I don't think anyone who has ever visited the Ruins of Windsor has not viewed it with a profound sense of loss. What must have been one of the most magnificent homes in America at the time is, gone, with the exception of some decorated columns, that stand erect where they were slave built in 1849. And they've cast shadows of all the decades that have passed ever since.
It is a wonder that such a house was ever built at all. It cost about $175,000 in 1861 when it was finished. That's equates to about $3 and a half million modern dollars. Windsor had over 25 rooms. Each room had its own fireplace. There were bathrooms with water supplied from a tank in the attic that caught and stored rainwater.
On the main floor were two parlors, the master bedroom, a study and a library, all off a broad entrance hall that ran the length of the house. In the ell to the rear was the dinning room, directly above the kitchen, which was located in the basement along with a schoolroom, a dairy, a commissary, a doctor's office and several storage rooms.
Up above on the 3rd floor was another bathroom and nine more bedrooms. The 4th floor ballroom was never finished, and WAY up above was a roof-top observatory, used by such various people as the Daniel family, who built and lived in the house, to alternately Union and Confederate forces during the War Between the States, to Mark Twain, who'd wander by from time to time on trips up and down the Mississippi during his river piloting days.
Iron balusters enclosed the galleries on the upper levels, attached to the fluted columns. The bricks for the 29 columns were formed and fired at a kiln across the road on the grounds of Windsor. The cast iron Corinthian capitols atop the columns were manufactured in St. Louis at the same foundry that cast the balusters, and were shipped down the Mississippi River to the now extinct port town of Bruinsburg and hauled overland to Windsor.
The ironies of Windsor abound. Smith Coffee Daniel II waited patiently for three years for his house to be finished, only to die a few weeks after moving in, in his mid-30s.
The home was completed on the eve of the Civil War. And after Union General Ulysses Grant couldn't land his troops upriver at Grand Gulf as planned, he came farther south to Bruinsburg and promptly encamped his men in the cornfields of Windsor. I guess it's a good thing he did. Because the sketch by one of his troops, Henry Otis Dwight, an officer in the 20th Ohio Infantry of Windsor in his diary, is the only know likeness of the house in existence made while it was still standing. His sketch wasn't discovered until 1991. All of the plans, photographs and any contemporary sketches of Windsor went up in flames a hundred years earlier, along with the house in a fire that broke out in 1890 when a guest's lit cigar butt was discarded carelessly.
Today there are 23 of the 29 columns of Windsor left standing. The original iron steps were taken to the Chapel at nearby Alcorn State University, where they are still in use.
And the 23 columns that stand, stand as a silent monument to the past. A part of this nation's past that has made ALL of us what we are today to one degree or another. We are ALL a part of the shadows of Windsor in that sense.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:55 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:55:17 GMT
The votes are in, and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee. With 100% of precincts reporting, Lumumba claims the electionMore >>
The votes are in and preliminary results show Chokwe Lumumba has come out on top in the Democratic Party Runoff Election against Jonathan Lee.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 10:34 AM EDT2013-05-21 14:34:41 GMT
NOTE: Photos and videos will be added to this story later in the evening. The Walthall County Sheriffs Department along with The Humane Society of the United States are in the process of raiding a puppyMore >>
Among the dogs, many are dead, and skeletal remains were mixed with living animals in small, dark, filthy enclosures.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:21 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:21:59 GMT
James Hutto interrupted his own capital murder trial Tuesday morning, angry that judge Bill Gowan decided against the admissibility of certain evidence. "None of that matters? F***. I don't give a f***More >>
James Hutto, accused of capital murder in the beating death of 81-year-old Ethel Winstead Simpson of Clinton, expressed anger over certain evidence in court Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 2:15 PM EDT2013-05-21 18:15:12 GMT
The two men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's democratic primary runoff. On the WLBT 6pm report, we talkedMore >>
The two leading men battling for the chance to become Jackson's next mayor campaigned into the night as voters prepared to go to the polls for Tuesday's Democratic Primary runoff.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 5:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 21:48:55 GMT
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday. The brunt of the action will stay northMore >>
The storm system from Oklahoma is moving eastward Tuesday night. A Tornado Watch is in effect for Humphreys, Attala and Holmes counties until 10 p.m. Tuesday.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 6:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 22:35:19 GMT
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue, IRS security of conservative groups like the tea party. We found some 20-25More >>
The Mississippi Tea Party carried a nationwide protest of the IRS to the streets of downtown Jackson at high noon. The issue is IRS security of conservative groups like the Tea Party. More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:16 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:16:53 GMT
One person has died in a crash near Harrisonville, MO, Thursday evening. The crash happened on Missouri Highway 7 and Walker Road. It involved a car and a tractor-trailer. Harrisonville is in Cass County.More >>
Savannah Nash celebrated her 16th birthday last week. She died Thursday when her car slammed into a semi while she was texting during her first time driving by herself.More >>
Monday, May 20 2013 11:48 PM EDT2013-05-21 03:48:15 GMT
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.A witness told police that the four girls, ages 7, 5, 3 and 1, had been in the same dirtyMore >>
A woman has been arrested after she allegedly locked her four young daughters out of their home for days at a time.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:35 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:35:44 GMT
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from missing to wanted during their 2012 searchMore >>
Linda Gale Reed is accused of stealing over $20,000 from her employer in Copiah County, Moore Fabrication. That's what led investigators to change her status from "missing" to "wanted" during their 2012 search following her disappearance.More >>
Tuesday, May 21 2013 1:41 PM EDT2013-05-21 17:41:07 GMT
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night. Shortly before 7 p.m., two male suspects entered the T-Mobile store at 4924 I-55 north. They robbedMore >>
The Jackson Police Department is searching for two men who robbed a cell phone store Monday night.More >>
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