Historic Jefferson College - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Washington 05/02/08

Historic Jefferson College

Many weekends there's something going on at Jefferson College. The last time we were there was a flea market. The flea market sets up twice a year. But even if you were there by yourself, you're surrounded by 80 beautiful acres and some historic buildings.

Jim Barnett is the director of historic properties for the department of Archives and History. Jim says one significance of the property is, it was the first of many to get a charter from the Territorial Legislature.

"This is one of the earliest education institutions in the state of Mississippi. And maybe even more important than that, on the grounds here of Jefferson College, Mississippi became a state", said Barnett. The statehood convention was held here in 1817 to bring about the status of statehood. So this is the birthplace of the state of Mississippi.

There's a monument up at the front of the campus showing where the building was where that statehood convention took place. Also just as you enter the gates are a stand of ancient Spanish moss covered oaks. They're called the Burr Oaks because Aaron Burr, a renegade former Vice President of the United States was supposed to have been put on trial for treason beneath them.

Barnett added, "But Aaron Burr never saw those oaks. That's a wonderful story that will never die, no matter how hard we try to put an end to it".

The old buildings are a page from the past. The kind of workmanship not found today. Old school desks with marks of time carved into them. Whispers from lost decades float past if you want to stop and listen. And on the grounds, well-kept nature trails wind through the woods along creeks.

If you get a sense of déjà vu when you see Jefferson College, you've seen it before if you ever saw the mini series North-South, of any number of versions of Huckleberry Finn, John Wayne's "The Horse Soldiers" and many more movies have used Jefferson College as a backdrop. And with the other historic sites in the area, it makes a great get away that's not all that far away.

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