.

O

LSO

A

S RLE

ST .

NR

ARL

IN

. ST

D.

VE. NA G TO

FO

U

H RT

S T.

S T.

E. F RA

MAR

TIN

LU

M

O ELR

SE

N -MO

E TEB

L LO

PRK

. WY

L IB E R

D'

EV

ER

EU

X

DR

.

61

US

61

US

84

US

SEARG ENT S. PRENT ISS DR.

LY N D A

North

61

To

US

Melrose

JEFFERSON DAVIS BLVD.

84

98

US

US

EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA

EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA

TH

ER

KI

NG

S T.

HO

F. W

ES

. T ST

CA TH

JO HN QU ITM

JO HN QU

ER INE S T.

NK LIN S T.

WI NC HE ST ER S T.

IT

W. PK AN . W PK AN M

TC RA LIF FP L.

. T Y RD

race hez T Natc way Park

Information

MELROSE.indd

2 pages

Find more like this

Report File (DMCA)

Our content is added by our users. We aim to remove reported files within 1 working day. Please use this link to notify us:

Report this file as copyright or inappropriate

1065438


You might also be interested in

BETA
MELROSE.indd