From up Oxford way, the Daily Journal reported February 5 that “site of a potential jail expansion may have unappreciated importance to both Civil War history and Jewish history.” Asher Reese has requested the property be designated for a Jewish family center. Mr. Reese says his research has determined that the house was one in which General U. S. Grant took as his headquarters while he was in Oxford from December 2-17, 1862. Mr. Reese asserts that it was from that home that Grant issued Order No. 11, expelling Jewish people from their homes for suspected trade with the Confederacy.
In a version of virtual newspaper gossip, the subsequent two articles seem to miss sight of the fact that the house is no longer there. The Clarion Ledger version on February 6 does not actually indicate the house is still standing, but neither is it clear that it is not, and it does not actually identify the site in question. The Daily Journal specified the site at the corner of MLK and Jackson Avenue, which is well known as a vacant lot, currently in use as parking for the church across the street.
The Monday, February 8 Haaretz Digital Edition reports,
Jewish Mississippi resident says the house in which Ulysses S. Grant issued order during the Civil War should be made a museum…petitioned Lafayette County authorities on Monday to recognize a home owned by the county as an historic landmark…Reese is hoping to stop plans to turn the house into a jail or offices for the County Sheriff’s Office, instead turning the house into a museum commemorating this period in Jewish history, the Daily Journal reported.
Well, not exactly. As reported in the Daily Journal article, it is the site where that house allegedly stood that Mr. Reese wants preserved, and a museum constructed on the site.
No information has been reported as to the sources of information that identify the historic significance of the site and the house that once occupied it.