Walt's Look Around: Prospect Hill Plantation - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walt's Look Around: Prospect Hill Plantation

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

The story around Prospect Hill Plantation out from Red Lick in Jefferson County has so many levels it would take a mini series to sort out all the chapters of pre civil war plantation life and the American Colonization Society that wished to free slaves and send them to Africa, and Isaac Ross's intention to do so with his slaves in his will, and sell the plantation for their passage. And the challenge of that will by his grandson, and a slave revolt that burned the original house to try to get rid of the grandson who was blocking their freedom. This house built in 1858 to replace it. And the steps it took to uphold the will a decade later by the State Supreme Court. And the slaves who were freed and settled in Liberia descendents who were directly involved in the civil wars there in the 1980's and 1990's. That's a lot! Alan Huffman researched and wrote a detailed book about the whole affair called "Mississippi in Africa."

But back to the house at Prospect Hill Plantation. While all the family intrigue has been happening, All the while since then time has been slipping past. And taking pieces of the old home with it. Until about a year ago, the Archeological Conservancy got title to Prospect Hill and immediately started to stabilize the quickly decaying structure. Jessica Crawford of Marks is the organization's Southeast regional Director and says buying a structure is a departure for what the group usually does.

Jessica Crawford: We saw Prospect Hill as an opportunity to preserve a site that has a great story to it. Has really interesting history. It's unlike any other plantation in this region. And also we are hoping we can save the house as well.

Walt: And although the structure looks rough, it has good bones. And a LOT of original features, untouched since 1858. Which Jessica says makes it attractive to some very interested prospects. And one of the features of the property is the marker over the tomb of Isaac Ross commissioned by the group seeking to free slaves and send them to Africa. This thing cost $25,000 in the mid 1800s. That would be about $700 thousand dollars today.

But at the moment, the house at Prospect Hill is mostly a fast fading memory. But hopefully it has better prospects for a future right now than it has had in a long time.


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