Shelby Foote on Mount Holly


I recently read through the Correspondence of Shelby Foote and Walker Percy (1997) and came across this interesting little tidbit from Shelby Foote about Mount Holly south of Greenville, which had been owned by his grandfather after the Civil War:

12 Dec 1960

Gwyn and I have a project. We’re considering buying Mount Holly, the 32-room ancestral mansion on Lake Washington. It’s 105 years old this month, a noble pile. My people moved out 50 years ago, so it would be a return of the native. How say you to this notion? You approve? Of course, that $900-a-month figure would go completely out of the window, but what the hell; there’s just this life and one more.



Apparently that $900-a-month dissuaded him because I never saw another reference to this scheme. Wouldn’t that have been an interesting alternate history for Mount Holly? Hopefully, there’s someone out there today who can afford the payments and the work necessary to get this grand old girl back into prime shape. Who knows, maybe he or she is reading this today and will get the idea to do it?


Related Post: Abandoned Mississippi: Mount Holly, Lake Washington

Categories: Abandoned Mississippi, Delta, Greenville

10 replies

  1. shelby foote was the BEST !!!!!


  2. There maybe more about Mount Holly in Shelby Foote’s collection at Rhodes. The National Register Nomination (written by Clinton Bagley in 1973) states “as related by Shelby Foote…the house was erected by a transient architect in 1855, working from plans carried with him and with the assistance of one man who accompanied him and a construction crew of slaves from the Mount Holly plantation.” This is likely closer to the truth than the Erwin’s Samuel Sloan fantasy.

    I can’t say enough nice things about Clinton’s thorough historical research on the nominations he wrote.


  3. Fabulous idea…..go for it Mr. Foote. Mt Holly is your ancestoral home, you have a vested interest!
    My husband and I looked at this wonderful old house two years ago, as a possible historical reno. We liked it and the neighbors, but decided we wanted something smaller.


    • Well, Shelby Foote died somewhere around 8 years ago and will, of course, be unable to pursue his dream of over 50 years ago, but I truly wish someone else would take a page out of his hefty book and buy, restore and glorify this fine old property.


  4. Sadly, of course, Shelby Foote died in 2005, followed by his wife Gwyn in 2009.


  5. Shelby Foote did fulfill one life-long dream–holding Nathan Bedford Forrest’s sword.


  6. I absolutely love this place, but it reminds me totally of that semi-old and corny movie “The Money Pit”. I would love to see this home in all its restored glory but much asthetic and structural work will have to be done to accomplish the goal.


  7. if it is still available for 900 a moth i am definitely interested in it. ive been interested in this home for years. does anyone have any idea how to get in touch with the owners? my email is


  8. Hello All,
    You’ve seen me post many times here due to my interest in saving Mnt Holly. Sadly we have not been able to make any progress on that front, however we did just recently purchase Belmont Plantation just north on Lake Lee. We are currently starting the long restoration process as she has been somewhat altered on the interior and has really started to decline in the past years that she has been sitting vacant. We have started a facebook page so that everyone can view our progress and provide input on the restoration and its very likely that we might request some volunteer help here and there if anybody would be up for it! Of course we are trying to stretch our pennies so that we can do Belmont justice and complete everything that needs completing!

    Hopefully, down the road, we would still be able to save Mount Holly before the delta takes her back

    Liked by 1 person

  9. What finally happened with beautiful Mount Holly? I pray it was restored 🙏


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