Friday, September 11, 2009

Natchez, MS

Natchez, MS, was once the home of more millionaires, than any other town in the U.S. Bankers, plantation owners, transportation owners, and cotton merchants, along with all the other people needed to support this infastructure, lived in Natchez. Even the wealthy plantation owners did not live on their many acres of cotton fields, instead, they built opulant homes in town to show off their wealth. Downtown Natchez has a walking tour which showcases the many elegant homes of the era. Some are located just outside of downtown.

This is Melrose, the home of the McMurran's. Mr. McMurran was an attorney from back east who came to Natchez in the 1930s. He married the daughter of a prominent attorney who gave them the means to build this home so his daughter could continue living in the style to which she was accustomed. They had 3 children, 2 of whom lived to adulthood. Several of their grandchildren were born here too. But after their daughter died at a young age and after loosing a grandson, the entire family moved back east, selling the house in 1865 to Elizabeth Davis, wife of another local attorney. She lived there only sporadically over the next 20 years, leaving it in the care of former slaves. In 1901 her grandson took over the place and his heirs lived there until about 1975. Not long after the National Park system took possession. The home has many of the original furnishing of the McMurran's as they sold the house with all its furniture in place. What has been reproduced is the carpeting and wallpaper.

This was the parlour, where they would entertain their guests. It was the most opulent, with real gold flecked wallpaper and velvet upholstery. Elegant chandeliers showed off their wealth.

They said this formal dining room would have been used several times a week as well as when they had guests. When they weren't entertaining the family lived upstairs where there was no need to show off their wealth. It was not near as decorated or elegant as the downstairs. Back then no one came to call without announcing themselves first or being invited and no one ever went upstairs except the family.

No comments: