Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, Mississippi

Corn snake near Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, MS:  Click to enlarge.

Corn snake near Mount Locust Inn and Plantation, MS: Click to enlarge.

Continuing north on the Natchez Trace Parkway, I almost ran over a corn snake warming himself on the road.  I stopped, picked him up, and moved him onto the shoulder.  This was the only snake I saw throughout this trip to the southern states.  He tamed very quickly.

Mount Locust was established as a farm in the late 1770’s and by 1784 grew to be a larger plantation.  The house, with no more than 1600 square feet of floor space, served as an inn for the Mississippi River boatmen walking north from Natchez, MS.  These “Kaintucks” were charged $0.25 per day, meals included.  After 1825 the advent of steamboats and more efficient roads rendered the Trace obsolete for business travelers.  At that point the inn continued to operate as a resort for locals seeking rural solitude.  It was interesting to learn that such rural escapes were in demand even in 1825, when it’s hard to imagine any real cities in existence.  Paulina Chamberlain, the lady of the house from 1784 to 1849, was known as a hard charger who kept the farm and inn running through two husbands who predeceased her.  This was especially noteworthy given women’s typical roles at the time.  Known as “Grandma Polly,” she raised 11 children while operating the plantation.

A few hundred yards behind the inn, at one end of the agricultural field, there are two cemeteries.  The Mount Locust family is buried in the first, with waist-high headstones bearing easily read inscriptions.  The graves are adorned with fresh-looking Confederate flags.  One memorable headstone listed the deceased as a member of the “Jefferson Flying Artillery.”

A few feet away lay the slave cemetery, where over 40 slaves are known to be buried.  Most of the slaves’ identities, however, are uncertain.  The slaves’ graves are marked simply with fist-sized rocks bearing no inscriptions.  This was a sad place.

Historical information on the Mount Locust Inn and Plantation was provided by the National Park Service.

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About Jerry
Working in Corporate America for many years, I wanted to break free of the office walls for a bit and explore the world. Having put the pieces in place, I am first exploring the USA by road. Colleagues and friends expressed interest in my travels, giving rise to Office Escape. It is my honor to share my adventures.

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