Natchez, Mississippi & The Trace

You would think that with all of this time off of work that we’ve had, I’d be all up to date on my blog posts.  Well, that is nowhere near the case!  We’ve had too much fun while visiting family and friends, that I’ve actually fallen further behind.  But, I’m still gonna try to get caught up, so be patient with me!  LOL

When we left Branson, our little gang we had traveled with all went our separate ways.  It was sad, but all good things must come to an end.  But, if we had to sit somewhere by ourselves and miss our friends, at least we chose a beautiful place for the night!  This was the view outside of our windows at Lake Chicot State Park, which is Arkansas's largest natural lake.  IMG_8609

 

 

 

 

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Not too shabby, huh?  The people that we dealt with at this park too, were among the nicest we’ve met anywhere.  Great place!

For years, I have wanted to drive the Natchez Trace.  After searching maps, I realized that we would have to go way out of our way to drive very much of this 444-mile roadway, so then I decided that if we could just stay a night in the town of Natchez, I could visit the Visitor’s Center there and then plan the drive for some other time.  Well, we ended up staying three nights there and I still look forward to the return!!  We stayed at the state park there in Natchez, and the drive into it was beautiful! 

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After we got all set up in camp, we headed into town.  I had no idea just how much history there was in Natchez.  I mean, who knew that the first women’s college in America was chartered here on February 17, 1819?  There isn’t much left to look at, but still very interesting information!  IMG_8679

So many of the houses in this town continually had me saying “Wow!”  It gets too difficult to look up all the names of these and all the details that go with them.  That’s what gets me so behind on my blogs!  LOL!  Anyway, I thought I’d just share some of the photos by themselves instead.  Hope you enjoy them!  IMG_8710

 

 

 

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IMG_8753And those are just some of the buildings that we saw the first afternoon we were in town!  Amazing!  We were literally driving all around and I just kept jumping out of the truck to take this picture and that picture until it became too dark for good photos! 

So, the next morning we headed out to check out part of the Natchez Trace.  I have wanted to check it out ever since reading about quite a few years ago.  It’s a modern road today, but it first began as an animal trail.  It later became an Indian footpath that linked tribes in a large region between what is today Natchez, Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.  There are still come places where you can see parts of the original Trace.  It’s pretty cool to think of all the feet over time that have traveled along the path.  IMG_8757

 

While driving along the Trace, there are many stops along it where you can take a break and read about it’s history and such.   One such stop was at Mount Locust.  It remains as the only one of more than 50 inns that existed between 1785 and 1830 along the 500 mile Old Trace.  IMG_8766

Travel along the Old Trace hit it’s peak around 1810 when as the US was growing west, men would travel down the Mississippi River in the late 18th & early 19th centuries and would sell their wares, and took what money they could get for the lumber in their boats.  The river’s swift waters made traveling upriver nearly impossible so the men would walk back home northward on the Trace.  They would stay at the Inns along the way.  IMG_8771Archeologists believe that 12 to 16 slave cabins once stood on the property, with four to five people occupying each dwelling.  On the west side of the property, a cemetery holds the remains of 43 enslaved workers.  A single headstone marks the area.  IMG_8784We weren’t able to meet him, but apparently one of the Interpretive Rangers is a member of the family who built and lived here for so many years.  Talk about having a connection to where you work!  It’s amazing the contrast when you compare the above with what the family cemetery looks like.  IMG_8787We’ve come so far away from the days of slavery that, I admit, I sometimes forget  how different they were treated.  Visiting the Natchez area really reminded me though. 

 

Close by was another section of the Old Trace.  IMG_8792Stories of settlers, mail carriers, soldiers, bandits, missionaries, and opportunists paint colorful images of the Old Natchez Trace.

 

In the 1790s new settlers were attracted to this area by the rich soil and many springs.  They cleared the land, built homes, and in 1837. built an impressive brick church that still stands today,  IMG_8832The town had been a station for a circuit-rIMG_8850iding preacher who stopped by only once or twice a month. 

 

Between 1860 and 1920, the area was devastated by the Civil War, yellow fever, the boll weevil, and land erosion.  Behind the church still stands many, many headstones in the cemetery.  IMG_8847

 

 

 

 

We continued our drive up to Ross Barnett Reservoir where we turned back around.  IMG_8865In all, we traveled about 105 out of the 444 total miles of the Natchez Trace.  We’re hoping to return at some other time to travel the whole Trace and take advantage of the three free campgrounds along it’s route. 

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The next day, we retuned to the town of Natchez and visited some of the Antebellum Homes. IMG_8904

 

We also did a couple of different walking tours through town that took us by numerous historic homes and buildings.  The entire area was just fascinating!  IMG_8938

 

 

 

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One of the last places we visited was the home of William Johnson, a freed person of color.  He was a barber, entrepreneur, and even a slave owner himself.  I don’t ever remember learning about a previous slave later owning his own after being freed.  It was very interesting!  IMG_9084

I do apologize for such a long post and for including so many photos, but it’s really hard to describe this area without all of it.  And believe it or not, I’ve only touched the surface of what we saw and learned!

 

Hope you enjoyed it.  Happy Trails!

Comments

  1. Bobby your blog is my favorite. I love being able to read and feel like I went on a mini vacation for a few minutes. The pictures are so great it makes it seem like I'm really there!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good job, Bobbie. Photos are amazing.

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  3. Natchez is definitely a fascinating place. I've been in Mississippi 9 years now, and this summer, we plan to drive the trace from Natchez to Nashville finally. Enjoyed your post.

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