Wilkinson County’s Forest Home Plantation Burns

Friday, March 6, one of Wilkinson County’s plantation homes, Forest Hill, also known as Shamrock, burned to the ground. It was reported on several Facebook groups dedicated to the Natchez region, including the Natchez, MS, History group and Rodney Remembering, but so far I haven’t seen it on any newspaper site.

Forest Home, which evolved probably from an 1830s dogtrot to a Greek Revival two-story I-house by the 1850s, was listed on the National Register in 1982, and you can read its National Register nomination here. It was featured more recently in The Plantation World of Wilkinson County, Mississippi, 1792-2012 by Stella M. Pitts and Ernesto Caldeira, where you’ll find color images of the interior, probably the last images made there.

If you don’t react well to the sight of beautiful old buildings burning down, don’t scroll down any further.

Forest Home burning

photo courtesy Shannon Boyd, via Natchez MS History

Forest Home

photo courtesy Kevin Strahan, via Natchez MS History

 



Categories: Antebellum, Demolition/Abandonment, Woodville

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16 replies

  1. There just aren’t any words to describe my sadness seeing this and learning of this loss.

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    • NEVER A MONTH WENT BY IN THE ’90S THAT WE DIDN’T VISIT THE HOWELLS HOME, AND AFTER THE TURN, MANY TIMES MORE. BY CAR, RV AND AIRPLANE. HUNTED THERE, ATE, SANG AND DRANK THERE, AND PROBABLY IN A FEW DAYS, WILL CRY THERE. FRED HUBER, MERRIMACK, NH

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  2. E.L., where was this house in relation to Woodville?

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    • From the NRN “Located between Woodville and Centreville, south of State Highway 24, Shamrock Plantation is entered by a gravel drive from Whitaker Road less than two miles south of the Newtonia crossroads.”

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  3. Was the house occupied?

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  4. I have been in that house several times. It was owned by a family from New Orleans who were also members of St. Paul!s Episcopal Church. It was always immaculate and certainly well cared for. How incredibly sad.

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  5. The Graves family lived there.

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  6. Malvaney really knows how to create a post appropriate to Monday – great old house burning down. Richard Nickel did not mention that as one of the enemies to historic architecture, probably because all of his historic buildings were steel-framed and masonry.

    Also, The Plantation World of Wilkinson County, Mississippi, 1792-2012 is already sold out. The Woodville Civic Club needs to start reprinting it.

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    • Wow, I’m glad I snatched my copy up when it first came out. It’s a valuable book and I do hope they’ll do a second printing.

      It’s a dreary Monday indeed, with rain forecast all week, and this post fits right in with the grayness.

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  7. Tom, The Howell’s lived there and still own the property. The road (driveway) was paved with the asphalt left over from building the runway (google: Boatner Howell ms23 airport). Momma (Daisye) was inside when the fire started after a power failure. She got out with the dog, clothes on her back, a jacket, and 1 car key. Everything else was utterly destroyed. Temperatures reached between 1,600 and 2,500 degrees Fahrenheit. We still have staff who live on the property and will continue with them. The loss of the home is devastating.

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  8. I would like to thank the Fire Departments from Mississippi and Louisiana who came together to fight for us. By the time it was over, there were 9 fire trucks on site. One was setup at the front lake to pump water. I cannot express all the gratitude I have to those folks and their kindness.

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  9. I was one of the firefighters to fight the fire. I also had an uncle the worked there when I was a kid. to see a beautiful place like this where I spent time as a young boy burn was so sad. I been trying to look up the history of this place but cant find it. I hope the family will rebuild something like it back.

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    • My wife and I visited the Howell Family there many, many times during our time in Baton Rouge during the 90s, and every spring following our return to New Hampshire in the new century. Following Bo Howell’s death we visited Daisye Lee Howell there and at our mutual summer homes on Moosehead Lake in Maine. We planned a visit during our trip to South Louisiana in mid-March, then got the sad report a week before!
      I flew in and out of their landing strip a number of times and Bo and I flew together often up here. Dear friends, lots of dear memories. And quite a few pictures. Haven’t heard about any plans to rebuild, but their son Boatner Jr. will like ly keep you posted on plans and on Daisye’s well-being.

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    • It was originally owned by my great great grandfather, Wilson P. Burton. That’s all I know. Try looking it up on Wikipedia.

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  10. It’s always sad to lose a gem such as old historic homes. My wife and I live in historic property and would be devastated to lose our home. Our thoughts go out to these people.

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  11. I just learned that I am related to Wilson P. Burton. He, in fact, is my great great grandfather. My parents and I were extremely excited to visit our ancestor’s land. But then I saw this article.

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