Thursday, April 28, 2016

Historic Properties in Vicksburg

No, I'm not a realtor.  I'm just a lookey Lou who loves to look at old historic homes and there are some beauties in Vicksburg, MS.  Two properties we liked were the Anchuca Historic Mansion and Cedar Grove Mansion.

Anchuca Historic Mansion & Inn

In the language of the Choctaw Indians, Anchuca means "happy home," a good advertisement for an antebellum home that is now a bed & breakfast business.

Front Parlor

Built around 1820 by J. W. Mauldin, a local politician, the house underwent a major transformation to the Greek Revival style when a prominent Vicksburg merchant Victor Wilson purchased the property.

Stairway divides to ascend to the front and rear bedrooms

The Wilsons with their six daughters and one son lived in the home until the siege of Vicksburg forced them, like many of the city's citizens, to move to safety in a cave hollowed out from the bluff.

Anchuca's Dining Room

They survived the siege but tragedy struck weeks later when their only son and their infant daughter died as a result of the malnutrition they experienced during the siege.

One of the bedrooms

When Mr. Wilson died two years later, Mrs. Wilson, weighted down with debts and depression, sold the property.

Joseph Emory Davis

Joseph E. Davis, the older brother of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, bought the home from Mrs. Wilson.

Confederate President Jefferson Davis

Following his two-year incarceration at the conclusion of the war, former President Jefferson Davis returned to Vicksburg where his family's plantation had once stood on a bend in the Mississippi River south of the city.  

Tim surveys the balcony

From the balcony above the front door, Jefferson Davis greeted neighbors and friends while visiting his brother Joseph in 1869.  His brother died the following year and the home passed through several owners before it became the bed & breakfast it is today.

Cedar Grove Mansion, Inn & Restaurant

Cedar Grove Mansion was built in 1842 by a prominent Vicksburg merchant and jeweler, John Alexander Klein, for his 16-year-old bride Elizabeth.  During a year long honeymoon in Europe, the couple bought furnishings which remain in the home today.  

John Alexander Klein and his wife Elizabeth

One of the pieces that I found funny was the bureau with its "petticoat mirror" in the corner of the ladies parlor where ladies would check to see if their intimate apparel showed.  If it was visible, another lady would euphemistically say, "it is snowing down South" to warn the wearer.

"Petticoat Mirror" Bureau

When the Civil War was brought to their doorstep in Vicksburg, Elizabeth was shunned by many of her neighbors, not only because she was a Northerner born in Ohio, but also because her uncle was Major General William T. Sherman.

(Upper) Cannonball in the wall; (Lower) Glass protects the hole in the floor

Despite that family tie, the home was shelled during the siege of Vicksburg. There is still a cannon ball lodged in the wall of its parlor and another shell created a gaping hole in floor nearby. 

Clockwise from the left:  Ornate birdcage found in the solarium; Parlor's fireplace; Ballroom

Used later as a Union hospital, Sherman and his men occupied the first floor of the home while the Kleins with their ten children lived upstairs.

Dining room buffet hides Klein's safe

One of the most interesting items in the home is the dining room buffet which was actually a 3,000-pound safe that Mr. Klein used to protect his wealth.  

Safe's tumblers

Sherman and his men ate many a meal at the dining room table just a few feet away and never guessed its secret.

Interior of the safe

Over the years, Mr. Klein purchased acreage around Cedar Grove and built homes for his children upon his land.  

One of the homes built by John Klein for his children, in this case for Madison Klein

After his death, Elizabeth sold off the land until only the five acres where the house sits remained.

In our minds, visiting Anchuca and Cedar Grove mansions tied human faces and families to the Siege of Vicksburg, giving us a better view of the impact of the war.  Historic, indeed!


  1. Wow interesting facts I never knew the details of this home. Thanks for bringing the detailed historical perspective loved it😍

  2. Thanks, Yas! The stories of the families really brought home the harrowing experiences they endured during the war.