Longwood Plantation in Natchez, Mississippi epitomizes the rise and fall of the antebellum south. The history of the home may explain why spirits of the former owners are said to linger here.
This is the fourth episode in our Mysteries, Myths and Legends of Natchez, Mississippi series.
The 1860 census tells us that there were more millionaires per capita, in the city of Natchez, than any other city in the country. The homes these millionaires owned showcased classical 19th century architecture. Today, visitors come by the thousands to see these homes that are part of the annual Spring and Fall Pilgrimage of Homes in Natchez.
One home remains open year round. It demands attention of the average tourist along with architects, historians and those who believe that some people who worked and lived there generations ago, have never left. They linger on, trapped, due to unfinished business at Longwood Plantation.
Longwood is unique among antebellum homes because it is the only unfinished antebellum house in the United States. The six story, 30,000 square foot home was designed by the noted Philadelphia architect, Samuel Sloan for Haller Nutt.
Nutt was a wealthy cotton planter in Natchez who had seen the work of Sloan in a book in 1852. Years later, in 1859, Nutt requested the architect design a home for his growing family, which included his wife Julia and their children.
Nutt had met and married Julia Augusta Williams, of Natchez, Mississippi, in 1840. Between 1841 and 1863, the two would have eleven children, although, sadly, not all of their children would survive.
Nutt inherited and purchased several plantations in Louisiana and Mississippi. At the height of his wealth he owned more than 40,000 acres and 800 slaves. Netting him a fortune, prior to the Civil War, that was estimated at more than three million dollars.
Perhaps that wealth explains why Nutt requested that architect Samuel Sloane design Longwood for the Nutt family, but not stick to the plans he had designed and published in 1852. Nutt requested his home be a grander mansion than Sloan had designed in the past.
Sloan started the plans for the Longwood mansion in 1859 and completed the design on April 9, 1860. The architect notified Nutt that the plans were completed and estimated that the Nutt family could move into the grand new house by May 1st of 1861.
The completed house was to have had 32 rooms, 26 fireplaces, 115 doors, 96 columns, and a total of 30,000 square feet of living space. But, as is so often true in life, not everything we plan for , and dream of , becomes reality.
Longwood Website and Tour Information
Visit Natchez Website for Information on Annual Pilgrimage
News report about Longwood History and Hauntings
Are Ghosts Real? — Evidence Has Not Materialized. Live Science. 18 May 2017
The History of Longwood Plantation. Natchez Ghosts The Devil’s Punchbowl. 4 September 2011
Additional Music: Kevin MacLeod “Sovereign”, “Cryptic Sorrow”, “Nervous Piano” and “Eternal Hope” Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution